Microsoft open sources GWBASIC

Jim Brain brain at
Fri May 22 09:41:17 CDT 2020

On 5/22/2020 3:34 AM, Rico Pajarola via cctalk wrote:
> cool, but...
> these are "translated" sources (presumably from some generic source that is
> run through a tool that generates x86 asm). I just wish they had also
> released the "source of the source" and the translation tool. Because that
> was the interesting part of it.

The page notes they tried:

"Each of the assembly source files contains a header stating 
|Thistranslation created 10-Feb-83byVersion4.3|

Since the Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) of the early processors 
used in home and personal computers weren’t spectacularly different from 
one another, Microsoft was able to generate a substantial amount of the 
code for a port from the sources of a master implementation. (Alas, 
sorry, we’re unable to open-source the ISA translator.)"

I'm assuming it's a language thing, but your comments seem overly 
dismissive.  You're essentially saying that the resulting generated ASM 
is of no interest (the tool was the interesting part, you note) and 
devoid of value.  The comments I am sure are verbatim from the meta 
source, and by investigating the source, I think folks could gain key 
insights into what the tool did.

Yes, we can lament the inability to gain access to the meta-source, but 
I don't think the resulting source code is uninteresting.  And, if 
comments like these get back to MS (some folks on this list work there), 
how will the folks within the company feel about it?  "Yeah, we worked 
for months with Legal to cut through the red tape and get GW-BASIC 
source online, but folks were dismissive we didn't give them everything, 
so I'm not sure it's worth the effort to open anything else up...."

How we appreciate what is given probably dictates if we receive anything 


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