Altair BASIC

Altair BASIC is a BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800 computer. Distributed he was from Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems and Micro -Soft.


Was developed in 1975 the Student Bill Gates with Paul Allen on an emulator for the Intel 8080, which ran on a mainframe computer at Washington State University, the BASIC interpreter Altair BASIC for the Altair 8800 computer of Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems. Monte Davidoff programmed routines for processing floating point numbers. Was distributed the program both as a paper tape as well as Compact Cassette. Later on disk.

1976 Bill Gates published his Open Letter to Hobbyists in which he complained about the lack of sales in comparison to the large spread of Altair BASIC and computer hobbyists called for honest buying professional software. From Altair BASIC, the first Microsoft product Microsoft BASIC, which was offered and developed in several versions for different home computers emerged.


The standard version performs arithmetic functions with an accuracy of 6 decimal places. It allows multiple commands on one line and requires at least 4 KB RAM.

Extends the standard version by orders for binary and advanced arithmetic functions, longer strings, more dimensions for arrays and eliminated limits the maximum nesting depth of loops. You need at least 8 KB of RAM.

The 8K version with increased precision of arithmetic functions to 12 decimal places and an extended output command. You need at least 16 KB of RAM.

The extended version extended by commands to use a floppy disk drive. You need at least 24 KB of RAM.

An extension of Extended version, which is available both with and without the disk commands. It allows the simultaneous use of an Altair computer by multiple users. There are at least 32 KB of RAM required.