Basic is 50 years old

The computer that the people at Dartmouth started BASIC 50 years ago and they have a description of the beginning on Basic at 50 page:  At 4 a.m. on May 1, 1964, in the basement of College Hall, Professor John Kemeny and a student programmer simultaneously typed RUN on neighboring terminals. When they both got back correct answers to their simple programs, time-sharing and BASIC were born. This year, Dartmouth is celebrating 50 years of BASIC, and the celebration is today Wednesday, April 30. For more historical details check also Basic Programming Language is 50 Years Old article.


This photo was taken shortly after the first simultaneous execution of two BASIC programs in 1964. Image credits credit go to Dartmouth College that gave permission to use this picture from Historic BASIC images on Flickr.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    10 PRINT “Happy 50th Birthday, BASIC” : GOTO 10
    Language that defined the 8-bit era celebrates half a century

    Wanna feel old? Thursday marks the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of BASIC, the programming language that took the computing world by storm during the PC revolution of the mid-1970s and 1980s.

    A version of BASIC shipped with practically every home computer of the era, but the language actually dates back to 1964, when computer boffins John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz ran the first successful BASIC program on May 1 at 4am.

    BASIC interpreters were Microsoft’s core business into the early 1980s, before MS-DOS became an even bigger cash cow. Microsoft supplied the Applesoft BASIC interpreter for the wildly popular Apple II line of home computers, and many of Apple’s competitors at the time also licensed Redmond’s code, including Atari, Commodore, and Tandy/Radio Shack.

    The language became so popular during this period that a BASIC interpreter was virtually a requirement for any home computer. Companies that didn’t license Microsoft’s version created their own, resulting in such dialects as BBC BASIC and Sinclair BASIC in the UK.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal

    Knowing how to program a computer is good for you, and it’s a shame more people don’t learn to do it.

    For years now, that’s been a hugely popular stance. It’s led to educational initiatives as effortless sounding as the Hour of Code (offered by and as obviously ambitious as Code Year (spearheaded by Codecademy).

    Even President Obama has chimed in.

    I find the “everybody should learn to code” movement laudable. And yet it also leaves me wistful, even melancholy. Once upon a time, knowing how to use a computer was virtually synonymous with knowing how to program one. And the thing that made it possible was a programming language called BASIC.


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