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Gary Kildall, Father of the PC OS, Finally Gets His Due

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the not-a-moment-too-soon dept.

Operating Systems 99

theodp writes: "GeekWire reports that Gary Kildall, the creator of the landmark personal computer operating system CP/M, will be recognized posthumously by the IEEE for that contribution, in addition to his invention of BIOS, with a rare IEEE Milestone plaque. Kildall, who passed away in 1994 at the age of 52, has been called the man who could have been Bill Gates. But according to Kildall's son, his dad wasn't actually interested in being what Bill Gates became: 'He was a real inventor,' said Scott Kildall. 'He was much more interested in creating new ideas and bringing them to the world, rather than being the one that was bringing them to market and leveraging a huge amount of profits. He was such a kind human being. He was always sharing his ideas, and would sit down with people and show flowcharts of what he was thinking. I think if he were around for the open-source movement, he would be such a huge proponent of it.' Techies of a certain age will also remember Gary's work as a co-host of Computer Chronicles."

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He couldn't have been Bill Gates... (3, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 4 months ago | (#46844261)

It wasn't about the creation, but the leveraging.

Re:He couldn't have been Bill Gates... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46845081)

This. Gates was ruthless from the get-go, the kid read multiple biographies of Napolean for chrissakes. He read biographies of people like JP Morgan, back when you couldn't even find them without trekking to a major university library.

If Kildall had struck an exclusive deal with IBM, he would've probably made a few tens of millions USD before retiring or being out-maneuvered by businessmen of Gates' caliber.

Re:He couldn't have been Bill Gates... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 4 months ago | (#46845269)

And a few millions USD is an immense amount of success!

The best recognition.. (5, Insightful)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 4 months ago | (#46844305)

is this: " He was such a kind human being. He was always sharing his ideas, and would sit down with people and show flowcharts of what he was thinking."

We could use more like him. To be recognized by IEEE is great, but greater still to leave this legacy to his kids and the community.

Re:The best recognition.. (5, Interesting)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 4 months ago | (#46844729)

Yeah, I think its wrong to put him in the Jobs, or Gates category. Jobs and Gates where merely better than average technical people but with phenomenal business skills. Kildall was only a better than average businessman but with phenomenal technical skills.

In a sense he was more a Wozniak character, well meaning, technically brilliant, and for a while at least betting on the right horse.

And by all accounts, a genuinely decent person.

Re:The best recognition.. (5, Interesting)

JabberWokky (19442) | about 4 months ago | (#46845053)

To tie them all together, I used a computer for many years that was designed by Woz, marketed by Jobs, with a expanded processor and memory made by Gates' company to run Kildall's OS (and a few others). An Apple ][+ with the Microsoft Z-80 SoftCard card, running CP/M. And I'm sure I wasn't the only one. A world capable of inventing, manufacturing, and garnering capital and sales to see that innovation become available to people requires all of them.

I know I'd rather have lunch with the likes of Wozniak and Kildall, however. Add Ritchie and Kernighan, and that would be one heck of a table.

Re:The best recognition.. (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about 4 months ago | (#46845493)

Thats same machine is responsible for all the success I've had in my career as a technologist. It was outrageously expensive at the time but parents say it's the best investment they ever made.

Re:The best recognition.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846899)

The only problem with the moderation system going up to 5 is that it does not get to acknowledge the 1 in a billion posts that deserve a 6 like the post above.

Re: The best recognition.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46848635)

Loved seeing his enthusiasm on computer chronicles and yes that would be one heck of a great diner party with the 4 horseman of IT.

Re:The best recognition.. (1)

jeremyp (130771) | about 4 months ago | (#46845737)

I don't see any evidence that Kildall was a better than average businessman. In fact, the evidence is that he was quite a poor business man.

Re:The best recognition.. (2, Informative)

theodp (442580) | about 4 months ago | (#46845903)

From the linked BW article: "Kildall ultimately sold his company to Novell Inc. (NOVL) in 1991 for $120 million." Not BillG money, but not too shabby.

Re:The best recognition.. (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 4 months ago | (#46851369)

I don't see any evidence that Kildall was a better than average businessman. In fact, the evidence is that he was quite a poor business man.

He was actually fantastic, and made serious coin doing something people actually originally thought impossible, writing software.

Unfortunately he just wasn't shrewd enough to face down Bill Gates, possibly the most talented businessman of the last 50 years. But I doubt many else could either. Bill even managed to wipe the floor with Jobs (You'll note when Jobs finally did take Apple into the stratosphere with the ipod+iphone, Gates was more or less on his way out.

Re:The best recognition.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46850723)

IBM: "Is your OS any good?" Bill Gates: "Please! We only steal from the best!" (not true, btw)

Nice guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844801)

If he were an asshole, he would have been rich.

Correlation between wealth and assholishnes = 0.99

The 0.01 are for guys like the Woz who rode the coattails of an asshole.

Re:Nice guys (3, Informative)

tragedy (27079) | about 4 months ago | (#46846753)

Wozniak did not ride Steve Jobs coattails. Do you think jobs would have gotten anywhere without Woz at the beginning? He probably would have ended up as a used car salesman.

Re:Nice guys (2)

Archtech (159117) | about 4 months ago | (#46846981)

I think you may have misunderstood the parent's assertion. I think he meant that Wozniak owed whatever wealth and business success he achieved to riding Jobs' coattails.

Ironically, I completely agree with your remark that, without Wozniak, Jobs "probably would have ended up as a used car salesman". (Although even then, he probably would have wound up a billionaire). Unfortunately, due to the way our society is structured, it is NOT the geniuses who are rewarded but the people, like Jobs, who exploit their ideas.

Re:Nice guys (2)

tragedy (27079) | about 4 months ago | (#46847879)

Woz probably still would have managed some sort of success without Jobs. As for Jobs, I'm not so sure he would be a billionaire otherwise. Jobs was very good at the position he was in, but he was very fortunate. Personalities like his are much, much more likely to self-destruct than succeed.

Re:Nice guys (1)

Archtech (159117) | about 4 months ago | (#46859995)

Yes, it's kind of a very lucky virtuous circle that leads to great wealth and success. You need Woz (the brains), but without Jobs (the huckster) Woz would, at best, get a decently paid job working for some corporation. Likewise, Jobs on his own couldn't strike it rich without some big breakthrough that comes only from a technical guy like Woz. So they both need each other; but when the alchemy happens and the money rains down, 99.99% of it sticks to the huckster.

Re:Nice guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46850755)

OK, they both rode each other's coat tails. That's illegal in parts of the south, of course.

Re:The best recognition.. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 4 months ago | (#46845239)

Wait, there are non-evil flowcharts? What an eye-opener.

Re:The best recognition.. (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 4 months ago | (#46858027)

Wait, there are non-evil flowcharts? What an eye-opener.

Oh right? What was I thinking? I don't know anything about CP/M, but I do know that flowcharts are the purest evil. Unless there are doughnuts. Did the man know his doughnuts?

Re:The best recognition.. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 4 months ago | (#46846275)

Uh NO. Fuck Gary and his idiotic 8.3 filename convention -- it set computing back 20 years.

My old Apple DOS 3.3 filesystem had 30 character filenames WITH spaces in it.
ProDOS had even 15-character filenames and directories.

CP/M was total shit.

Re: The best recognition.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846811)

*headdesk*

Only on /. would somebody read a story a person who not only made an immense contribution to the development of personal computers but was by all accounts a genuinely nice person, and then crudely insult them over the trivial matter of their choice of filename convention.

That kind of comment only belittles the person who made it.

Your trolling level: *.* out of ***** (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46847827)

Oh, so CP/M had 8.3 only?
Tell me more about how systems developed several years earlier than DOS 3.3, 3.2 and 3.1 had more space available for longer filenames.

Re: Your trolling level: *.* out of ***** (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46850135)

As I recall, RSTS/E was 6+3 too, and that pre-dated Apple itself by several years.

Re:Your trolling level: *.* out of ***** (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46851413)

Tell me more about how systems developed several years earlier than DOS 3.3, 3.2 and 3.1 had more space available for longer filenames.

Well, there was Unix, but that was designed to run on PDP11's with a whopping 256kb of RAM.

Re:Your trolling level: *.* out of ***** (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46864125)

> Well, there was Unix, but that was designed to run on PDP11's with a whopping 256kb of RAM.

IIRC, the early Unix filenames were limited to 14 characters, and if you're using extensions, the dot takes up a character... so not really much better than 8.3.

Re:The best recognition.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46848217)

moron!

CP/M was 6.3

DOS was 8.3

duh

I met Gary (2)

Coditor (2849497) | about 4 months ago | (#46844317)

as a guest on Computer Chronicles in 1987. He seemed like a genuine person, not at all affected by not being Bill. Good to see he finally gets better recognition even if it took so long.

Re: I met Gary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844351)

In the 1980's Bill Gates had seen cp/m from Gary Kildall and told IBM that Microsoft could provide an operating system. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer simply bought a cheap cp/m rip-off named Q-dos for $50,000 illegally stolen by Tim Paterson who simply copied it from disassembled cp/m machine code. Gary Kildall found out and tried to sue IBM and Microsoft. Unfortunately for Gary, Bill Gates father was a powerfull lawyer employed by the Rockefeller family, so the judge made a statement. For every PC wheter an original IBM or a IBM clone, customers had to pay Microsoft even when the customer only wanted Gary's cp/m based dr-dos. These practises are still used by Microsoft today. If you want a laptop or PC you are forced to buy it with a Microsoft product named Windows. They pretend you have a choice to not pay for Windows. Usually if you do not want Windows, they have to take out the harddrive with its Windows recovery partition and to replace it with a clean harddrive. So buying a PC or laptop without Windows will simply cost you more. Most stores however simply refuse you to sell the PC or laptop if you don't want Windows.

Did Microsoft invented Windows themselves? Is Windows stolen technology?

And Bill Gates had seen Xerox Star so he bought such a Xerox Star machine (made in 1978), it would take Microsoft 13 years to duplicate its operating system capabilities, and they named it Windows 3.1.

Meanwhile Gary Kildall got a tragic accident, unexplainable head injury wich caused his death shortly after writing a book that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer steal technology from whomever they can. Gary's son is still scared of Microsoft so the book remains sealed.

And Microsoft kept on stealing technology. Visicalc became Microsofy Excell. Borland became Microsoft Developer Studio, Wordstar became Microsoft word. Netscape became Internet Explorer. 3dFx became Microsoft directX, Lernaut&Hauspie became Microsoft speech synthesis and recognition. Even the Windows 95 taskbar and startmenu where stolen from a graphical user interface made by another company in 1987 than named Icon Bar.

Almost nobody knows the original inventors of the by Microsoft stolen technology and about the highly unexplainable death rates under original software inventors. Who knows Stacker? The company from who Microsoft stole their compression technology for filesystems? Even fat32 the filesystem for wich other companies have to pay Microsoft for, was stolen. Microsoft hires special companies to scare programmers and inventors with braindead, cardiac arrest, lifelong unemployement, lifelong prosecution, tragic car accidents (Avalon programmer found dead, Netscape programmers found blood on their PC's, programmers wrapped and choked to death naked in their own bedsheets, Gary Kildall's dead, Remy Belvaux's dead, and many more....) These programmers had all one thing in common, they made something Microsoft wanted, and for some reason Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer simply for no reason wanted them dead. All Microsoft does is hire professional companies to search and kill programmers for their code, work or something else Microsoft wants or sees as a threat. This is Microsoft's business model.

In 2001 e.g. a second grade university student made the graphical command line interface. You just had to see it to know it was innovative. You typed in commands just like dos but it had the same capabilities like a webbrowser and came with its own compiler for it. Imagine a dos prompt with images, buttons, windows, 3d reality, video support, the internet as if it where a directory on your local harddrive. And steve.ballmer@ceo.microsoft.com and bill.gates@chairman.microsoft.com send the young programmer a contract that he would never talk about it, that it now was Microsoft property, Microsoft would not have to pay any costs. But the programmer refused and mailed them he would make it open source. And Steve Ballmer mailed the student it would be tragic to suffer a tragic and horrifying death.

You can search google for 'Steve Ballmer kill....' and you will find that Steve Ballmer even threatens highly placed people with death and evenso boasted that he killed people before.

You don't have to guess, the programmer who made the graphical commandline interface got infected with a tragic bacteria from his PC's keyboard, got blind and later went into coma and drained in his own blood when his lungs collapsed vomiting blood in the process. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have special ruthless people specialised in these kind of crimes. The programmers girlfriend experienced a tragic unexplainable head trauma causing prolonged coma, she will never talk again.

These things happen because people believe Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are kind and loving persons. Students who invent innovative products really believe Microsoft is an honest business.

Meanwhile Bill Gates paid over $40 million dollar to elect George Bush. The first thing Bush did was dropping all antitrust charges from many companies all over America against Microsoft providing Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer with diplomatic immunity. Bill also finances Bush his reelection. As a member of the Gates family Bill and Microsoft have all the support from the highest then CIA official Robert Gates, the Rockerfellers and Rothschilds. Microsofts bribes law officials, police officers, hires companies like Blackwater all to kill off anyone whom they can steal from.

But why does Microsoft not provide the customer with a graphical command line interface? The answer is simple, no matter how good something might be, it does not force people to buy more copies of Microsoft Windows. The graphical commandline interface will one day show up as an invention by Microsoft Research just like oil companies kill off inventors who make engines a tiny bit more efficient.

Compare Microsoft's power with an oil company. One big oil company named Microsoft stealing and killing people who have little bits of oil and then forcing customers to buy Microsoft oil, and a small tiny oil company named Apple, and a company giving their oil away for free named Linux.

Microsoft will ever have to keep on killing young smart but naive programmers all over the world especially before they might contribute to Linux. Microsoft deliberately keeps stolen technology off the market, reducing advancement in operating systems.

Innovative young smart and naive programmers are simply murdered before they can contribute to Linux. These pour souls believe in the lie that Microsoft pays for an invention.

Like steve.ballmer@ceo.microsoft.com once said to such a tragic soul 'Nothing provides me more pleasure than to know you will die an extremely painful death!'

Read more search on google for 'Why I hate Microsoft'
'Xerox Star'
'Programmer found dead'
'Gary Kildall the man who could have been Bill Gates'
'Steve Ballmer kill...'
'Microsoft's touch of death'

When Bush was reelected people thought the voting computers where messed with. You can search for how many Diebold computerprogrammers where found dead suddenly. This is the business model of Microsoft, even bribing the president. See Bush and Gates together celebrating their crimes, google for 'bill gates and bush' on google image search.

The only solution for young programmers is to not innovate. To not make software wich never has been made before. And if they still want to do it, they have to work for free by making it open source and work with many other open source people. Sure Steve Ballmer calls Linux programmers cancers who attach themselves to Microsofts intellectual property, but these programmers have no other choice.

Microsoft is not an example of capitalism. In capitalism several manufacturers or producers offer their products, the market determines a fair price. Compare this to Microsoft's exorbitantly high profit margins over 80%, they simply force their customers to buy it, they kill off any competition. Communism means everything belongs to the state, in this case everything belongs to Microsoft (they even own the president), so Microsoft is far more likely like communism in its worst form, a nightmare for any unknowing naive programmer facing an evil never seen in the software industry before.
http://i42.tinypic.com/2vtdrsy.jpg

Re: I met Gary (2)

Kalriath (849904) | about 4 months ago | (#46844391)

Your post is a bunch of crap. Forensic computer scientists looked at the MS-DOS source code and compared it to CP/M code back during the Digital Research trial and verified that it was not stolen. And your rant about that second grade university student (second grade? WTF?) is obviously a pile of shit.

I know it's trendy to hate Microsoft (Old Microsoft, not to be confused with New Microsoft), but you can do it with actual facts instead of made up bullshit.

Re: I met Gary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844475)

Best line from gp:

These programmers had all one thing in common, they made something Microsoft wanted, and for some reason Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer simply for no reason wanted them dead

(emphasis mine)

Re: I met Gary (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 4 months ago | (#46844923)

To think, that'a probably the most intelligible part of that verbal diatribe.

Re: I met Gary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844603)

OMG that was an amazing list of lies and half truths and bullshit.

There is one reason MS is where it is today. *WE* put them there. We demanded it because they were the cheaper solution. Before MS put TCPIP in windows 98 you paid for it (in some cases as much as the OS itself). Take for example OS/2 (of which MS contributed large amounts to). If you wanted a TCP/IP stack for it from IBM you paid upwards of 30k per box. The bundling of IE was not a matter of 'oh should they'. It was a matter of everyone saying 'why havent you yet' except people who liked the crash fest of netscape.

They were the cheap solution. The reason Apple got its lunch ate by MS was because of cost to develop. I worked in 3 shops that did both MS and Mac software. Outfit 1 mac dev would set you back ~20-30k with some yearly costs thrown in for good measure. Outfit a PC dev, maybe 3k-4k if you bought them a really really nice rig. Apple finally got the idea and charged parts of their dev kit 0 and other parts 100 bucks a year. I can buy an Apple dev kit for 10 years to recoupe one cycle of visual studio now. Notice how they crushed the pad market?

MS was the *cheap* solution that worked 'good enough'. They are now the expensive solution in relation to everyone else which is why their market share is imploding.

Re: I met Gary (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 months ago | (#46844763)

The cheap solution was the rest of the market beyond Apple and IBM. It wasn't the platform with the IBM trademark associated with it. The PC initially exploited it's association with the original IBM product and then Bill Gates and Microsoft ran with it from there once they already had commanding position in the market due to someone else's trademark.

Microsoft is ultimately the extension of someone else's monopoly.

Re: I met Gary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46845305)

Microsoft is ultimately the extension of someone else's monopoly.

Kind of like the American Empire built on the ruins of the British Empire....

Re: I met Gary (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#46846113)

The open architecture of the IBM PC was what made it a success. Virtually everything else was more closed. I mean, IBM published the commented ASM source code for the PC BIOS in the Techref Manual that anybody could buy. They used only common off the shelf chips. Once the cloners started duplicating the design (after enough people wrote clone BIOSes) there was no turning back.

You're right, though, that the cheap alternative was the cheap plastic junk with 8 bit processors, and proprietary ASICs that consumers could buy in department stores.

Re: I met Gary (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 4 months ago | (#46846297)

The open architecture of the IBM PC was what made it a success. Virtually everything else was more closed.

Say what? Every micro of the era came with schematics!

Re: I met Gary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846329)

Not quite. They indeed were based on ASIC's for IO and mainly, video. Actually video ASIC's were what made them different along with the amount of memory available.

Re: I met Gary (1)

Anita Hunt (lissnup) (2913179) | about 4 months ago | (#46848439)

The cheap solution was the rest of the market beyond Apple and IBM..

Yes, and everyone seems to have forgotten Compaq etc

Re: I met Gary (3, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | about 4 months ago | (#46844939)

Actually OS/2 WARP and even 2.1 included TCP/IP. The OS/2 Warp TCP/IP suite was far better than anything Microsoft had. It was basically based on BSD along with many of the tools that were supplied. I remember buying NFS for OS/2 (there were versions from IBM and Hummingbird) as well as X11 for OS/2 (before XFree86 was ported to it). Later versions of OS/2 included even more features from BSD, including sendmail and the firewall support. I remember being able to telnet into my OS/2 box long before such things were supported by Microsoft. When OS/2 Warp shipped, TCP/IP was an add-on for Windows 95.

TCP/IP was never a 20-30K option at least from version 2.1 and later.

Re: I met Gary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46845149)

> Before MS put TCPIP in windows 98 you paid for it (in some cases as much as the OS itself). Take for example OS/2 (of which MS contributed large amounts to). If you wanted a TCP/IP stack for it from IBM you paid upwards of 30k per box.

That is complete nonsense. Trumpet Winsock was available for Windows 3.x as inexpensive shareware. Apparently most used it for free but you can rectify that at http://thanksfortrumpetwinsock.com/

Windows 95 had TCP/IP, initially in the Plus! pack (which was usually installed by OEMs) but also in OSR1. With the initial Win95 the TCP/IP stack could be downloaded for free from Microsoft.

"""The software is available on the Internet via anonymous FTP from ftp.microsoft.com in the file /peropsys/Win_News/Windows95Information/InternetExplorer/msie20.exe or via the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/ie/ie.htm. After downloading msie20.exe run it on the Windows 95 system. It is a self-exploding file that automatically installs the new software. One note: the "20" in the filename msie20.exe is a version number. This will change with time. When you download the file it could have a slightly different name. """

OS/2 Warp (3.0) had TCP/IP included (though not necessarily automatically installed). The 'Bonus Pack' added TCP/IP to OS/2 version 2 and didn't cost "30k".

> OS/2 (of which MS contributed large amounts to)

MS did not 'contribute'. IBM _paid_ Microsoft. In fact MS took (stole) IBM's code that switched between protected mode and real mode and put it in Windows to make Windows-286 usable.

Re: I met Gary (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 4 months ago | (#46846759)

We demanded it because they were the cheaper solution. Before MS put TCPIP in windows 98 you paid for it (in some cases as much as the OS itself).

Or you used an OS that wasn't missing critical network functionality like Linux.

Re: I met Gary (1)

gzuckier (1155781) | about 4 months ago | (#46850803)

The US public always ends up with the worse technology, apparently voluntarily

DOS vs CPM

Windows vs OS2

PC vs Apple

VHS vs Beta

44 khz CD vs SACD

NTSC vs PAL

18 khz subcarrier FM vs discrete stereo

jpg vs png

mp3 vs FLAC or ALAC

Re: I met Gary (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#46844495)

Straight out of alt.conspiracy.jfk, and other similar newsgroups.

Thanks for the entertaining read.

Re: I met Gary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844515)

First of all, you are off-topic.

Secondly, MS is dead. Nobody gives a rat's ass about MS anymore. The big scary, and potentially much more dangerous, companies these days are FB, Google and Apple. So yeah, 90's called and they need their "hate the MS" thing back.

Re: I met Gary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844561)

MS is dead? That would explain why MS is making money hand over fist. Not bad for a zombie.

Re: I met Gary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846513)

It's a fad. Everything with zombies makes money these days.

Re: I met Gary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846827)

Wow.

Linus must be kept really busy dodging all those assassins. It's any wonder he has time to work on Linux at all.

Re:I met Gary (1)

antdude (79039) | about 4 months ago | (#46847567)

Which episode and story were you in CC? I loved watching that show. Matt Chat had a interview with Stewart recently that I mentioned in my /. post: http://tech.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org] ... :)

Open Source (2)

brit74 (831798) | about 4 months ago | (#46844329)

"Kildall, who passed away in 1994 ... I think if he were around for the open-source movement, he would be such a huge proponent of it."

Doesn't the open-source movement go back to the 1970s? Admittedly, I'm not sure how easy it would be to get involved with open-source projects (other than open-sourcing your own private projects) before the age of the internet.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844389)

Sure it goes, but it exploded with the common internet, and that didn't happen all over the world before that date. Think of "downloading a linux distro" in europe or asia.

Re:Open Source (1)

sjames (1099) | about 4 months ago | (#46844783)

It was hard enough in the '90 from across town. It took me over a week and that was only because a kindly sysop granted an exception to the ul:dl ratio.

Hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46845617)

In my town the only place with linux was a single for-pay board in downtown. And given that it was a couple megs of data and I only had a 2400 baud modem, I wasn't able to get either when I was coveting them. As a result I didn't really get to use any *nix systems until the late 90s, by which time I was pretty proficient in Windows.

Given what a POS linux was during the late 90s/early '00s, I still did a lot of jumping back and forth, and now Linux is slowly replacing Windows as the 'Good Enough' POS that everybody is using.

Re:Hell... (2)

sjames (1099) | about 4 months ago | (#46846109)

If it was only a couple meg, you were missing most of the distro. No wonder you thought it was a POS.

Re:Hell... (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 4 months ago | (#46846779)

That's what cheapbytes.com was great for, back in the days of dialup. You could order a CD and have it delivered faster than downloading the contents. I just went to see if their site was still there. It doesn't seem to be coming up.

Re:Hell... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 4 months ago | (#46847037)

It looks like they just went poof. Their domain is still registered but DNS seems to be down.

The BBB says they are believed to be shut down.

Re:Hell... (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 4 months ago | (#46847855)

It's a pity for nostalgic reasons, but not really unexpected. They had a great service back when network bandwidth was hard to come by.

Re:Hell... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 4 months ago | (#46850549)

Yeah, fast internet pretty well eliminated their reason to be. I have a few CDs from them on my shelf. I keep them around as a curiosity.

Re:Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844581)

That should be "gnu-open-source" you insensitive jerk.

Re:Open Source (1)

jgotts (2785) | about 4 months ago | (#46845467)

1994 was the year I first installed Linux. By that point, there were a number of complete Linux distributions. I got my start with Slackware 2.0.

So he was definitely around for the open source movement, so to speak. It was off most peoples' radar screens in 1994. This site got its start in 1997. I think I joined in 1998.

Re:Open Source (1)

Anita Hunt (lissnup) (2913179) | about 4 months ago | (#46848469)

"Kildall, who passed away in 1994 ... I think if he were around for the open-source movement, he would be such a huge proponent of it."

Doesn't the open-source movement go back to the 1970s?

In the '80s, I recall myself and others being more focused on initiatives for Open Systems Interoperability and Connectivity.

Award (1)

Obijon70 (2755699) | about 4 months ago | (#46844331)

IMO, CP/M should get him the award, not even considering BIOS...

Re:Award (2)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 4 months ago | (#46845559)

IMO, CP/M should get him the award, not even considering BIOS...

While Tandy TRS-DOS was my first OS, CP/M on Vector Graphic, Kaypro and Televideo systems was the first one I dove into. In the BDOS I could disassemble memory to instructions and actually figure out what was going on. CP/M was the 8-bit bread and butter of the 8080/Z80 age.

In 1980 at age 16 I wrote a proof of concept product, a TSR (terminate and stay resident') program for CP/M systems called DataCrypt. You'd load it on startup and be prompted for a pass phrase and it would hash the phrase, tuck itself into ~2k above your COMMAND.COM and terminate-resident, intercepting file I/O. When any running program created or opened a file matching one of several (user-settable) wildcard patterns such as $$??????.???, it would perform transparent crypt or de-crypt of each 128-byte sector.

So with DataCrypt resident you could use WordStar and work with a mix of encrypted and unencrypted documents. If the program used your primary name with a special extension (like *.$$$) for temporary files even those would be encrypted on disk.

I sent it out to several folks in Silicon Valley and elsewhere for review but got no bites. At the time there were few computer folk as interested in data security as I was. But even then I was aware that TRUE security was a long distance away. The prototype's CRC32/XOR snake oil encryption had only 32 bits of entropy, which is a wink and a chuckle these days. True DES encryption would have been a slow deal.

He was around for the open source movement, innit? (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#46844335)

While the "open source as something different than Free Software" debate may have exploded in the 1990s after his death, the fellow was around for the many years of GNU and BSD activity and publicity. Did he have any published views on that?

Sure he contributed a lot... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844395)

He needed to get a deal with IBM. He didn't its a small part of his contributions, and a rival company claims he ignored the IBM reps and 'went flying'. Its not true, but Gates claims that it is. That MSDOG had the same 26 system calls as CP/M really means they stole from him, but M$ will never admit to theft (its just business as usual), and Gates doesn't want to part with stolen money, ever.

Re:Sure he contributed a lot... (1)

westlake (615356) | about 4 months ago | (#46844645)

and a rival company claims he ignored the IBM reps and 'went flying'. Its not true, but Gates claims that it is.

IBM went to Microsoft and Gates for an operating system and programming languages for their new micro --- and Gates sent them on to Kildall.

Various reasons have been given for the two companies failing to reach an agreement. DRI, which had only a few products, might have been unwilling to sell its main product to IBM for a one-time payment rather than its usual royalty-based plan. orothy might have believed that the company could not deliver CP/M-86 on IBM's proposed schedule, as the company was busy developing an implementation of the PL/I programming language for Data General. Or, the IBM representatives might have been annoyed that DRI had spent hours on what they considered a routine formality [a non disclosure agreement.

Kildall obtained a copy of PC DOS, examined it, and concluded that it infringed on CP/M. When he asked Gerry Davis what legal options were available, Davis told him that intellectual property law for software was not clear enough to sue. Instead Kildall only threatened IBM with legal action, and IBM responded with a proposal to offer CP/M-86 as an option for the PC in return for a release of liability. Kildall accepted, believing that IBM's new system (like its previous personal computers) would not be a significant commercial success. When the IBM PC was introduced, IBM sold its operating system as an unbundled option. One of the operating system options was PC DOS, priced at US$40. PC DOS was seen as a practically necessary option; most software titles required it and without it the IBM PC was limited to it's built-in Cassette Basic. CP/M-86 shipped a few months later at $240, but sold poorly against DOS and enjoyed far less software support.

Gary Kildall [wikipedia.org]

CP/M-86 was cut-priced down to $60 by 1983. Too late,

When popularity rules (2, Interesting)

hessian (467078) | about 4 months ago | (#46844407)

Democracy, markets and social groups all recognize one factor: popularity.

When popularity rules, engineering comes second. What matters is making a product that many people think they need.

Gates isn't even a huge offender here. He accomplished something great: he made a company to standardize computing.

Thanks to him, we have standard hardware, file formats, disk drives, etc. enabling a lot of things including Linux.

Re:When popularity rules (0)

plopez (54068) | about 4 months ago | (#46844543)

I smell a troll

Re:When popularity rules (3, Funny)

zephvark (1812804) | about 4 months ago | (#46844677)

I smell a troll

Take a shower.

Eternal September (1)

hessian (467078) | about 4 months ago | (#46845087)

I smell a troll

Pre-Eternal September:

"Oh look, an outlier opinion. It's either genius or not worth commenting on."

Post-Eternal September:

"Someone who disagrees with me. I need to call him a corporate shill, a troll, a pedophile or a racist and then I've won this debate in my own mind and social group."

Re:Eternal September (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846805)

"Someone who disagrees with me. I need to call him a corporate shill, a troll, a pedophile or a racist and then I've won this debate in my own mind and social group."

Yes. Repeatedly. With ever-increasing amounts of vitriol until he admits he's wrong or abandons the argument.

That's the way we thump our chests around here, boy.

You smell correctly .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46847645)

@plopez: "I smell a troll"

You smell correctly ..

Re:When popularity rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46845117)

After reading this comment, I feel slimed by the troll, and now will take a very long hot shower to get the stink off.

Re:When popularity rules...HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846037)

yeah, right....like in "embrace, extend, extinguish"????

Re:When popularity rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46848199)

Democracy, markets and social groups all recognize one factor: popularity.

When popularity rules, engineering comes second. What matters is making a product that many people think they need.

Gates isn't even a huge offender here. He accomplished something great: he made a company to standardize computing.
Thanks to him, we have standard hardware, file formats, disk drives, etc. enabling a lot of things including Linux.

Not really. We have blobs of firmware and microcode hidden behind NDAs. Completely undocumented if you are not one of the chosen few.

Sure, things might appear "standard" from a safe distance of buying pre-fabricated parts, where you don't have to actually know
anything yourself.

We have more and more software and hardware that is off-limits, for our own good.

Just like democracies (d)evolve, in that sense.

If by "standard" you mean "fork out the dough and you can have what everyone else has -- just don't dare to make your own, or we will see you in court" I don't disagree with you. Just like democracy, again.

If by "standard" you mean "documented, and free to build your own, no worry about patents or lawsuits" I must completely disagree.

I don't particular think the triumph of BS over truth is to be celebrated.

I will do you a favor and not call you a troll. You smell far worse -- a marketing person who believes their own lies.

The world is what you make it. It grows where you water it.

When popularity rules, engineering comes second. What matters is making a product that many people think they need.

No, you have to decide what matters, for yourself. Not what you read on some message board. Not what someone else told you matters. Who are you to tell anyone what matters?

About time (1)

stox (131684) | about 4 months ago | (#46844463)

Gary's contributions in the early days of microcomputing were very significant. Few have contributed nearly as much.

I prostrate myself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844503)

before Mr. Kildall.

Thank you sir for all you have done.

Computer Chronicles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844553)

Now there's a blast from the past. I won't say I watched it religiously, but after that and print media there just weren't a lot of sources for tech news back then.

Re:Computer Chronicles (2)

captjc (453680) | about 4 months ago | (#46844789)

The entire series was donated to The Internet Archive [archive.org] I find it awesome watching the old episodes to see how far we came. Seeing laptops that boast about a fantastic battery life of 2 hours with an *OMG* color screen or seeing a Panasonic rep saying about how the 3DO will kill Nintendo is a great nostalgia trip.

Just goes to show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46844615)

That one needs to stay OUT OF HICK BARS

If one must tie one on go to a strip club

Nothing but pussies there

I remember him for GEM (4, Interesting)

DadLeopard (1290796) | about 4 months ago | (#46844699)

The GEM Graphic environment manager, would have been the world standard, well expect for the "Look and Feel" Lawsuit that Apple brought against it when it was released for the IBM PC and Clones. After the settlement it was so neutered as to be fairly useless! It was a dream to use in it's full implementation on the Atari 1040ST. Drag and drop and a windowed environment way before Microsoft got around to it!

Re:I remember him for GEM (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#46846139)

Apple sued all the early GUI interfaces out of business. You might even say they caused Microsoft's success with Windows, by clearing the field for them.

Re:I remember him for GEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846235)

Posting as AC because I modded in this thread....

GEM was huge when it came out. Microsoft was woefully behind with Windows, and the whole buzz was around GEM as the PC version of the Mac. IF you read any of the computer magazines from the time, you'll see that most analysts were rallying around GEM as the future "OS" of the PC. Even the new 16-bit Atari computers decided to use it. It was compatible with DOS and essentially ran on top of it, but still offered some multitasking as well. Ventura Publisher was the killer app for the machine (I owned a copy), but the lawsuit sapped the life out of the product and Digital Research managed once again to flub a great opportunity for market share.

well, he said it was a weekend hack (5, Insightful)

samantha (68231) | about 4 months ago | (#46844707)

I met him back in the 70s. He said that CP/M was something he hacked up one weekend out of frustration with other things available at the time or rather the dearth of much of anything. He wasn't at all impressed by having done so. He wondered why people thought it was a big deal.

So sorry to hear that we lost him and so very young.

Man, I totally forgot about Computer Chronicles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46845775)

Brought back a flood of feelings starting to watch that Computer Chronicles episode. Man, I'm old.

"a certain age," eh? (1)

dre80 (613210) | about 4 months ago | (#46845853)

Aaannnndd that marks the first time I feel targeted by the phrase "of a certain age." You insensitive clod.

My memories of Digital Research (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | about 4 months ago | (#46846469)

A Navy laboratory project I was on wanted to buy the source code to MSDOS for a project where we needed to make some custom mods. Digital Research said they were interested, but their lawyers made it living hell. Somehow the Navy lawyers and DR's lawyers finally hammered out an agreement (I remember one of the provisions was that we would never, ever, EVER tell anyone that they had sold the code to us), but it took so many months that we had by then written most of what we needed from scratch, so we decided it was better to just finish that rather than spend whatever ungodly sum they had finally agreed to and still end up having to write the custom code for that.

Re:My memories of Digital Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46851629)

MS-DOS isn't exactly complex, I've had to modify it many times, never with the source code, and it's so easy to reverse engineer. I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would need the source code for MS-DOS.

Ghost in the Shell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846553)

I heard him talk once back in the late 70's.
I anthropomorphize computers to much, but oh well.
We fight with our digital systems all day and night long, now in out cars and microwaves and clocks. And they fight back
The UI's suck and they're all different and full of ads and take our information and give back less and less.
It feels like there is someone in there, a person, or persons. Fighting us, every, step, of, the, way.
A giant evil program (corporation), like the MCP in Tron!
But way down, almost buried in the OS(s). There's someone still fighting for you, something of the original soul of computing systems
that worked FOR you, WITH you.
thats Gary.
as long as I keep thinking this everyday. I don't stomp all my computers, and phones and such into dust.

Could have been Bill Gates? (2)

jcr (53032) | about 4 months ago | (#46846577)

More like, the first guy in a long line that Bill Gates ripped off.

-jcr

Re:Could have been Bill Gates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46847677)

@jcr: "More like, the first guy in a long line that Bill Gates ripped off."

"Microsoft Litigation [groklaw.net] "

Value beyond description (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46846631)

I used CP/M to start three businesses that migrated later to DOS then Mac. The sheer number of entities that used a Xerox 820 computer with CP/M or an Altos system with M/PM is an indication of the value created early. Early matters. I was on the "internet" in 1992. Some time later the "web" became evolved enough to actually use on some level. It was not till well after the 00 tech crash it really dislocated businesses.

Re:Value beyond description (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 4 months ago | (#46846877)

you have no idea what the internet is, do you?

Kildall was amazing; Chuck Moore & others too (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 4 months ago | (#46847507)

http://www.businessweek.com/st... [businessweek.com]
http://www.groklaw.net/article... [groklaw.net]
http://www.basicallytech.com/b... [basicallytech.com]
http://www.digitalresearch.biz... [digitalresearch.biz]
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2... [theregister.co.uk]
"The PC world might have looked very different today had Kildall's Digital Research prevailed as the operating system of choice for personal computers. DRI offered manufacturers the same low-cost licensing model which Bill Gates is today credited with inventing by sloppy journalists - only with far superior technology. DRI's roadmap showed a smooth migration to reliable multi-tasking, and in GEM, a portable graphical environment which would undoubtedly have brought the GUI to the low-cost PC desktop years before Microsoft's Windows finally emerged as a standard. But then Kildall was motivated by technical excellence, not by the need to dominate his fellow man."

Yet, consider what came from Chuck Moore of pre-Bayh-Dole true academic traditions of MIT & Stanford and then internal support in manufacturing and then supporting government-funded Astronomical research:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]
http://www.colorforth.com/HOPL... [colorforth.com]
"NRAO, 1971 ... NRAO appreciated what I had wrought. They had an arrangement with a consulting firm to identify spin-off technology. The issue of patenting Forth was discussed at length. But since software patents were controversial and might involve the Supreme Court, NRAO declined to pursue the matter. Whereupon, rights reverted to me. I don't think ideas should be patentable. Hindsight agrees that Forth's only chance lay in the public domain. Where it has flourished."

Forth still can be a great BIOS and command line system.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

Although IBM deserves credit for popularizing the VM idea with System 360 and then VM.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V... [wikipedia.org]

Smalltalk by Alan Kay and Dan Ingalls and others was a another great option.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org]

Kildall, Moore, and Kay/Ingalls all got the idea of virtual machines (with their own ways). Lisp-ers may have got a bit of that too.

We had choices as a society. I saw some of them first hand in the 1970s and 1980s when I started in computing. I bought Forth cartridges for the Commodore VIC and C64. I worked very briefly on a computer with CP/M (although using Forth on it though). The OS choice pushed by the person born with a million dollar trust fund who "dumpster dived" for OS listings won (who did little of the development work himself) -- with an empire built on QDOS which has shaky legal standing as a clone of CP/M which is probably why IBM did not buy it itself. And we were the worse for it as a society IMHO.
http://philip.greenspun.com/bg... [greenspun.com]
http://www.complex.com/tech/20... [complex.com]

But that problematical path would not have been possible without political and legal decisions to base the development of computing around the idea of "artificial scarcity" via copyrights and patents which set the stage for that. We still have choices, and we can still pick different ways forward. Wti the free and open source software movements, we are in a sense returning to older ways of sharing knowledge that were more popular before artificial scarcity was so broadly thought to be a good idea for promoting progress. One should always ask, "progress in what direction"?
http://www.artificialscarcity.... [artificialscarcity.com]

As I said here in 2009:
http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]
"Bill Gate's could have spent his lifetime writing free software. That being born a multi-millionaire was not enough for him is a sign of an illness that causes "financial obesity", not something to be emulated. But, in the end, it is not Bill Gates who has destroyed our society as much as all the people who want to be the next Bill Gates and support regressive social policies they hope to benefit from someday."

Those who have the impulse to share and cooperate more than hoard and compete are still stuck trying to navigate the economic mess we have made of today's society through artificial scarcity, the growing rich/poor divide, the diversion of so much productivity into weapons and consumer fads, and so on. The late 1960s and early 1970s when Kildall, Moore and Kay/Ingalls were having their breakthroughs were a more hopeful time in that sense.
http://www.clevelandfed.org/re... [clevelandfed.org]

Still, the web and HTML5/JavaScript/CSS3 are a new hope for sharing via open standards, and they have been a big success in that sense. I'm moving more of my own work in that direction for that reason (even for all their own issues). Like has been said about JavaScript -- it is better than we deserve considering its history and the pressures that we all let shape it.

Matt Chat's Interviews With Stewart Cheifet! (1)

antdude (79039) | about 4 months ago | (#46847539)

3/Three Long Parts:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

They talked about Gary briefly. I don't re(member/call) which one(s) had that discussion. Just watch/listen to all of them if you were a fan of Computer Chronicles like me. ;)

Photographs of Kildall plaque dedication (1)

Lazowska (3632471) | about 4 months ago | (#46848383)

Some photographs of Friday's dedication of the Kildall plaque in Pacific Grove CA are here: http://news.cs.washington.edu/... [washington.edu]

My First Computer Was A CP/M Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46852575)

When IBM came out with their personal computer, I thought it would go nowhere, because CP/M was so much better. I still use programs that I wrote on my first computer.

Gary was always very helpful (1)

wiz0690 (1807296) | about 4 months ago | (#46860377)

I remember having a problem getting an 8" floppy drive in work properly with CP/M and called Digital Research for support. Gary answered the phone himself and we proceeded to work out the solution in under a half hour. It was a rather trivial timing error. During the conversation I found out he was in his kitchen cooking lunch. Gary would go out of his way to make sure his customers were happy.
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