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The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the stuff-to-read dept.

Microsoft 458

theodp writes "BusinessWeek discusses They Made America, a new book which claims Bill Gates got the rewards due Gary Kildall. The book attacks the reputations of key early PC era players - Gates, IBM, and QDOS programmer Tim Paterson - asserting that Paterson copied parts of Kildall's CP/M and that IBM tricked Kildall, allowing Gates to prevail and depriving Kildall of untold riches and credit for a seminal role in the PC revolution. Some material came from an unpublished memoir penned by Kildall after the University of Washington, where Kildall earned a PhD, picked Harvard dropout Gates as keynote speaker for the 25th anniversary of its CS program."

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458 comments

Hey wait a minute (5, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564062)

After reading the title, I thought this was going to be about Steve Jobs!

Re:Hey wait a minute (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564141)

Steve "Blow" Jobs, as our notorious apprentice-boy fucking boss is called here at Apple.

I could have been Bill Gates! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564447)

If I was born 30 years earlier, far uglier, and a manipulative geek.

Not entirely untold (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564063)

This has actually been discussed at length in other books, most notably Michael Swaine's excellent Fire In The Valley [amazon.com].

Re:Not entirely untold (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564157)

The cool thing about that book is that the first edition was written in 1984, and so offers a timely perspective on the formation of the computer industry. It's not a "looking back" history where facts get muddled over time. Everything is fresh. The second, 1999, edition updates with the history that happened since, and everything remains timely. I read the first edition in college, and bought the second when it came out.

The book was made into a movie [imdb.com] a few years ago, which I believe aired on TNT (if memory serves). I see it is now also available on video.

Re:Not entirely untold (2, Informative)

zoeblade (600058) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564244)

This has actually been discussed at length in other books

Not to mention it was also discussed in Robert X. Cringley's Triumph of the Nerds [pbs.org].

Re:Not entirely untold (2, Informative)

SiO2 (124860) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564425)

Keep in mind that the PSB series Triumph of the Nerds was based on Cringley's book Accidental Empires. [amazon.com] I guess I'm just being particular today.

SiO2

Wrong person (5, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564064)

Bill Gates was a negociator, not a programmer, that's why the other could in no way have become him.

Re:Wrong person (3, Informative)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564107)


Bill Gates was a programmer

Sure, he didn't stay up late writing the first versions of Word, Excel, or even Windows, but he was a programmer. Rumor was the last product he actually worked on was a version of BASIC in the 80's.

Why code when you can take over the world. He's way to old to really be a programmer these days, anyhow.

Re:Wrong person (1, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564136)

We all are more than one thing.
Bill Gates has programmed but had he been a programmer, he would have kept improving his art instead of becoming a manager and a negociator.
So well, he "was also"...

Re:Wrong person (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564188)

Not trying to be a dick, but you spelt it wrong twice now. It's "negotiator".

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=neg ot iator

Re:Wrong person (2, Informative)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564480)

Rumor was the last product he actually worked on was a version of BASIC in the 80's.

I heard a rumor that DOS 3 was the last project that contained any of his code.

Bill's no geek! (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564492)

As near as I can tell, Bill Gates only code contribution to MicroSoft was he wrote the non-runtime (ie editor) for GW-BASIC. Two other guys wrote the runtime (interpreter) and mathlib.

Re:Wrong person (5, Insightful)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564496)

You missed the point of his post entirely.

Bill Gates' rise to fame and power is because of his skill as a businessman - which I'm sure can be attributed to the laywer heritage he comes from.

Kildall was a programmer - pure and simple. He didn't stand a chance on the open market against Gates.

Re:Wrong person (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564137)

Exactly. Kildall was never known for his business sense. He was known as an "inventor" and a programmer. Gates was smart in doing what he did back then (royalty fees and the such). He let others do the work for him and he made the money. Others just couldn't see the future. Apparently Gates could (at least then).

Some might view Kildall's story as being a sad one. A man driven to alcohol because his wife wouldn't sign an NDA or because he supposedly went flying. Whatever. The man had a poor business sense and he didn't see the value in doing what he needed to do to win.

It's not like he didn't make a ton of money. He ended up selling out to Novell for something like $125 million. Honestly, I think that's significant.

Re:Wrong person (4, Insightful)

DigitumDei (578031) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564345)

Being beaten by someone who he obviously thought was undeserving could quite easily drive someone to drink. It's not because of the money, it's the fame, and the fact that people say Bill Gates invented something that in reality he felt was his creation.

The "theft" of something you create can burn the soul much more than any loss of money.

Re:Wrong person (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564444)

And people are wrong. Bill Gates invented nothing. (Ok, the Microsoft Bob concept maybe) Seriously, name something he invented. That's probably the biggest lie of Microsoft, that they invented or innovated anything.

Lie, cheat, steal? Absolutely.

Re:Wrong persuasion (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564145)

Please tell us more about your great 'bi' mac....

DO NOT refer to it a dual processor, but as 'bi'...

check his journal on Macslash....
Wednesday June 09, 04
03:04 AM - The bi-2,5GHz is here
OK, the AppleStore is currently closed but my Swiss reseller has it now : the bi 2,5GHz has come, it is sold for the same price has the bi-2GHz which has dropped in price to its younger sibling's former price. Other specs seems to be the same as previously (160GB, 512MB...)

http://macslash.org/~mirko/journal/ [macslash.org]

Yea...your not teh ghey!

Re:Wrong person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564240)

BYTE magazine analyzed the BASIC that Gates worked on at Harvard and came away with the conclusion that Gates was quite the hacker.

I'd wager he's got more talent than 99.9% of the developers that frequent /.

And I'm sure all of you could get into Harvard anytime you want, right? Dont give me the "he was a legacy" shit either - Harvard doesn't take morons.

Re:Wrong person (5, Interesting)

!ucif3r (713159) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564243)

Actually Bill Gates was not a Negotiator. I don't know where you got that from. The people at IBM would not even have agreed to work with him because he was so arrogant if it wasn't for how convincing Paul Allen was.

Paul Allen was pretty much the brains and the charm behind getting Dos into the PC. Bill was just his friend.

IMHO: He got lucky.

OMFG (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564066)

I know I've been hard on you in the past, but I enjoyed this story very much. GG!

So... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564072)

Would we have hated him as well?

Coulda woulda shoulda (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564075)

So what? Life is not fair and never has been. I'm sure history is rife with examples of people 'not getting their due'.

Waaaa...waaaa...waaaaaahhhh. Cry me a river!

Sure, he had his chance ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564078)

But he blew it.

Memory lane.... (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564082)


I still have my boxed copies of CP/M-86, DR-C and DR-Fortran at home. Having used CP/M on an Apple ][+ with a Z80 card it was a pretty easy transition. To this day I still use Joe [sourceforge.net] as my editor. It's a virtual clone of WordStar that I used on the CP/M machine 20 years ago.

Too bad DOS and MS won out, CP/M was the cat's meow at the time.

Re:Memory lane.... (2, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564163)

Too bad DOS and MS won out, CP/M was the cat's meow at the time.

My mother is a business studies teacher. Back in the 80's they used to have Amstrad PCW word processors in the classrooms for teaching word processing and spreadsheets. They were 4MHz Z80 machines with a single 3" floppy (180k) disk, 256k RAM and a proprietary cheap and nasty dot-matrix printer. They had monochrome bitmapped green screens. They ran CP/M 2.2 (IIRC) and came with Locomotive BASIC. One Saturday afternoon I hacked up a little Z80 disassembler in BASIC which followed jumps and calls/returns. Great fun. The teacher got a 512k model with dual disk drives :-)

Re:Memory lane.... (3, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564427)

CP/M was the cat's meow at the time.

Cat's dung sounds more like it. CPM had FCBS instead of handles for file operations. For all practical purposes it was a VMS hangover which was horrible to program for and would have never scaled past what CPM was used for (simple 8 bit apps).

One of the reasons DOS won (besides bundling, IBM and Paul Allen's excellent business sense) was Dos 2.x which introduced file handles (idea nicked from Unix). In fact this is where the PC revolution started because it was easy to use and easy to write 3rd party software.

Kildall is no Gates (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564090)

Gates deserved his accolades for being a shrewd businessman, not for his programming skills. Kildall doesn't deserve them for precisely that reason, because he isn't a good businessman, couldn't promote himself or his products, etc.

It's no good being a great programmer or having a great product generally if you can't communicate that or convince anyone of it.

Quoteth a former president (4, Insightful)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564142)

PRESS ON. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
  • Calvin Coolidge US politician (1872 - 1933)

Re:Quoteth a former president (1)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564242)

I can practically see this italicized text printed under a glossy colour stock photo of people climbing up a mountain or something...

Re:Quoteth a former president (1)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564270)

Either that or at a Dry-Cleaners'

Re:Quoteth a former president (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564326)

It's actually hung in McDonald's Head Office as their mission statement.

Re:Quoteth a former president (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564333)

And there hamburgers do taste like pressed something

Re:Kildall is no Gates (2, Insightful)

sepluv (641107) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564164)

And it is even better if you aren't a great programmer and have a crap product, but convince everyone otherwise right?

(Personally, I think we should reward the people who helped the world the most as opposed those who persuaded the world to give them the most money for the least work; but that is just my opinion.)

Re:Kildall is no Gates (1, Troll)

danheskett (178529) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564204)

Personally, I think we should reward the people who helped the world the most as opposed
That's fine. You can send your money to the various engineers working at large firms who designed and built water purification systems.

Meanwhile everyone else will keep playing on their Xbox and sending their money to Microsoft.

Re:Kildall is no Gates (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564178)

People were convinced of Kildall's talents, but he was difficult to deal with. Nobody is convinced of Gates talents, he was never a great coder and the only recognition I give him is for screwing over almost everyone he was ever involved with. This is what people disguise with the word 'shrewd', make no mistakes that Bill Gates is a most vile individual.

ye gods (4, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564216)

"persistence". Okay. That very CP/M that IBM and Microsoft stole from him was the basis for DR-DOS (via CP/M-86), which Microsoft proceeded to sandbag via various anticompetitive means, ultimately resulting in a very hefty payoff for Caldera, plus significant contribution to the antitrust case against Microsoft.

He was persistent. He did work hard. He had a slime ball working against him for whom laws are optional.

Re:ye gods and patents (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564481)

And here's a case where software patents would quite possibly have corrected a huge wrong. Just imagine if Kildall had been able to patent the various technologies in CP/M. Where would MS be today?

Agreed - Gates was much more ruthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564272)

Kildall would not have become as wealthy as Gates because he simply was not as ruthless. Even after Gates got DOS going he continued to build MicroSoft through shrewd, backstabbing, and sometimes illegal ways. Kildall didn't seem like he had it in him to be that way.

Re:Kildall is no Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564308)

He for sure convinced IBM and Gates (if it is true they took part of his program).

technical brilliance? (4, Insightful)

jstave (734089) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564104)

from TFA: For all his technical brilliance, he was a poor businessman. I think that's the real point. It certainly wasn't technical superiority that got Microsoft where it is today. It was marketing superiority.

Could have been Bill Gates eh? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564106)

You mean this guy could have been responsible for the least secure OS on the planet? That's a legacy best left to others I think.

Re:Could have been Bill Gates eh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564342)

Your post is funny however I want to point something out.

If you are referring to CP/M and DOS. Both didn't necessarily need to be secure because they were single user operating systems with no real network support. At least not network support as we know it today.

Windows 3.1 is also a single user GUI that sat on top of DOS. This is part of the reason that Microsoft is having the security problems now instead of early on in their history. This of course is all IMHO and slightly off topic.

Should consider himself lucky! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564108)

Think of all the nerd hate he has avoided ;)

Could have been... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564116)

unlikely, and regardless he isn't, and wasn't, and won't be. Is this reverse revisionist history?

Bil Gates... (5, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564120)


I'm sure we've all had experiences of people telling us how clever Bill Gates is inventing Windows, or the Internet or whatever.

The real shame is that certain computer museums in the USA perpetuate the myth that the manufacturers of software like Bill Gates were actually the inventors of it. I also think that Steve Jobs is a cool guy but doesn't deserve much space in the history of computing. Commercialising and inventing are completely different things.

Re:Bil Gates... (3, Insightful)

kahei (466208) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564146)


Yes, in the case of software, commercializing, while just as important, is harder.

Re:Bil Gates... (5, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564211)

Yes, in the case of software, commercializing, while just as important, is harder.

But is it as worthy of our admiration?

Re:Bil Gates... (2, Interesting)

kahei (466208) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564258)


Heh, that's a better reply than the geek rage I was expecting... I'm afraid I don't know the answer, though.

I do know that people with bright ideas come and go but those with the huge persistence and blind arrogance required to forge a new business area are rare and valuable.

Re:Bil Gates... (3, Insightful)

MvD_Moscow (738107) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564410)

...but those with the huge persistence and blind arrogance required to forge a new business area are rare and valuable. And of what use are these people without the ideas themselves? Without the ideas no amount of arrogace or persistence will allow you to achieve great hieghts.

Re:Bil Gates... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564152)

You certainly have no clue as to Steve Jobs involvement in Apple's technologies and products.

Re:Bil Gates... (2, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564192)

You certainly have no clue as to Steve Jobs involvement in Apple's technologies and products.

Yes I do.

Jobs is brilliant at making great products, about understanding what will work commercially, etc. He'll look at something and say, hey, that's cool, we can do something with that. He's great at that. But that's different to inventing technology.

Re:Bil Gates... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564224)

I have to agree with you here. Even core members of the original Mac team say that Jobs was instrumental in the making of the Macintosh. Andy Hertzfeld has said as much.

http://folklore.org/

Re:Bil Gates... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564175)

One word about Jobs: pong.

Stupid AOL (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564301)

This is ontopic. AOL does more to perpetuate stupidity than anyother company. ITs comercians now ask for suggustions on how AOL can "improve the internet". As if they are in charge of the entire network. They also promise to provide users with a "Better Internet". Thats just wrong. They mean "a Better Internet Experience",but they leave out the last word in an attempt to confuse people. It worked in the mid 90's when people would come over to my house and ask if I had AOL. I'd tell them that I had a different connection to the Internet, and they'd be really confused. They really thought that AOL owned the internet. It took a lot of convincing to get people off because they so closely identified the two. Only once buisness started hooking up work computers to the internet did people start to understand. My parents still don't.

Getting back to the parent, yes many companies deliberatly blur the line between their product and the industry in an attempt to become synonomous with it. AOL,Yahoo,Google, and Mircrosoft all do it. Just try explaing a guy on the street about the difference between windows and gnu/linux/kde. No one knows what an operating system is. They think windows is built into the case or something.

Re:Bil Gates... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564319)

Bill Gates inventing the Internet? Ridiculous nonsense.

It was Al Gore who invented the Internet, as we all know.

However, George W. Bush, obviously not content with just beating Gore on the political scence, went a step further and invented the Internets.

Obviously, it is our politicians that deserve most of the credit for America's greatest technological innovations.

Interesting moderation (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564393)


How is it that sometimes one of my posts gets slowly moderated upwards to 4 or 5, and then suddenly receives a load of negative mods, apparently simultaneously? Is it that there are Slashdotters with multiple accounts, or do they gang up? Or is it the editors?

Perhaps the astroturfing companies also mod down posts that are negative to one of their clients, and use multiple accounts to do it? Perhaps that's why there are these sudden negative mods?

I don't consider my post to be flamebait. It is an honest opinion.

Wrong. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564125)

The whole point of Bill Gates is that he knows how to get the best of guys like Kildall. Only Bill can become Bill.

No big surprise... (5, Interesting)

drlake (733308) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564128)

I can't say I'm surprised to hear that Bill Gates wasn't the innovative programmer he's made out to be, but then we already knew that. His strengths have always been elsewhere, mainly in the form of making some pretty good business decisions. Because of that, this Kildall really couldn't have been Bill Gates - he obviously lacks the business sense.

I do find the assertion that it was all a conspiracy with IBM laughable, though. First, why would IBM care? Second, if IBM had a clue about the future value of DOS back then, they would have bought it outright rather than choosing to license it.

120 million reasons not to care (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564132)

The guy sold his company to Novell for $120 million. Cry me a river...

Trusting IBM (4, Insightful)

amigoro (761348) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564134)

I had the misfortune of being employed by IBM for about 15 months. I had to sign this contract by which I effectively sold my intellectual property rights to IBM, even a few years after the termination of my contract. And I found out how ideas are developed at IBM. I was just a 19 then. I didn't know better. But I would never make that mistake again. The process goes something like this. You are young and innovative. You come up with a brillian idea. IBM takes it from you. IBM gives it to a different department. You are never ever to have anything to do with your idea ever again. Your name is not even mentioned when the final product is released. You get absolutely no credit. I can well believe that IBM tricked Kildall. I wonder how long it would be before IBM tricks the open source community.

Moderate this comment
Negative: Offtopic [mithuro.com] Flamebait [mithuro.com] Troll [mithuro.com] Redundant [mithuro.com]
Positive: Insightful [mithuro.com] Interesting [mithuro.com] Informative [mithuro.com] Funny [mithuro.com]

Re:Trusting IBM (5, Interesting)

acomj (20611) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564288)

I worked at IBM research. Basically if you develop something on IBMs time with IBMs resources they own it. A lot of companies are like that.

Some people like it because if IBM likes the idea they'll throw IBM resourses at it and let you develop it and pay you to do it.

They give you a lot of resourses to get your idea off the ground and will reward you if its a successful product. If its credit your looking for do it yourself.

They even tell the interns, if you have an idea and you want to develop it DON"t tell it to us.

Re:Trusting IBM (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564416)

Basically if you develop something on IBMs time with IBMs resources they own it. A lot of companies are like that.

Which aren't like that?

Re:Trusting IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564320)

IBM will not trick the open source community, they have nothing to gain and everything to lose since they appear to be benefitting from selling services around a commodity platform. I regard Microsoft as cut-throat, socially irresponsible liars whilst IBM and SGI have my respect for their professionalism.

Do you see IBM's CEO doing a monkey dance? Microsoft are chancers, everything they do reeks of desperation, it's ingrained in their corporate culture. In short, Microsoft are not the sort of comapany I want as business partners in any capacity.

Re:Trusting IBM (2, Insightful)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564461)

Should i call you the "waaahmbulance"? IBM spends HUGE amounts of money on R&D. I'm willing to bet that you learned more about rigour, process, how companies operate, and advanced computing principles in general during the time you worked there, than you contributed back with your 'great idea'. Consider your idea a payment for training and life experience that you couldn't beg/borrow/steal for in an academic institution.

If you didn't like the details of the contract, you didn't have to sign. If you think your 'great idea' would have seen the light of day based on garage experiments in isolation, more power to you.

As for IBM 'tricking' the open source community, that's a specious comment at best. Given that the source is 'open' and avaialble to all, how can IBM steal it? That's the whole point to open source in the first place.

Dataflow analysis! (5, Informative)

daveho (235543) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564148)

Kildall wrote a seminal paper called "A Unified Approach to Global Program Optimization" which introduced dataflow analysis as a general technique for program analysis and compiler optimization. Every time you add -O([1-6])* to your gcc command line, you're applying techniques that Kildall invented.

CP/M was pretty cool, too :-)

Missing CP/M (1)

lars_boegild_thomsen (632303) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564202)

Not a day go by without me missing the pip application. And people call Linux complicated! HA!

Re:Missing CP/M (1)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564413)

Me too. I just loved it when I got a CP/M home computer and found it had the PIP utility on it just the same as on the DEC OS-8, RT-11 and VMS machines I had used at work.

But of course Gary Kildall had worked at DEC developing operating systems.

It needs to be said... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564160)

...but I coulda been a contendah!!!

Gotta hand it to the guy. (1)

jedimark (794802) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564165)

He didn't let no little upstart spoil his skiing trip...

I'd not cut short a holiday to be near that Microsoftillian stench either.

Wait a second... (2, Interesting)

WhatsAProGingrass (726851) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564167)

"Kildall seemed to represent the best hopes of the nascent computer industry. But by the time he died at age 52, after falling in a tavern"

"Kildall's then-wife, Dorothy McEwen, the company's business manager, refused to sign their nondisclosure agreement. She is now ill with brain cancer and can't remember the events, according to daughter Kristin Kildall."

Do we see a trend here?

Re:Wait a second... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564227)

God hates the Kildall family?

Watch out Kristin

False Rights (2, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564168)

All too often I've seen people (in this industry) assume false rights (like intellectual "property") and then when someone else does an end run arround them then they get mad because they were sidelined.

Well, I'm sorry to see them hurt, but what did they expect?

Re:False Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564269)

Just try stealing back that "stolen" property and see who starts screaming.

dropout gates (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564195)

the story i was told by my compsci professor, who was a graduate student when gates was an undergraduate, was that he was expelled.

Totally wrong assumptions (2, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564228)

This assumes that Bill Gates is rich because he's a programming genius. That's not at all true. He's rich because he is a ruthless businessman, a shrewd negotiator, and takes no prisoners.

Re:Totally wrong assumptions (2, Insightful)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564401)

This assumes that Bill Gates is rich because he's a programming genius. That's not at all true. He's rich because he is a ruthless businessman, a shrewd negotiator, and takes no prisoners.

And most importantly, he knows what the people want.

Expert C Programming (2, Insightful)

baruz (211342) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564237)

As Peter van der Linden wrote, "Don't worry about Gary; he'd rather be flying," or something to that effect.

There are more important things than being the richest man in the world.

Kildall dropped the ball. (5, Informative)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564239)

Im parapraising "Trimuph of the Nerds" here so I'm probably missing something here, but basicially this is what it said.

IBM First went to MS asking for BASIC and if they could buy the OS that was built into Microsoft Softcards for the Apple II for the IBM PC. MS directed them to Digital Research saying that they didn't have the right to sell IBM the OS.

IBM goes to Digital Research, and basicially gets the cold shoulder.

IBM Goes back to MS asking for an alternative to CP\M.

Bill gates finds QDOS, buyes it for $50,000 dollars and sells the rights to it to IBM.

More infomation can be found on wikipedia Here [wikipedia.org]

he died (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564266)

he died from the adrenaline fuel hate towards bill gates!

and I don't blame him.

Oh, I get it. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564268)

It's the people who wasted years of their lives (and tons of money) to get a piece of paper, are now living in a trailer with their parents, are jealous of a 'Harvard dropout' being the richest man in America?
Suck it up, university peons!

Wrong. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564282)

CP-M, and specifically CP-M/86 SUCKED COMPLETE COCK.

DOS was a much better operating system and made real sense. Haha. Well at least it was better than running a Wang 2200, and a lot better than burning programs into PROMs that ran on 6809 embedded systems.

CP-M/86 still sucked. If only OS/9 ran on x86 then, or even Xenix/86, DOS probably wouldn't have made it either.

Don't forget Novell (4, Interesting)

ToasterTester (95180) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564309)

MS got the deal with IBM. But MP/M the multiuser version of CP/M was reversed engineered and became the "secret" filesystem of early Novell. That was why Novell brought DR to avoid a lawsuit, it wasn't just to get DR-DOS. So Kildall lost out there too.

From the article (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564316)

There's no doubt that Kildall was one of the pioneers of the industry. He invented the first operating system for microcomputers in the early 1970s,

Writing a PC operating system (or a language interpreter for that matter) is developing software, not much new there to invent.

Technical prowess != biggest fish in the big pond (3, Insightful)

shoppa (464619) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564318)

It's not automatically true that if you've got a good running product that you can beat the sales team with no actual product.

Even if you're product is technically best by some measure there are other products that may be technically better by some other measure. Hindsight often tells you which benchmark was right and which was wrong but in the heat of battle it's hard to see the forest for the trees.

And all that said, oftentimes the selected product is simply vaporware (as was MS-DOS until Gates bought QDOS) when there are real running products out there. Part of it is salesmanship on one side and lack of salesmanship on the other side, but usually there's some favors being traded under the table.

And while Kildall wasn't the biggest fish in that pond, he had hooks into a number of software packages (CP/M was being sold on millions of PC's, the DR languages and tools too).

Isn't the NDA thing a myth? (2, Interesting)

PenguinRadio (69089) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564323)

I've heard the story about how IBM was left standed, but I've also heard that's just an urban legend and they did come to some agreement, went into some talks, and didn't come to an agreement on other matters. The NDA was just something that caught on to the storytellers, but wasn't totally true.

So I recall hearing somewhere...

The Parasitic Sub-Society of The Elites (5, Insightful)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564331)

Many Slashdotters probably know that the reason IBM worked with Gates and no one else is because Gates's family was rich and well connected. Gates's mother was probably the one that got him in good with IBM. Gates's mother served on the board of the United Way with IBM's Chairman John Opel. What a coincidence!

This is just another example of how the elites at the top of the hieracrchy operate as some sort of parasitic sub-society, perched above us, exploiting the rest of us, feeding off of us.

You may think that my perspective is warped, paranoid, whatever. But I think it serves as a reality check and a balance to the omnipresent messages of confomuity that society and the media flood us with every day.

I was going to read the article but... (5, Funny)

Burb (620144) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564365)

my 8" floppy disk died and I had an error message "BDOS ERR ON A: BAD SECTOR". Then I mistyped the PIP command and I had the error message "BDOS ERR ON A: BAD SECTOR"...

So Basically (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564369)

It wasn't just Gates/MicroSoft. Any number of players could have gone on to form a monopoly in the PC OS market, and we'd still be suffering consequences.

So is computer software industry naturally monopoly friendly?

Just saying .... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10564409)

Sounds like Gates and IBM Kildall his hopes and dreams ...

I dont think so. (2, Insightful)

baadfood (690464) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564411)

Kildall was too shortsighted to have succeeded. Gates, for all that we slashdotters love to hate him now, was wise enough to see that there was more benefit to demanding a very low roylaty per copy.

Kildall was too engrossed with making immediate profit to, even if he had got in the door first, have prospered for long.

Biased source (1)

millwall (622730) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564471)

Still, Evans' book falls short of clarifying exactly how Kildall lost out to Gates. He relies primarily on Kildall's memoir, his family, and his friends.

They must have struggled to find the most biased source there was.

"Marketing superiority"? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564473)

You mean, they very cleverly hid the defects in their products and touted the crap out of any possible benefit one would gain...
So they encouraged you to see value that wasn't necessarily there...
isn't that a form of fraud?
I know it's not, but it ought to be. Of course, ads would be a lot less interesting if they had to be truthful the whole time (i.e. showing consequences of drinking vodka instead of just how some people feel for the first 15 minutes after drinking a shot)

So, Kildall == SCO of microsoft world? (2, Funny)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564491)

Kildall is requesting $699 per cpu of the operating system he invented. :)

The book is a good read for nerds (4, Interesting)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 8 years ago | (#10564493)

It has brief bios of many of my heroes [Edison was a nerd, right?] with interesting insights into how they wrestled their ideas into realities, who they fought, what they did differently from contemporaries.
In my 30 years of programming, many of them at startups, I know of nothing to compare to the myriad drained lives, burnt hopes and stolen thunder that bob and sink in the wake of Mr. Gates. Larry Ellison may be a runner up to Gates in this grim category but that is usually how those two fare in their competition. For every millionaire Gates made, there was a company out there that had a good idea and smart people who still couldn't grow in the shade of Microsoft. To name names would rub salt in the wounds of some good friends...lets just say having a great idea and a willingness to work hard are not enough to insure success. The lucky ones were assimilated.
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