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MS-DOS Paternity Dispute Goes to Court

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the dos-padres dept.

Operating Systems 483

theodp writes "Might be more interesting as a Who's-My-Baby's-Daddy? segment on Maury, but a Court has been asked to decide the parentage of MS-DOS. Tim Paterson, whose operating system 86-DOS (aka QDOS) was sold to Microsoft in 1980, is suing author Harold Evans and Time Warner for defamation. In his book They Made America, Evans devoted a chapter to the late, great Gary Kildall, founder of Digital Research, describing Paterson's software as a 'rip-off' and 'a slapdash clone' of Kildall's CP/M."

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483 comments

Confused (5, Funny)

k96822 (838564) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839700)

I'm... I'm confused... somebody wants to admit they created MS-DOS?

Re:Confused (5, Funny)

osewa77 (603622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839724)

I'm... I'm confused... somebody wants to admit they created MS-DOS?
This is called Masochism [wikipedia.org] :-P

All those rivers in Egypt! (4, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839754)

It's less confusing if you remember that Patterson still thinks his lame little effort is as good an OS as CP/M. What boggles the mind is that nobody has managed to disabuse him of this notion. I guess the dude has a lot of self-esteem tied up in this little illusion!

Re:All those rivers in Egypt! (1)

ni5mo (590178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840065)

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."

- Jonathan Swift

You always love your first born more (4, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839769)

... OK, Bill isn't the biological father, but he's still damn proud.

Re:You always love your first born more (2, Funny)

k96822 (838564) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839810)

I just can't figure out why he kidnapped a severely mentally handicapped child. MS-DOS is the best case for abortion I can think of. Nothing that bad should live. Certainly, it shouldn't breed!

Re:Confused (2, Funny)

shrewd (830067) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839814)

hey, i dont know about you but back in my day i used to prefer MS-DOS (to win32 at least) it was stable, ran games and apps faster and damn it, im a fan of the grey text....

It was actually a good OS, all things considered (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840004)

It was, just what it claimed to be a disk operating system. It was very simple, very low impact. This was good, given the power of computers of the time. More powerful OSes actually took a noticable amount of system time. DOS took essentially none, since it didn't do anything but basic disk and memory services.

The problem, of course, is the same problem we always face: it stuck around for too long. Systems advanced and it became trivial to run a more powerful OS, and thus highly desirable, but DOS stuck around since so many things were DOS based.

However don't think that it's simplicity made it bad, that was actually one of the attractive things about it. An 8086 system is really, really slow and had very little memory. It was desireable to have all the power and memory possible available to the application. You wouldn't want to try somthing like a modern Linux kernel on it. Even if you could hack it to work, it would use up all the system resources just doing it's thing, leaving nothing left for software.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11840047)

I'm... I'm confused... somebody wants to admit they created MS-DOS?

From the fine article:

Paterson claims that Evans falsely accused Kildall of being the "inventor" of DOS
It sounds as though if he were alive, it's Kildall who would have a better defamation case against Evans.

MacKiDo (4, Funny)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839706)

describing Paterson's software as a 'rip-off' and 'a slapdash clone' of Kildall's CP/M.

Meanwhile, Bill is organizing an army of lawyers, and suddenly "Oh wait, they aren't talking about me!".

http://www.mackido.com/History/History_DrDos.htm l

Re:MacKiDo (2, Funny)

kryogen1x (838672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839737)

Meanwhile, Bill is organizing an army of lawyers...

Hey, he might organize an army of knights now.

Re:MacKiDo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839992)

David K Every is not the best person to use as reference for anything MS related

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Don't you know your homiespeak? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839709)

It's baby daddy. Homies don't use plural.

Re:Don't you know your homiespeak? (1)

Staos (700036) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839763)

Don't you mean possesive?

"Baby's" isn't plural (0, Offtopic)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839787)

but I woundn't expect a homie fan to get that right either.

Re:"Baby's" isn't plural (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839809)

tru dat.

Re:"Baby's" isn't plural (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839866)

Um, it's not meant to be plural. It's talking about who 'pwns' the daddy, and in this case it's the baby's daddy. Nothing to do with plurals.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839711)

frist post!

plasma tv omg hax zeropaid.com

Sweet. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839713)

There is nothing funnier that two geeks in a slap fight.

Re:Sweet. (1)

hobbesx (259250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839828)

There is nothing funnier than two geeks in a slap fight.

Not even three geeks?

Re:Sweet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839853)

Especially Kip vs Napoleon

microsoft ? (1)

L1nux_L0ser83 (860647) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839715)

i wonder if bill gates will admit he ripped off whoever wrote ms-dos for millions?

Re:microsoft ? (3, Insightful)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839752)

If it comes out that this guy didn't have the right to sell Dos to them, then all Microsoft's subsequent OS's could see some additional legal issues coming up.

Re:microsoft ? (3, Informative)

Sancho (17056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839805)

The case has nothing to do with whether he had the right to sell Dos to Microsoft. It's only about defamation and failing to give credit in a published work.

Re:microsoft ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839806)

not true.
windows XP is dos independent. and writing a console interpreter that functions just like DOS can be done by any kid nowdays.

all it is is an interupt handler nowdays. and the interupts are passed on to windows after translation.

Re:microsoft ? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840149)

writing a console interpreter that functions just like DOS can be done by any kid nowdays.

However, wouldn't at least some DOS code (if not from QDOS/MS-DOS, then from DR-DOS or FreeDOS) be needed to provide the INT 21h API used by MZ-programs?

I'd be suing... (3, Funny)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839721)

I'd be suing over the title of the book -- correct me if I'm wrong, but Microsoft didn't build america. In fact, I'm pretty sure America was already quite well established by 1980, seeing as how they it was a global superpower at the time.

Re:I'd be suing... (3, Funny)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839744)

"Microsoft didn't build america"

Microsoft bilked America.

RTF film description (4, Insightful)

punkass (70637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839837)

The book / film is about American inventors / innovators / corporate moguls for the last 200 years. Microsoft is in there because, like it or not, their OS has been the predominate one over the last 20 years. The book also discuss things like the steam engine and modern banking. Stop being an ass and find something useful to complain about, like how the book claim this guy's work underlies "every computer application today".

Re:RTF film description (0, Flamebait)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839907)

You shouldn't let peoples' attempts at levity bother you so much. You'll live longer, "punkass".

Re:I'd be suing... (1)

hobbesx (259250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839849)

The didn't quote the subtile of the book: "Their Corporate Whores"

Re:I'd be suing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839904)

I'd be suing over the title of the book -- correct me if I'm wrong, but Microsoft didn't build america.

The way I read the title, "They Made America", is short for "They Made America What It Is Today", not "They Made America a Superpower".

Who Cares? (1, Insightful)

gimpynerd (864361) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839728)

Who really cares who made DOS? Is anyone still making money off of it? I don't think it is for bragging rights...

Re:Who Cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839764)

Is anyone still making money off of it?

anyone who sells windows console programs

Re:Who Cares? (1)

gimpynerd (864361) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839775)

And I am sure that that is 99.9% of Microsoft's revenue.

Re:Who Cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839796)

Windows NT console doesn't hit DOS.

Re:Who Cares? (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839839)

I use DR-DOS every time I use Ghost. I assume some gets paid for this.

Re:Who Cares? (2, Informative)

Maxim Kovalenko (764126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839850)

Many embedded controllers within CNC machining centers are ran off of versions of DOS due to it's stability and low memory footprint. I end up using DOS (DRDOS and MSDOS) every day.

Re:Who Cares? (1)

gimpynerd (864361) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839861)

I use it plenty when coding but that is not true DOS. The windows command prompt that comes standard with XP is only a stipped down version of DOS with limited functionality.

Re:Who Cares? (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840067)

And I believe XP actively tries to stop you booting into DOS using any diskette known to mankind... except the DOS 6 installer set :D

Re:Who Cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839921)

Actually yes, yes it is about bragging rights...

QDOS was as CP/M compatible as possible (5, Informative)

Husgaard (858362) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839731)

The way I originally was told the story, QDOS got this name because it was meant as a quick-n-dirty OS for the 8086 until a real OS came up.

It's main purpose was to be as compatible as possible to CP/M to faciliate fast porting of CP/M applications to QDOS.

Re:QDOS was as CP/M compatible as possible (4, Interesting)

javaxman (705658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839844)

It's main purpose was to be as compatible as possible to CP/M to faciliate fast porting of CP/M applications to QDOS.

Right, but the guy has a point that it was in many, many ways completely unlike CP/M

... in that CP/M had many more features and was, well, just all-around better... ;-) in that way they were completely different.

All kidding aside, QDOS was meant to be simple and 'quick' disk-based OS. Nobody ( OK, few people outside the p0rn industry ) wants to call their own software 'dirty'. That sounds like a story...

Re:QDOS was as CP/M compatible as possible (1)

RAS 230 (708845) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839932)

One thing I'd read somewhere was that he had written QDOS while reading over a CP/M manual to see what commands to add, what syntax to use etc. I dont see a problem with that. even early versions of MS-DOS didn't exactly feature a robust set of commands. pretty much the same sort of things you'd need for any OS at the time. something to copy files, rename files, list files, format disks etc. as long as the code itself was patersons, I can't see giving gary credit for the QDOS.

Re:DOS evolution (1)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839978)

I think its as likely that compatibility with CP/M was MicroSoft's (and maybe IBM's) intention only after it had been aquired. Early CP/Ms was hardly even an "operating system" in the modern sense, more of a software "monitor." Its hard for me to imagine much variation between any such simple systems. I also beleive QDOS was designed for 8088, while MS rewrote it for the 16-bit 8086. But then again my memory isn't what it used to be.

Re:DOS evolution (2, Informative)

blamanj (253811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840131)

MS rewrote it.

Nope. The 8088 and 8086 were identical from a software point of view. Only difference was the pinout. The 8088 fetched 16 bits as two 8-bit reads, the 8086 read a 16-bit word.

Re:DOS evolution (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840146)

The 8086 was compatible with the 8088 -- there was no reason to rewrite QDOS for the 8088 to run on the 8086. Just like there is no need to rewrite code for the 386sx (16 bit data bus) to run on the 386dx (32 bit data bus.) BTW the 8086 came out first. The 8088 had 16 bit registers even though it had an 8-bit data bus leading some at the time to argue that the 8088 was also 16-bit. Having an 8-bit data bus made it easier to manufactor motherboards in what was at the time an 8-bit world.

Re:QDOS was as CP/M compatible as possible (1)

plus10db (765395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840015)

If you look at the structure of MSDOS 1.0 and CP/M 2.0 they're so similar it's as if (using the names of the available tools): sourcer cpm.bin > source.a80 resolve data usage, variables & strings cnvrt86 source.a80 > ripoff.a86 resolve register usage, BX msdos.obj link86 msdos.obj > msdos.bin ... viola! a great way to get compatibility if ever there was one.

MSDOS was as CP/M compatible as possible! (0)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840129)

Thank you for pertinent details! I'd like to point out though that the lawsuit is about Tim Paterson's QDOS, not MSDOS. Its possible that Paterson just did some legitimate reverse engineering of CP/M commands, while MS ripped off more of the internals. I'd like to add that CP/M was originally made for the Z80, while IBM insisted its PCs have the 16bit x86 architecture (youngsters might be confused about a80 vs a86 extensions)

Re:QDOS was as CP/M compatible as possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11840147)

Some have alleged that it was originally built from CP/M version 1.3 sources. SCP (and MS) were OEM vendors of CP/M for their Zebra range of Z80 machines and so would have had all the tools that DRI released for building CP/M systems and would have written their own BIOS and derived system tools such as disk formatting from the DRI examples.

Tools for decompiling the BDOS were readily available and these produce annotated listings. This avoided copyright issues because the decompiler did not include the actual code just the annotations and knew where to add them.

The Intel 8080 -> 8086 assembler converter was also available and could quickly and dirtily convert an annotated BDOS listing into 8086 code which wouldn't take much to get it working.

It has been alleged that the original BDOS used CP/M media as a machine had to built using CP/M 80, the 8086 code loaded onto the disk, then the CPU swapped and the system rebooted (or the disk moved to another machine). SCP did claim to have written an 'unlimited' file system for SCP-DOS but this never appeared, MS supplied their existing FAT system that had been written by Marc (somebody) for MS's Stand-Alone BASIC in 1977.

It has been alledged that PC-DOS 1.0 could be made to display a DRI copyright. If this is true it is more likely that it was in a utility, such as disk formatting, rather than from the BDOS. It is also alleged that PC-DOS 1.0 exhibited an obscure bug from CP/M 1.3 (fixed in 1.4) that was relasted to closing an FCB.

At the time that IBM-PC was to be released Gary was preparing a case against SCP, MS and IBM. On being shown the DRI copyright in PC-DOS 1.0 IBM agreed to settle. This include DRI being paid an undisclosed sum, IBM rewiting PC-DOS to eliminate DRI code resulting in PC-DOS 1.1 and this being passed back to MS as MS-DOS 1.25, DRI having the right to clone PC-DOS (which is why they were never sued over DR-DOS), and IBM selling CP/M-86 alongside PC-DOS.

On the last item IBM only ever sold CP/M-86 1.0 and for $250 or so vs. $60 or $70 for PC-DOS. They refused to lower the price when DRI requested, nor to update to later versions. DRI had to release their own versions at a competitive price.

Re:QDOS was as CP/M compatible as possible (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11840160)

Back in 1989 I interviewed Tim in order to include an accurate history of MS-DOS in a book I was revising for Que Publishing. He told me the API structure was made exactly the same as that of CP/M, in order to make it easier to port existing application programs to the 8086 platform. The actual name of the system was Seattle DOS; the QDOS handle was applied later by detractors. The purpose of the o/s was to boost sales of Seattle Computer's 8086 S100 card.

One thing I found fascinating was that the "reserved" API codes in Seattle DOS were reserved because in CP/M those codes invoked features that did not exist in the new system.

The whole story and chronology appears in "DOS Programmer's Reference, 2nd Edition" if you can locate a copy in some museum...

But... (3, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839745)

In his book They Made America, Evans devoted a chapter to the late, great Gary Kildall, founder of Digital Research, describing Paterson's software as a 'rip-off' and 'a slapdash clone' of Kildall's CP/M.

...I thought it wasn't defamation if it was true.

Re:But... (1)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839784)

By your logic, I guess Linux is a rip off and a slapdash clone of Minix. Does this mean that if anyone makes that assertion, that Professor Tannenbaum is going to sue for defamation?

Re:But... (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839859)

Er no, by my logic Linus would sue, because (Linux : Minix :: QDOS : CP/M) in this case. He might have a case, except I think most people would laugh in the face of whoever made that assertion, so there's not really any defamation.

Re:But... (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839800)

Anything that injures a person's reputation can be defamatory. If a comment brings a person into contempt, disrepute or ridicule, it is likely to be defamatory. You can tell an interviewer that your former boss was an overbearing meglomanic, and have an official document to prove it, and it would still be slander. In this case everyone knows that QDOS was just a quick and dirty clone of CP/M, so it isn't defamatory to write it in a book. Any damage that could be done to Paterson's reputation was done a long long time ago.

Re:But... (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839872)

You can tell an interviewer that your former boss was an overbearing meglomanic, and have an official document to prove it, and it would still be slander.

IANAL, but I'm almost entirely certain that it's only slander if you can prove that it was untrue, said with malice, and there were actual damages as a result.

Re:But... (2, Informative)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839897)

You're both right, in a way. GP's description is essentially accurate and once you've done that you've defamed someone. Truth is, however, a complete affirmative defense. It's much like how fair use was in the copyright sense before 1976. You'd say "sure, I did it, but you can't hold me responsible" because of this defense.

Re:But... (0)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839929)

It doesn't matter if it is true. If I kicked my granny out of her home so I could sell it to get money to fund a business venture and you find out about it, it's defamation if you go tell my business partners what I did. You are making them aware of something they otherwise would not be which destroys my reputation and causes me damage. I have a right to sue you for that damage. It really does boil down to this: defamation is a fancy word for "mud slinging". Mud slinging is something people can sue you for.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839961)

Nope, wrong. You cannot defame someone with the truth. Now, what you can do is spend much money on hot-shot lawyers to define what the truth is... (US law here, YMMV in other fiefdoms)

Re:But... (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840009)

Yep, I guess you're right [publishlawyer.com] . Alas, two pointless posts.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839880)

You can tell an interviewer that your former boss was an overbearing meglomanic, and have an official document to prove it, and it would still be slander.

The is the first time I've heard anyone say that slander [answers.com] can be true.

Re:But... (2, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839842)

It was Gary Kildall's claim that QDOS was ripped off from CPM internals - not written as Tim Patterson claims from the ground up.

Marge, change the channel (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839791)

snnnoooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

I submited this,this morning aka FUCK YOU SLASHDOT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839798)

I sumbited this sotry in the morning and was rejected. It was fucking better written then this. This news item is bullshit. The suit is over a chapter in the book not about deciding the parentage of MS-DOS. And it's not about MS-DOS either. Paterson is sick of HIM getting accused of ripping off.

AND TEH BOOK IS FUCKING CALLED 'THEY BUILT AMERICA'.

Al, not Vidal (2, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839812)

I thought Gore invented DOS!

Re:Al, not Vidal (1)

glimmy (796729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839894)

no thats the internet and the enviroment

Gore didn't make *that* quote; still talks rubbish (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839903)

I thought Gore invented DOS!

Nah; he didn't claim to have invented the internet [snopes.com] either...

Although, as I was going through that I thought "Was Gore really in politics as far back as the late 1960s"?

To which the article actually points out the answer is "no"; so Gore was still stretching things in claiming that he was responsible for fostering the environment in which the Internet was "born".

Re:Gore didn't make *that* quote; still talks rubb (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840125)

To oversimplify things a bit: Vint Cerf invented the "net" (TCP/IP), and Sen. Gore invented the "inter" (a commercialized, global network).

Re:Al, not Vidal (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11840051)

Al Gore said, "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." This is true. On the other hand, when Bush disclaimed his timber business write-off during the televised debates in 2004, that was a lie.

Your (and my) posting on the Internet today is attributable to the role Gore played in creating the Internet when he was in the U.S. Congress.

Al Gore and the Internet [firstmonday.org]

By Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf

Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.

No one person or even small group of persons exclusively "invented" the Internet. It is the result of many years of ongoing collaboration among people in government and the university community. But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.

Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." We don't think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he "invented" the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.

As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept. Our work on the Internet started in 1973 and was based on even earlier work that took place in the mid-late 1960s. But the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.

As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an "Interagency Network." Working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush's administrations, Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991. This "Gore Act" supported the National Research and Education Network (NREN) initiative that became one of the major vehicles for the spread of the Internet beyond the field of computer science.

As Vice President Gore promoted building the Internet both up and out, as well as releasing the Internet from the control of the government agencies that spawned it. He served as the major administration proponent for continued investment in advanced computing and networking and private sector initiatives such as Net Day. He was and is a strong proponent of extending access to the network to schools and libraries. Today, approximately 95% of our nation's schools are on the Internet. Gore provided much-needed political support for the speedy privatization of the Internet when the time arrived for it to become a commercially-driven operation.

There are many factors that have contributed to the Internet's rapid growth since the later 1980s, not the least of which has been political support for its privatization and continued support for research in advanced networking technology. No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.

The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.

AI Solved - Thanks to Tim Patterson (2, Funny)

Mentifex (187202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839830)


Not only did Tim Patterson, creator of Q-DOS for Seattle Computer Products, make Bill Gates a man worth fifty billion dollars, even more portentously, Tim Patterson helped out in the solution to artificial intelligence [sourceforge.net] . Back then, Mentifex here was working out the eventual solution to AI on a theoretical basis, and also attending monthly meetings of the Northwest Computer Society in Seattle WA USA - where Tim Patterson of Seattle Computer Products was an important member. One day at a meeting, the chair asked for volunteers to work on the newsletter. Mentifex was panic-stricken. He wanted to do his part, but he was so-o-o busy solving AI. The silence hung heavy over the room. Then, the all-around good-guy Tim Patterson raised his hand and volunteered to work on the newsletter. As arguably a result, Microsoft would take over the desktop, and Mentifex would solve AI.

Now, about Gary Kildall of Digital Research. In 1981, Gary Kildall published an article in Byte Magazine. Consequently Mentifex wrote to Digital Research and offered them a copy of November Magazine containing first-ever publication of the Mentifex Theory of Mind [sourceforge.net] . Gary Kildall's office manager wrote back and requested that two copies be sent. They were. Nothing happened. Gary Kildall had missed out not only on MS-DOS but also on Mentifex AI.

Multics (4, Insightful)

Mainframes ROCK! (644130) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839865)

Funny, I heard that Unix is a 'rip-off' and 'a slapdash clone' of Multics. Is that true?

Re:Multics (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839971)

Multics? I thought it was a take-off on RSTS

Re:Multics (3, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840140)

To a large degree. So is Plan9, only Unix cloned one half and Plan9 cloned the other.

Who cares? (4, Funny)

BigAlexK (398239) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839871)

I couldn't give a toss,
who made MSDOS,
All I know,
is I broke my toe,
kicking the damn computer out the (MS) Window,
when once again,
I'd rather have used a pen,
to write down all my precious source code.
Amen.

He's just mad (1)

RayDude (798709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839882)

He didn't get some of MS's money...

Or maybe he gets some satisfaction out of the fact that he helped create the largest monopoly the world has ever seen.

Sad really...

Ray

DNA Samples (3, Funny)

Snommis (861843) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839888)

I still have my original DOS floppies - I could offer them up so they can take samples for DNA analysis...

Maury: "Mr. Gates, you are NOT DOS's father!" Bill: "Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I done TOLD you it ain't my baby!"

Re:DNA Samples (2, Funny)

oftheapes (837835) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839937)

i predict it has to be either Cheif Running Water, Chef, Mephisto, the little monkey guy who follows Mephisto around, Mr. Garrison, Officer Barbrady, Ned, Mr. Brofslovski, or the 1991 Denver Broncos. but the trial will end in a cliff-hanger.

Hm... (3, Interesting)

Matilda the Hun (861460) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839889)

Does this mean we're going to have 6 other people showing up and claiming parentage too? And if someone sold MS-DOS when it wasn't theirs, how much do you think the original owner's going to get? I mean, if it was the jumping-off point of Windows, that could be a hefty lawsuit...

Speaking of which, why did it take so long to come out? Was the original programmer hiding under a rock for the past decade and a half?

Re:Hm... (2, Funny)

philkerr (180450) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839989)

I wrote MS-DOS.....

No, I Wote MS-DOS.......

No, I wrote MS-DOS, and so did my wife!

Yuck. (1)

jkujawa (56195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839891)

I mean, honestly, who would actually want to claim paternity?

*points to Bill Gates* Your kid, not mine.

Thing should have been aborted, or at least shot when pulled mewling and bloody from the womb. World'd be better off.

Re:Yuck. (3, Insightful)

Blitzenn (554788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840001)

I would. For the continued royalties you could glean off it alone. Secondly, in it's day, it was the best Operating system around for a PC, hands down. DOS brought device handling up front, to the user. It was a major step in the direction that all OS' follow now. Without that history, much of the device layer we are accustomed to today, wouldn't be there. I was a professional in the field then and it's creation opened so many doors. It was a cool time to be paid to work with the stuff.

They do have the same noses (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839909)

C>
A>

Clones (3, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839917)

I've never heard anyone claim that Paterson lifted any code from CP/M, just that he wrote a clone of CP/M, instead of designing his own operating system. It was obvious that much of the design of QDOS was done by reading the documentation for CP/M. There's nothing illegal about that. Many people did the same thing to UNIX.

QDOS was better in at least one regard (3, Insightful)

LordByronStyrofoam (587954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839920)

CP/M didn't keep track of the exact size of a file, just the number of 128-byte blocks allocated to it. This was OK for text files. You knew when you got to the end because you'd read a Ctrl-Z. But binary files could have Control-Zs in them anywhere, so all programs that read/wrote binary files had to store actual size - what should have been metadata - either as a header or in a separate file. Very un-Unix-like. But then, CP/M was a ripoff of RT-11, DEC's LSI-11 starter OS.

Re:QDOS was better in at least one regard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11840082)

Wasn't that RSTS-11????

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11839925)

Didn't Microsoft destroy a whole lot of documents related to another DOS maker after the settlement of a lawsuit? I always thought Microsoft wanted to obscure DOS' origins as much as possible.

DOS is a slut (1)

oftheapes (837835) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839927)

i predict it has to be either Cheif Running Water, Chef, Mephisto, the little monkey guy who follows Mephisto around, Mr. Garrison, Officer Barbrady, Ned, Mr. Brofslovski, or the 1991 Denver Broncos

A system call ending in a "?" in both OS? (2, Interesting)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839934)

I vaguely remember a comment where someone was asking why a certain QDOS system call ends in a question mark or other odd character, exactly like the equivalent CP/M system call which also broke the naming convention. I think it was in Robert Cringely's "Accidental Empires", which, alas, I don't have handy.

no (1)

Blitzenn (554788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11839976)

They don't. They are so similar to MS dos commands that it can easily be said that they are sister OS'. File handling, executables, directory structure, even the commands themselves are too nearly identical to be a mear coincidence.

Re:A system call ending in a "?" in both OS? (4, Informative)

jeps (700879) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840070)

Maybe you're thinking of the fact that the MS-DOS's Print String function use the dollar sign as a string terminator? Here's a lengthy but interesting discussion in comp.os.cpm about this and other historical "facts" about the origins of *DOS. A Bit of CP/M History [google.no]

- jeps

Pain and mental anguish? (2)

Garabito (720521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840002)

Paterson has endured "great pain and mental anguish" and is seeking "over $75,000" in damages, plus costs.

It looks like Paterson is trying to get economic compensation (no matter from who) for the "great pain and mental anguish" of having developed QDOS, then sell it to MS for a ridiculous sum of money and seing how they managed to create a software empire with it.

Re:Pain and mental anguish? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11840060)

Slashdot rule #2:

If you can't blame microsoft (rule #1), blame someone for trying to blame microsoft.

The guy is suing someone for defaming him. How do you make it out to be regret over a separate business transaction with a different company?

BTW, "from whom"

In other news... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11840012)

Linux (Linux Is Not UNIX) is a rip-off and a slapdash clone of UNIX...

Why does this remind me of SCO? (2, Funny)

pg110404 (836120) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840038)

mcbride - has 'rights' to code, sues IBM

paterson - has 'rights' to code, sues evans and time warner

Maybe jerry springer can do a show on frivolous lawsuits. I'd like to see the CEOs of each of the involved parties throw chairs at each other and punch each other silly.

I wonder if they'd get any brain damage. I wonder if some of them even have enough brains to get brain damage.

Then maury could do a show on CEOs that got brain damaged during a staged tv talk show.

At any event this is all (lawsuits included) about as productive as monkeys flinging feces at each other.

Lifted from CP/M (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11840052)

I have heaqrd that there are undocumented "-version" commands in QDOS utilities, wich when run say:
"Copyright Digital Research",
apparently just machine translated from the 8080 versions.

And they all ripped off DEC's RT-11 (2, Insightful)

RonBarr (655013) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840093)

So what's their point?

Couldn't this go horribly wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11840122)

In relative terms, we aren't talking about that much money ($75K). Lawyer costs are going to be that much. So this has to be a pride thing.

If they find that QDOS was a rip-off of CP/M, then couldn't Kildall's heirs sue? Instead of a $75K gain, Paterson could be looking at a multi-million dollar loss (in a subsequent court case).

Considering how close QDOS (and MS/DOS) is to CP/M, I'd have to say that this is quite a risk. If it were me, I'd say the hell with the pride issue and sit back and count the money that I had. Paterson's opinion doesn't count in court and I'd say that it's going to be pretty close to 50-50 when it's presented to a judge and/or jury.

I've programmed on both CP/M and MS/DOS (yeah... so I'm an old guy) and the BIOS calls are VERY VERY close. If I were on the jury, it would depend on how the letter of the law was presented to me during the trial as to how I would vote.

Paterson would also sue Wikipedia (2, Interesting)

ratboot (721595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840133)

Here's some extracts :

"QDOS was approximately 4,000 lines of 8086 assembly code and highly compatible with the APIs of the popular CP/M operating system"

"QDOS was developed quickly, but it lacked many features of CP/M. It was marketed as 86-DOS."

"QDOS met IBM's main criteria: It looked like CP/M, and it was easy to adapt existing 8-bit CP/M programs to run under it"

Fascinating, but Tragic (4, Insightful)

Sundroid (777083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11840144)

Let's review some interesting facts:

1) Patterson sold his QDOS to Gates for $50,000, whereas Kildall sold his company to Novell in 1991 for $120 million, according the Oct/2004 BusinessWeek article (link:http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content /04_43/b3905109_mz063.htm [businessweek.com] ).

2) In his defamation suit, Patterson is asking for $75,000, plus court costs, per the Register piece (link:http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/03/03/msdo s_paternity_dispute/ [theregister.co.uk] ).

3) The Register article includes a photo of Patterson's 86-DOS (QDOS) manual with the word, "Programmer", misspelled on the manual's cover.

There is a movie somewhere in there, but it's definitely not about ambition.
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