In his own words: Gary Kildall

Leonard J. Shustek:

“Our father, Gary Kildall, was one of the founders of the personal computer industry, but you probably don’t know his name. Those who have heard of him may recall the myth that he ‘missed’ the opportunity to become Bill Gates by going flying instead of meeting with IBM. Unfortunately, this tall tale paints Gary as a ‘could-have-been,’ ignores his deep contributions, and overshadows his role as an inventor of key technologies that define how computer platforms run today.

Gary viewed computers as learning tools rather than profit engines. His career choices reflect a different definition of success, where innovation means sharing ideas, letting passion drive your work and making source code available for others to build upon. His work ethic during the 1970s resembles that of the open-source community today.

With this perspective, we offer a portion of our father’s unpublished memoirs so that you can read about his experiences and reflections on the early days of the computer industry, directly in his own voice.

In this excerpt Gary writes about his vision for bringing the new microprocessors into homes and businesses. In 1974, he invented CP/M, the first operating system that could run on these new desktop platforms. Soon after, he created the BIOS, which enabled CP/M to easily interface with different computer hardware.