Remembering Gary Kildall on what would have been his 80th birthday
Thinking about the legendary creator of microcomputer operating systems and the BIOS.
On May 19th, 1942, the late (and great) Gary Kildall was born. Making today, what would have been, his 80th birthday.
Much has been written about some of the profound accomplishments of Gary Kildall:
His creation of PL/M (the first high level programming language for micro computers)
His creation of CP/M (the first full operating system for micro computers)
His creation of the BIOS (yup, that was Gary, too)
And that’s just the start…
His impact on the computing industry is undeniable.
But, on this day, I would like to recommend reading the only known, publicly available portion of Gary’s (unpublished) memoir. His children granted a digital copy of it to the Computer History Museum and allowed them to make the first 70 or so pages available.
I highly recommend reading those pages of the memoir. Those pages are among the most authentic and valuable writings in the field of computer history.
Unfortunately Gary passed away in 1994, before the finished memoir could be published. Later, in 2014, a plaque was placed at the home in Pacific Grove, California that served as the first home of his company, Digital Research.
On a personal note…
Gary worked on the legendary television show “The Computer Chronicles” with Stewart Cheifet. That show had a deep and lasting impact on myself — and so many others.
As a kid in the 1980s, I would watch The Computer Chronicles every chance I got. I even had some episodes recorded to VHS — which I would watch repeatedly. Gary (along with Stewart) helped to inspire and foster a deep passion for all of computing.
Back in 2017, I had the honor of spending a little time with Gary’s friend, Stewart Cheifet. The topic, naturally, drifted towards Gary. I will always be thankful to Stewart for the time he shared.