The Legacy of Gary Kildall: The IEEE Milestone Plaque Dedication April 25, 2014
In 1974, Gary Kildall, an instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey and a consultant to Intel, developed CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers), the first portable disk operating system for microcomputers, in his tool shed office in Pacific Grove. Together with his wife Dorothy McEwen, Kildall founded Digital Research, Inc. in Pacific Grove, California in 1976 to promote the software that, together with the microprocessor and the disk drive, would provide one of the three fundamental building blocks of the personal computer revolution. By the early 1980s DRI employed several hundred people and reported that “More than a million people are now using CP/M controlled systems.” The stories of DRI’s demise in the face of competition from Microsoft and IBM and of Kildall’s tragic death in 1991 continue to fuel myths and conspiracy theories to this day.
This video records a session recorded in Pacific Grove City Hall and the unveiling of a plaque outside the former DRI headquarters at 801 Lighthouse Avenue on April 25, 2014 installed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering to commemorate the first working prototype of CP/M. The IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing program honors important events in electrical engineering and computing. Achievements such Thomas Edison’s electric light bulb, Marconi’s wireless communications, and Bell Labs first transistor are recognized with a plaque in an appropriate location.
The program includes comments by Howard Michel, IEEE President-Elect, a conversation with former DRI vice presidents Gordon Eubanks and Tom Rolander moderated by Computer History Museum Semiconductor Curator David Laws, and reminiscences by former National Semiconductor CEO Brian Halla and software consultant John Wharton recalling their roles as Intel engineering liaison to DRI. Brian Berg, a member of the IEEE Santa Clara Valley History Committee and the Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop Organizing Committee, one of the sponsors of the event introduces the speakers, including Gary Kildall’s son, Scott.
More information on the IEEE Milestone is posted at:
Background on Gary Kildall and CP/M is at:
Catalog Number: 102746908
Lot Number: X7170.2014