CP/M Creator Gary Kildall’s Memoirs Released as Free Download

Gary Kildall’s story shows how he paved a path for the start-up culture, say his children

1 min read
CP/M operating system inventor Gary Kildall and his memoir.
Randi Klett Photo: Tom Munnecke/Getty Images; Journal: The Kildall Family/Computer History Museum

The year before his death in 1994, Gary Kildall—inventor of the early microcomputer operating system CP/M—wrote a draft of a memoir, “Computer Connections: People, Places, and Events in the Evolution of the Personal Computer Industry.” He distributed copies to family and friends, but died before realizing his plans to release it as a book.

This week, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, with the permission of Kildall’s children, released the first portion of that memoir. You can download it here.

Wrote Scott and Kristin Kildall in an introductory letter: “In this excerpt, you will read how Gary and Dorothy started from modest means as a young married couple, paved a new path for start-up culture, and embraced their idea of success to become leaders in the industry. Our father embodied a definition of success that we can all learn from: one that puts inventions, ideas, and a love of life before profits as the paramount goal.”

Later chapters, they indicated, did “not reflect his true self,” but rather his struggles with alcoholism, and will remain unpublished.

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How the Graphical User Interface Was Invented

Three decades of UI research came together in the mice, windows, and icons used today

18 min read
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Stylized drawing of a desktop computer with mouse and keyboard, on the screen are windows, Icons, and menus
Getty Images/IEEE Spectrum
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Mice, windows, icons, and menus: these are the ingredients of computer interfaces designed to be easy to grasp, simplicity itself to use, and straightforward to describe. The mouse is a pointer. Windows divide up the screen. Icons symbolize application programs and data. Menus list choices of action.

But the development of today’s graphical user interface was anything but simple. It took some 30 years of effort by engineers and computer scientists in universities, government laboratories, and corporate research groups, piggybacking on each other’s work, trying new ideas, repeating each other’s mistakes.

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