Gary Kildall

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Gary Arlen Kildall (May 19, 1942 – July 11, 1994) was an American computer scientist and microcomputer entrepreneur who created the CP/M operating system and founded Digital Research, Inc. (DRI). Kildall was one of the first people to see microprocessors as fully capable computers rather than equipment controllers and to organize a company around this concept.[1] He also co-hosted the PBS TV show The Computer Chronicles. Although his career in computing spanned more than two decades, he is mainly remembered in connection with IBM's unsuccessful attempt in 1980 to license CP/M for the IBM PC.


Early life

Gary Kildall was born and grew up in Seattle, Washington, where his family operated a seafaring school. His father, Joseph Kildall, was a captain of Norwegian heritage. His mother Emma was half-Swedish – Gary's grandmother was born in Långbäck in Skellefteå Municipality but emigrated to Canada at 23 years of age.[2]

Gary attended the University of Washington hoping to become a mathematics teacher, but became increasingly interested in computer technology. After receiving his degree, he fulfilled a draft obligation to the United States Navy by teaching at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.[3] Being within a few hours' drive of Silicon Valley, Kildall heard about the first commercially available microprocessor, the Intel 4004. He bought one of the processors and began writing experimental programs for it. To learn more about the processors, he worked at Intel as a consultant on his days off.

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