Second part of conversations with Tom Rolander now up

In the second part of Tom Rolander’s conversations with us about early computer industry history we head to a restaurant in Pacific Grove (near Monterey, CA) and hear more stories about industry history. Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of Activewords, gets involved too along with Mrinal Desai, VP of Sales and business development at Crossloop, Tom’s new company.

Tom was Gary Kildall’s best friend and flying partner and had a front-row seat during the early part of the personal computer industry (Kildall was the inventor of CPM which was the operating system that IBM was interested in for its then new PC).

Tomorrow the third and final part of our conversations will be up. There we’ll take a walk around historic buildings of Pacific Grove (just a few miles from Monterey Bay Aquarium) and he’ll tell us more stories of now-defunct Digital Research.

We also just uploaded the video of CrossLoop which is a free product that lets you help other people out with their computer problems. This is Tom’s new company.

Comments

  1. A bunch of your feeds were re-published in Google Reader. Any idea why?

    BTW, watching the second part now…

  2. A bunch of your feeds were re-published in Google Reader. Any idea why?

    BTW, watching the second part now…

  3. Did you get the chance to find out the true story of Gary Kildall and the lost opportunity with IBM that led to Bill Gates seizing the moment.

    This will rank as one of the greatest mysteries on the computer era. Sort of like being the Pete Best of the rock era.

    Was he ever bitter about ‘what would have become’

    How strange that he died the way he died.

    Wonder what he would have accomplished during the last quarter century???

  4. Did you get the chance to find out the true story of Gary Kildall and the lost opportunity with IBM that led to Bill Gates seizing the moment.

    This will rank as one of the greatest mysteries on the computer era. Sort of like being the Pete Best of the rock era.

    Was he ever bitter about ‘what would have become’

    How strange that he died the way he died.

    Wonder what he would have accomplished during the last quarter century???

  5. “Did you get the chance to find out the true story of Gary Kildall and the lost opportunity with IBM that led to Bill Gates seizing the moment.”

    It was in the first video he posted, when they went to Tom’s offices.

    I can’t believe they laughed off IBM’s ability to buy a viable PC OS solution. IBM was so big at the time. They must have thought they were *really* the shiznit?

    Today if any company has anything like that it gets cloned in china 24 hours later, literally.

  6. “Did you get the chance to find out the true story of Gary Kildall and the lost opportunity with IBM that led to Bill Gates seizing the moment.”

    It was in the first video he posted, when they went to Tom’s offices.

    I can’t believe they laughed off IBM’s ability to buy a viable PC OS solution. IBM was so big at the time. They must have thought they were *really* the shiznit?

    Today if any company has anything like that it gets cloned in china 24 hours later, literally.

  7. That first video really left alot to be desired. It certainly was great to get a first hand account of this mystery, especially since the Wife is no longer able to remember.

    But, we must get some feedback from IBM to be fair. There must be some people still alive after 25 years wh o participated in the original talks.

    Why was there such a difference in pricing of the two OS’s?

    Why did IBM approach Bill Gates after the impasse with Kildall, and what transpired.

    We have to get both sides while people are still alive to discuss it!!

    This is a very important part of history

    http://digg.com/microsoft/VIDEO_Bill_Gates_Gary_Kildall_Mystery_Finally_Solved_after_25_Years

  8. That first video really left alot to be desired. It certainly was great to get a first hand account of this mystery, especially since the Wife is no longer able to remember.

    But, we must get some feedback from IBM to be fair. There must be some people still alive after 25 years wh o participated in the original talks.

    Why was there such a difference in pricing of the two OS’s?

    Why did IBM approach Bill Gates after the impasse with Kildall, and what transpired.

    We have to get both sides while people are still alive to discuss it!!

    This is a very important part of history

    http://digg.com/microsoft/VIDEO_Bill_Gates_Gary_Kildall_Mystery_Finally_Solved_after_25_Years

  9. “But, we must get some feedback from IBM to be fair. There must be some people still alive after 25 years wh o participated in the original talks.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Triumph-Nerds-Robert-X-Cringely/dp/B00006FXQO/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-7863807-7098209?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1186754427&sr=8-1

    Old Bob X Cringley has already been there …and done that.
    He was doing this stuff while Robert was still playing Smithers to Mr Burns, err, Bill Gates (eeeeeeeeeeeexxxxellent!)

  10. “But, we must get some feedback from IBM to be fair. There must be some people still alive after 25 years wh o participated in the original talks.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Triumph-Nerds-Robert-X-Cringely/dp/B00006FXQO/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-7863807-7098209?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1186754427&sr=8-1

    Old Bob X Cringley has already been there …and done that.
    He was doing this stuff while Robert was still playing Smithers to Mr Burns, err, Bill Gates (eeeeeeeeeeeexxxxellent!)

  11. @search engines

    There’s part of the Cringley DVD on the matter. I don’t think the part with the IBM guys is in that short clip though and I don’t have sound on this machine to tell. I’ll upload that part off the DVD when I get home tonight and post a youtube link so you can see it.

  12. @search engines

    There’s part of the Cringley DVD on the matter. I don’t think the part with the IBM guys is in that short clip though and I don’t have sound on this machine to tell. I’ll upload that part off the DVD when I get home tonight and post a youtube link so you can see it.

  13. That video does add some important info to the scenario – but what is still lacking is why the large price difference.

    That may have been the deciding factor among consumers.

    It would really be great to get a video interview from some of the IBM negotiators.

    But there is a lesson in all of this….do not wait months and months for someone to call you back.

    One simple ‘what’s up’ phone call to IBM would have changed to course of history.

    It is interesting that one of the negotiating impasse was the name change of the OS!!!!!!

    Of course they also gave up their rights to sue IBM so that may have also been a history changing event.

  14. That video does add some important info to the scenario – but what is still lacking is why the large price difference.

    That may have been the deciding factor among consumers.

    It would really be great to get a video interview from some of the IBM negotiators.

    But there is a lesson in all of this….do not wait months and months for someone to call you back.

    One simple ‘what’s up’ phone call to IBM would have changed to course of history.

    It is interesting that one of the negotiating impasse was the name change of the OS!!!!!!

    Of course they also gave up their rights to sue IBM so that may have also been a history changing event.

  15. “It would really be great to get a video interview from some of the IBM negotiators.”

    I was out late last night going to see the simpsons movie. I had been in Germany all last week, so I didn’t get to see it.
    Spider pig, spider pig….

    at any rate, I am going to get the DVD now to start ripping it. Youtube encoding usually takes a couple hours, so check back at noon for a link.

  16. “It would really be great to get a video interview from some of the IBM negotiators.”

    I was out late last night going to see the simpsons movie. I had been in Germany all last week, so I didn’t get to see it.
    Spider pig, spider pig….

    at any rate, I am going to get the DVD now to start ripping it. Youtube encoding usually takes a couple hours, so check back at noon for a link.

  17. I ripped it, and I’m currently splicing it with kino the free software movie editor before I put it on youtube. I want to say though that if you like this you should buy the dvd, or at least donate some money to PBS or Bob Cringley. This clip is only 5 minutes long and is for educational purposes, so I think it will be ok.

  18. I ripped it, and I’m currently splicing it with kino the free software movie editor before I put it on youtube. I want to say though that if you like this you should buy the dvd, or at least donate some money to PBS or Bob Cringley. This clip is only 5 minutes long and is for educational purposes, so I think it will be ok.

  19. Hasn’t this story been told like a gazillion times? Not much new insight in this interview, really.

  20. Hasn’t this story been told like a gazillion times? Not much new insight in this interview, really.

  21. @searchengines
    There you are:

    Youtube has a 10 minute limit so I tried to fit as much as I could.

    LayZ, the story has been told a lot, but not from Tom’s perspective. I can’t say it’s the most interesting perspective as he admits to walking in and immediately going to use a terminal instead of implicating himself in the initial ongoings and conversations.

  22. @searchengines
    There you are:

    Youtube has a 10 minute limit so I tried to fit as much as I could.

    LayZ, the story has been told a lot, but not from Tom’s perspective. I can’t say it’s the most interesting perspective as he admits to walking in and immediately going to use a terminal instead of implicating himself in the initial ongoings and conversations.

  23. BTW, the person in the hot tub at the start of the video:

    Claims that Gary smoked weed. I’m not going to venture to say he was high when he dared to dick around IBM, but one can wonder.

    I know I would never, ever, ever do that. Even after a few brews. It wouldn’t be enough to drive the sobriety of IBM out of me.

  24. BTW, the person in the hot tub at the start of the video:

    Claims that Gary smoked weed. I’m not going to venture to say he was high when he dared to dick around IBM, but one can wonder.

    I know I would never, ever, ever do that. Even after a few brews. It wouldn’t be enough to drive the sobriety of IBM out of me.

  25. http://www.crossloop.com/VNC.html

    Regardinging crossloop. When you scroll to the bottom of that page, you see a very long explanation of the separation of crossloop, the wrapper front end, and tightVNC, the GPL licensed FOSS software the crossloop masks.

    When I went to the FSF annual meeting this march, we discussed GPL license infractions at length. You do not need to forwardly challenge or make long winded explanations of GPL use as long as you are in compliance. If you are not, there is a long process and the FSF will contact you.

    Alternatively crossloop could hire a company such as ours to simply write a remote X server tool from scratch, and compile it in as .so and .dll api directly. That would make it 100% proprietary and make it more attractive to investors and customers.

    If you sell yourself as open source, then fine; as closed source then fine: but a mixture of the 2 with a winding “arms length” explanation could be a little scary and confusing as a business proposition. This is of course only my humble opinion.

    It would be like Windows releasing windows-linux, where Windows GUI like user32 would be controlling API over the Linux kernel. Entirely possible, but the GPL supporters would be all over it if it was sold off the shelf or presented as a commercial product.

  26. http://www.crossloop.com/VNC.html

    Regardinging crossloop. When you scroll to the bottom of that page, you see a very long explanation of the separation of crossloop, the wrapper front end, and tightVNC, the GPL licensed FOSS software the crossloop masks.

    When I went to the FSF annual meeting this march, we discussed GPL license infractions at length. You do not need to forwardly challenge or make long winded explanations of GPL use as long as you are in compliance. If you are not, there is a long process and the FSF will contact you.

    Alternatively crossloop could hire a company such as ours to simply write a remote X server tool from scratch, and compile it in as .so and .dll api directly. That would make it 100% proprietary and make it more attractive to investors and customers.

    If you sell yourself as open source, then fine; as closed source then fine: but a mixture of the 2 with a winding “arms length” explanation could be a little scary and confusing as a business proposition. This is of course only my humble opinion.

    It would be like Windows releasing windows-linux, where Windows GUI like user32 would be controlling API over the Linux kernel. Entirely possible, but the GPL supporters would be all over it if it was sold off the shelf or presented as a commercial product.

  27. by user32, I mean like gdi+, and the other dlls over glibc and the Linux kernel, and release that as an ‘arm’s length’ seperate download site product. It would be mud.

  28. by user32, I mean like gdi+, and the other dlls over glibc and the Linux kernel, and release that as an ‘arm’s length’ seperate download site product. It would be mud.

  29. @15 “LayZ, the story has been told a lot, but not from Tom’s perspective”

    I’m not sure that’s accurate. I’m pretty sure I recall seeing him interviewed on some PBS show about 10 or 12 years ago when they did a story on Kildall. I can’t imagine Scoble being the first one to ever get Tom’s perspective on the story given that Tom was the first DRI employee. My point is, I didn’t see any new perspective on this story in this interview. Yea, they went flying on the day IBM came to town. But, they did not miss meeting with them. If I recall, the loss really came down to what DRI wanted to charge for CPM vs what MS wanted to charge for DOS. MS was willing to go much cheaper.

  30. @15 “LayZ, the story has been told a lot, but not from Tom’s perspective”

    I’m not sure that’s accurate. I’m pretty sure I recall seeing him interviewed on some PBS show about 10 or 12 years ago when they did a story on Kildall. I can’t imagine Scoble being the first one to ever get Tom’s perspective on the story given that Tom was the first DRI employee. My point is, I didn’t see any new perspective on this story in this interview. Yea, they went flying on the day IBM came to town. But, they did not miss meeting with them. If I recall, the loss really came down to what DRI wanted to charge for CPM vs what MS wanted to charge for DOS. MS was willing to go much cheaper.

  31. “I’m not sure that’s accurate. I’m pretty sure I recall seeing him interviewed on some PBS show about 10 or 12 years ago when they did a story on Kildall.”

    I’m a regular PBS watcher, especially the nova series, ect…
    The only other special besides Cringley’s I saw was the A&E one.

    So which one are you referring to?

    I wish Scoble would have asked Tom if Kildall was high on pot when he arrived after his wife barfed on the IBM NDA.
    I heard some people fly high. Pun.

    That would have been a “hard” question worthy of 20/20 and Barbara Walters note worthyness. Not being condescending, I’m seriously curious. Carl Sagan also smoked dope and it apparently helped him form some of his best opinions. Unfortunately it can just as easily work the other way.

  32. “I’m not sure that’s accurate. I’m pretty sure I recall seeing him interviewed on some PBS show about 10 or 12 years ago when they did a story on Kildall.”

    I’m a regular PBS watcher, especially the nova series, ect…
    The only other special besides Cringley’s I saw was the A&E one.

    So which one are you referring to?

    I wish Scoble would have asked Tom if Kildall was high on pot when he arrived after his wife barfed on the IBM NDA.
    I heard some people fly high. Pun.

    That would have been a “hard” question worthy of 20/20 and Barbara Walters note worthyness. Not being condescending, I’m seriously curious. Carl Sagan also smoked dope and it apparently helped him form some of his best opinions. Unfortunately it can just as easily work the other way.

  33. Robert, please hire a good video editor who can balance the audio. It is painful to keep having to turn the volume up to hear people and turn it down on other people, or when you laugh loudly. Come on, this is not rocket science man!

  34. Robert, please hire a good video editor who can balance the audio. It is painful to keep having to turn the volume up to hear people and turn it down on other people, or when you laugh loudly. Come on, this is not rocket science man!

  35. http://facebooksecrets.blogspot.com/

    Hot scoop for Scoble Facebook temporarily removed their .PHP handler in /etc/httpd/conf.d/php.conf or in httpd.conf and their source code was fed out to some guy’s browser instead of the html. Who knows how many files he actually got.

    It would be cool to follow up on.

    The code architecture looks extremely sloppy too.

  36. http://facebooksecrets.blogspot.com/

    Hot scoop for Scoble Facebook temporarily removed their .PHP handler in /etc/httpd/conf.d/php.conf or in httpd.conf and their source code was fed out to some guy’s browser instead of the html. Who knows how many files he actually got.

    It would be cool to follow up on.

    The code architecture looks extremely sloppy too.

  37. @20 Again, not sure if it was PBS or not. I seem to remember a weekly show that Kildall was on in the late 80′s, early 90′s that was about the computer industry. I think it was called “Computer Chronicles”. I’m pretty sure they did a tribute to him after he died wherein Tom was interviewed. Again, I find it pretty hard to believe Scoble would be the first one to get Tom’s perspective on the topic after all these years.

  38. @20 Again, not sure if it was PBS or not. I seem to remember a weekly show that Kildall was on in the late 80′s, early 90′s that was about the computer industry. I think it was called “Computer Chronicles”. I’m pretty sure they did a tribute to him after he died wherein Tom was interviewed. Again, I find it pretty hard to believe Scoble would be the first one to get Tom’s perspective on the topic after all these years.