Edit Proposal: Milestone-Proposal:BIRTH OF THE PC OPERATING SYSTEM 1974 You do not have permission to edit this page, for the following reason: You are not currently logged in. The action you have requested is limited to users in the group: Users. Please log in or create an account. Docket ID: (admins only) Thank you for proposing a technical achievement for possible recognition as an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing. Your efforts help preserve the heritage of technology. Detailed information on the Milestone application process may be found at: Milestone Guidelines and How to Propose a Milestone. At least one of the proposer(s) must be an IEEE Member (including Student Member) in good standing. To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? If the answer is "yes", the proposal cannot proceed further. None Yes No You must be able to answer "yes" to all of the following questions. If the answer to any of the following questions is "no", the proposal cannot proceed further. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unable to answer "yes" to all of the following and would still like to proceed. Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes No Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes No Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes No Was it of at least regional importance? Yes No Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes No Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes No Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes No Has the owner of the site given permission to place an IEEE plaque? Yes No Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred: Title of the proposed milestone. (Include date or date range in title. Example: “Alternating Current Electrification, 1886”) Please provide a plaque citation in English summarizing the achievement and its significance. Text absolutely limited by plaque dimensions to 70 words; 60 is preferable for aesthetic reasons. NOTE: The IEEE History Committee shall have final determination on the wording of the citation. Names of living persons are not normally used in citations. Exceptions to this are cases where the person's name is linked to the achievement itself (e.g. the Lempel-Ziv algorithm, Maxwell's Equations, etc.) or where the person's name is so widely recognizeable to the general public that it makes sense to use it. When used, the names should be the names of the engineers, scientists, or technologists who actually made the achievement, rather than managers or executives. For more information and suggestions about writing milestone citations, please visit Helpful Hints on Citations, Plaque Locations. Dr. Gary A. Kildall demonstrated the first working prototype of CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) in Pacific Grove in 1974. Together with his invention of the BIOS (Basic Input Output System), Kildall’s operating system allowed a microprocessor-based computer to communicate with a disk drive storage unit and provided an important foundation for the personal computer revolution. In what IEEE section(s) will the milestone plaque(s) reside? Please specify the IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone, and supply name and contact information for the senior officer from those OU(s). Sponsorship has three aspects: 1) Payment for the cost of the plaque(s), 2) Arranging the dedication ceremony, and 3) agreeing to monitor the plaque and to let IEEE History Center staff know in case the plaque needs to be moved, is no longer secure, etc. Number 3 must be done by the IEEE Section(s) in which the plaque(s) is located, but aspects 1 and 2 can be done by any IEEE Organizational Unit, and they need not be the same one. Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address. IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s) Unit: Senior Officer Name: E-mail: Unit: Senior Officer Name: E-mail: IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony Unit: Senior Officer Name: E-mail: Unit: Senior Officer Name: E-mail: IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque IEEE Section: IEEE Section Chair name: IEEE Section Chair e-mail: IEEE Section: IEEE Section Chair name: IEEE Section Chair e-mail: Milestone proposer(s) Proposer name: Proposer email: Proposer name: Proposer email: Proposer name: Proposer email: Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s). Please include coordinates in decimal format rather than degrees. What is the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s) relation to the achievement? The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque. Also, please Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). (e.g. Is it corporate buildings? Historic Site? Residential? Are there other historical markers already at the site?) Are the original buildings extant? Please provide the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. How is the intended plaque site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public? If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give details as well as the contact information visitors will need in order to arrange to visit the plaque. Who is the present owner of the site(s)? In the space below, please describe in detail: the historic significance of the achievement, its importance to the evolution of electrical and computer engineering and science, its importance to regional/national/international development, its benefits to humanity, the ways the achievement was a significant advance rather than an incremental improvement of existing technology. The material submitted here will constitute the main descriptive article on the ETHW website for readers to learn about the milestone. Space is unlimited, and detail is encouraged. Most milestones require 1000 to 1500 words of support, however there is no word limit. The article should be readable by a wide audience that includes practicing engineers, scholars of history, and the general public. Some examples of the text of good milestone articles are First Radio Astronomical Observations Using Very Long Baseline Interferometry] and G3_Facsimile International Standardization of G3 Facsimile (Do not worry about the formatting of the page, IEEE History Center Staff will do that afterwards.) What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) was the first commercial operating system to allow a microprocessor-based computer to interface to a disk drive storage unit. CP/M played an important role in stimulating the hobbyist personal computer movement of the 1970s. Its ability to support software programs on a wide variety of hardware configurations enabled early use of microcomputer systems from many different manufacturers in business and scientific applications. Microsoft DOS, as licensed to IBM for the original PC, was written to emulate the "look and feel" of CP/M. Thus CP/M was the forerunner of the operating systems that now power the majority of the world’s computers and led to the personal computing revolution. What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome? The major challenge that Kildall had to overcome in the development of CP/M was the design and debugging of the “complex electronics ... to make the diskette drive find certain locations and transfer data back and forth”. The following recollections are abstracted from pages 53 - 55 of "Computer Connections", an unpublished autobiography that he wrote and distributed to friends and family in 1994. "Memorex ... had come up with the new "floppy disk" to replace IBM punched cards. I stared at that damn diskette drive for hours on end ... trying to figure a way to make it fly. I tried to build a diskette controller … but I, being mainly hardware inept … couldn’t get my controller to work. So I built an operting (sic) system program ... I called it CP/M [but] I just couldn't figure out how to make that damn disk drive work. Out of frustration, I called my good friend from the University of Washington, John Torode. He designed a neat little microcontroller and after a few months of testing that microcontroller started to work. We loaded my CP/M program from paper tape to the diskette and "booted" CP/M from the diskette, and up came the prompt *. This may have been one of the most exciting days of my life." What features set this work apart from similar achievements? Before Kildall’s development of CP/M, computer manufacturers provided proprietary applications software that worked only on their own hardware. All programs had to be written from the ground up to operate on each unique machine configuration. CP/M was initially designed to work on the Intel 8080 microprocessor and allowed computer systems built by any manufacturer who used that chip to run applications programs written by third-party suppliers. CP/M introduced a new element of competition into the computer marketplace that stimulated rapid growth in the use of low-cost systems in business, industry and academia and eventually in the home. According to Kildall, “CP/M was an instant success. By 1980, DRI had sold millions of copies of CP/M to manufacturers and end-users.” Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. The full reference, in English, must be uploaded, not just the citation. See below section for details on uploading material to the website. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation. Kildall’s autobiography “Computer Connections” notes on page 55 that he solicited the help of John Torode in 1974. He gives no specific date but recalls that “This was in the late afternoon and … John and I retired to have a Chinese dinner in Pacific Grove”. E-mail correspondence from John, dated June 24, 2013, places the time frame as follows: “My wife and I concur that it was probably after our wedding on June 22 1974, but before we moved to Chicago (she worked for Bell Labs) in the fall”. Kildall’s own public account of the history of CP/M was published in Dr Dobbs Journal in 1980: THE EVOLUTION OF AN INDUSTRY: ONE PERSON'S VIEWPOINT, "Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics & Orthodontia", Vol.5, No.1, (January 1980) (number 41), page 6-7 [http://www.retrotechnology.com/dri/CPM_history_kildall.txt] Numerous popular accounts of the history of CP/M have been published in newspaper and magazine articles and in books, as well as online. Most of them focus on the fictitious story that DRI lost out to Microsoft on the IBM PC operating system decision because Kildall had taken the day off to go flying. Kildall refutes this story in “Computer Connections” but it is probably most eloquently recounted in Harold Evans’ book on U.S. pioneers and innovators “They Made America.” Harold Evans, “They Made America: Two Centuries of Innovators from the Steam Engine to the Search Engine” (2004) ISBN 0-316-27766-5 [http://www.sirharoldevans.com/library_madeamerica.html] Steve Ham and Jay Greene, “The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates,” Bloomberg Business Week, 24 October 2004. [http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2004-10-24/the-man-who-could-have-been-bill-gates] Online only sources CP/M and Digital Research Inc. (DRI) Web pages [http://retrotechnology.com/dri/] CP/M [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/M] Gary Kildall Special (Video) [http://archive.org/details/GaryKild] A Short History of CP/M [http://web.archive.org/web/20011011083003/http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/5711/history.html] Gordon Eubanks Oral History (Computerworld 2000) [http://www.cwhonors.org/archives/histories/Eubanks.pdf] Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC) which can be made publicly available on the IEEE History Center’s website (i.e. unencumbered by copyright, or with the copyright holder’s permission). All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. Images and photographs are especially appreciated, however, it is necessary that you list the copyright owner for these and obtain the copyright owner’s permission to reuse. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to email@example.com. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information. To add attachments, first upload the file and add by adding the text: [[Media:(filename)]] For example, if the file you uploaded was named "Milestone Reference.pdf", include the text: [[Media:Milestone Reference.pdf]] in the appropriate field. Numerous original documents, images, personal reminiscences, and videos contributed by employees are posted on the Digital Research Inc. page of the IT Corporate Histories Collection website hosted by the Computer History Museum at: http://corphist.computerhistory.org/corphist/view.php?s=show&item=documents Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s). Submit this proposal to the IEEE History Committee for review. 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