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DOS Creator Sues Over Book Chapter

from the oh-please dept

In a recent book, writer Harold Evans described the creation of QDOS as a “rip off” of Gary Kildall’s CP/M. Depending on who you talk to, many people would probably agree. However, Tim Paterson, the creator of QDOS is apparently so upset over this slight in describing something that happened 25 years ago that he’s suing Harold Evans and the book’s publisher. While it does suck to have your work pooh-poohed as being a mere copy, isn’t it about time to look at this in perspective. Paterson won. Whether or not QDOS was a ripoff of CP/M or some wholly wonderful and new creation, QDOS went to Microsoft and Microsoft won the battle for operating systems. Who really cares what some book says? Why does everyone immediately reach for their lawyers when someone says something they disagree with?

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Comments on “DOS Creator Sues Over Book Chapter”

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nonuser says:

brings back hazy memories

of program segment prefixes and file control blocks (which seemed rather pointless in DOS), part of the legacy of CP/M to QDOS and thence to MS-DOS and Win 3.x.

The baby faced kid fleeced Paterson, then turned around and fleeced the suits at Entry Systems Division. Maybe this is Paterson’s outlet for delayed outrage. Where’s his pot of gold?

Brian Weaver (user link) says:

DOS Creator Sues Over Book Chapter

I doubt that if someone said something that was a known falsehood that could be established by a little research about you–such as your propensity to eat small kittens and puppies,raw, treated it as the gospel truth and broadcast it via various media you would be so laid back about it all. Especially if you were a passionate cat and dog owner, and ran a business catering to such owners. But since this is about someone else’s life it’s not ok to sue?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: DOS Creator Sues Over Book Chapter

Um. First off, that’s a dreadful analogy. No one said Paterson was eating small kittens and puppies. Just that he was building off of CP/M’s ideas — which isn’t anything horrible. And it happened 25 years ago.

If someone said something false about what I did 25 years ago that was stupid, but which was mostly meaningless and certainly wouldn’t impact anything else I did, why would I sue? In fact, by suing, I’d only be bringing much more attention to the issue.

Do you really think that this book would stop Patterson from getting work or anything like that if he wanted to? I highly doubt it. This isn’t a character assassination. This is just someone’s opinion that QDOS basically took the ideas of CP/M — something that many people think is pretty true.

DV Henkel-Wallace says:

of course CP/M

Of course CP/M was quite familiar to me (and many other people) when first used it inherited / was inspired by various features of DEC’s minicomputer and microcomputer operating systems like RSTS, RSX-11 and the like. E.g. PIP.

Sounds like Evans’ characterisation of DOS is largely correct (“shoddy rip-off” is probably too far) but the included (from the article) quote about Kildall having “invented the key language” or words to that effect seems way over the top too.

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