Digital Research, Inc.
Company typePrivate[1]
IndustrySoftware
Founded1974; 50 years ago (1974) in Pacific Grove, California, United States
FounderGary Kildall
Defunct1991; 33 years ago (1991)
FateAcquired by Novell
Headquarters
Key people
ProductsCompilers, operating systems, graphical user interfaces
Revenue
  • US$45 million (1983)[2]
  • US$36.2 million (1989)[3]
  • US$40.9 million (1990)[3]
  • US$45.5 million (1991)[4]
Number of employees
Websitewww.digitalresearch.biz

Digital Research, Inc. (DR or DRI) was a privately held American software company created by Gary Kildall to market and develop his CP/M operating system and related 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit systems like MP/M, Concurrent DOS, FlexOS, Multiuser DOS, DOS Plus, DR DOS and GEM. It was the first large software company in the microcomputer world.[9] Digital Research was originally based in Pacific Grove, California, later in Monterey, California.

History

The original Digital Research logo, used from 1977 to the early 1980s
The original Digital Research logo, used from 1977 to the early 1980s

1974–1979: Founding and incorporation

In 1972, Gary Kildall, an instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, began working at Intel as a consultant under the business name Microcomputer Applications Associates (MAA).[10] By 1974, he had developed Control Program/Monitor, or CP/M, the first disk operating system for microcomputers.

In 1974 he incorporated as Intergalactic Digital Research, with his wife handling the business side of the operation.[10] The company soon began operating under its shortened name Digital Research.[10] The company's operating systems, starting with CP/M for 8080/Z80-based microcomputers, were the de facto standard of their era. Digital Research's product suite included the original 8-bit CP/M and its various offshoots like MP/M (1979), a multi-tasking multi-user version of CP/M.

1980–1990: CP/M, CP/M-86

After Microsoft present MS-DOS that was based on CP/M, Digital Research released CP/M-86, which was the first 16-bit system (1981, adapted to the IBM PC in early 1982), which was meant as direct competitor to MS-DOS. There followed the multi-tasking MP/M-86 (1981), and Concurrent CP/M (1982), a single-user version featuring virtual consoles from which applications could be launched to run concurrently.[11]

In May 1983 Digital Research announced that it would offer PC DOS versions of all of its languages and utilities.[12] It remained influential, with US$45 million in 1983 sales making Digital Research the fourth-largest microcomputer software company.[2] Admitting that it had "lost" the 8088 software market but hoped to succeed with the Intel 80286 and Motorola 68000, by 1984 the company formed a partnership with AT&T Corporation to develop software for Unix System V and sell its own and third-party products in retail stores.[13] Jerry Pournelle warned later that year, however, that "Many people of stature seem to have left or are leaving Digital Research. DR had better get its act together."[14]

In a parallel development Digital Research also produced a selection of programming language compilers and interpreters for their OS-supported platforms, including C, Pascal, COBOL, FORTRAN, PL/I, PL/M, CBASIC, BASIC, and Logo.

Digital Research developed CP/M-86 as an alternative to MS-DOS and it was made available through IBM in early 1982. The company later created an MS-DOS clone with advanced features called DR DOS, which pressured Microsoft to further improve its own DOS.

At the time the IBM Personal Computer was being developed, Digital Research's CP/M was the dominant operating system of the day. In 1980, IBM asked Digital Research to supply a version of CP/M written for the Intel 8086 microprocessor as the standard operating system for the PC, which would use the code-compatible Intel 8088 chip. Digital Research, uneasy about the conditions related to making such an agreement with IBM, refused.

Microsoft seized this opportunity to supply an OS, in addition to other software (e.g., BASIC) for the new IBM PC. When the IBM PC arrived in late 1981, it came with PC DOS, an OEM version of MS-DOS, which was developed from 86-DOS, which Microsoft had acquired for this purpose. By mid-1982, MS-DOS was also marketed for use in hardware-compatible non-IBM computers. This one decision resulted in Microsoft becoming the leading name in computer software.

This story is detailed from the point of view of Microsoft and IBM in the PBS series Triumph of the Nerds,[15] and from the point of view of Gary Kildall's friends and coworkers in The Computer Chronicles.[16]

The competition between MS-DOS and DR DOS is one of the more controversial chapters of microcomputer history. Microsoft offered better licensing terms to any computer manufacturer that committed to selling MS-DOS with every system they shipped, making it uneconomical for them to offer systems with another OS, since the manufacturer would still be required to pay a license fee to Microsoft for that system. This practice led to a US Department of Justice investigation, resulting in a decision in 1994 that barred Microsoft from "per-processor" licensing.[17]

Successive revisions of Concurrent CP/M incorporated MS-DOS API emulation (since 1983), which gradually added more support for DOS applications and the FAT file system. These versions were named Concurrent DOS (1984), with Concurrent PC DOS (1984) being the version adapted to run on IBM compatible PCs.

In 1985, soon after the introduction of the 80286-based IBM PC/AT, Digital Research introduced a real-time system, initially called Concurrent DOS 286.

Other single-user operative systems were launched: DOS Plus (1985) and DR DOS (1988). The latter system was marketed as a direct MS-DOS/PC DOS replacement with added functionality. In order to achieve this, it gave up built-in support to run CP/M applications and was changed to use DOS-compatible internal structures. It became a successful product line in itself.

Graphics Environment Manager (1985)

Graphics Environment Manager (GEM) Graphic User Interface (GUI) in 1985

In 1985 Digital Research also produced a microcomputer version of the GKS graphics standard (related to NAPLPS) called GSX, and later used this as the basis of their GEM GUI. Less known are their application programs, limited largely to the GSX-based DR DRAW and a small suite of GUI programs for GEM. After the development of GEM, Microsoft introduced Windows 1.0.

Digital Research (and later its successor Caldera) accused Microsoft of announcing vaporware versions of MS-DOS to suppress sales of DR DOS.[citation needed]

FlexOS, Concurrent DOS XM and Concurrent DOS 386

Concurrent PC DOS later evolved into the modular FlexOS (1986). This exploited the greater memory addressing capability of the new CPU to provide a more flexible multi-tasking environment. There was a small but powerful set of system APIs, each with a synchronous and an asynchronous variant. Pipes were supported, and all named resources could be aliased by setting environment variables. This system was to enjoy enduring favour in point-of-sale systems.

Other successors of Concurrent DOS were Concurrent DOS XM (1986) and the 32-bit Concurrent DOS 386 (1987).

1990 and 1991: Multiuser DOS

Logo of Digital Research used briefly toward the end of its independent existence, from March 1990[18] to 1991
Logo of Digital Research used briefly toward the end of its independent existence, from March 1990[18] to 1991

In 1991 DR presented Multiuser DOS. Digital Research's multi-user family of operating systems was sidelined with the previous single user operative systems.

In one beta release of Windows 3.1, Microsoft included hidden code (later called the AARD code) that detected DR DOS and displayed a cryptic error message.[19][4] Although this code was not enabled in the final version of Windows 3.1, it gave the wrong impression that DR DOS was incompatible with MS-DOS and Windows among testers. These activities came to light when the discovery process of the subsequent lawsuit uncovered emails from senior Microsoft executives that showed this time bomb plant was part of a concerted program to drive Digital Research out of the PC operating systems business.[20][21]

1991–2014: Acquisition by Novell

See also: FlexOS, Novell, and Caldera (company)

Digital Research was purchased by Novell for US$80 million[1][22][4] in 1991,[23][24][25][3][26][4] primarily for Novell to gain access to the operating system line. FlexOS, this operative system had already been adopted as the basis for the following systems:

DR Multiuser DOS was also evolved further into independent products as the follow: Datapac System Manager, IMS REAL/32 and REAL/NG. Novell continued development of the DR DOS line led to non-DRI products such as Novell PalmDOS, Novell DOS, Caldera OpenDOS and Dell RMK. Novell sold DR-DOS product line off to Caldera on 23 July 1996, after it approached Novell looking for a DOS operating system to bundle with its OpenLinux distribution.[27]

Caldera

Part of this section is transcluded from Caldera (company). (edit | history)

Caldera, Inc. was a Canopy-funded software company founded in October 1994[28] and incorporated on 25 January 1995[29] by former Novell employees Bryan Wayne Sparks, Ransom H. Love and others to develop the Caldera Network Desktop (CND) and later create a Linux distribution named OpenLinux (COL). The company was originally based in Provo and later in Orem, Utah, USA.

Their first product in 1995 was Caldera Network Desktop, which was based on Red Hat Linux[30][31] and Novell's Corsair Internet Desktop. It also included LISA (Linux Installation and System Administration),[31] which had been developed by the German Linux Support Team (LST) for their own Linux distribution.[32]


Notable employees

Several notable employees worked at Digital Research, some of which later made important contributions to the IT industry, such as:

Acquisitions

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Markoff, John Gregory (1991-07-17). "PC Software Maker Novell To Buy Digital Research". The New York Times. p. 8. Section D. Archived from the original on 2020-02-18. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  2. ^ a b Caruso, Denise (1984-04-02). "Company Strategies Boomerang". InfoWorld - The Newsweekly for Microcomputer Users. Vol. 6, no. 14. Popular Computing, Inc. pp. 80–83. ISSN 0199-6649. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  3. ^ a b c d "Novell and Digital Research sign definitive merger agreement". Business Wire. 1991-07-17. Archived from the original on 2018-08-18. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  4. ^ a b c d e Schulman, Andrew; Brown, Ralf D.; Maxey, David; Michels, Raymond J.; Kyle, Jim (1994) [November 1993]. Undocumented DOS: A programmer's guide to reserved MS-DOS functions and data structures - expanded to include MS-DOS 6, Novell DOS and Windows 3.1 (2 ed.). Addison Wesley. pp. 11, 182183. ISBN 0-201-63287-X. (xviii+856+vi pages, 3.5-inch floppy) Errata: [1][2]
  5. ^ a b c d "Rapid expansion marks DRI history" (PDF). Digital Dialogue. Vol. 1, no. 1. Digital Research. August 1982. pp. 7–8. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-09. Retrieved 2020-02-25. [3][4][5]
  6. ^ a b c d Caruso, Denise (1984-04-23). "Digital Research Rebounds - New products are leading the software maker's resurgence". InfoWorld - The Newsweekly for Microcomputer Users. The Industry. Vol. 6, no. 17. Popular Computing, Inc., CW Communications Inc. pp. 56–57. ISSN 0199-6649. Archived from the original on 2020-02-17. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  7. ^ a b Burton, Kathleen (1985-07-29). "Cash-short Digital Research cuts staff, seeks investors". Computerworld - The Newsweekly for the Computer Community. Computer Industry. Vol. XIX, no. 30. Monterey, California, USA: CW Communications, Inc. p. 72. ISSN 0010-4841. Archived from the original on 2020-02-17. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  8. ^ a b Watt, Peggy (1986-10-27). "Digital Research tighens belt with layoffs, reorganization - Realign business units, product lines". Computerworld - The Newsweekly for the Computer Community. Computer Industry. Vol. XX, no. 43. Monterey, California, USA: CW Communications, Inc. p. 95. ISSN 0010-4841. Archived from the original on 2020-02-16. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  9. ^ Cole, Maggie (1981-05-25). "Gary Kildall and the Digital Research Success Story". InfoWorld - The Newspaper for the Microcomputing Community. Vol. 3, no. 10. Palo Alto, California, USA: Popular Computing, Inc. pp. 52–53. ISSN 0199-6649. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  10. ^ a b c Swaine, Michael (Spring 1997). "Gary Kildall and Collegial Entrepreneurship". Dr. Dobb's Special Report. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  11. ^ Kildall, Gary Arlen (1982-09-16). "Running 8-bit software on dual-processor computers" (PDF). Electronic Design: 157. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-08-19. Retrieved 2017-08-19.
  12. ^ Hughes, Jr., George D. (July 1983). "The New View From Digital Research". PC Magazine: 403. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  13. ^ Shea, Tom (1984-02-20). "New developments may decide battle over Unix". InfoWorld - The Newsweekly for Microcomputer Users. Software. Vol. 6, no. 8. Popular Computing, Inc. pp. 43–45. ISSN 0199-6649. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  14. ^ "Program Editing Breakthrough!". BYTE (advertisement): 326. March 1983. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  15. ^ Triumph of the Nerds, PBS
  16. ^ The Computer Chronicles
  17. ^ Corcoran, Elizabeth (1994-07-17). "Microsoft Settles Case With Justice". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  18. ^ von Simson, Charles (1990-03-26). "DRI adds graphics update". Computerworld. XXIV (13). IDG Publications: 37 – via Google Books.
  19. ^ Schulman, Andrew (September 1993). "Examining the Windows AARD Detection Code - A serious message--and the code that produced it". Dr. Dobb's Journal. 18 (9). Miller Freeman, Inc.: 42, 44–48, 89. #204. Archived from the original on 2005-12-10. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  20. ^ Susman, Stephen Daily; Eskridge III, Charles R.; Southwick, James T.; Susman, Harry P.; Folse III, Parker C.; Palumbo, Ralph H.; Harris, Matthew R.; McCune, Philip S.; Engel, Lynn M.; Hill, Stephen J.; Tibbitts, Ryan E. (April 1999). "In the United States District Court - District of Utah, Central Division - Caldera, Inc. vs. Microsoft Corporation - Consolidated statement of facts in support of its responses to motions for summary judgement by Microsoft Corporation - Case No. 2:96CV 0645B" (Court document). Caldera, Inc. Archived from the original on 2018-08-05. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  21. ^ Susman, Stephen Daily; Eskridge III, Charles R.; Susman, Harry P.; Southwick, James T.; Folse III, Parker C.; Borchers, Timothy K.; Palumbo, Ralph H.; Harris, Matthew R.; Engel, Lynn M.; McCune, Philip S.; Locker, Lawrence C.; Wheeler, Max D.; Hill, Stephen J.; Tibbitts, Ryan E. (May 1999). "In the United States District Court - District of Utah, Central Division - Caldera, Inc. vs. Microsoft Corporation - Case No. 2:96CV 0645B - Caldera, Inc.'s Memorandum in opposition to defendant's motion for partial Summary Judgment on plaintiff's "Technological Tying" claim" (Court document). Caldera, Inc. Archived from the original on 2018-08-05. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  22. ^ Nash, Jim (1991-07-22). "Novell nets DRI in $80M deal". Computerworld. News. Vol. XXV, no. 16. p. 99. ISSN 0010-4841. Archived from the original on 2020-02-17. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  23. ^ Scott, Karyl (1991-07-22). "Novell, DRI plan network-based DOS - Firm to enter desktop battle". InfoWorld. News. Vol. 13, no. 29. Popular Computing, Inc., IDG Communications, Inc. pp. 1, 91. ISSN 0199-6649. Archived from the original on 2020-02-17. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  24. ^ Scott, Karyl (1991-07-29). "Novell/DRI merger to reap better client management". InfoWorld. Networking. Vol. 13, no. 30. InfoWorld Publishing Co. p. 33. ISSN 0199-6649. Archived from the original on 2020-02-09. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  25. ^ "Digital Agrees To Become A Subsidiary Of Novell Inc." Deseret News. 1991-07-19. Archived from the original on 2020-02-17. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  26. ^ Allchin, James Edward (1992-05-27) [1991-07-17]. "Novell/Digital Research reach definitive agreement…" (PDF) (Court document). Plaintiff's exhibit 828, Comes v. Microsoft. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-11-19. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  27. ^ "Software Developer Caldera sues Microsoft for Antitrust practices alleges monopolistic acts shut its DR DOS operating system out of market". Salt Lake City, UT, USA: Caldera News. 1996-07-24. Archived from the original on 2017-06-24. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  28. ^ Ball, Lyle; Pomeroy, Nancy, eds. (1996-09-10). "Caldera announces open source code model for DOS - DR DOS + the Internet = Caldera OpenDOS". Provo, UT, USA: Caldera, Inc. Archived from the original on 1996-10-18. Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  29. ^ "Caldera, Inc". OpenCorporates. Archived from the original on 2022-01-27. Retrieved 2022-01-15. Caldera, Inc. […] Company Number 1222412-0142 […] Incorporation Date 25 January 1995 […] Dissolution Date 29 April 2002 […] Registered Address 240 W CENTER ST Orem, UT 84057 United States
  30. ^ Petreley, Nicholas (1996-02-19). "Down to the Wire - Hot Caldera rates a look as an Internet service, maybe even for desktops". InfoWorld. 18 (8). InfoWorld Publishing Inc.: 108. ISSN 0199-6649. Archived from the original on 2019-11-23. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  31. ^ a b Hughes, Phil (1996-06-01). "Caldera Network Desktop 1.0". Linux Journal. No. 26. Specialized System Consultants, Inc. (SSC). ISSN 1075-3583. Archived from the original on 2018-08-05. Retrieved 2018-08-05. [6]
  32. ^ "LST Software GmbH Merges With Caldera Inc. - Critically acclaimed European Linux developers strengthen Caldera's Commitment". Linux Kongress, Würzburg, Germany. PR Newswire. 1997-05-23. Archived from the original on 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  33. ^ "Compiler Systems Acquired; Language Division Formed Under Gordon Eubanks, Jr. - Digital Research Acquires Compiler Systems; Will Now Provide the Microcomputer Industry with One-stop Shopping for Total Systems Support" (PDF). Digital Research News - for Digital Research Users Everywhere. 1 (1). Pacific Grove, California, USA: Digital Research, Inc.: 1, 7. November 1981. Fourth Quarter. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-09. Retrieved 2020-01-18.

Further reading