Monte Davidoff may well be Microsoft's "Fifth Beatle." He was a
co-author of Altair BASIC with Paul Allen and Bill Gates, but where
they went on to riches with the company, Davidoff went his own way
(and off into Unix). The Register has caught up with him and found
out he likes Linux and isn't so fond of CPRM.
"Twenty six years ago the microprocessor revolution
found a software catalyst - a tiny BASIC interpreter that ran in 4K
of memory. You've probably heard of two of its three authors - Paul
Allen and Bill Gates, who'd incorporated the company 'MicroSoft' in
Albuquerque the same year. The third man, Monte Davidoff, isn't
nearly as famous. You'll search in vain for an interview on the web
with Monte. So we figured we'd set that right.
Davidoff contributed the maths routines to the interpreter, and
we finally tracked him down in Cupertino where he's enjoying the
recent freedom of being an independent software consultant, as
...Although he helped put the fledgling Microsoft on the map,
Davidoff has subsequently worked with Unix for most of his career.
Microsoft actually bought into Unix very early on in 1979, but its
own AT&T derivative Xenix found few buyers, and it eventually
spun the work out to the Xenix authors SCO. And these days,
Davidoff runs Linux (Red Hat 6.1) at home.
"I'm really excited about Linux," he says. "Having used Unix all
these years and put out professional Unix products, they've done a
really good job."