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The Register: Microsoft Altair BASIC legend talks about Linux, and CPRM

May 12, 2001, 13:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andrew Orlowski)

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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 Alluivial Software.

...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."

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