The President's Column
In this newsletter, in the Scanning IP
section I present the facts, and just the facts, about the rumor
that the DOS operating system was stolen from the CP/M operating
system. Did Bill Gates steal the Microsoft crown jewel from Gary
Kildall and Digital Research? Using our forensic tools and procedures
we uncover the truth. In the Scanning Consultants
section I talk about our growing list of CodeSuite Certified consultants.
If you need one or want to become one, you'll want to read this
Send me your comments and critiques. I'm always interested
in hearing from you.
President, SAFE Corporation
Was the Microsoft Empire Built on Stolen Goods?
The history of the computer industry is filled with fascinating tales
of sudden riches and lost opportunities. Take that of Ronald Wayne,
who cofounded Apple Computer with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs but
sold his shares for just US $2,300. And John Atanasoff, who proudly
showed his digital computer design to John Mauchly who later
codesigned the Eniac, typically recognized as the first electronic
computer, without credit to Atanasoff.
Perhaps the most famous story of missed fame and fortune is that
of Gary Kildall. A pioneer in computer operating systems, Kildall
started the company Digital Research and wrote Control Program for
Microcomputers (CP/M), the operating system used on many of the
early hobbyist personal computers, such as the MITS Altair 8800,
the IMSAI 8080, and the Osborne 1, before IBM introduced its own
PC. Kildall could have been the king of personal computer software,
but instead that title went to his small-time rival Bill Gates.
For years, rumors have circulated that the code for the original
DOS operating system sold by Microsoft is actually copied from the
CP/M operating system developed by Digital Research.
A couple years ago we took it upon ourselves to search out the
original code and use CodeSuite to determine the truth once and
for all. Our research was summarized in a popular (and not-so-popular)
article in IEEE Spectrum entitled Did
Bill Gates Steal the Heart of DOS? If you haven't read it,
you should. It's a fun read but it only summarizes our exhaustive
results using our tools and procedures for finding copied code.
The article generated a lot of controversy and we always intended
to publish the full technical details of our analysis, but it's
surprising how many people don't like our conclusion and wouldn't
publish my paper. But now the full academic paper entitled A Code Correlation Comparison of the DOS and CP/M Operating Systems
is available online in the Journal of Software Engineering and Applications.
If you want to know the details, and you want to know the truth,
it's in the article and the details are in the paper.
Advanced Tools to Detect Plagiarism and IP Theft
Sophisticated sets of tools for analyzing software source code and
object code including:
Check binary object code for plagiarism.
Measure software IP changes between versions of a program.
Cross check source code for plagiarism.
Compare source code to find differences and measure changes.
The premiere tool for pinpointing copied source code.
Scour the Internet for plagiarized code.
Speed up your analysis on a multiprocessor system.
Turbo charge your analysis on a supercomputer grid.
Divide HTML pages into their basic elements for easier analysis.
Find signs of copying in any document.
SAFE offers training at our facility or yours or on the Web. Contact
us to make arrangements:
in software IP
Your New Office
Remember that you can now have your own secure office at the SAFE
facility for storing proprietary software, running CodeSuite, analyzing
the results, and getting onsite support. We're located at
20863 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014
CodeSuite Certified Consultants
Our list of CodeSuite certified consultants has been growing. If
you need someone to perform a code comparison using our court-approved
tools and procedures, check the list here.
These people have gone through our rigorous training class and passed
the exams, including the comprehensive final exam. They're ready
to analyze your code and, if necessary, testify in court.
If you want to be CodeSuite Certified so that you can effectively
use our tools and apply our processes, you can sign up for training
The cost of the training can be applied toward a future purchase
of CodeSuite licenses, so the training is effectively free after
you first use CodeSuite.