World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Tim Paterson

Article Id: WHEBN0000202655
Reproduction Date:

Title: Tim Paterson  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Edlin, Marc McDonald, IBM PC DOS, MS-DOS, Paul Allen
Collection: 1956 Births, American Computer Programmers, Dos People, Living People, Microsoft Employees, University of Washington Alumni
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Tim Paterson

Tim Paterson
Born (1956-06-01) June 1, 1956
Occupation computer programmer, software designer
Website Paterson Technology

Tim Paterson (born 1956) is an American computer programmer, best known for editing the CP/M operating system to enable it to run on 16 bit processors, which later was marketed as MS-DOS (it originally was CP/M created by Gary Kildall), the most widely used personal computer operating system in the 1980s.

Paterson was educated in the Seattle Public Schools, graduating from Ingraham High School in 1974. He attended the University of Washington, working as a repair technician for The Retail Computer Store in the Green Lake area of Seattle, Washington, and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Computer Science[1] in June 1978. He went to work for Seattle Computer Products as a designer and engineer.[1] He designed the hardware of Microsoft's Z-80 SoftCard which had a Z80 CPU and ran the CP/M operating system on an Apple II.

A month later, Intel released the 8086 CPU, and Paterson went to work designing an S-100 8086 board, which went to market in November 1979. The only commercial software that existed for the board was Microsoft's Standalone Disk BASIC-86. The standard CP/M operating system at the time was not available for this CPU and without a true operating system, sales were slow. Paterson began work on QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) in April 1980 to fill that void, copying the APIs of CP/M from sources including the published CP/M manual so that it would be highly compatible. QDOS was soon renamed as 86-DOS. Version 0.10 was complete by July 1980. By version 1.14 86-DOS had grown to 4,000 lines of assembly code.[2] In December 1980 Microsoft secured the rights to market 86-DOS to other hardware manufacturers.[3]

While acknowledging that he made 86-DOS compatible with CP/M,[4] Paterson has maintained that the 86-DOS program was his original work and has denied allegations that he referred to CP/M's code while writing it.[5] When a book appeared in 2004 claiming that 86-DOS was an unoriginal "rip-off" of CP/M,[6] Paterson sued the authors and publishers for defamation.[7][8] The judge found that Paterson failed to 'provide any evidence regarding “serious doubts” about the accuracy of the Gary Kildall chapter. Instead, a careful review of the Lefer notes ... provides a research picture tellingly close to the substance of the final chapter' and the case was dismissed on the basis that the book's claims were constitutionally protected opinions and not provably false.[9]

Paterson left SCP in April 1981 and worked for Microsoft from May 1981 to April 1982. After a brief second stint with SCP, Paterson started his own company, Falcon Technology (aka Falcon Systems).[1] In 1983, Microsoft contracted Paterson to port MS-DOS to the MSX computers standard they were developing with ASCII. Paterson accepted the contract to help fund his company and completed the work on the MSX-DOS operating system in 1984.[10] Falcon Technology was bought by Microsoft in 1986 to reclaim royalty-free licenses to MS-DOS,[11] eventually becoming part of Phoenix Technologies.[1] Paterson did a second stint with Microsoft from 1986–1988,[1] and a third stint from 1990-1998, during which time he worked on Visual Basic.[1]

After leaving Microsoft a third time, Paterson founded another software development company, Paterson Technology, and also made several appearances on the Comedy Central television program Battlebots. Paterson has also raced rally cars in the SCCA Pro Rally series, and even engineered his own trip computer which he integrated into the axle of a four-wheel drive Porsche 911.


  1. ^ a b c d e f
  2. ^ NB. While mostly based on DOS 3.2, this book has an appendix covering changes introducted with DOS 3.3.
  3. ^ 86-DOS version 0.3 (1980-11-15) License Agreement between Seattle Computer Products and Microsoft, dated 1981-01-06, published as part of the Comes v. Microsoft case as exhibit #1/#2, retrieved 2013-04-01.
  4. ^ NB. The article uses "MS-DOS" throughout to refer to both 86-DOS and MS-DOS, but mentions QDOS and 86-DOS in a sidebar article, "A Short History of MS-DOS".
  5. ^
  6. ^ Evans, Harold. They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1] Court Decision (2005-02-28). W. D. Wash. Retrieved on 2014-12-21.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.