Desmond File

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Bill Moves On

Michael Desmond, editor in chief of Redmond Developer News and Desmond File blogger, is on vacation. Filling in for him today is Kathleen Richards, RDN's senior editor.

Bill Gates is finishing up his final week at Microsoft on Friday to work full-time for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates ends his stint in Redmond as one of the richest men in the world and the face of the PC industry that he envisioned with his childhood friend and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in the mid-'70s.

In our June 15 cover story "Decoding Bill," author and RDN .NET columnist William F. Zachmann checked in with several of the rockstar programmers of the '70s and '80s to find out what they thought of Gates' legacy as a software developer and technologist.

We were actually surprised by the admiration and respect that these landmark developers -- C. Wayne Ratliff (dBASE), Robert Carr (Frameworks) and Dan Bricklin (VisiCalc), among others -- had for Bill.

"It is very clear that these folks that competed with Bill long before Microsoft was a monopoly have a high regard for him," Zachmann said.

He pointed out that today, many of the technologists who faced Microsoft after it became a monopoly have a negative view of the company, and of Gates' contributions to the industry at large.

"It's nice to have another perspective," Zachmann said. "The developers that knew Bill early on just realized that they were out-competed."

Tell us what you'll miss most about Bill, and weigh in on his legacy as a developer and technologist at [email protected].

--Kathleen Richards

Posted on 06/24/2008


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