The Story Behind the Story:
Very few people know the real story behind why Novell bought Digital Research. The idea came from a little known DOS programmer, Marc Perkel, who was doing every thing he could to keep from having to become a windows programmer. So he went to Ray Noorda of Novell with a brilliant idea of Novell writing their own DOS which eventually led to Novell's purchase of Digital Research and subsequent trashing of the best DOS on the market.
The links at the bottom of this page tell the whole story, but it can be summarized as follows. I gave Novell the idea and got them excited about getting into the DOS market. Novell decided to cut me out of the picture and instead of writing their own DOS, they bought DRI.
Buying DRI might have been a good move except that they didn't follow through with the plan. They just screwed it up and wasted the company and the product, and about a hundred million bucks in the process. If Novell didn't try to screw me and went with my plan, things would have turned out differently. I can look back and say that's Karma, but I don't think they learned anything from it.
Novell is now a big dumb company who is more concerned with it's stock price than if their software runs. Since they trashed DRI, they have trashed Word Perfect and Unix making the DRI mistake barely memorable. But for those who remember Doctor Dos and CP/M, I think that it is worth 50k of web space to share the story of how this company, once an industry leader, was trashed. And to admit having an indirect involvement in the matter.
What I would like to see happen is for Novell to donate DR-DOS to the public domain and for it to be integrated into Linux so that Linux could be the host OS to a good DOS. That way both Unix and DOS could benefit from each others strengths. I feel that Novell owes a Karmic debt to the DOS community and that making DR-DOS public domain would satisfy that debt. I would even forgive them for ripping me off.
And let my experience be a warning to other people who have good ideas and are naive like I was. When you shake hands with the big boys, better could your fingers afterwards!
The first link is a letter to the world I wrote in 1991 to the world after I realized that Novell burned me. The next link is the original proposal that Ray Noorda asked me to write about how to get Novell into the DOS market.
For those of you who are wondering, "Is this for real or is this jerk just making this up?", I encourage you to search various archives and old magazines for references to Novell getting into the DOS market between March of 1991 and June of 1991 and you'll see that what I'm saying is in fact so.
New News! Caldera now owns DRI!
Ray Noorda, founder of Novell and founder of Caldera has bought DR-DOS from Novell and is going to distribute the Source Code to DOS.
Caldera is a distributor of Linux, a freeware unix except their version is not free. The integration of Linux and DR-DOS would be wonderful and could provide a computitor for Microsoft. I for one don't want to be assimilated by the Borg!
Was this the root event of the SCO Linux insanity?
After Ray Noorda ripped off my idea about getting into the operatating system business he went on a buying spree. After buying Digital Research he went on to buy Unix from AT&T and Wordperfect and Borland's Quatro Pro. All of this turned out to be a disaster and Novell sold it all off. Thus SCO ended up with Unix. I can help but to wonder if I caused the root event that led to the SCO insanity. Not that it's my fault, because if Noorda had included me instread of screwing me he wouldn't have run Novell into the ground. Novell lost billions by fucking me over - but - the karma of that event still lingers in the form of SCO today.
The 07-21-91 Letter
- Summary of the DRI Buyout written in 1991
NovOS - The original proposal for Novell DOS
Letters to Noorda - Follow up letters to Ray Noorda about NovOS
- The Free Dos Home Page
Yep! It runs with Netware 4 - Yep, Uh Huh - Sure Does
MsDos 7.0 - How to get MsDos 7 from Windows 95
Nerd Liberation Movement - We're coming out of the Back Room!
Computer Tyme - What I do for a Living
Ralf Brown - Interrupt List, HTML version.