Frank Borland. The Myth, The Legend

A long long time ago I was still a teenager quite keen in computer programming when a friend introduced me to the realm of Turbo Pascal. It was my first year at the uni, and I was still writing in Basic using my Amstrad CPC464, when I got my first CPC6128 which had a 3" floppy disk drive and an additional operating system (CP/M). I immediatelly fell in love with Turbo Pascal. To these days I believe that a language that can have a statement as readable as "repeat until KeyPressed;", which was indeed very useful in those days, is a superior language.

One day that friend of mine told me that actually nobody knows who wrote the Turbo Pascal compiler; the myth says that it was written by Frank Borland a guy who works alone and lives in a cabin high up the rocky mountains and only goes back to civilisation when he creates a new version... (!!!) Obviously this was a story hard to believe, it was however rather amusing and to be honest quite fascinating; I do not know of any real programmer who haven’t dreamed of moving to a place where they can focus solely on producing software without being distracted by other people.
Remember there was no Internet in those days, so the truth about Frank Borland could not possibly be confirmed or denied. For years I was telling the story of Frank to my students and never ever thought of finding out about him. What I did find out was that Philippe Kahn was the founder of Borland and that he didn’t have a business partner or a co-founder. :-( He was however Niclaus Wirth’s student and worked with him in the 1970s on Pascal, so at least I did have the outmost respect on him.

Still no Frank though. Until today. Don’t you love the internet? My first search did not yield any results. But then I tried again and voila! An article, a whole html page, even pictures of Frank Borland. Found at Borland’s Online Museum. It was true!

...And if btw you would like to know more about Philippe Kahn, the first non-musician celebrity I knew who could play the Sax, here's a link about his sailing achievements.


Unknown said…

Today, there’s another Frank – the real Frank Borland. You see, I wasn’t quite ready to become some old museum piece... so I’m back. I’ve spent quite a few years focusing on what’s needed out there by guys like you – not to mention keeping my hand in with some very interesting programming ideas. So it’s time to deliver once again on that Borland more-bang-for-your-bucks attitude that made our company what it was.

So, me a myth? Well, I just pinched myself and this is for real. And a legend? Well I’d rather say it was the people like you who supported Borland back then that made us somewhat legendary. I want to get that spirit back, and I’m here at: to make sure it happens.

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