Artifact Details

Title

Eubanks, Gordon oral history

Catalog Number

102717362

Type

Moving image

Description

Gordon was born in Cambridge MA in 1946 to a father who had recently returned from the Army. He moved more than a dozen times in his youth but was fortunate to graduate from a superb public high school in Tulsa OK. He was introduced to electronics during these years by his father’s jobs and hobbies.
He attended Oklahoma State University, where he majored in Electrical Engineering. During the summers of college, he was fortunate to get a job with IBM, serving as a programmer to help IBM customers move their software to the next generation hardware. The skills developed at IBM turned out to be crucial in his later career.
Upon graduation, he joined the Navy, where he spent about 10 years. He was deployed on nuclear submarines, getting a crash course in nuclear engineering. The Navy also sent him to graduate school in Computer Science, which extended his stay in the service. It was during this time at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey Ca that he met Gary Kildall, founder of Digital Research (DRI) and creator of the CP/M operating system for microcomputers.
Kildall became Gordon’s thesis advisor and one or Gordon’s projects was to write a BASIC compiler for CP/M in which he incorporated BCD arithmetic. This made the compiler particularly useful for writing business applications. Gordon’s BASIC became quite popular, so he set up a business to sell it while still in the Navy. His mother was the one actually running the company at that time.
In 1981, DRI purchased Eubank’s company, Compiler Systems, and Gordon went to work for DRI. Because of his close working relationship with Kildall and DRI over several years, Eubanks had great insight into the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies of DRI. He offers a unique and very insightful view of the story surrounding IBM’s interest in acquiring CP/M for the IBM PC. According to Eubanks, the reality is quite different from the stories commonly told.
In 1984, Eubanks joined Symantec and from 1984 to 1986 he helped develop Q & A, an integrated database and word processor with natural language query. He went on to become president and CEO of Symantec, guiding it into the software utility and anti-virus businesses. He left in 1999 to become CEO of Oblix, a startup focused on web security.
Eubanks continues to be active in a number of areas including coaching entrepreneurs and working with the Panetta Foundation in Monterey. Gordon is also a well-recognized stamp collector. In this interview, he describes his particular focus and a little bit of history of stamps and the post office.

Date

2018-09-11

Participants

Brock, David C., Interviewer
Eubanks, Gordon, Interviewee
Fairbairn, Doug, Interviewer

Publisher

Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA, USA

Duration

02:46:58

Format

MOV

Category

Oral history

Collection Title

CHM Oral History Collection

Credit

Computer History Museum

Lot Number

X8774.2019
 

Related Records

102717361 Eubanks, Gordon oral history