David Bradley, one of the ‘dirty dozen’ engineers who created the original IBM PC
at Boca Raton, Florida, is to retire this week after 29 years with the company.
Bradley’s accomplishments are numerous – he wrote the BIOS code for the original PC
and rose to become architecture manager at the PC group. But David’s claim to fame
is that he devised the most famous – and probably most used – three key combination
in computer history: Ctrl-Alt-Del.
Bradley chose the Delete key because it was far away from the two modifiers that were
necessary to create the deadly interrupt, he explained last year. At first IBM wasn’t
going to tell customers about the handy sequence, but technical writers and developers
found it useful, and word got out.
“I may have invented control-alt-delete, but Bill Gates made it really famous,” he
told a gathering at the twentieth anniversary of the PC.
This comment brought boundless laughter from the PC loving crowd. Bill Gates did not
even crack a smile.