November 2008 marks the 25th anniversary of Turbo Pascal v1.0!

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25 years ago we launched Turbo Pascal version 1.0.  I remember meeting Philippe Kahn at Comdex Las Vegas that year.  I was working for Softsel Computer Products (a software distributor now called Merisel).  Philippe stopped by the Softsel booth that year.  I had a pod in the Softsel booth where software vendors could stop by to try and get their products into the distribution/retail channel (long before web shop sites).  Philippe said he was not looking for a distributor.  We continued talking and I mentioned that I also did programming for Softsel using Microsoft Pascal.  I was also using Digital Research Pascal for CPM, and the UCSD Pascal (p) System on my Apple II+ at the time. 

Philippe said he had a Pascal compiler that he was selling and gave me copies of Turbo Pascal 1.0 in 8" CPM and 5.25" PC-DOS format floppy disks (with hand written labels).  After he left, I immediately took the 5.25" disk into a booth office, stuck it in one of our IBM PC's and started the compiler.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  Small, fast, and a REAL Pascal compiler.  I say "REAL" because there were low priced, fake (or at least hardly working) Pascal compilers being shopped around.

We kept in touch with Philippe and Borland to see if we could distribute the software.  Eventually, Spencer Leyton (who helped me get me my job at Borland in June of 1985) convinced Philippe to use Softsel as a distributor. You can read about and download Turbo Pascal 1.0 in the developer network museum at (note: you must be a community member to read the article and download the software).

25 years later, Turbo Pascal still exists in part within Delphi 2009.  You can still compile many of the textbook Turbo Pascal programs in Delphi as command line programs.

Here is a scanned picture of the original Turbo Pascal version 1.0 ad that appeared in Byte Magazine back in 1983.  The story about how the ad appeared will be the subject of another blog post.

Turbo Pascal v1.0 Byte Magazine ad

This is just the start of a month of memories!  Long live Turbo Pascal and Delphi - the best native code compilers for DOS and Windows on the planet - ever!

If you have great stories about Turbo Pascal Version 1, any other Turbo Pascal version, or Delphi send them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (put on the email subject line something like "Memories of Turbo Pascal/Delphi").  I'm looking for personal stories, project/company success stories, cool tips/tricks, close encounters with Turbo Pascal/Borland/Philippe, and any other Turbo Pascal/Delphi related memories that you would like to share with the community.  I will post selected stories on this blog throughout the month.

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David Intersimone (known to many as David I.) is a passionate and innovative software industry veteran-often referred to as a developer icon-who extols and educates the world on Embarcadero developer tools. He shares his visions as an active member of the industry speaking circuit and is tapped as an expert source by the media. He is a long-standing champion of architects, developers and database professionals and works to ensure that their needs are folded into Embarcadero's strategic product plans. David holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, California.


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