• 1926 February 20
    (b.) -
    2011 February 06


He was an American engineer who co-founded Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957 with colleague Harlan Anderson and venture capital provided by Georges Doriot's American Research and Development Corporation. He was born in Stratford, Connecticut. Olsen was a Massachusetts engineer who had been working at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on the TX-2 project. In 1977, he infamously quipped, "there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."[1] However, this quote is often taken out of context, since the personal computer he was referring to was not the same as the modern PC, but of science fiction, environment controlling. Olsen on many occasions mentioned having computers in his home. In 1987 he gave the first of his infamous 'snake oil speeches' referring to the Unix Conspiracy[2]. While Olsen believed VMS was a better solution for DEC customers and often talked of the strengths of the system, he did approve and encourage an internal effort to produce a native BSD-based UNIX product on the VAX line of computers called Ultrix. However, this line never got enthusiastic comprehensive support at DEC. He held a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from MIT. He was a trustee of the Charles Babbage Foundation.
  • Date of Birth:

    1926 February 20
  • Date of Death:

    2011 February 06
  • Gender:

  • Noted For:

    Founder of Digital Equipment Corporation
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