Borland History: Will The Real Frank Borland Please Stand Up?

By: David Intersimone

Abstract: Who is Frank Borland? Where did Frank come from? What does he look like? This little bit of history should shed some light on this historical figure.

In the Museum - Stories

Contributed by: David Intersimone
December 7, 1999

Will The Real Frank Borland Please Stand Up?

Some of you old time members of the Borland developer community will remember the name, Frank Borland. Newer members may not know Frank at all. Who is Frank Borland? Where did Frank come from? What does he look like? This little bit of history should shed some light on this historical figure.

Frank Borland - Sidekick Version - 1984

Philippe Kahn told me that the name and image of Frank Borland first appeared in advertisements and on the cover of the SideKick version 1.0 manual.

Frank Borland - Turbo Tutor Version - 1984/1985

Later on, Frank appeared in the first version of the Turbo Tutor manual. Turbo Tutor was a book and disk combination that taught Pascal programming to those new to the language and Turbo Pascal. The pictures, drawn by local artists, were used throughout the manual as visual representations for key programming concepts that were being introduced.

The text and pictures included in this section of the column are taken from the Turbo Tutor Version 1.0 manual published by Borland International. The "About the Author" section of the manual tells the story of Frank Borland.

Turbo Tutor - A Turbo Pascal Tutorial
Copyright (c) 1984, 1985
Borland International, Inc.

"Frank Borland is more mystique than mystic, as elusive as the Trinity Alps big foot, as shy as the famous Loch Ness monster. Even at Borland International, his namesake, few people have ever seen him. The old-timers recognize him for his remarkable algorithms, still the fastest in the west."

"Borland lives deep in the Santa Cruz mountains with his transportable computer, his burro, and his dogs. In the early days, he didn't have a permanent homestead, but lived in a couple of camps deep in the redwood groves. Now, Frank has settled down a little, bought a cabin, and is raising a family, thanks to the success of his programming."

"These days he is seen even less around town, but still can occasionally be reached by modem."

"If you are a CompuServe user, you are closer to Frank Borland than you realize. He is writing either a gothic novel or an epic poem -- he hasn't decided which -- entirely in bulletin board messages left on different SIGS (Special Interest Groups). But he never uses his real name, and he switches names often, so his writing is hard to follow. Look for messages in cadence or rhymes. (You can find information on Borland products and a Borland SIG by typing GO BOR from any CompuServe prompt.)"

"Frank is a warm-hearted person. He wrote Sidekick (one of his latest programming efforts) for humanitarian reasons. Carrying notepads, calculator, and calendar from camp to camp was beginning to stunt the growth of his burro, Lotus, so he wrote Sidekick to make all that unnecessary. He left a note in our mailbox, saying he'd saved Lotus' development."

"He rarely talks about his background, or why he chose to abandon normal life and take to the mountains. Some say it had to do with changing the whole motherboard on a PC, just to replace a single chip. Others blame the high price of microcomputer software. We don't really know. Do you?"

Frank Borland - JBuilder 2 Version - 1998

About the Museum

This article appears in the Inprise/Borland community museum. Included in the museum a collection of pictures, advertisements, and archive files (ZIP format) containing the install images for antique versions of Borland language products. You'll find the museum at Note: You must be a community member to access the museum.

If you'd like to make a contribution to our online museum, please send it via email to David Intersimone at

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