In the Today I Learned subreddit someone posted: "TIL [Today I Learned] that Microsoft Solitaire was developed by a summer intern named Wes Cherry. He received no royalties for his work despite it being among the most used Windows applications of all time." Hard news to swallow in a day and age of copyright wars and credit-where-credit-is-due but Wes Cherry spoke up to clear the air and tell the story of what actually happened.
TIL [Today I Learned] that Microsoft Solitaire was developed by a summer intern named Wes Cherry. He received no royalties for his work despite it being among the most used Windows applications of all time.
"Wes Cherry here.
A little clarification on Solitaire history. I wrote it for Windows 2.1 in my own time while an intern at Microsoft during the summer of 1988. I had played a similar solitaire game on the Mac instead of studying for finals at college and wanted a version for myself on Windows.
The code is nothing great...the only slightly interesting thing is the optimizations I did to get card dragging to work smoothly. Back in those days getting a pixel onto the EGA buffer took getting out a hammer and chisel and chipping away at the silicon for an eternity.
Object oriented programming was a newish thing back then and there wasn't a C++ compiler available for windows, so it has a goofy message passing architecture to get polymorphism and inheritance.
At the time there was an internal "company within a company" called Bogus software. It was really just a server where bunch of guys having fun hacking Windows to learn about the API tossed their games. A program manager on the Windows team saw it and decided to include it in Windows 3.0. It was made clear that they wouldn't pay me other than supplying me with an IBM XT to fix some bugs during the school year - I was perfectly fine with it and I am to this day.
For what it's worth, I wrote a version of Pipe Dream for Windows on my own time that was included in one of Microsoft Entertainment packs. I was paid a few thousand bucks in stock for that.
A few people have paid me "a penny" as a joke. I'd get them in the mail, or in person if someone introduced me as the author of Solitaire and the obligatory no royalties conversation came up. I think I'm up to about 8 cents now.
In case you care, I now make hard cider on Vashon Island. www.dragonsheadcider.com (site might be down due to being hammered) Come visit our tasting room if you are ever in the Seattle area. Here's a google cache of our website.
I don't program much anymore other than a little programming in C/C++, mostly for embedded controllers for various cider manufacturing hardware."