Peter Norton

Biografie şi Bibliografie


Peter Norton (born November 14, 1943) is an American software publisher, author, and philanthropist.


Norton was born in Aberdeen, Washington. He attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, graduating in 1965.

In the 1980s, Norton produced a popular tool to retrieve erased data from DOS disks, which was followed by several other tools which were collectively known as the Norton Utilities.

Along with Norton Utilities, Norton produced Norton Commander, a file managing tool for DOS; Norton Guides, a TSR program which showed reference information for assembly language and other IBM PC internals, but could also display other reference information compiled into the appropriate file format; and Norton Editor, a programmer's text editor.

Norton and his company, Peter Norton Computing, also produced several other programs, technical manuals, and introductory computing books. Norton is best known for The Peter Norton Programmer's Guide to the IBM-PC, a popular and comprehensive guide to low-level programming on the PC platform (covering BIOS and MS-DOS system calls in great detail). The first (1985) edition of this was nicknamed "the pink shirt book", after the pink shirt that Norton wore for the cover photo. Although the second edition showed Norton in a white shirt, in the third and subsequent editions he returned to a pink shirt. Norton's crossed-arm pose is a U.S. registered trademark.

First edition of the pink shirt book

In 1990, Norton sold his company to Symantec. However, the Norton brand name lives on in such Symantec products as Norton AntiVirus, Norton 360, Norton Internet Security, Norton Personal Firewall, Norton SystemWorks (which now contains a current version of the Norton Utilities), Norton AntiBot, Norton AntiSpam, Norton GoBack (formerly Roxio GoBack), Norton PartitionMagic (formerly PowerQuest PartitionMagic), and Norton Ghost. Norton's visage was used on the packaging of all Norton-branded products until 2001.

In 1990, Norton had a letter published in Cecil Adams's "Straight Dope" column.

Personal life

In 1983 Norton married Eileen Harris, who grew up in Watts, California. They had two children, and lived in the Los Angeles area. In the summer of 1990 they enjoyed a visit to Martha's Vineyard and returned the following year with their children, purchasing an 1891, eight bedroom Queen Anne house in Oak Bluffs. They bought and lived in a nearby home while initiating re-design of the main house. "My children are half black, and we thought Oak Bluffs would give them an opportunity to summer around other kids like them," Norton said in a 2007 interview with Laura D. Roosevelt for Martha's Vineyard Magazine.

In 2000, the couple divorced. Norton henceforth lived much of the time in New York. In February 2001, a fire caused by faulty wiring destroyed the Martha's Vineyard home. Norton decided to have it rebuilt almost exactly as it was before the fire. Meanwhile, he began a relationship with New York financier Gwen Adams who, being an "Islander" in origin herself, also enjoyed the area. Since then, the couple spend ten weeks of summer in the Corbin-Norton House annually, usually hosting several guests. They were married in a church in nearby Edgartown, performed by their neighbor on the island, author and scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr..


Peter and Eileen founded the Peter Norton Family Foundation, which gives financial support to visual and contemporary non-profit arts organizations, as well as human social services organizations. Norton also serves on the boards of Creative Capital Foundation, the California Institute of the Arts, Reed College, Crossroads School, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Acorn Technologies.

With his first wife, Norton accumulated one of the largest modern contemporary art collections in the United States. Many of the pieces are on loan all over the world at any given time, and many were on view at Symantec Corporation, which purchased Peter Norton Computing in 1990. The foundation and the Norton Family Office are located in Santa Monica. ARTnews magazine regularly lists Norton among the world's top 200 collectors.

In 1999, Norton purchased letters written to Joyce Maynard by reclusive author J.D. Salinger for US$156,500. (Salinger had a year-long affair with Maynard in 1972 when she was 18.) Maynard said she was forced to auction the letters for financial reasons. Norton announced that his intention was to return the letters to Salinger.


"Assembly language programming is an extravagant waste of human talent and should be avoided whenever possible" (from 1983). (In 1986 and 1991, Norton published books on assembly language programming.)

In popular culture

In the 1995 film Hackers, Dade "Crash Override" Murphy correctly identifies Peter Norton's book, commenting that it is recognizable by "the nasty pink shirt the guy wears on the cover".

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