In addition to his engineering skills, Cutler is known for his sardonic humor. He generally referred to the RSX fork list as the "fork queue". Sometimes even his error messages turn out to have a double meaning. The acronym WNT was acknowledged by Cutler to be a pun on VMS (obtained by shifting each letter one position in alphabetical order, as HAL is popularly believed to have been derived from IBM in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey).
He was born in Lansing, Michigan and grew up in Dewitt, Michigan. After graduating from Olivet College in 1965, Cutler went to work for DuPont. One of his tasks was developing and running computer simulations on Digital machines. He developed an interest in operating systems and left DuPont to pursue that interest.
Cutler's software career started at a small company he founded, located in Monument Square, Concord, Massachusetts, marketing software for the LINC and PDP-8 computers. He joined Microsoft in 1988 and was co-leader of the team that developed Windows NT. Later he worked on targeting Windows NT to the 64-bit Alpha computer. That project was scrapped by COMPAQ/DEC (ironic, given the fate of the Emerald and Prism projects to port VMS to IA32!) According to Microsoft's website, Cutler is (as of September 24, 2002) working on the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows.
Cutler holds over 20 patents and is an affiliate professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Washington.
David Cutler usefully summarised his own career in the foreword to Inside Windows NT, quoted on Neil Rieck's web site.