Posts Tagged ‘ken thompson’

Creator of Mouse and most of Modern Computer Interface legendary hacker Douglas Engelbart passed away at 88

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Douglas Engelbard holding early prototype of computer mouse

One of most influential persons on Computing Douglas Engelbart passed away silently at age of 88 on 03 of July 2013. He worked at times where computing was in its dawn in late '60s . He become the Inventor of Computer Mouse Interface and played key role in developing much of the modern PC interface and his work on human – computer interaction.

First Prototype of Computer Mouse-SRI - Duuglas Engelbart creator of first computer mouse

Many of his research led indirectly to developing later a number of nowadays standard technologies such as Networking as we know it, The Hypertext Transmission (HTTP) and many of Modern graphical computer interface

I believe every IT should understand the significance of his works and should keep his name in short names along with Denis Ritchie who passed away last year, Ken Thompson and Johh McCarthy – also died last year . All of this people, indirectly changed our modern world by their genius inventions. Of course it is doubtful whether their scientific contribution doesn't make our life more miserable as half of people on earth today spend about 5 to 8 hours in front of some kind of computer or mobile computer screen (be it notebook, pad or smartphone mobile) …

One of first Douglas Engelbart famous works is "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Concept Framework" (1962). His had so much interesting idea and new information that it led to development of Augmentation Research Center (ARC).
Engelbart worked on things like bitmapped screens, collaborative tools and precursor of graphical user interface.
In 1967 he filed a patent for a primitive version of the Computer Mouse, the mouse was patented and later licensed to Apple for only 40000$ !

Douglas Engelbart with his archaic computer mouse at hand

Augmentation Research Center later become involved working closely with ARPANET (Internet's predecessor). In ARC Engelbart along with other researchers invented things like hypertext, object addressing, dynamic file linking, shared screen collaboration.

After WWII Douglas studied electrical enginering at University of Califormania (Berkley) gruduated with Master in 1953 and later in 1955 earned a PhD. During studying in Berkley he get involved in construction of California Digital Computer Project. After his graduation he served as a professor in Berkley

He enrolled in graduate school in electrical engineering at University of California, Berkeley, graduating with an Master of Science degree in 1953, and a Ph.D. in 1955.[9] As a graduate student at Berkeley he assisted in the construction of the California Digital Computer project

  1. he would focus his career on making the world a better place;
  2. any serious effort to make the world better requires some kind of organized effort;
  3. harnessing the collective human intellect of all the people contributing to effective solutions was the key;
  4. if you could dramatically improve how we do that, you'd be boosting every effort on the planet to solve important problems — the sooner the better; and
  5. computers could be the vehicle for dramatically improving this capability

An important paper that severely influenced Engelbart's ideas is As We May Think – by VANNEVAR BUSH In 2005 Engelbart received a National Science Foundation grant to fund the open source HyperScope project.
Douglas Engelbart has been honored with multiple awards including National Medal of Technology by Bill Clinton in y. 2000. He is fellow of Computer History Museum, he has been active as IT innovator until the very late time in his life, one of his last written works is Boosting our Collective IQs from 1995. In personal plan he was married for Ballard (who died in 1997), from her he had 4 kids – Gerda, Diana, Christina and Norman. One of most unusual things for him is his second marriage in 2008 in age of 83! He left behind himself 9 grandchildren 🙂

Douglas Engelbart the mother of all demos year 1968

Douglas is mostly famous in hacker culture for his demonstration of experimental computer technologies that are now commonplace in December 9, 1968 widely known as "The Mother of All Demos". Below is a Video capture of whole presentation, I believe every IT geek, hacker or just a computer involved person should watch it. One can see that this presentation later led to development of many of modern concepts in Computer Science used this very day including so popular nowadays FrameWork Programming


The Mother of All Demos, visual presentation of Experimental Computer Technology presented by Douglas Engelbart (1968)

The creator of C and UNIX Dennis Ritchie passed away R.I.P. Dennis

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Dennis Ritchie old young picture

I just read the – Linux Weekly news ‘s website the very sad news that one of the greatest modern day computer heroes Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie after a long illness has passed away in his home.

The original notification for this grieving news are on Rob Pike’s Google Plus wall , this is the original message:

Rob Pike - 1:02 AM - Public
I just heard that, after a long illness, Dennis Ritchie (dmr) died at home this weekend. I have no more information.
I trust there are people here who will appreciate the reach of his contributions and mourn his passing appropriately.
He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind.

For all those who haven’t heard about Dennis Ritchie , he was a computer scientist who developed the C Programming language and had an immeasurable influence on all kind of Modern programming.

C Programming Language cover Dennis Ritchie

Dennis worked on the development of Unix’s predecessor Multics as well as with Ken Thompson worked together in Bell Labs and are practically the fathers of UNIX.
Unix the Seventh Edition source code has later become the basis for the early UNIX BSD distributions. Among the most important technical contributions Dennis has done is the introduction of a Streams mechanism – pipes – (as called today in GNU/Linux and BSD and other unices).
Ritchie’s C Language creation on top of Ken Thompson’s B Programming language has been standartized and become the de-facto standard for almost every modern existing OS around.
Moreover dmr has been among the co-creators of Plan 9 Operating system (which is currently open-source distributed) as well as coded a few bits for the Inferno OS which today is known under the code name Vita Nuova

Unix Live Free or die Bell labs early UNIX logo

dmr (the hacker nickname of Dennis) lines up across the most notable computer hackers of all times. He received U.S. national Medal of Technology in 1999 from president Bill Clinton for his contributions to co-inventing the UNIX operating system and the creation of C Language

Denis Ritchie receives national prize in 1999 for Technology from president Bill Clinton
To sum it up DMR is just an “icon” in the computer geek world and his memory will surely live forever in the hacker undeground and computer geek culture.

Dennis Ritche near a personal computer picture

A few quotes dmr is so famous with:

"I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party."
"Usenet is a strange place."
"UNIX is very simple, it just needs a genius to understand its simplicity."
"C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success."
"We really didn't buy it thinking we'd have this enormous investment."

Here is also a short video telling a few words of UNIX history and showing Dennis Ritchie in his UNIX development years:

Farewell Denis! See you in Hacker’s paradise 😉