Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

"Tech Heroes" From Ada Lovelace to Jamie Z

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the all-know-kung-fu dept.


An anonymous reader writes "The Web 2.0 Journal has launched a search for what it calls "the all-time heroes of i-Technology" (its own shorthand for 'Internet technologies'), reaching as far back as to The Countess of Lovelace, though whether or not Ada Lovelace is truly the first programmer is not discussed. As an exercise in reminding ourselves whose shoulders we are standing on when hurtlng towards the 21st-century, richer Web it's not a bad start. Naturally there are sins of omission..."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


well (4, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880808)

The Web 2.0 Journal has launched a search for what it calls "the all-time heroes of i-Technology"

In the search for heroes, they should talk to a Mr. Mohinder Suresh. I hear he has a list.

irony of the sites name (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17880810)

a Web 2 "journal" that doesn't even validate and uses tables for presentation (not to mention 20+adverts per page) spread over 18 pages

if that's what web 2 is all about i'm dreading Web 3

Re:irony of the sites name (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881314)

Jesus, that site is horrifically designed. The first thing I got was an auto playing video, then a floating advert that followed me down the screen.

I may be wrong, but this strikes me as 'hey, lets make something slashdot might put up and fill it with adverts'. What a heap.

Oh, and web 2.0 is, so far as I've been able to tell, all about making money, and that means advertising, so yes, expect worse to come.

Re:irony of the sites name (2, Insightful)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881938)

Even worse, that crap pops up even if you have Adblock on.

Despite that, I hope whoever invented Adblock is on the list. My vote for best technology of the "Web 2.0" era, by far.

Re:irony of the sites name (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881986)

I do jhave addblock, which was why it was so shocking, normally I don't see the cruft of the interwebs

Re:irony of the sites name (2, Funny)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17883580)

Me too. I decided to see if it was doing anything or not, so I pop open the sidebar and see it had already blocked about 20 items! I added an exception for the video ads, but I hope I never go to that site again.

Re:irony of the sites name (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882994)

Why is that ironic? "Web 2.0" is about hyping "interactive" web applications — most of which are badly designed.

Can someone explain to me why Jamie Z is a hero? I only know him from reading his comments in the Netscape keyboard resource file when I was trying to get the browser to behave under Linux. These left me with a permanent dislike for the dude: instead of explaining the format of the file, he put in lengthy sarcastic (and misinformed) rants about the "mistakes" made by various Unix vendors in designing their keyboards.

Re:irony of the sites name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17883812)

He's a hero because he tells it like it is, without worrying about sparing the feelings of those who are making the world a worse place to live--i.e. RMS, apsies, and fucktards like you.

Screw Twofo like your bitch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17880842)

Twofo [twofo.co.uk] Is Dying

DC++ [dcpp.net] hub.twofo.co.uk:4144

It is official; Netcraft confirms: Twofo is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleagured University of Warwick [warwick.ac.uk] filesharing community when ITS confirmed that Twofo total share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all file sharing. Coming hot on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Twofo has lost more share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Twofo is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Student comprehensive leeching test.

You don't need to be one of the Hub Operators to predict Twofo's future. The hand writing is on the toilet wall: Twofo faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Twofo because Twofo is dying. Things are looking very bad for Twofo. As many of us are already aware, Twofo continues to lose users. Fines and disconnections flow like a river of feces [tubgirl.com] .

N00b Campus users are the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of their total share. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Twofo sharers fool_on_the_hill and Twinklefeet only serves to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Twofo is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Sources indicate that there are at most 150 users in the hub. How many filelists have been downloaded? Let's see. 719. But 1621 IP addresses have been logged, and 1727 nicks have been sighted connecting to one user over the last term. How many searches are there? 600 searches in 3 hours. The highest sharer on campus, known as "firstchoice", or Andrew.Maddison@warwick.ac.uk in real life, was sharing over 1 TiB, despite working in ITS [warwick.ac.uk] and not being on the resnet. He's only there so people off campus who think they're too good for bittorrent can continue to abuse the University's internet connection.

Due to troubles at the University of Warwick, lack of internet bandwidth, enforcements of Acceptable Usage Policies, abysmal sharing, retarded leechers, clueless n00bs, and ITS fining and disconnecting users, Twofo has no future. All major student surveys show that Twofo has steadily declined in file share. Twofo is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Twofo is to survive at all it will be among hardcore peer to peer fuckwits, desperate to grab stuff for free off the internet. Nothing short of a miracle could save Twofo from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Twofo is dead.

Fact: Twofo is dying

Naturally there are sins of omission... (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880864)

Yeah, like no CowboyNeal option!

Re:Naturally there are sins of omission... (1)

fireslack (1039158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880936)

How could they forget the living legend, Al Gore?

Re:Naturally there are sins of omission... (4, Insightful)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881672)

More to the point, how could they forget John von Neumann [wikipedia.org] , Marvin Minsky [wikipedia.org] and others?

Re:Naturally there are sins of omission... (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882848)

Be careful. I've had angry responses in the past when bringing up Marvin Minsky on slashdot.

The 'Artificial Intelligence' people are touchy these days.

Web 2.0 Journal? (4, Informative)

matt me (850665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880878)

A journal with that name just has to be a joke. Yes I did try to read the fucking article, but it was obscured by a large photograph of a bridge. I guess this was an advert.

Well I'm glad to see this web 2.0 is so user friendly.

Relax... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880952)

I did try to read the fucking article, but it was obscured by a large photograph

Think of it this way: you were looking at page 1. Of 22. Now, do you feel better? If you *had* read the fucking article, you would have had to click 22 times on that "close this window" button. That's what you get when you try to read an article about the inventor of Ada, the most overhyped language until Ruby.

Re:Relax... (1)

prandal (87280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880976)

Except that "close that window button" is not accessible if you're on an 800x600 display. And when you try to scroll the page that flipping ad moves with you.

Consigning "Web 2.0 Journal" to the trashcan where it so obviously belongs.

Ada and Ruby (5, Interesting)

krischik (781389) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881146)

Ada, the most overhyped language until Ruby.
Ada was not overhyped - Ada delivered everything it promised. Ada was rather underestimaded by those who never learned Ada.

Of course that was the problem: When Ada came out only very powerfull system where able to run an Ada compiler so not many programmers could actualy try the language.

But that's not a problem any more, grap yourself an open source Ada compiler [1] and see for yourself.

As for Ruby: That seems a nice enough language as well. Never given me any problems. So where actually is your problem?


[1] http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ada_Programming/Insta lling [wikibooks.org]

Re:Ada and Ruby (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17887656)

Of course that was the problem: When Ada came out only very powerfull system where able to run an Ada compiler so not many programmers could actualy try the language.

Actually, the problem as I understood it was that Ada compilers were required to undergo a strict certification process, managed in part by the U.S. government. This process was very expensive for compiler vendors, therefore the compilers were themselves very expensive. Getting your hands on an Ada compiler cost several thousand dollars, compared to a $150 copy of Turbo Pascal.

Re:Web 2.0 Journal? (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881340)

I do so like the Firefox Nuke Anything Enhanced [mozilla.org] extension. I don't use it often, but for web sites like TFA it is nice to have its "remove this object" choice on the right click menu.

That said, you didn't miss much by not RTFA. I waded through the first few paragraphs, but stopped when I realized that author was in love with the english language but not in a healthy way...

Fire of My Loins! (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881700)

Nabokov called _Lolita_ the story of his love affair with the English language.

(I vote we talk about anything and everything *except TFA.)

Re:Web 2.0 Journal? (2, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17887664)

A journal with that name just has to be a joke.

Sys-Con Media is known for this sort of thing. They whip up publications devoted to the latest trends, then scrap them when the ad dollars dry up.

They forgot one (4, Informative)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880890)

Douglas Engelbart [wikipedia.org] , the true father of desktop computing. At a time when computers were used merely for data processes, he envisioned they could be used in the everyday life.

Re:They forgot one (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17880930)

So he was the first person to put pr0n on a computer?

History should be treated as tentative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17880896)

Yet most people are adamant about treating it as something absolute, regardless of the countless revisions that resurface based on the most valuable thing a human being can possess; critical thinking.

Was Ada Lovelace the first programmer? Who knows, but more importantly, who would this mean anything to? Who would it favour if she was?

Woaaah (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17880902)

Ad gangbang!!!!!

I can't believe it, gazillion ads on one page (they topped tom's hardware)

Ouch! (3, Funny)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880908)

when hurtlng towards the 21st-century, richer Web

I think I'll stick to plain HTML 4.0.1 if web 2.0 is going to hurt that much.

Misplaced credit (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17880968)

My question is: Who has been given credit for things that other people invented? Who are the unsung heros and who are the rip-off artists?

For instance, I always gave credit for the invention of spread spectrum to Hedy Lamarr (a movie star). Then I found this little gem:
"Frequency hopping spread spectrum was a public domain idea by 1917. The Germans used it in WWII. Hitler wanted to win by bluff and before the war started, invited public figures from England and the US to see how invincible his military was. Hedy Lamarr, who has similar scientific-mathematical skills to Cher and Edith Bunker, was among one of these groups who was shown the "invincible" communication system the German's had. When the group got back to the US, they applied for a patent and possibly as a joke put only Hedy's name on it. The patent office examiners then, as they are now, are not practicing engineers and are spread over a wide range of technology, they are jacks of all trades and masters of none. They are also short of time to keep up with what is going on in the engineering world or to study engineering history. They only see if a similar patent was issued in the past. Finding none, they issued the patent. This is why so many patents are being issued these days on public domain prior art." The guy who wrote it has several other examples of people who came up with something first not getting credit for it.
http://www.analog-rf.com/mixer.shtml [analog-rf.com]

The Lamarr Patent (3, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881772)

When the group got back to the US, they applied for a patent and possibly as a joke put only Hedy's name on it.

Lamarr was in Hollywood in 1937.

U.S. Patent Number 2,292,387, August 11th, 1942, [was awarded to Hedy Lamarr] under the name 'Hedy Keisler Markey' (her married name) and George Antheil, for a 'Secret Communications System.' Nomination for the EFF Pioneer award [ncafe.com]

Lamarr's first husband was an independent munitions maker interested in control systems whose European properties were confiscated by the Reich in 1938. George Antheil, an avant-garde composer interested in the related problem of synchronizing non-traditional "instruments" in concert performance. Advanced Weaponry of the Stars [americanheritage.com]

Hitler wanted to win by bluff and before the war started, invited public figures from England and the US to see how invincible his military was.

Hitler was always alert to the propaganda value of massive displays of troops and guns and planes.

But he was not such a fool as to prematurely expose the secret technologies of jet propulsion, radar, guided missiles, the Enigma, etc., that, in the end, might prove decisive.

Re:The Lamarr Patent (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881852)

U.S. Patent Number 2,292,387, August 11th, 1942, [was awarded to Hedy Lamarr] under the name 'Hedy Keisler Markey' (her married name) and George Antheil. . .

I knew how much to trust the guy the second he said this:

". . .as a joke put only Hedy's name on it."


Re:Misplaced credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17881814)

Yeah, when I saw this I thought there should be two lists:

1) those with outsized egos who are relentless at self-promotion and getting ahead

2) those who aren't.

The world at large tends to value the people on the first list more, and not without reason. Personally I identify more with the second.

You are easily swayed. (3, Informative)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17884912)

I don't know James Long, Ph.D, but he seems to have an ax to grind. Most people who met Hedy Lamarr would verify she was extremely intelligent. Her husband in the early 30's, Fritz Mandal, was an engineer and producer of aircraft, artilery, and early weapons guidance. It would appear Hedy learned a thing or two during their time together.

There are many accounts of Lamarr explaining the process by which she and George Antheil invented the concept of frequency hopping. At the outbreak of WWII Hedy had in idea for a torpedo guidance system. Antheil suggested a way to sync the necessary systems together using a roll of punched paper (as in a player piano)

"hurtlng towards the 21st-century" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17880970)

I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume he is stuck in 1998. The article link confirms this assumption.

Claude E. Shannon (5, Insightful)

z-man (103297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880974)

How is it possible to create a list of the most important people in technology throughout history and _not_ include Shannon. Jeez, the guy is the father of information theory and digital circuit design!

Dubious paternity (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17881676)

"In 1924 and 28, Nyquist and Hartley published the limits to communication over a noisy channel. In 1949, Shannon and Weaver published a book on the same subject. Shannon got the credit for Nyquists' and Hartley's work. He also claimed the 34 year old sampling theorem as his own work.
H. Nyquist, "Certain Factors Affecting Telegraph Speed," Bell Systems Tech. Jour., vol. 3, April 1924, p. 324
H. Nyquist, "Certain Topics in Telegraph Transmission Theory," A.I.E.E. Trans., vol. 47, April 1828, p. 617
R. V. L. Hartley, "The Transmission of Information"Bell Systems Tech. Jour., vol. 7, July 1928, pp. 535-564"

http://www.analog-rf.com/mixer.shtml [analog-rf.com]

I'd say Shannon is a candidate for someone who got credit that belonged to someone else.

Re:Dubious paternity (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17884344)

Are you sure about that, or are you just believing that source that you've seen? I ask, because there doesn't seem to be much else out there implying that Shannon dubiously appropriated the work of Nyquist and Hartley and passed it off as his own original work. It would be scandalous if that were the case.

As I recall from reading Shannon's paper years ago, Shannon does reference (rather than appropriating the work of) Nyquist in his 1949 paper, and what is generally regarded as his original contribution, the noisy-channel coding theorem [wikipedia.org] was not published previously by Nyquist.

Are you referring to what is known as the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem [wikipedia.org] (Nyquist first, Shannon second)? This was known already, and Shannon in fact references Nyquist in this regard.

I don't know about Hartley, but are you actually suggesting that there was nothing new at all in what is generally regarded as one of the greatest scientific papers published? If so, I'd like to see many, many more reputable sites than the shady-looking page written by one person, who for all we know might have an axe to grind.

It's a philosophical question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17884638)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannon%E2%80%93Hartl ey_theorem [wikipedia.org]

The above linked wiki article is excellent and shows the relation between Nyquist, Hartley and Shannon. AFACT, you could make the argument either way.

A similar question might be: Who is the father of radio? Marconi? Maxwell?

Who discovered the electron? ancient Greeks? Stoney? Thompson?

In attributing credit for something, the guy favors the first one to posit an idea even if the practical implementation came much much later. He points out that the math behind DSP is over a hundred years old. True as far as it goes. Of course, I usually credit Oppenheim. So, the guy may or may not have an axe to grind but at least he seems to be consistent and makes an argument that can be reasonably defended.

i-Technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17880994)

Jesus, I really, really hope that turd of a buzzword doesn't catch on with PHB's or the media. I'm pretty sure I would seriously hurt anyone who referred to my job as being in the "i-Technology" industry.

ADA ADA ADA (0, Troll)

Nyall (646782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17880996)

Am I they only one sick of hearing how great Miss ADA is?

The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (5, Insightful)

allikat_uk (1058258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881002)

How could they forget Alan Turing? [wikipedia.org] The inventor of the Turing test for AI, and father of the modern computer?

Re:The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881720)

He was not the father of the modern computer at all. Dr Tommy Flowers was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Flowers [wikipedia.org] . He created Collosus, so in every sense *he* was one of the fathers of modern computing. However he was constrained by the official secrets act to never discuss his creation, so his contribution was forgotten.
Turing knew how to use Colossus, and did some very impressive things. Certainly he could be assigned the title father of AI, but not of modern computing by a long shot. There are people in america with a greater claim to that throne.

I know it doesn't do to say these things about Turing. However, while he would no doubt have made far greater contributions had he not been held to secrecy and driven to suicide by the restrictions and monitoring of the secret service, the fact remains that his actual contribution were somewhat limited. Being prosecuted for being gay didn't help much either.

Its a tragedy that we lost him when we did, and how we did, mostly because of the homophobia of the then UK establishment. I wonder what he would have gone on to discover. Perhaps we'd have got the positron a good deal sooner.

Re:The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (2, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882658)

He was not the father of the modern computer at all. Dr Tommy Flowers was

It appears they worked together, so it is hard to say. Turing used electro-mechanical relays, and Flowers replaced the designs with vacuum tubes because of his experience in phone systems. Thus, he may have simply "upgraded" the switches to faster technology rather than reinvent the entire computer design itself.

Re:The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882732)

Dr flowers actually built collossus away from bletchley park, and away from Turing. Not that I disagree that Turing may have dabbled, but he was not there when colossus was constructed

Re:The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17883044)

Dr flowers actually built collossus away from bletchley park, and away from Turing. Not that I disagree that Turing may have dabbled, but he was not there when colossus was constructed

But Flowers was mostly interested in increasing the speed via tubes instead of mechanical switches. He was not trying for a revolutionary kind of device or techniques other than using tubes instead. Sure, the difference in technology may have resulted in some innovations, but the concepts were not really different it appears.

Re:The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17883066)

I was more meaning that he personally financed and undertook the construction of the worlds first computer, and yes, it was him who designed it, he was one smart cookie.

Re:The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17886148)

I was more meaning that he personally financed and undertook the construction of the worlds first computer, and yes, it was him who designed it, he was one smart cookie.

I guess it depends on how one defines "computer". Turing's mechanical devices were considered "computers". They just were not electronic. I guess you could say Flowers invented the *electronic* computer. But that is a different credit than inventing the computer. That credit would probably go to Mr. Pascal. The other invention that is unclear to me is the stored program, where the program is kept in memory instead of read directly off of cards/paper-tape or programmed via wire-boards.

Re:The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (1)

GrumpySimon (707671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17884054)

Flowers replaced the designs with vacuum tubes

Ahhh.. so he's the guy who invented the internet, then?

Re:The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (1)

eokyere (685783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882320)

sorry, but mauchley and eckert got there first, not turing ;P

Re:The mind bibbles, boggles and so on (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17883018)

sorry, but mauchley and eckert got there first, not turing

IIRC, mauchley and eckert got credit for the "stored program", that is storing the program in memory rather than wire-boards. But that is a different issue than "first electronic computer".


Missing pair (2, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881022)

At the risk of stating the obvious, the list is missing John Bardeen [wikipedia.org] and Walter Brattain [wikipedia.org] , the guys who invented the transistor (With their manager, William Shockley, they won the Nobel prize in physics for it).

from their list (4, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881048)

Andy Hertzfield: Eazel developer and Macintosh forefather

Jean Ichbiah: Creator of Ada

Grace Murray Hopper: Developer of the first compiled high level programming language, COBOL

Jordan Hubbard: One of the creators of FreeBSD; currently a manager of Apple's Darwin project

Jean D Ichbiah: Principal designer, Ada language (1977)

Ken Iverson: Inventor of APL, later J

I've never used ADA, is it really so good that its inventor had to be listed twice in the same list?

Re:from their list (2, Informative)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881658)

It's apt... The first mention was the specification, the second was the implementation body. Welcome to the world of Ada :) Paul (Ex Ada coder)

Re:from their list (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882140)

The first mention was the specification, the second was the implementation body

In the list posted (I, obviously, didn't RTFA), the first listing was as 'creator' and the second as 'designer' of ADA. This sounds more like the first listing is for implementation while the second is for design.

This sounds like it would be a little bit more appropriate for Java or C# than ADA...

Re:from their list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17882238)

Hey, it is Ada, not ADA. ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, not a programming language - though that could make for an interesting experience if it were...

Re:from their list (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17887646)

I've never used ADA, is it really so good that its inventor had to be listed twice in the same list?

Though the Ada language seems destined to be forgotten, at one time the U.S. Department of Defense required that any significant code written for DoD projects be written in Ada.

Article text (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17881096)

Who Are The All-Time Heroes of i-Technology?

I wonder how many people, as I did, found themselves thrown into confusion by the death last week of Jean Ichbiah (pictured below), inventor of Ada.

Learning that the inventor of a computer programming language is already old enough to have lived 66 years (Ichbiah was 66 when he succumbed to brain cancer) is a little like learning that your 11-year-old daughter has grown up and left home or that the first car you ever bought no longer is legal because it runs on gasoline in an age where all automobiles must run on water. How can something as novel, as new, as a computing language possibly already be so old-fangled that an early practitioner like Ichbiah can already no longer be with us?

The thought was so disquieting that it took me immediately back to the last time I wrote about Ichbiah, and indeed about Ada Lovelace for whom his language was named. It was in the context of my quest a couple of years ago to identify the Top Twenty Software People in the World.

It began as an innocent enough exercise, inadvertently kick-started by Tim Bray writing in his popular "Ongoing" blog about how he rated Google's Adam Bosworth as "probably one of the top 20 software people in the world." Already famous for Quattro Pro, Microsoft Access, and Internet Explorer 4 even before he joined BEA as VP of engineering in 2001, when BEA bought Crossgain, the company he'd by then cofounded after leaving Microsoft, Bosworth went on to become BEA's chief architect before leaving to join Google. Definitely a shoo-in for the Top Twenty then. But the question naturally arose - or at least it did in my mind - who are the other 19?

I knew that it would not be easy to answer, and not because there are too few candidates but because there are too many. The names of today's leading i-technologists - whose collective smarts Internet technologies rely on for their unceasing innovation and ingenuity - trip off most people's tongues in a heartbeat: just think of Sergey Brin, Bill Joy, Linus Torvalds, Tim Berners-Lee, James Gosling, Anders Hejlsberg, Don Box, Nathan Myhrvold, W. Daniel Hillis, Mitch Kapor... all clear members of the "technorati" or "digerati" - call them what you will - the undisputed aristocrats of the online world.

But what about those who came before, the precursors of the current crop of talent? I wrote at the time:

"Can a list of the Top 20 i-Technologists possibly be compiled that doesn't cause the online equivalent of fistfights when published? Obviously not. But that shouldn't deter us from trying."

My inbox soon began to throb with the deluge of nominations, and within days I was able to list forty mind-bogglingly gifted candidates, as follows (click on the name for a brief description of the individual concerned):

                * Tim Berners-Lee: "Father of the World Wide Web" and expectant father of the Semantic Web
                * Joshua Bloch: Formerly at Sun, where he helped architect Java's core platform; now at Google
                * Grady Booch: One of the original developers of the Unified Modeling Language
                * Adam Bosworth: Famous for Quattro Pro, Microsoft Access, and IE4; then BEA, now Google
                * Don Box: Coauthor of SOAP
                * Stewart Brand: Cofounder in 1984 of the WELL bulletin board
                * Tim Bray: One of the prime movers of XML, now with Sun
                * Dan Bricklin: Co-creator (with Bob Frankston) of VisiCalc, the first PC spreadsheet
                * Larry Brilliant: Cofounder in 1984 of the WELL bulletin board
                * Sergey Brin: Son-of-college-math-professor turned cofounder of Google
                * Dave Cutler: The brains behind VMS; hired away by Microsoft for Windows NT
                * Don Ferguson: Inventor of the J2EE application server at IBM, now with Microsoft
                * Roy T. Fielding: Primary architect of HTTP 1.1 and a founder of the Apache Web server
                * Bob Frankston: Cocreator (with Dan Bricklin) of VisiCalc, the first PC spreadsheet
                * Jon Gay: The "Father of Flash"
                * James Gosling: "Father of Java" (though not its sole parent)
                * Anders Hejlsberg: Genius behind the Turbo Pascal compiler, subsequently "Father of C#"
                * Daniel W. Hillis: VP of R&D at the Walt Disney Company; cofounder, Thinking Machines
                * Miguel de Icaza: Now with Novell, cofounder of Ximian
                * Martin Fowler: Famous for work on refactoring, XP, and UML
                * Bill Joy: Cofounder and former chief scientist of Sun; main author of Berkeley Unix
                * Mitch Kapor: Designer of Lotus 1-2-3, founder of Lotus Development Corporation
                * Brian Kernighan: One of the creators of the AWK and AMPL languages
                * Mitchell Kertzman: Former programmer, founder, and CEO of Powersoft (later Sybase)
                * Klaus Knopper: Prime mover of Knoppix, a Linux distro that runs directly from a CD
                * Craig McClanahan: Of Tomcat, Struts, and JSF fame
                * Nathan Myhrvold: Theoretical and mathematical physicist, former CTO at Microsoft
                * Tim O'Reilly: Publisher, open source advocate; believer that great technology needs great books
                * Jean Paoli: One of the co-creators of the XML 1.0 standard with the W3C; now with Microsoft
                * John Patrick: Former VP of Internet technology at IBM, now "e-tired"
                * Rob Pike: An early developer of Unix and windowing system (GUI) technology
                * Dennis Ritchie: Creator of C and coinventor of Unix
                * Richard Stallman: Free software movement's leading figure; founder of the GNU Project
                * Bjarne Stroustrup: The designer and original implementor of C++
                * Andy Tanenbaum: Professor of computer science, author of Minix
                * Ken Thompson: Coinventor of Unix
                * Linus Torvalds: "Benevolent dictator" of the Linux kernel
                * Alan Turing: Mathematician; author of the 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence"
                * Guido van Rossum: Author of the Python programming language
                * Ann Winblad: Former programmer, cofounder of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners

It was at this point that the name of The Father of Ada was thrown into the hopper, along with that of Ada Lovelace herself. How could I possibly not have already included Jean Ichbiah, many wrote to say? Indeed the one new submission was more indignant than the next, and I soon expanded the list of candidates from forty to one hundred, by adding the following sixty:

Gene Amdahl: Implementer in the 60s of a milestone in computer technology: the concept of compatibility between systems

Marc Andreessen: Pioneer of Mosaic, the first browser to navigate the WWW; co-founder of Netscape

Charles Babbage: Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge in 1828; inventor of the 'calculating machine'

John Backus: Inventor (with IBM) of FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslator) in 1956

Kent Beck: Creator of JUnit and pioneer of eXtreme Programming (XP)

Bob Bemer: One of the developers of COBOL and the ASCII naming standard for IBM (1960s)

D J Bernstein: Author of qmail

Fred Brooks: Co-creator of OS/390, helping change the way we think about software development

Luca Cardelli: Implementer of the first compiler for ML (the most popular typed functional language) and one of the earliest direct-manipulation user-interface editors

Vincent Cerf: "The Father of the Internet," co-inventor with Robert Kahn of the first Internetworking Protocol, TCP

Brad Cox: Father of Objective-C

Alonzo Church: Co-creator with Alan Turing of the "Church-Turing Thesis"

Alistair Cockburn: Helped craft the Agile Development Manifesto

Edgar (Ted) Codd: "Father of Relational Databases," inventor of SQL and creator of RDBMS systems

Larry Constantine: Inventor of data flow diagrams; presented first paper on concepts of structured design in 1968

Ole-Johan Dahl: Developer (with Kristen Nygaard) of SIMULA, the first object-oriented programming language.

Tom DeMarco: A principal of the computer systems think tank, Atlantic Systems Guild

Theo de Raadt: Founder of the OpenBSD and OpenSSH projects

Edsger W. Dijkstra: One of the moving forces behind the acceptance of computer programming as a scientific discipline; developer of the first compilers

Brendan Eich: Inventor of JavaScript; Chief Architect of the Mozilla Project

Robert Elz: University of Melbourne Department of Computer Science

Richard P. Feynman: Legendary physicist and teacher, teacher of Caltech course 1983-86 called Potentialities and Limitations of Computing Machines

Bill Gates: Chief Software Architect (and Lord High Chief Everything Else) of "the world's #1 company" (Hoovers.com)

Adele Goldberg: Developer of SmallTalk along with Alan Kay; wrote much of the documentation

Andy Hertzfield: Eazel developer and Macintosh forefather

Jean Ichbiah: Creator of Ada

Grace Murray Hopper: Developer of the first compiled high level programming language, COBOL

Jordan Hubbard: One of the creators of FreeBSD; currently a manager of Apple's Darwin project

Jean D Ichbiah: Principal designer, Ada language (1977)

Ken Iverson: Inventor of APL, later J

William Kahan: "The Old Man of Floating-Point;" primary architect behind the IEEE 754 standard for loating-point computation

Robert Kahn: Co-inventor with Vincent Cerf of the first Internetworking Protocol, TCP

Mike Karels: System architect for 4.3BSD

Alan Kay: Inventor of SmallTalk

Gary Kildall: Author of the archetpical OS known as CP/M (control Program for Microcomputers)

Donald Knuth: "Father of Computer Science" - author of The Art of Computer Programming; inventor of TeX, allowing typesetting of text and mathematical formulas on a PC

Butler Lampson: Architect of Cedar/Mesa; Implementer of Xerox Alto

Robert C. Martin: Agile software development proponent; CEO, president, and founder of Object Mentor

Yukihiro Matsumoto ("Matz"): Creator of Ruby

John McCarthy: Creator, with his graduate students, of Lisp

Doug McIlroy: Head of department at Bell Labs where UNIX started

Bob Metcalfe: Creator of Ethernet

Chuck Moore: Inventor of Forth, a high-level programming language

Andrew Morton: Linus's No. 2 in the kernel group

Ted Nelson: Creator of the Xanadu project - universal, democratic hypertext library; precursor to the WWW

Kristen Nygaard: Developer (with Ole-Johan Dahl) of SIMULA, the first object-oriented programming language.

Peter Pag: Pioneer of 4GLS (1979); developed Software AG's Natural

Bob Pasker: founder of WebLogic, author of the first Java Application Server

Benjamin Pierce: Harvard University faculty member for 49 years; recognized in his time as one of America's leading mathematicians

P J Plauger: Chair of the ANSI C committee

Jon Postel: "The 'North Star' Who Defined the Internet"

John Postley: Developed Mark IV (1967), the first million dollar software product, for Informatics

Martin Richards: Designer of the BCPL Cintcode System

Martin Roesch: Author of the open-source program Snort in 1998

Gurusamy Sarathy: Heavily involved in maintaining the mainstream releases of Perl for the past 7 years

Carl Sassenrath: Author of REBOL, a scripting language

Guy L. Steele: Author of athoritative books and papers on Lisp

W. Richard Stevens: "Guru of the Unix Gurus"; author and consultant

Ivan Sutherland: Considered by many to be the creator of Computer Graphics

Avadis (Avie) Tevanian: Chief Software Technology Officer, Apple

Guy (Bud) Tribble: One of the industry's top experts in software design and object-oriented programming

Patrick Volkerding: Creator of Slackware Linux

Larry Wall: Author of Perl

John Warnock: Inventor of PostScript; CEO of Adobe Systems

Michael "Monty" Widenius: Creator of MySQL

Nicklaus Wirth: Inventor of Algol W, Pascal, Modula, Modula-2, and Oberon

Stephen Wolfram: Scientist, creator of Mathematica

Jamie Zawinski: Instrumental in the creation of Lucid Emacs (now XEmacs)

Now we all know that there are others, that this list of 100 candidates barely scratches the surface, so....have at it: who's been left out? Once I have compiled a definitive list of, say, 150, I will devise a means by which we can vote and decide once and for all which 19 should join Adam Bosworth (who, for the record, loathes the whole idea of any such exercise, as does Tim Bray; both would I am quote certain wish me to record here that this entire idea owes nothing to their actual input, only to Tim's remark en passant all those years ago...)

Over to you!

Tim Berners-Lee

Brief Description: "Father of the World Wide Web" and expectant father of the Semantic Web

Further Details:

In his book Weaving the Web, Berners-Lee tried to answer questions that had been thrown at him again and again ever since - Questions such as "What were you thinking when you invented it?" through "So what do you think of it now?" to "Where is this all going to take us?"

He didn't anticipate, even in 1999 when the book was published, that technologies like HTML, HTTP, and XML would take him just four years later to a knighthood and then to a $1.2 million award from the Finnish Technology Award Foundation, known informally as the "Finnish Nobel Prize."

"The original idea of the Web," Berners-Lee has always said, "was that it should be a collaborative space where you can communicate through sharing information. The idea was that by writing something together, and as people worked on it, they could iron out misunderstanding."

In 1994, he founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) a not-for-profit forum that aims to lead the Web to its full potential. He became Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 2000 when knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and returned to the UK to take up a professorship at the University of Southampton.

"All sorts of things, too long for me to list here, are still out there waiting to be done." Berners-Lee said in his acceptance speech to the Finnish Technology Award Foundation. "There are so many new things to make, limited only by our imagination. And I think it's important for anybody who's going through school or college wondering what to do, to remember that now."

Joshua Bloch

Brief Description: Formerly at Sun, where he helped architect Java's core platform; now at Google.

Further Details:

Until very recently, when he moved - in July 2004 - to Google, Inc., Joshua Bloch was a senior staff engineer at Sun Microsystems, Inc. Bloch, an architect in the Core Java Platform Group, and very closely identified with the developer-focused "Tiger" project that spawned J2SE 1.5, known now as "Java 5."

The author of numerous articles and papers, Josh Bloch has also written a book, Effective Java Programming Language Guide, that was Runner Up in the "Best Book" category of the JDJ Readers' Choice Awards in 2000.

If James Gosling is the father of Java, then Josh Bloch nurtured Java like a mother.

Grady Booch

Brief Description: One of the original developers of the Unified Modeling Language; inventor of the term "Object Oriented."

Further Details:

Grady Booch is an IBM Fellow who has served as architect and architectural mentor for numerous complex software-intensive systems around the world in just about every domain imaginable.

He is the author of six best-selling books and has published several hundred articles on software engineering, including papers published in the early '80s that originated the term and practice of object-oriented design.

As one of the planet's only inhabitants who lists, as his three main obsessions "software architecture, software engineering, and Renaissance Jazz," Booch maintains an endlessly fascinating blog.

He said of Java in 2000:

        "Java is not the last language - although it may be Scott McNealy's last language."

Adam Bosworth

Brief Description: Famous for Quattro Pro, Microsoft Access, and IE4; then BEA, now Google

Further Details:

Possessed of one of the foremost minds in modern i-technology, Adam Bosworth was an XML guru for Microsoft Corporation, where he was a general manager in the late 90s, after which he left MS to found Crossgain - a company subsequently bought by BEA Systems.

Interviewed by SYS-CON when he was vice president of engineering of the Frameworks Division at BEA, Bosworth revealed what drives him. "I've spent my life trying to make building applications easy," he said, adding that what attracts him about i-technology is, basically, helping developers build solutions - "developing products, plumbing, or technology to help them build solutions."

He continued: "Whether it was Active Server Pages and the extent of my work at Microsoft, all of which was plumbing, or Access and working on the VB products, I helped them build the application. That's what I like doing."

Bosworth's last activity for BEA involved its mobile "Alchemy" project, which he unveiled personally at the company's 2004 eWorld conference.

He was one of Google's highest-profile new recruits in 2004, along with Joshua Bloch.

Don Box

Brief Description: Coauthor of SOAP

Further Details:

A popular blogger, Don Box was one of the original authors of the SOAP spec and is famous, among other things, for coining the term "COM is Love," as well as for calling HTTP the "cockroach of the Internet" and saying it is the root of problems for Web services.

As Microsoft's "Architect, XML Messaging" - a position he took up in January 2002 - Box has helped MS develop its XML Web services architecture.

He co-authored the original SOAP specification with Bob Atkinson, Gopal Kakivaya, and David Winer. Earlier in his career, he co-founded DevelopMentor Inc., a component software think tank aimed at educating developers on the use of the COM, Java and XML.

Microsoft claims that during his free time, Box "enjoys jamming with fellow MSDN Magazine contributors in Band on the Runtime, which performs songs on various programming topics."

Stewart Brand

Brief Description: Cofounder in 1984 of the WELL bulletin board

Further Details:

Famous for coining the phrase "Information wants to be free," Stewart Brand founded, edited, and published the original Whole Earth Catalog (1968-72).

A typical Brand approach to things was demonstrated in 1971, when he designed and co-organized with Scott Beach the "Demise Party," which celebrated the end of Whole Earth Catalog with 1,500 guests at the (then) new Exploratorium in San Francisco, and turned over $20,000 in cash to the audience to do good with. Debate lasted till dawn.

The Last Whole Earth Catalog, published by Random House, sold 1.5 million copies and received a National Book Award.

Brand, who had graduated in 1960 (in Biology) from Stanford, moved effortlessly from the world of print to the world of online when in 1984 with Larry Brilliant he founded The WELL (standing for "Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link"), a computer teleconference system for the San Francisco Bay Area that is now owned by SALON. It now has 9,000 active users worldwide and is considered a bellwether of the genre (others involved in starting The WELL were Larry Brilliant, Matthew McClure, and Kevin Kelly.)

Far from done with innovating, in 1988 he co-founded the Global Business Network with Peter Schwartz, Jay Ogilvy, Napier Collyns, and Lawrence Wilkinson. GBN explores global futures and business strategy for 90 multinationals such as Ford, Bechtel, Shell, Morgan Stanley, Hewlett Packard, Swedbank, Dupont, Federal Express, along with government clients such as DARPA.

From 1990-1994 Brand was a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization which supports civil rights and responsibilities in electronic media. He is currently the president of The Long Now Foundation (which is building a 10,000-year Clock and Library).

Tim Bray

Brief description: One of the prime movers of XML, now with Sun

Further Details:

Described recently as "a perennial figure of the Web," Tim Bray's typical bio is almost frighteningly full of accomplishment: He was manager of the New Oxford English Dictionary Project at the University of Waterloo, a co-editor of the XML spec, co-founder of Open Text Corporation, and is the founder and CTO of Antarctica Systems. He is a member of the W3C Consortium's Technical Architecture Group, which serves an architectural oversight function for the Web. As James Horner has observed: "To put it simply, his efforts change the way we work with, and perceive, information."

Bray blogs enthusiastically, and recently joined Sun as Director of Web Technologies.

While most people regard .NET as the chief threat to Java's status as the de-facto standard basis for large-scale software development, Bray - ever the contrarian -prophetically argued that rather it is the family of dynamic or "scripting" languages such as JavaScript, Python and Groovy that would inevitably occupy a larger and larger piece of the software-development universe. He believed that this trend is "impossible to resist, and...is potentially a good thing for Java."

The explosion of AJAX in the past two years have proven him right on the first point; and probably right on the second, though that may only emerge over time.

Closely involved in the world's most successful XML vocabulary, "RSS", which is used for news syndication, Bray is co-chair of the IETF "Atom" project which is designed to be its future.

Other resources:

The Co-Inventor of XML, Sun's Tim Bray, Speaks Out On Blogging, Web 2.0, XML, and the Future
Published May. 27, 2006 - Interview at JavaOne 2006 with Jeremy Geelan

Dion Hinchcliffe's Web 2.0 Blog
Sun's Tim Bray Discusses "AJAX Behaving Badly" and Other Misconceptions

i-Technology News Desk
"I Didn't Invent XML Dammit," Says Tim Bray

Dan Bricklin

Brief Description: Co-creator of VisiCalc, the first PC spreadsheet

Further details:

The co-creator (with Bob Frankston) of VisiCalc, the first PC spreadsheet, Dan Franklin has been a developer, inventor, entrepreneur, and business person, with both a degree in Computer Science from MIT and an MBA from Harvard.

The idea for the electronic spreadsheet came to Franklin while he was a student at the Harvard Business School, working on his MBA degree, in the spring of 1978. Here's how he tells the story himself:

        "Sitting in Aldrich Hall, room 108, I would daydream. 'Imagine if my calculator had a ball in its back, like a mouse...' (I had seen a mouse previously, I think in a demonstration at a conference by Doug Engelbart, and maybe the Alto). And '..imagine if I had a heads-up display, like in a fighter plane, where I could see the virtual image hanging in the air in front of me. I could just move my mouse/keyboard calculator around, punch in a few numbers, circle them to get a sum, do some calculations, and answer "10% will be fine!"' (10% was always the answer in those days when we couldn't do very complicated calculations...)

        The summer of 1978, between first and second year of the MBA program, while riding a bike along a path on Martha's Vineyard, I decided that I wanted to pursue this idea and create a real product to sell after I graduated."

That's just what he did, though his vision became more realistic, and the heads-up display gave way to a normal screen. He and Bob Frankston decided to form a company under which to do business: Software Arts, Inc., incorporated on January 2, 1979.

VisiCalc was first shown to the regular personal computer press in a special room at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco in May of 1979. The first "real" release, version 1.37, shipped in mid-October 1979. In 1985, though, Software Arts' assets were sold to Lotus Development Corporation, the creators and publishers of the 1-2-3 spreadsheet, and Lotus decided not to continue publishing VisiCalc.

"If I invented the spreadsheet today, of course I would file for a patent," Bricklin says on his incredibly candid Web site documenting the rise and fall of VisiCalc. In 1979, however, when VisiCalc was shown to the public for the first time, patents for software inventions were infrequently granted. Programs were thought to be mere mathematical algorithms, and mathematical algorithms, as laws of nature, were not patentable.

His latest endeavor is wikiCalc and textCalc.

Larry Brilliant

Brief Description: Co-founder in 1984 of the WELL bulletin board

Further Details:

"If baby boomers had their own Faust, he'd be Larry Brilliant, a man who's found himself at the center of almost every defining moment of his generation." That was how Fast Company characterized Dr Larry Brilliant, in an article published in October 2000 that continued:

        "There are people in Silicon Valley who are more successful than Larry Brilliant. And there are people in Silicon Valley who are richer than he is. But there are few who have had more impact on the world at large than he has."

In the early 1970s, when smallpox was devastating that country, Brilliant - having finished his surgical internship at Presbyterian Hospital in San Francisco in 1970 - spearheaded a (successful) campaign to eradicate the disease from India. He helped run the WHO smallpox eradication program in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh; was a staff member of the WHO "Global Commission to Certify Smallpox Eradicated" in Burma, India, Nepal, and Iran; and served as the last UN inspector to visit Iran to search for hidden smallpox.

The author of two books and dozens of articles on the epidemiology of smallpox, blindness, and environmental diseases, he has worked at city, county, state, federal, and international levels. Larry is also the founder of the Seva Foundation, which has performed 2 million free sight-restoring eye operations in India and Nepal. But he has a subsequent career as a technologist.

Together with Stewart Brand he conjured up the idea of The WELL, which in 1984 became one of the first expressions of online community, a gathering place for many of the brightest minds, the fiercest pioneers, and the keenest explorers of the just-gathering new economy. "It was the first electronic community," says Brilliant. Brand ran the WELL for 10 years before he and Brilliant agreed to sell it in parts in 1993 and in 1995. It is now owned by SALON.

Brilliant was also CEO of two public technology corporations (SoftNet Systems Inc. and Network Technologies), before founding the WiFi company, Cometa, in 2003 - which soon became the premier provider of wholesale 802.11 bandwidth in the United States. Brilliant served as its vice chairman until 2003 hen he returned to the Seva Foundation as Chairman of the organization during its silver anniversary year to chart an expansion of the organization's programs into new regions and countries and strengthen its management and financial capacity to provide more life-giving care.

As it was once, aptly, said: "Larry Brilliant appears to be living two full lives simultaneously."

Sergey Brin

Brief Description: Son-of-college-math-professor turned co-founder of Google, Inc.

Further Details:

"Research on the Web seems to be fashionable these days and I guess I'm no exception. Recently I have been working on the Google search engine with Larry Page."

With these now epochal words, Sergey Brin recorded on his Stanford University-hosted Web page his passionate interest in the "Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine" that has since then changed the lives of everyone who has ever used the World Wide Web.

With a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Maryland, Moscow-born Brin graduated with high honors in Mathematics and honors in Computer Science in May 1993 before moving to the Computer Science department at Stanford to study for his Ph.D. - studies which have been interrupted by the rise and rise...and rise...of Google.

"To engineer a search engine is a challenging task," he wrote in a paper co-authored with Larry Page. "Search engines index tens to hundreds of millions of web pages involving a comparable number of distinct terms. They answer tens of millions of queries every day. Despite the importance of large-scale search engines on the web, very little academic research has been done on them. Furthermore, due to rapid advance in technology and web proliferation, creating a web search engine today is very different from three years ago. This paper provides an in-depth description of our large-scale web search engine -- the first such detailed public description we know of to date. "

By 2004, with Google, Inc. now a public company, he and Larry Page were named "Persons of the Week" by ABC World News Tonight. Brin's official title at Google is "Co-Founder & President, Technology."

He is currently "on leave" from the Ph.D. program in computer science at Stanford University, where he received his master's degree. So long as he continues to share responsibility for day-to-day operations with Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, he probably won't be back.

Stanford's loss is the i-Technology world's gain.

Dave Cutler

Brief Description: The brains behind VMS; hired away by Microsoft for Windows NT

Further Details:

One of only 14 "Distinguished Engineers" at Microsoft, which he joined in 1988, Dave Cutler is generally considered one of the top few programmers worldwide.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Cutler worked at DEC, where he designed and delivered several successful operating systems, including VAX/VMS, RSX-11M and VAXELN. In recognition of his significant contributions to the field, he was awarded membership in the National Academy of Engineering in 1993.

After arriving at Microsoft, he launched the Windows NT group and has since then led the development of three major releases of the product, now known as Windows 2000. In addition to leading the Windows 2000 team, Cutler contributed to the architecture of all parts of the system, and even wrote the kernel himself.

After that was responsible for the design of the 64-bit release of Windows.

Originally from Dewitt, Michigan, he holds over 20 patents and is affiliate professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Washington.

Don Ferguson

Brief Description: Inventor of the J2EE application server at IBM, now with Microsoft

Further Details:

As an IBM Fellow and chief architect for IBM Software Group, Don Ferguson was the original chief architect for the WebSphere family of products. He joined IBM Research in 1985, and was the chairman of the Software Group Architecture Board, which oversees the architecture and integration of WebSphere, DB2, Lotus, Tivoli and Rational products.

"One of my goals in life," he once blogged, "is to teach my daughter (8 years old) and my wife (a dentist) to be able to build meaningful WebSphere applications."

More recently, in January 2007, he was recruited away from IBM by Microsoft, where he is now a Technical Fellow in Platforms and Strategy in the Office of the CTO.

A quality thinker and writer, here is an example of vintage Ferguson:

        "I like Java for some things. I have to admit that I like PHP's associative arrays and integral support for simple string/variable behavior. I also think there are metaphors for programming that we need to give to other communities. There is a whole cadre of SQL programmers out there. They need to be able to implement and use services without throwing out what they learned. Some business professionals understand simple flow charts for decisions, decision tables/trees and sequences of if ... then ... Some business schools teach structured english. I am not sure these folks would like PHP or Java. I am struggling with how to surface lots of programming "models," with a focus on matching the concepts and tools with the pre-conceived biases of the community.

        I think there is a huge role for XML over HTTP. It is ideal for many, many scenarios. We struggle with the WS-* family of specifications. I have read many of them, and helped write some of them. I do not think that they are as thick as the XML specs but I cannot dispute that the space appears to be complex. We strive for 'composability' and 'incremental consumption,' which we hope allows people to only learn the concepts their applications need."

Ferguson's interests - a refreshingly strange foursome - include "distributed systems, transaction processing, performance, and karate."

Other SYS-CON stories about Don Ferguson:

Microsoft Snags Don Ferguson, Former IBM Chief Architect - "Father of WebSphere"
Published Jan. 15, 2007

Birth of a Platform: Interview with Don Ferguson,"The Father of WebSphere" (Part 1)

Birth of a Platform: Interview with Don Ferguson, "The Father of WebSphere" (Part 2)

Birth of a Platform: Interview with Don Ferguson, "The Father of WebSphere" (Part 3)

Roy T. Fielding

Brief Description: Primary architect of HTTP 1.1 and a founder of the Apache Web server

Further Details:

Co-founder of the Apache HTTP Server Project, co-founder of the Apache Software Foundation, all around perl guru, and MOMspider author, Roy T. Fielding has a Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science, UC Irvine, and has been actively involved in the World Wide Web project since 1993.

He was the primary architect of the current Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1), co-author of the Internet standards for HTTP and Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI), and a founder of several open-source software projects, including the Apache HTTP Server Project that produces the software for over 64% of public Internet web sites.

In 1999, MIT Technology Review named him as one of the top 100 "young innovators of the year."

His Ph.D. dissertation, "Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software Architectures," defines the REST architectural style as a model for the design principles behind the modern Web architecture.

From 1999-2002 he was Chief Scientist, eBuilt, Irvine, California. Presently he is Chief Scientist, Day Software, Irvine, California.

In 1998 he wrote:

        "Life is a distributed object system. However, communication among humans is a distributed hypermedia system, where the mind's intellect, voice+gestures, eyes+ears, and imagination are all components."

Bob Frankston

Brief Description: Co-creator of VisiCalc, the first PC spreadsheet

Further Details:

Bob Frankston been working with computers since 1963 and with online services since 1966. He founded Software Arts in 1979 with Dan Bricklin to develop and sell VisiCalc, the world's first electronic spreadsheet program. VisiCalc remained a widely used program for personal computers for many years.

An MIT man through and through, Frankston was an MIT Undergrad 1967-1970 and a Grad 1970-1976. He received SB Degrees in both Computer Science and Mathematics in 1970 and Masters and Engineers Degrees in Computer Science (and EE) in 1974. He did graduate work at Project MAC (now the Laboratory for Computer Science), where he was involved in the Multics project. His Master's Thesis was "The Computer Utility as a Marketplace for Computer-Based Services". One area of continuing interest for Frankstonis "federated" systems - loosely coupled systems and databases as opposed to the more rigid distributed systems.

After the demise of VisiCalc he worked 1985-1990 for Lotus Development, where he created the Lotus Express product and a Fax facility for Lotus Notes and started lotus.com. In 1993 he joined Microsoft, where for 5 years he focused on the consumer use of computers, in particular, home networking, and the idea of "No New Wires Networking."

Bob's now on his own pursuing a number of projects, among them trying to explain the larger concepts of "IP everywhere."

Jon Gay

Brief Description: The "Father of Flash"

Further Details:

When Jonathan Gay wrote "FutureSplash Animator" in 1995 along with Robert Tatsumi, he could hardly have imagined the impact the program would have on Web design. Rechristened "Flash" by Macromedia, the program leveraged vector graphics to deliver smooth motion in a file small enough to be distributed on the early, bandwidth-challenged Web.

Today Gay still guides Adobe's Flash's development, and is currently focusing on extending Flash to support richer communications in a networked world.

Gay is on record as saying that Flash began with a few bits of colored plastic, namely the LEGO bricks he grew up playing with as a child (back when there were no LEGO men or whales or complicated accessory packs - just rectangular blocks and a few wheels).

"Those bits of colored plastic," Gay explains, "taught me the basics of engineering design, how to choose a design problem, and the process of iterative refinement. Even better, they helped me express my early passion for building things."

He began his career in computing writing games, then moved to building graphics editors. Here is how he and Robert Tatsumi turned their ideas into reality:

        "In the summer of 1995, we were at SIGGRAPH and got lots of feedback from people that we should turn SmartSketch into an animation product. We were starting to hear about the Internet and the Web, and it seemed possible that the Internet would become popular enough that people would want to send graphics and animation over it. So we began to add animation to SmartSketch.

        At the time, the only way to extend a Web browser to play back animation was through Java. So we wrote a simple animation player that used Java and was horribly slow. We stubbornly kept at it though, and in the fall, Netscape came out with their plug-in API. Finally, we had a way to extend the Web browser with decent performance (this was the ancestor of Macromedia Flash Player).

        As it grew close to shipping time, we changed the name of our software to FutureSplash Animator to focus more on its animation capabilities. We also were growing tired of running a company that didn't have much money to spend, and began trying to sell our technology. After an unsuccessful pitch to Adobe and turning down a bid from Fractal Design, we shipped FutureSplash Animator in the summer (May) of 1996.

        Our big success came in August of 1996. Microsoft was working on MSN and wanted to create the most TV-like experience on the Internet. They became big fans of FutureSplash and adopted the technology. I'm still amazed that they made their launch of MSN dependent on a new animation technology from a six-person company!

        Our other high-profile client was Disney Online. They were using FutureSplash to build animation and the user interface for the Disney Daily Blast. Disney was also working with Macromedia Shockwave.

        In November of 1996, Macromedia had heard enough about us through their relationship with Disney and approached us about working together. We had been running FutureWave for four years with a total investment of $500,000. The idea of having a larger company's resources to help us get FutureSplash established seemed like a good one. So in December 1996, we sold FutureWave Software to Macromedia, and FutureSplash Animator became Macromedia Flash 1.0."

By 2001 there were 50 people building Flash instead of 3 when they started FutureWave and it has evolved from a simple Web drawing and animation package to a complete multimedia development environment. Flash has become synonymous with animation on the Internet. Flash Player is now reputedly the most widely distributed piece of software on the Internet-ahead of Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and Real Player.

James Gosling

Brief Description: "Father of Java" (though not its sole parent)

Further Details:

Often referred to as the "Father of Java," Gosling is the first to point out that in fact there were other parents of the language that began as "Oak," developed as part of the so-called "Green Project" at Sun started in December 1990 by Patrick Naughton, Mike Sheridan, and Gosling.

In May 1995, now re-named as "Java," it burst onto the technology world.

Gosling, who is now CTO of Sun's Developer Products group - which since the departure from Sun of Rob Gingell now includes the J2SE engineering organization - implemented Java's original compiler and virtual machine.

Almost always dressed in blue jeans, Birkenstocks and a t-shirt, Gosling could easily be mistaken for your typical card-carrying geek: but he's an alpha geek. He grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and shortly after he saw his first computer - aged 14, at the University of Calgary - he began breaking into the computer center to play with the computers and, in his words, "read, read, read." A year later, at 15, he began writing software for the university's physics department.

The rest, as they say, is i-Technology history.

Other SYS-CON resource featuring James Gosling:

SYS-CON.TV Java Exclusive with Sun's James Gosling @ SYS-CON.TV
-- Jeremy Geelan interviews the Father of Java at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City.

Anders Hejlsberg

Brief Description: Genius behind the Turbo Pascal compiler, subsequently "Father of C#"

Further Details:

Anders Hejlsberg, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and chief architect of C#, is one of the most successful developers in the IT cosmos in recent times.

One of Borland's first employees, he was the original author of Turbo Pascal; later he worked as the chief architect of the Delphi product line. In 1996 he joined Microsoft, and played a pivotal role in the development and design of Visual J++ and the Windows Foundation Classes.

Then he worked on COM+, followed by the VS.NET Framework team.

Over the past 5 years, as one of only 20 Distinguished Engineers at Microsoft, he has distinguished himself still further, as the brains behind the creation of C# - the first component-oriented programming language in the C and C++ family to combine the power of those languages with the functional ease of modern, rapid application development tools.

Anders, who is Danish, originally studied engineering at the Technical University of Denmark.

Other SYS-CON resources featuring Anders Hejlsberg:

A Talk with the Father of C#

Daniel W. Hillis

Brief Description: VP of R&D at the Walt Disney Company; cofounder, Thinking Machines

Further Details:

Danny Hillis is an inventor, scientist, author, and engineer. He pioneered the concept of parallel computers that is now the basis for most supercomputers, as well as the RAID disk array technology used to store large databases. He holds over 40 U.S. patents, covering parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices. Danny Hillis is also the designer of a 10,000-year mechanical clock.

As Vice President, Research and Development at Walt Disney Imagineering, and a Disney Fellow, he developed new technologies and business strategies for Disney's theme parks, television, motion pictures, Internet and consumer products businesses. He also designed new theme park rides, a full sized walking robot dinosaur and various micro mechanical devices.

He's now Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Applied Minds, Inc., a research and development company creating a range of new products and services in software, entertainment, electronics, biotechnology and mechanical design.

Back in 1983, while he was finishing up his degree at MIT, Hillis co-founded Thinking Machines Corp. to produce and market the Connection Machine. The company's customers included American Express, Dow Jones, Schlumberger, Stanford University, Harvard University, the University of Tokyo, the Los Alamos National Laboratory and NASA. He continued to lead Thinking Machines' technical team until 1995 when he left to start a small consulting company, DHSH. One of DHSH's clients was The Walt Disney Company, and it was in 1996 that Hillis joined Disney full time in the newly created role of Disney Fellow.

Thinking Machines Corp. was the leading innovator in massive parallel supercomputers and RAID disk arrays. In addition to conceiving and designing the company's major products, Hillis worked closely with his customers in applying parallel computers to problems in astrophysics, aircraft design, financial analysis, genetics, computer graphics, medical imaging, image understanding, neurobiology, materials science, cryptography and subatomic physics. At Thinking Machines, he built a technical team comprised of scientists and engineers that were widely acknowledged to have been among the best in the industry.

Willis is the author of a book, The Pattern On The Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work (ScienceMasters Series), in which he explains the basic ideas that make computers work. He is also an adviser to the U.S. government, and serves on the Presidential Information Technology Advisory Committee.

Miguel de Icaza

Brief Description: Co-founder of Ximian, now with Novell

Further Details:

Mexican-born Miguel de Icaza, the free software programmer best known for co-founding the Gnome, Ximian, and Mono projects, joined Novell when it acquired Ximian last year. Ximian had its genesis in the GNOME project, which was initiated by Miguel and others in 1997 by de Icaza, who is now Vice President of Product Technology at Novell.

The Mono Project is an effort to build an open-source implementation of the Microsoft .NET Framework using the technical documents that Microsoft submitted to ECMA (the European Computer Manufacturers Association) for standarization.

As the founder and leader of the GNOME Foundation, de Icaza is rightly deemed one of the foremost luminaries in the Linux development community. With his seemingly boundless energy, he has galvanized the effort to make Linux accessible and available to the average computer user.

He brought this same excitement to his role as CTO of Ximian, where he was instrumental in porting Linux to the SPARC architecture and led development of the Midnight Commander file manager and the Gnumeric spreadsheet. He was also a primary author of the design of the Bonobo component model, which leads the way in the development of large-scale applications in GNOME.

de Icaza was the first recipient of the prestigious MIT Innovator of the Year award in 1999 and continues to reach out globally by working with international organizations such as eMexico to introduce affordable technology alternatives, like Linux, to other nations.

Other SYS-CON reasources featuring Miguel de Icaza:

Keynote Report: Web Services Edge 2003 East Conference & Expo in Boston

Martin Fowler

Brief Description: Famous for work on refactoring, XP, and UML

Further Details:

Martin Fowler started working with software in the early 80s and in the mid 80s he started getting interested in the then new world of object-oriented development.

He started to specialize in bringing objects to business information systems, first with a couple of companies and then as an independent consultant. In the early days this was using Smalltalk and C++, now it's Java, C# and the Internet. Every year I learn something new, but he also finds that many of the lessons from the past still apply. This work has led him into taking a leading role in OO analysis and design, the UML, patterns, and agile development methodologies.

An author, speaker, consultant and self-described "general loud-mouth on software development," Fowler concentrates on designing enterprise software - looking at what makes a good design and what practices are needed to come up with good design. He has pioneered object-oriented technology, refactoring, patterns, agile methodologies, domain modeling, the Unified Modeling Language (UML), and Extreme Programming (XP).

In March 2000 he gave up a long and successful career as an independent consultant and joined a company that he believed was truly world beating, ThoughtWorks - where he is Chief Scientist.

He's written five books on software developmen and speaks at many international conferences on software development. He's served on program committees for OOPSLA, Software Development, UML World, XP 2001, and TOOLS.

Fowler believes the biggest impact on successful software development is "motivated, talented developers."

        "If you don't have that all the technology and methodology in the world can't help you."

He maintains a lively and regularly updated bliki.

Bill Joy

Brief Description: Co-founder (and former chief scientist) of Sun; main author of Berkeley Unix

Further Details:

Co-founder of Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, and Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy spent 21 years at Sun before leaving it in September 2003.

Once called the "Edison of the Internet" by Fortune Magazine, while at UC Berkeley Joy was the designer of the Berkeley version of the Unix operating system, now known as BSD, which became a foundation of the Internet.

At Sun he was leading designer of some of its key technologies, including Solaris software and Sparc microprocessors, and was a guiding light for the development of Java and Jini technologies.

"Bill will continue to be an inspiration to all innovators," said Scott McNealy, co-founder, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Sun, in a statement when Joy departed. "Bill's many contributions...have helped define Sun as one of the most innovative and inspired places on the planet. We thank Bill for the strong legacy of innovation that he leaves in the hearts and souls of every Sun employee."

Joy earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1975 and received a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley. He also served as co-chairman of the Presidential Information Technology Advisory Committee, appointed by President Clinton in 1997.

In April 2000, he published a much-debated article in Wired Magazine, called "Why the future doesn't need us." The article argued that some new technologies, including robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology, could make humans an endangered species.

Other SYS-CON stories about Bill Joy

Sun Microsystems' Chief Scientist Bill Joy to Leave Company

© 2007 SYS-CON Media Inc.

Re:Article text (1)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882656)

today Gay still guides Adobe's Flash's development

No he doesn't. He hasn't been at Adobe for a long while now, and in fact, he and Robert Tatsumi have formed a new startup with other notable ex-Flash engineers.

Re:Article text (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882926)

Is there any way we could gather up all these ex-Flash engineers and do something terrible to them, like make them browse the web for four years without any Flash extensions? Or, maybe, force them to release the source for Flash rendering and submit the Flash formats to an open standards body?

Until then, they really shouldn't even be mentioned in an article about 'Tech Heroes.'

Re:Article text (1)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882984)

Sigh... If only there was a "Mod: -1, Dumbass"...

Look, tell you what: as soon as you conceive of and write a bit of code that is installed on a few hundred million machines around the world, and ends up producing a multibillion dollar corporate merger, let us know, OK?

You may find Flash's success to be annoying to your ideology, but the monstrous technical success it's had, and failure of competing technologies, leaves no room for argument here.

Re:Article text (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17883114)

We could substitute in 'ActiveX' or any number of other registered trademarks for 'Flash' and have a wholehearted discussion here, I guarantee.

For gods sake, you make 'ideology' out to be a nasty word.

Heroes (3, Insightful)

alexj33 (968322) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881116)

With the patenting of other people's ideas, Microsoft could be the "Sylar" of Tech Heroes.

Please tell me that was not an ordered list (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881152)

For crying out loud I hope that list was not supposed to be in order of importance.

Vannevar Bush (3, Informative)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881154)

He's [wikipedia.org] an absolutely huge omission from the list.

If you're unaware, he wrote a memo in 1945 titled 'As we may think' [theatlantic.com] which laid down a lot of seminal ideas about information, computing devices (the Memex [wikipedia.org] ) and the way in which we interact with it - specifically the concept of hypertext.

If you haven't already read his memo, give it a shot. Along with Alvin Toffler's book 'Future Shock', this changed the way I view technology for ever... oh, stick Alvin Toffler on the list too, Bill Gates for 'commoditising' the PC, Gordon Moore, pretty much anyone who ever worked at Xerox PARC and the guy who invented the MP3 codec. They're all important to why we're sat here today.

Re:Vannevar Bush (1)

pjones (10800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881282)

Bush's memo/article (published originally in The Atlantic Monthy) did have an effect in America. But the ideas in it as regards hypertext are far from original.

From 1937, HG Wells' essay/lecture "The World Brain: The Idea of a Permanent World Encyclopedia" reflects a more accurate version of what we now call the World Wide Web. Bush's hypertext was mostly personal and barely social. http://sherlock.berkeley.edu/wells/world_brain.htm l [berkeley.edu]

And even more important was Emanuel Goldberg, who actually had the machine that Bush describes working and patented pre-WWII. Unfortunately, for Goldberg, who had been head of Zeiss Optical, the Nazis tried to surpress all of his work. He eventually ended up in Palestine (later Israel of course) where his further work was kept secret. See Michael Buckland's great biography for this story in creativity, leadership, technology, politics and history. http://www.amazon.com/Emanuel-Goldberg-His-Knowled ge-Machine/dp/0313313326/ [amazon.com]

Bill Gates .. (0, Offtopic)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881416)

Bill Gates for single handedly creating the Desktop computer, the GUI, the Web and the Internet .. :)

Re:Bill Gates .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17881618)

Yeah, you're cool.

Re:Bill Gates .. (0, Offtopic)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882444)

I'll bet you happened to view the same WTO in Seattle documentary I did, where a typical idiot and WTO delegate (from America, 'natch) is arguing with a protester, and proclaiming that Bill Gates "invented the Internet to feed the poor."


Seriously though, that list MUST include The Woz (Steve Wozniak - or Steve #1). And, of course, the inclusion of Doug Englebart should be a no-brainer. And anyone who lists Ann Winblad on any list should be seriously discounted......

Proof that global warming is getting serious (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17881678)

By the time I logged in to read a Slashdot article about the creators of the Internet, not a single Al Gore joke had been posted.

Clean link (2, Insightful)

Sax Maniac (88550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881684)

YARGH! Mine eyes and ears are bleeding! This one even stumped adblock with filterset G. Here's the print version: http://web2journal.com/read/331813_p.htm [web2journal.com]

We need a tag for "loaded up with ads to the point where you can't even RTFA if you wanted to", but I can't think of anything pithy. "adsoup"?

Some don't make sense (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881688)

Some people are on his list just because they hold ranking positions on big companies, not for what they did.

How the hell did Bill Gate get on a list with Vince Cerf, John Postel, Robert Metcalfe, and Nicklaus Wirth? All he did was singlehandly pollute the Internet with spam, and lower IT standards to the point of making IT the laughing stock of the technology sector. Truly an intellectual midget among giants.

Re:Some don't make sense (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881930)

Jano, Columbo and Lampredi were the engineering geniuses and Chinetti the marketing genius; but Ferrari is the one that had his name on the cars and the bulk of the subsequent biographies.

Such is the way of the brand driven world.


Re:Some don't make sense (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17883560)

How the hell did Bill Gates get on a list with Vince Cerf.. All he did was singlehandly pollute the Internet with spam, and lower IT standards to the point of making IT the laughing stock of the technology sector

Bill Gates is a "laughing stock" only to the proto-Geek who laughed at the Model T Ford, so much less elegant a solution than the Stanley Steamer. But you could "afford a Ford" and so the Ford became ubiquitous.

The PC is everywhere for the same reason that paved roads are everywhere. The market became big enough and strong enough to bear the cost. That is Gate's achievement.

Re:Some don't make sense (2)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17884932)

The PC is everywhere for the same reason that paved roads are everywhere. The market became big enough and strong enough to bear the cost. That is Gate's achievement.

Bill Gates worked at IBM, on the PC? That was his idea?

Douglas Engelbart (1)

MrOion (19950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881964)

I wonder why people seem to forget the inventions done by Douglas Engelbart. "What did he do?", you might ask. Or maybe you say something like "oh, the mouse guy, right?". Well, If I was only to point out one thing he did, I would mention what we call "the mother of all demos" which he gave in december 1968. There he demonstrated the use of a mouse, hypertext linking and video conferencing. Again: He demonstrated the use of a mouse and hypertext linking in documents more than 20 years before Tim Berners-Lee "invented" the web.

Some references for those interested:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Engelbart [wikipedia.org]
http://sloan.stanford.edu/mousesite/1968Demo.html [stanford.edu]
http://www.bootstrap.org/ [bootstrap.org]

a few more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17882306)

Presper Eckert (ENIAC)
Alex Stepanov (STL)
J.C.R. Licklider (ARPA)
Charles Goldfarb et al (SGML)
Jim Clarke (Silicon Graphics, Netscape)

Agree this is in part a popularity contest. Some of the ones on the original list were influential tech CEOs or Chief Architects in their time, but does that Hall of Fame material?

And if you say "Myrhvold", I think you must also say Bruce and ESR....

Re:a few more... (1)

ICantFindADecentNick (768907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882470)

My tuppence worth. Maurice Wilkes and David Wheeler (look them up). Invented programming as-we-know-it - things like assembly and the sub-routine. I wonder what would have happened if we'd had todays approach to intellectual property back then and those guys had patented something like the sub-routine (OK I know they couldn't have done that in the UK then - but go with me) ? That's a damn site less obvious than some of the stuff they give patents to now.

I'd add Woz and Rotenberg (2, Informative)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882440)

I'd include Steve Wozniak. He was the one who designed the Apple. The Apple II and The Trash-80 were the real home computers available for the masses. The earlier computers where you had to get them from Heathkit or toggle in your boot loader, didn't quite make it in the home and the business.

Also I would add Jonathan Rotenberg. He founded the Boston computer Society [wikipedia.org] in 1977. The BCS served as a incubator for new products and companies. Many of the large computer companies made presentations and announcements to the BCS. Several companies used groups of people at the BCS as source for focus groups and and source for beta groups (back in the days where they didn't consider customers their alpha testers).

Re:I'd add Woz and Rotenberg (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882966)

Woz was a genius of simplicity, but how come nobody ever gives the TRS-80 people credit for their, uh.. brilliant way of criss-crossing the address and data bus almost entirely unbuffered across the keyboard layout?

Oh, never mind.

(My personal and somewhat meagre innovation from the same era was using the degrees/radian slide switch on the SR-56 calculator as a hardware interrupt)

I nominate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17882446)

... Al Gore for inventing the internet.
... George W. Bush for popularizing "the google".

David J. Bradley (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 7 years ago | (#17882598)

Inventor(?) of the "Ctrl-Alt-Del" key combination.

I'm afraid the identity of the "Any" key creator (possibly the most useful one in all computing) has been lost to history.

Surely DVD jon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17882754)

... for reminding the megacorps that "It's about the people stupid!"

What's with that site? (1)

DrRevotron (994894) | more than 7 years ago | (#17883064)

Why are we acknowledging this article? Any site that refers to Web 2.0 as anything other than a stupid marketing buzzword has no clue who the real IT heroes are. How about a hurrah for the poor sap working the graveyard shift in the NOC, or the overworked sysadmin who needs to restore a server or correct daemon errors every time the hyped-up "Web 2.0" services break?

the well: marcus watts (1)

Monkius (3888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17884268)

It was nice to see Stewart Brand (and Larry Brilliant) there, the founders of the Well. But, Jeremy didn't mention the _author_ of the Well (PicoSpan), Marcus Watts. (A friend of mine.)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account