So they don’t pass unnoticed…

Those of you who run the X11 owe a debt to Smokey Wallace, who died recently of cancer, though you may never have known him. Without him, it is not clear that X11 would have ever existed: he and I drafted a memo that proposed developing X11 in Digital’s WSL and making the result freely available, as X11 would require more resources than we had available at MIT.  This was one of the seminal moments in free and open source software, though few know of it.

Also John Huchra died; he was also one of the “good guys”.

4 Responses to “So they don’t pass unnoticed…”

  1. Jonathan Carter Says:

    Thanks for posting this, I wasn’t aware of that piece of history. X11 did a lot to get GNU/Linux out there on people’s computers, thanks to all of those who made it better who aren’t with us anymore!

  2. William Fisher Says:

    Smokey, was the major driver of the Mesa/Pilot/Tajo tool set and in particular
    the GUI guidelines for writing window apps under Tajo at Xerox.

    I am trying to find a copy of his guidelines, written in the early 1980’s
    that are still valid today. Such as those on mouse focus, threading
    for windows applications, caabacks, etc.

    He was the real-deal, honest, fun-loving, hard-drinking and never
    a wall-flower,

  3. Hugh Kennedy Says:

    I remember going to a DECUS seminar on X-windows given by Smokey Wallace back in the very early days. His talk was entertaining as well as interesting. He mentioned he was just waiting for Apple to sue over X, but as he was ex PARC and knew a lot of prior art.

    I came back with the message that X was going to be really big and it was a jointly supported standard.

  4. Jody R. Dandridge Says:

    Smokey Wallace was a good guy, and good man. Supported his group along with many others in the mid 80’s at DEC Stanford-Square. His passing is a great loss and I am very saddened. I fondly remember his young daughter coming to visit her dad in the mid 80’s. I remember making many trips with Smokey and others to the GREAT Dutch Goose, and GB. RIP Smokey.

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