Monday, March 7, 2016 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Ray Tomlinson, RIP

Dante D’Orazio (comments):

The inventor of email, Ray Tomlinson, suffered an apparent heart attack on Saturday, according to reports. He was 74 years old.

The Internet Hall of Fame (via Jason Kottke):

In 1967, he joined the legendary research and development company Bolt Beranek and Newman (now Raytheon BBN Technologies). At BBN, he helped develop the TENEX operating system, including implementations of the ARPANET and TELNET protocols. In 1971, he developed ARPANET’s first application for network email by combining the SNDMSG and CPYNET programs, allowing messages to be sent to users on other computers.

[…]

Tomlinson’s email program brought about a complete revolution, fundamentally changing the way people communicate, including the way businesses, from huge corporations to tiny mom-and-pop shops, operate and the way millions of people shop, bank, and keep in touch with friends and family, whether they are across town or across oceans. Today, tens of millions of email-enabled devices are in use every day. Email remains the most popular application, with over a billion and a half users spanning the globe and communicating across the traditional barriers of time and space.

John Ribeiro:

“I chose to append an at sign and the host name to the user’s (login) name. I am frequently asked why I chose the at sign, but the at sign just makes sense,” he wrote in a post about the first network email. “The purpose of the at sign (in English) was to indicate a unit price (for example, 10 items @ $1.95). I used the at sign to indicate that the user was “at” some other host rather than being local.”

heologic:

Where I first saw email becoming central to a culture is when I got to IBM. PROFS notes, or email, had a massive impact on the entire culture. The combination of calendar and email and the internal culture that had a terminal in every conference room would be familiar with most readers of Hacker news. You could have survived with what they offered in today’s modern world.

[…]

I saw an article on the founder of IBM PROFS email, and so I hunted him down on email while I was at IBM. I regret I cannot remember his name, but I wanted to say he was in research at Almaden, but this may be an human ECC error. However, I do remember that I wanted to know how obvious the creation of email was for everybody, and how much it was embraced. He stated at the time that most people thought that it would not be central to business life.

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