Friday, June 21, 2019

Jean-Marie Hullot, RIP

Bruce Henderson:

For those of you well versed in computer history, Jean-Marie Hullot died today. Though there is a very small Wikipedia article on him, his contribution to Objective-C, NeXT and eventually Apple and iOS cannot be understated. He was a blazing intellect who saw farther, did more.

Florent Pillet:

So long Jean-Marie Hulot, father of Interface Builder and so many other nice things … RIP

He also led the iCal and iSync teams.

Chris Parker:

Heartbroken to hear this; Jean-Marie Hullot was the original Interface Builder engineer/inventor and just a fantastic man to speak with. I loved talking to him when he visited the AppKit team in Cupertino. He’ll be missed.

Olivier Gutknecht:

I remember reading an article, a long long time ago, about NeXT development tools and Interface Builder, with this picture of Jean-Marie Hullot

Gérard Berry and Gérard Huet (tweet, Google translation):

Jean-Marie Hullot then took the leadership of the interfaces and interactions of the new Macintosh as technical director of the application service of Apple. His creations and those of his team always mark modern computing. He then left Apple and California to settle in Paris. There, Steve Jobs reminded him to regenerate the creative spirit of Apple, but he refused to return to California, and proposed instead to create a phone, or rather a smartphone as they say now. After some difficulties to convince Steve Jobs who did not believe it too much, he created the iPhone in a secret laboratory of twenty people in Paris.

Mark Ames:

Hullot’s team was important in laying the groundwork for the iPhone, but when Jobs decided to pull the trigger on the phone, the project moved to Silicon Valley with all of Apple’s attendant secrecy, a move Hullot didn’t want to make again. So he left Apple, along with his four engineers.

See also: Denis Delbecq (Google translation).


Update (2019-06-24): Michael B. Johnson:

This is super sad. Interface Builder was one of the most important apps I ever used. My PhD thesis work was packaged up as a set of IB “palettes”, bundles of code that extended it.

It was a beautiful piece of work that gave pure workflow joy for me.

Thanks, Jean-Marie.

Olivier B.:

It’s 2005, first job after graduating.

Jean-Marie hires me as a SW Engineer at Apple in France. We’re pre-iPhone, the team is working on iSync (and other things…).

Those years were foundational. I learnt so much from him, from @guiheneuf and the team. Rest In Peace, Jean-Marie.

Damien Petrilli:

The stories are really good at showing one thing: how much talents Apple is losing by not allowing to work on other locations.

A lot of people aren’t willing/interested to relocate to the silicon valley.

Update (2019-07-01): John Furrier:

Nice post on JMH. I had the good fortune to spend about a year working with him on a project.

Update (2019-07-05): Roberto Di Cosmo:

Jean_Marie Hullot, visionary computer scientist whose élégant creations changed our world, had so much more to tell. He's now gone, too soon, a terrible loss. Here is a picture taken at @inria a few months ago.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

"So he left Apple, along with his four engineers."

There were more than 4 engineers at the time in the Paris team AFAIK.

The linked video has quite a nice oral history of his career. He mentions there were 25 engineers in an office located on the Champs-Élysées, a location which he believes reflected Apple's high regard for engineering.

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