Who's Who


Hackers, Heroes of the Computer Revolution
 
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Who's Who
The Wizards and their Machines

Bob Albrecht
Found of People's Computer Company who took visceral pleasure in exposing youngsters to computers.

Altair 8800
The pioneering microcomputer that galvanized hardware hackers. Building this kit made you learn hacking.  Then you tried to figure out what to DO with it.

Apple II ][
Steve Wozniak's friendly, flaky, good-looking computer, wildly successful and the spark and soul of a thriving industry.

Atari 800
This home computer gave great graphics to game hackers like John Harris, though the company that made it was loath to tell you how it worked.

Bob and Carolyn Box
World-record-holding gold prospectors turned software stars, working for Sierra On-Line.

Doug Carlston
Corporate lawyer who chucked it all to form the Broderbund software company.

Bob Davis
Left job in liquor store to become best-selling author of Sierra On-Line computer game "Ulysses and the Golden Fleece." Success was his downfall.

Peter Deutsch
Bad in sports, brilliant at math, Peter was still in short pants when he stubled on the TX-0 at MIT--and hacked it along with the masters.

Steve Dompier
Homebrew member who first made the Altair sing, and later wrote the "Targe" game on the Sol which entranced Tom Snyder.

John Draper
The notorious "Captain Crunch" who fearlessly explored the phone systems, got jailed, hacked microprocessors. Cigarettes made his violent.

Mark Duchaineau
The young Dungeonmaster who copy-protected On-Lines disks at his whim.

Chris Esponosa
Fourteen-year-old follower of Steve Wozniak and early Apple employee.

Lee Felsenstein
Former "military editor" of Berkeley Barb, and hero of an imaginary science-fiction novel, he designed computers with "junkyard" approach
and was central figure in Bay Area hardware hacking in the seventies.

Ed Fredkin
Gentle founder of Information International, thought himself world's greates programmer until he met Stew Nelson.  Father figure to hackers.

Gordon French
Silver-haired hardware hacker whose garage held not cars but his homebrewed Chicken Hawk comptuer, then held the first Homebrew Computer Club meeting.

Richard Garriott
Astronaut's son who, as Lord British, created Ultima world on computer disks.

Bill Gates
Cocky wizard, Harvard dropout who wrote Altair BASIC, and complained when hackers copied it.

Bill Gosper
Horwitz of computer keyboards, master math and LIFE hacker at MIT AI lab, guru of the Hacker Ethic and student of Chinese restaurant menus.

Richard Greenblatt
Single-minded, unkempt, prolific, and canonical MIT hacker who went into night phase so often that he zorched his academic career.  The hacker's hacker.

John Harris
The young Atari 800 game hacker who became Sierra On-Line's star programmer, but yearned for female companionship.

IBM-PC
IBM's entry into the personal computer market which amazingly included a bit of the Hacker Ethic, and took over.  [H.E. as open architecture.]

IBM 704
IBM was The Enemy, and this was its machine, the Hulking Giant computer in MIT's Building 26. Later modified into the IBM 709, then the IBM 7090. Batch-processed and intolerable.

Jerry Jewell
Vietnam vet turned programmer who founded Sirius Software.

Steven Jobs
Visionary, beaded, non-hacking youngster who took Wozniak's Apple II ][, made a lot of deals, and formed a company that would make a billion dollars.

Tom Knight
At sixteen, an MIT hacker who would name the Incompatible Time-sharing System.  Later a Greenblatt nemesis over the LISP machine schism.

Alan Kotok
The chubby MIT student from Jersey who worked under the rail layout at TMRC, learned the phone system at Western Electric, and became a legendary TX-0 and PDP-1 hacker.

Effrem Lipkin
Hacker-activist from New York who loved machines but hated their uses.  Co-Founded Community Memory; friend of Felsenstein.

LISP Machine
The ultimate hacker computer, invented mosly by Greenblatt and subject of a bitter dispute at MIT.

"Uncle" John McCarthy
Absent-minded but brilliant MIT [later Stanford] professor who helped pioneer computer chess, artificial intelligence, LISP.

Bob Marsh
Berkeley-ite and Homebrewer who shared garage with Felsenstein and founded Processor Technology, which made the Sol computer.

Roger Melen
Homebrewer who co-founded Cromemco company to make circuit boards for Altair.  His "Dazzler" played LIFE programs on his kitchen table.

Louis Merton
Pseudonym for the AI chess hacker whose tendency to go catatonic brought the hacker community together.

Jude Milhon
Met Lee Felsenstein through a classified ad in the Berkeley Barb, and became more than a friend-- a member of the Community Memory collective.

Marvin Minsky
Playful and brilliant MIT prof who headed the AI lave and allowed the hackers to run free.

Fred Moore
Vagabond pacifist who hated money, loved technology, and co-founded Homebrew Club.

Stewart Nelson
Buck-toothed, diminutive, but fiery AI lab hacker who connected the PDP-1 comptuer to hack the phone system. Later co-founded the Systems Concepts company.

Ted Nelson
Self-described "innovator" and noted curmudgeon who self-published the influential Computer Lib book.

Russel Noftsker
Harried administrator of MIT AI lab in the late sixties; later president of Symbolics company.

Adam Osborne
Bangkok-born publisher-turned-computer-manufacturer who considered himself a philsopher.  Founded Osborne Computer Company to make "adequate" machines.

PDP-1
Digital Equipment's first minicomputer, and in 1961 an interactive godsend to the MIT hackers and a slap in the face to IBM fascism.

PDP-6
Designed in part by Kotok, this mainframe computer was cornerstone of AI lab, with its gorgeious instruction set and sixteen sexy registers.

Tom Pittman
The religious Homebrew hacker who lost his wife but kept the faith with his Tiny Basic.

Ed Roberts
Enigmatic founder of MITS company who shook the world with his Altair computer.  He wanted to help people build mental pyramids.

Steve [Slug] Russell
McCarthy's "coolie," who hacked the Spacewar program, first videogame, on the PDP-1.  Never made a dime from it.

Peter Samson
MIT hacker, one of the first, who loved systems, trains, TX-0, music, parliamentary procedure, pranks, and hacking.

Bob Saunders
Jolly, balding TMRC hacker who married early, hacked till late at night eating "lemon gunkies," and mastered the "CBS Strategy on Spacewar.

Warren Schwader
Big blond hacker from rural Wisconsin who went from the assembly line to software stardom but couldn't reconcile the shift with his devotion to Jehovah's Witnesses.

David Silver
Left school at fourteen to be mascot of AI lab; maker of illicit keys and builder of a tiny robot that did the impossible.

Dan Sokol
Long-haired prankster who reveled in revealing technological secrets at Homebrew Club.  Helped "liberate" Alair BASIC on paper tape.

Les Solomon
Editor of Popular Electroics, the puller of strings who set the computer revolution into motion.

Marty Spergel
The Junk Man, the Homebrew member who supplied circuits and cables and could make you a deal for anything.

Richard Stallman
The Last of the Hackers, who vowed to defend the principles of Hackerism to the bitter end. Remained at MIT until there was no one to eat Chinese food with.

Jeff Stephenson
Thirty-year-old martial arts veteran and hacker who was astounded that joining Sierra On-Line meant enrolling in Summer Camp.

Jay Sullivan
MAddeningly clam wizard-level programmer at Informatics who impressed Ken Williams by knowing the meaning of the word "any."

Dick Sunderland
Chalk-complexioned MBA who believed that firm managerial bureaucracy was a worth goal, but as president of Sierra On-Line found that hackers didn't think that way.

Gerry Sussman
Young MIT hacker branded "loser" because he smoked a pipe and "munged" his programs; later became "winner" by algorithmic magic.

Margot Tommervik
With her husband Al, long-haired Margot parlayed her game show winnings into a magazine that deified the Apple Computer.

Tom Swift Terminal
Lee Felsenstein's legendary, never-to-be-built computer terminal which would give the user ultimate leave to get his hands on the world.

TX-0
Filled a small room, but in the late fifties this $3 million machine was the world's first personal computer--for the community of MIT hackers that formed around it.

Jim Warren
Portly purveyor of "techno-gossip" at Homebrew, he was first editor of hippie-styled Dr. Dobbs Journal, later started the lucrative Computer Faire.

Randy Wigginton
Fifteen-year-old member of Steve Wozniak's kiddie corps, he help Woz trundle the Apple II to Homebrew. Still in high school when he became Apple's first software employee.

Ken Williams
Arrogant and brilliant young programmer who saw the writing on the CRT and started Sierra On-Line to make a killing and improve society by selling games for the Apple computer.

Roberta Williams
Ken Williams' timid wife who rediscovered her own creativity by writing "Mystery House," the first of her many bestselling computer games.

Steven "Woz" Wozniak
Openhearted, technologically daring hardware hacker from San Jose suburbs. Woz built the Apple Computer for the pleasure of himself and friends.