[Openmcl-devel] RIP Larry Tesler

Jeremy Jones jaj at clozure.com
Thu Feb 20 00:57:55 UTC 2020


Thanks Andrew. Larry was a great man.

Not only is he responsible for starting the Dylan project, but he is
responsible for the Apple acquisition of Coral and the ongoing development
of MCL.

I became friends with Larry while I was an intern at Xerox Parc in the
summer of 1978. Among many other things, Larry invented the Smalltalk
browser. That was the first time I heard the word "browser".

Years later in 1988, Coral was going through a hard time. Our best hackers,
Gary Byers and Gail Zacharias, had quit because of a disagreement with
management and the future of MCL and Coral was in grave danger.

During this time, I called up Larry and we met for breakfast. I asked him
flat out, "Would Apple be interested in acquiring Coral?" He sat back and
and said "maybe... We're interested in developing a new programming
language and we need a crack team of developers."

The rest is history. Larry started project Beans which ended with the
acquisition of of Coral just before the end of 1988. The Apple Cambridge
lab was started in January 1989 with five developers from Coral (Gary
Byers, Jeremy Jones, Andrew Shalit, Richard Mlynarik, and Gail Zacharias).
Gary kept working on MCL and the rest of us started designing and
implementing the programming language Ralph which became Dylan.

The Cambridge lab and our accomplishments were a direct result of Larry's
vision and hard work.

On Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 5:25 PM Andrew Shalit <alms at clozure.com> wrote:

> Forwarding, because I think others would be interested. (Plus there’s a
> notable contribution by our very own Mikel Evins.)
>
>
> On Feb 19, 2020, at 4:49 PM, Shannon Spires <svs at bearlanding.com> wrote:
>
> Hacker News discussion:
> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22361282
>
> On Feb 19, 2020, at 2:37 PM, Andrew Shalit <alms at clozure.com> wrote:
>
> News came today that Larry Tesler has died.
>
> Larry was the head of Apple’s Advanced Technology Group in the 1980s.  He
> spearheaded Apple's acquisition of Coral Software, which allowed MCL to
> survive and eventually become CCL. That acquisition also led to the
> creation of the Dylan programming language.
>
> In his work at Xerox PARC and then at Apple, Larry played a central role
> in the creation of the computer interfaces that we’re all so familiar with
> today.
>
> You can read more about him at
> https://daringfireball.net/linked/2020/02/19/larry-tesler-rip
>
>
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