[Openmcl-devel] RIP Larry Tesler
mevins at me.com
Thu Feb 20 01:04:36 UTC 2020
> On Feb 19, 2020, at 6:57 PM, Jeremy Jones <jaj at clozure.com> wrote:
> 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.
These events led directly to the single best professional experience of my career: working on the experimental bauhaus OS for Newton, which was written in Ralph. The language that Apple Cambridge created for that project remains my favorite programming language to this day.
Of course, these events also led the long-term survival of Coral Common Lisp, first as Macintosh Common Lisp and then as Clozure Common Lisp. In a world without Ralph, Common Lisp remains my favorite programming language that I can still get my hands on.
I owe thanks to Larry, but also to you, Jeremy, and to the rest of the Apple Cambridge team.
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