Dr. Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe and a pioneer of the desktop publishing revolution, passed away on 16 April 2021 at the age of 81. In the early 1980s, Geschke worked at Xerox PARC with fellow Adobe co-founder Dr. John Warnock, and the two developed Interpress, a language that described page layouts so they could be created, viewed, and printed with the same fidelity. Xerox, ever consistent in its inability to recognize and commercialize tremendous opportunities, passed on the idea. Geschke and Warnock left to found Adobe, where they developed PostScript. Of course, Xerox PARC also developed many graphical computing concepts that eventually inspired the Macintosh.
PostScript was the key that made desktop publishing possible. Steve Jobs licensed PostScript from Adobe to use in laser printers, and the original Apple LaserWriter was the first such PostScript printer to ship. Adobe went on to create or purchase apps in pretty much every category of graphical creative software, making the company a force in image editing, graphic design, publishing, illustration, animation, video, and much more.
Geschke was active in Adobe’s day-to-day affairs from its founding in 1982 to his retirement as president in 2000. He was co-chairman of the board with Warnock from 1997 through 2017 and remained a board member until April 2020. Despite the huge changes in design and creativity he and Warnock unleashed upon the world, Geschke led a life out of the spotlight often claimed by massively successful tech entrepreneurs.