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Adobe Co-Founder John Warnock Dead at 82

Adobe writes:

It is with profound sadness that Adobe shares the passing of the company’s beloved co-founder Dr. John Warnock. Dr. Warnock passed away on Saturday surrounded by his family.

With the death of John Warnock, we’ve lost another titan of the tech world. He co-founded Adobe Systems in 1982 with Chuck Geschke, who died several years ago (see “Adobe Co-Founder Charles Geschke Dead at 81,” 19 April 2021). In the late 1970s, they developed the graphics language InterPress at Xerox PARC, but when Xerox failed to commercialize it, they left to start Adobe. There they developed the PostScript page description language that underpinned Apple’s groundbreaking LaserWriter, and the combination sparked the desktop publishing revolution. Warnock is also credited with inventing Adobe Illustrator to create graphics in PostScript without programming. The impact of Warnock’s and Geschke’s work is incalculable—this video about the history of Illustrator gives a sense of just how difficult graphic design was before tools like PostScript and Illustrator came onto the scene.


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Comments About Adobe Co-Founder John Warnock Dead at 82

Notable Replies

  1. I remember John from the mid-1980s. He was invited to come out to LLNL to discuss PostScript with a small group of us. I asked him what was the size of the largest graphic possible in PostScript. He thought for a moment, smiled, then said “About the size of Rhode Island.” He was very down-to-earth and accessible. I for one will miss him.

  2. I wonder what he would say about the subscription-based, greed-driven behemoth it has become?

  3. The Computer History Museum has posted a wonderful, extensive in memoriam feature about John Warnock last month, including several oral history interview videos with Warnock.

    Well worth a read if you’re at all interested in the person and his remarkable achievements.

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