back to article PC, Ethernet and tablet computer pioneer 'Chuck' Thacker passes

Computer Science has lost a titan: Charles P. “Chuck” Thacker died on Monday, June 12th, aged 74. As the Association for Computing Machinery's In Memoriam records, Thacker's early career saw him join Xerox's famed Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he worked on the Xerox Alto, the first personal computer to offer a …

  1. Redstone

    Rest In Peace

    To another of the giants who made our industry and whose shoulders we now stand on.

    1. Dr Who

      Re: Rest In Peace

      I think I'm probably standing on his little toe, but even from there I can see for miles.

  2. jake Silver badge

    I first met him at Stanford ...

    ... when we were debugging the tymeshare system, and then he showed up at D.C. Power to help with the TOPS-10 system that was being bastardized into WAITS. Later, I worked with him at DEC. Good guy, always thinking, not afraid to get his fingers dirty debugging and wirewrapping a backplane.

    He'll be missed by his neighbors, not everybody can say that.

    RIP, Chuck.

    1. Graham Cunningham

      Re: I first met him at Stanford ...

      Um ,a downvote? For this??

      Presumably by someone whose neighbours won't miss him/her?

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: I first met him at Stanford ...

        Probably because of the poster (Jake), who is known for his wild claims.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I first met him at Stanford ...

          I was born, grew up, went to school and entered the workforce in a very strange place and stranger time. Some people hate that.

          ::shrugs:: Their issue, not mine.

      2. Richard 26

        Re: I first met him at Stanford ...

        @ Graham Cunningham

        jake is the Register's version of Forrest Gump. Whatever it was, he was there. This story is more plausible than most though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I first met him at Stanford ...

          I thought Forrest Gump was a documentary. #FakeNews

  3. Flakk

    Godspeed, Mr. Thacker, and thank you.

  4. Lee D Silver badge

    "Why don't we corrupt a memorial article with a mention of Steve Jobs for no particular reason?"

    (No, Apple did not have first tablet, not even first touchscreen mobile device, nor first GUI).

  5. earl grey

    Another loss for mankind

    We're getting poorer by the day. Condolences to friends and family.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Today 74 seems quite young.

    People say we will not see his like again but I think it says a lot at how hard it is to be truly innovative that we are still using many of the elements pioneered on the Alto, despite processors being 1000x faster and memory 64000x bigger than they were then.

    Hardware hacking at a deep level has become a hell of a lot harder. People say look at FPGA's. Yes you can get a million gates on a chip but you won't get anywhere near x86 or AMD processor speeds in the GHz, not the 100s of MHz. There is no equivalent of the LS74181 ALU (that drove the Alto, PDP 11, and the Nova, and a bunch of other machines) at ECL clock speeds (although it's well within the techs clock and density range at less than 80 gates, and the design methods needs for such clock speeds are no longer in the realm of a "black art."

    Nothing leverages the huge improvements we have seen in toolchains ability to re-host truly massive code bases, not just onto an upgraded version of a processor but onto a processor whose architecture did not even exist.

    I'm not sure what the next step change will be but I expect that when it occurs there will be another Charles Thacker. In the meantime RIP.

  7. handle


    Passes what? A kidney stone?

    No disrespect to the deceased - just to the ever more timid euphemisms.

  8. FozzyBear

    In Australia there is a commercial running with one of the co-inventors of wi-fi. To paraphrase

    fame is a fickle thing, who invented the red light, and saved so many lives. The mobile phone, or wi-fi.. Who are they? They change the world and yet no one knows their names.

    Now another titan has passed and almost no one knows him. Sad testament of society today when everyone at least knows the kardashians (Don't care if I've spelt that wrong), but have no idea who some of these people are and how they changed the world..

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please take the religion out of the title

    He died. It's sad but that's the fact of it.

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