Another of the pioneers bites the dust.
But also,"project, Camelot [PDF], became the Portable Document Format, PDF itself."
I saw what you did there!
As the creator or co-creator of much of the technology that made Apple's Macintosh and modern computer graphics in general a success, John Warnock's impact is beyond reckoning. Warnock and Chuck Geschke co-created the Postcript page-description language, and in Warnock's garage in 1982, they started Adobe Systems to turn it …
Sadly I only seem to learn of these great pioneers from their obituaries. I suggest his words quoted from a 1986 interview are still applicable namely:
"... I got a good, solid liberal education. I believe it's really important to have a very solid foundation in mathematics, English, and the basic sciences.
"... If you really want to be successful, being acculturated to the rest of the society and then going into computers is a much more reasonable way to approach the problem.
Pretty much the opposite of our current sorry state.
There's a lot of good reading to be had out there. Accidental Empires (cited within) is a great start. I also loved Dealers of Lightning.
There's a big chunk you can pull from Stephen Levy's excellent Hackers book that seems to cover in depth a lot of the computer revolution from the mid 60's to early 80's and it's almost all written from the point of having been "there" at the time, somehow in and amongst a staggering amount of milestones. If I was going to go for any of them, I'd pick that.
I have to confess that I dislike Hackers, which is written in a rather adolescent style of breathless enthusiasm, to the point where I find Levy's prose almost unreadable.
While I can't think offhand of another volume that covers all the same people and events, there are a dozen or two better works of computing history and lore in my library. Unfortunately most of that library is in storage a thousand miles away, but just off the top of my head there's Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine, Stoll's The Cuckoo's Egg, Jennings' The Devouring Fungus, and Swaine's Fire in the Valley. Lee's The Day the Phones Stopped is less captivating but has some good material. Oh, Alexander & Smith's Fumbling the Future on the Alto.
Thomas Haigh published a number of interesting computing-history articles in CACM.
Back in the 1990s there was a tremendous number of insider accounts of all aspects of computing in alt.folklore.computers, but I don't know of an organized archive of that material.
"The Cuckoo's Egg", that was a good read. I started working as a Computer Operator in 1990 and a colleague lent me that book. I'll check out some of the other titles you mentioned, maybe it will rekindle my love of computing. It all seemed to exciting and new back then.
On the plus side, I bet his obituary looks incredible across all platforms.
Sad times. I remember struggling through my dissertation laying it out in LaTex to generate a .ps version to submit (it was a Comp Sci degree, and part of the assignment detail). While it was an utter pain in the A to mark it up that way, I must admit that it looked beautiful once compiled.
Nerdy comment: if you'd studied classic typography you'd know 80pt is not a regular size. After 72pt the next up would be 84pt.
I used to say it was the Mac that changed my life but really it was postscript.
Illustrator provided my revelatory moment when we needed evenly spaced lines for the background to a logo.
I thought she'd say "ok I can do that tomorrow" but she stopped what she was doing, hit some keys, and sixty seconds later a page rolled out of the printer.
(And about a year later all the photo typesetters started going out of business)
I thought I knew what postscript was. I was postgrad in the 80's and we were writing papers with (La)Tex and converting to ps to print. It was a faff, but it was "the way".
But I now realise that I didn't know what postscript was *for*. The rose example illustrates(!) perfectly.
These are the people who revolutionised and enabled our lives, not the Musks or Zuckerbergs. I'll raise a glass later on...