Silicon Valley loses one of its pioneers with the death of computer engineer Charles Geschke, creator of the PDF format and co-founder and former president of Adobe, the company that developed programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator or Acrobat and democratized creation to millions of users . He was 81 years old.
His first invention was the protocol that allows the personal computer to command the printer and that allowed him to found his own company in 1982. Like the other co-founder, John Warnock, he came from Xerox, and his first product at Adobe was PostScript technology for printing images and text on paper from desktop devices. He served as Adobe’s Chief Operating Officer from December 1986 to July 1994, and Company President from April 1989 until his retirement in April 2000. “I couldn’t have imagined having a better business partner, kinder or more capable ”, has assured the other co-founder of Adobe, John Warnock.
His story is curious, as he told EL PAÍS in an interview published in 2016. “While I was teaching at John Carroll University in Ohio, I had to talk to a student and explain to him that he had to leave his studies,” he explained. “A year later he came to see me. I received him with fear, but he told me that he was very grateful for my help, that he had a wonderful job at General Electric, where he was selling the first computers. I did not understand anything, but he told me that he was learning to program and that if he wanted he would come to my house in the afternoons to teach me too. That got me hooked ”.
From then on, he found his calling and his obsession. So much so, that his wife suggested that he devote himself to it thoroughly and that she would take care of the rest. “It gave me some trouble, because we already had two children and had to raise the house, but I went back to university to train.” When he finished his studies, they moved to Palo Alto to work at Xerox, “where everything was happening then.” It was there in 1976 that he built the first computer with an Ethernet connection. [el cable estándar que todavía se usa hoy para conectar máquinas], and soon after it created its own division dedicated to protocol languages (which allow machines to communicate with each other). His first creation was Interpress, which was used to print anything from a computer.
Xerox, however, did not welcome the creation. “We came face to face with reality,” he recalled in 2016. “They didn’t let me go on. They made me see that I would have to wait seven years for it to hit the market. I despaired. […] So I decided to go and create a company that would launch products to the market as soon as they were ready. “
That’s how the Adobe story began (”I took a map and saw that behind my house, in Los Altos, there was a place called Adobe Creek. The Adobe thing sounded good. I looked and saw that it was a kind of traditional brick from Spain ”Said), a company that has put on the market countless solutions that have made life easier for millions of users. Its first product was for the PostScript language itself used in many printers, from which it derived in 1993 the so-called portable document format (PDF), a storage format for digital documents that has been adopted as the international standard.
In 1986, the company launched Photoshop, the photo editor that due to its popularity has even become a verb. It also has products like Illustrator, which is used for graphic editing; Premiere for video editing, After Effects for special effects, and 2D animation. The purchase of Macromedia gave him access to products such as Dreamweaver (web page creation) or Flash (multimedia editing and web video creation).
The Flash program, precisely, earned him a certain enmity with Apple, since the company created by Steve Jobs decided in 2010 to reject its use in its operating system. “Steve Jobs was no longer the kid who came to play in the Xerox lab,” he argued. “He was a demigod. It hurt us, but it wasn’t personal. With Flash we did not intend to make money, but to bring a solution that would give interaction to the Internet. Actually, he was right “.
Five years ago, Genscher himself was clear about how he wanted to be reminded of his death. “As someone humble who thought like an engineer and like a scientist and who had the honor of making tools that millions of people used,” he said in an interview. “Engineers are not motivated by money, we do not want to get rich. The important thing is to impact millions of people ”.
#Charles #Geschke #creator #PDF #format #cofounder #Adobe #dies