Oral History of Adele Goldberg (transcript)
If you don’t know who Adele Goldberg is, she’s an important pioneer in personal computing and programming language development. You can thank her and the rest of the SCL team at Xerox PARC for inventing the personal computer, the laptop, the tablet/mobile computer, the graphical user interface as we know it, among others.
From her Wikipedia article:
Goldberg began working at PARC in 1973 as a laboratory and research assistant, and eventually became manager of the System Concepts Laboratory where she, Alan Kay, and others developed Smalltalk-80, which both developed the object-oriented approach of Simula 67 and introduced a programming environment of overlapping windows on graphic display screens. Not only was Smalltalk’s innovative format simpler to use, it was also customizable and objects could be transferred among applications with minimal effort. Goldberg and Kay also were involved in the development of design templates, forerunners of the design patterns commonly used in software design. In 1988 Goldberg left PARC to co-found ParcPlace Systems, a company that created development tools for Smalltalk-based applications.
She served as president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) from 1984 to 1986, and, together with Alan Kay and Dan Ingalls, received the ACM Software Systems Award in 1987 and was also included in Forbes’s “Twenty Who Matter”. She also received PC Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. In 1994 she was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.
Many of the concepts developed by Goldberg and her team at PARC became the basis for graphically based user interfaces, replacing the earlier command line based systems. According to Goldberg, Steve Jobs demanded a demonstration of the Smalltalk System, which she refused to give him. Her superiors eventually ordered her to, at which point she complied, satisfied that the decision to “give away the kitchen sink” to Jobs and his team was then their responsibility. Apple eventually used many of the ideas in the Alto and their implementations as the basis for their Macintosh desktop.