September 18, 2009

Adobe co-founders to be honored by President Obama

Wow–very cool news from Washington. According to the Merc,

President Obama Thursday picked Adobe Systems co-founders Charles Geschke and John Warnock to receive one of the nation’s highest honors bestowed on scientists, engineers and inventors — the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Geschke and Warnock were chosen “for their pioneering contributions that spurred the desktop publishing revolution and for changing the way people create and engage with information and entertainment across multiple mediums including print, Web and video,” according to a White House press release.

The pair, who will receive the award at an Oct. 7 White House ceremony, founded Adobe in 1982 and serve as co-chairman of the San Jose software company known for its editing, graphic design and Web development tools, which include its widely used Acrobat and Photoshop products.

Congrats, Drs. Warnock and Geschke! Your many fans will be there in spirit.

Related/previous:

Posted by John Nack at 9:38 AM on September 18, 2009

Comments

  • Rand Careaga — 3:18 PM on September 18, 2009

    I’ve made my living using Adobe products since 1987 (beginning with Illustrator 1 and sundry fonts), but I must say that I admired the company, if not its product line, more when its founders were in charge. John Warnock would not have shipped the Creative Suite applications sans printed documentation. Shows what happens when control of the institutional culture passes from engineers to marketers and bean counters.

  • Adam Pratt — 9:17 PM on September 18, 2009

    I don’t want to get into an argument about printed documentation because I really am sensitive to folks’ different opinions on the subject, but I do think it’s worth pointing out that the same brilliant man that brought you Illustrator (Warnock) also brought you Acrobat. :-)

  • Klaus Nordby — 3:27 PM on September 19, 2009

    Since I am deeply aware of how indebted my professional and personal life is to the life work of Geschke and Warnock, I’m really happy for them that they’re being honored in a Very Big Way in their home country. Although I would add that it’s not a proper function of any government officials to praise the specific actions of civilians (and therefore, by logical implication, to also condemn — which is obviously a very slippery slope). But political philosophy aside — and since I am, thankfully, not a government employee — I offer my cheers to Geschke and Warnock!

  • Breton — 5:56 PM on September 20, 2009

    @Rand, I don’t know really what led to the decision to drop the printed documentation from the creative suite, but I will have to agree that it was a poor choice. I always thought that the printed documentation was the bulk of the value you recieved out of spending ~$1000 on the suite, rather than the physical disks. The physical objects that come with a software package are the main incentive to buy, rather than bootleg the software- Aside from some fuzzy ill defined feeling of being “ethical”. The printed documentation that came with adobe software was really top quality as well.
    It’s hard to deny that adobe has some big problems with piracy, so it seems like a bit of a self defeating policy choice to me. It’s a bit off the subject though, their loss I suppose.
    @Klaus Nordby
    You’ll have to forgive me for being a little sheltered, but I’m mystified about your opinions about the function of government. This is not really an appropriate place to have a discussion about it, so to keep it brief, I will simply ask, what do you call that? Is it libertarianism? A few clues to figure out what the philisophical basis for that conclusion would be helpful.
    As for my own 2 cents (what else is an anonymous comment form for?), it seems like a wonderful gesture. We always need more people like Dr. Warnock and Geschke, so to have a very influential person such as Obama acknowledge their contributions is quite useful. Normally it’s only celebrities and athletes that get that kind of cultural recognition, so the more attention that actually useful people get, all the better, I think.

  • Jp Cooper — 8:32 PM on September 20, 2009

    I guess I’ll be the one that doesn’t brown nose here.
    Adobe unmistakably pushed the desktop publishing industry into being. I agree with this absolutely. And I am also one that has a career as a aresult. I think the PDF format is one of the best things to ever come to publishing.
    However -I probably would have still had a career if someone else had been the mitigating factor that had pushed the industry. Just happened to be them.
    As for this whole ….”for their pioneering contributions that spurred the desktop publishing revolution and for changing the way people create and engage with information and entertainment across multiple mediums including print, Web and video,”….
    Adobe did not develop or create Photoshop or spur Image Editing. Initially they licensed it and used their corporate presence to market it. Also Apple was being schoozed for interest and could have easily licensed or purchased in place of Adobe.
    And I hate to burst another bubble here – but GoLive never did much of anything to push the web industry.
    We have the SVG format which is kind of hit or miss.
    Macromedia created Dreamweaver and Fireworks and acquired Flash from a 3rd party as Adobe did with PS.
    And I’m sure there is some reason why Adobe kept DW and FW and ceased development on GoLive and ImageReady. Not to mention LiveMotion.
    And for years – Illustrator was a far inferior product to Freehand – until Macromedia let it fall by they way-side pending the Adobe purchase.
    [Keep telling yourself that. Macromedia abandoned FH many years before Adobe bought Macromedia, for the simple reason that the market had overwhelmingly chosen Illustrator over FH. You don’t have to like that fact or conclude that it means AI is (or was then) a superior product, but the fact remains. As for the rest of your points, it’s too late and I’m too tired to rebut them in detail. –J.]
    It’s no different than Microsoft purchasing companies and technology left and right – rebranding them and pawning them off with their own label and Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer laying claim to single-handedly acheiving something great.
    Why not give recognition to Thomas and John Knoll – they invented PS?
    (not a fan but) Why not give recognition to Steve Wozniak – he invented the desktop PC so there would be a desktop publishing industry in the first place?

  • Daemon — 1:25 AM on September 21, 2009

    @Jp Cooper: you mean the same Knoll that appears as FIRST name on the loading screen of Photoshop? I, and many others, see his name at least once a day. I think that, for starters, is OK recognition.
    Giving recog to Woz? Why not to Tesla, since he invented AC electricity. Or anyone in the process of making computers, microchips, etc…
    Furthermore (call it brown-nosing if you want) buying a product from someone else does not instantly mean GREAT SUCCESS! If you were given Photoshop now, i bet you whatever you want that you would not know what to do with it, in terms of further development, management, decision what features to go with, and what to drop, etc. Buying the product is easy part, all you need is cash. Taking care for it is SUPER tough.
    Anyways, I HEART Adobe. Bleedin’ for you guys, cause I know you bleed for me =)

  • Stephen Walker — 3:32 AM on September 21, 2009

    Excellent stuff.
    Well deserved.
    Everything I do is centered around Adobe so credit where credit is due.
    And although I’m not an American I’m happy that it is recognition from the Obama government – somehow the same recognition (in my opinion) from the Bush regime wouldn’t have been as sweet.

  • Rand Careaga — 10:22 AM on September 21, 2009

    @Adam Pratt – You don’t need to remind me about Warnock and Acrobat (I can vaguely remember when Adobe was originally trying to sell the technology with a main focus on electronic forms-completion) since every time I turn away from my computer I catch sight of the fifteen fat binders containing my printouts of most of the CS3 documentation (I haven’t yet felt up to facing the ordeal for CS4). The binders, the eight+ reams of paper (wish I’d had pre-punched stock on hand), the toner cartridge consumed in the output, the hours of time spent printing and assembling the docs (including working that effing 3-hole punch) — all of these represent costs passed from Adobe to me. It’s one thing for Apple to ship a lightweight product like iWork with electronic docs, but the Creative Suite components are hugely complex tools for professionals, and for post-Warnock Adobe to charge fifty bucks extra per individual application for printed docs is, if you will forgive the technical term, chickenshit.
    Does anyone here prefer toggling back-and-forth onscreen between Dreamweaver or Illustrator and the corresponding Acrobat doc to having a printed copy open beside the keyboard? I can only envy you the copious screen real estate that such a preference implies.

  • Klaus Nordby — 11:16 AM on September 21, 2009

    @Breton: You’re right, John Nack’s blog isn’t the place to discuss politics. But the awards to Geschke & Warnock IS a political act, by virtue of a government *selecting* these particular civilians for an “official” honor — and not, say, Bill Gates (or fill in ANY civilian’s name there, it doesn’t matter for the sake of the *principle*). Hence, I felt a tiny argument against the very idea of a government handing out honors to civilians was in its place: the English, German, French, Italian, etc. governments have for eaons practiced the granting of a plethora of honors and awards, and it’s what created the cadres of Dukes and Counts and Barons we Europeans have been lambasted with — which is, surely, a rather un-American idea?
    The proper function of Government? It’s only ONE thing: the protection of individual rights for the sake of preserving liberty — and no, that’s not libertarianism, since libertarians are chiefly a hodge-podge of contrarians who don’t believe in the concept of individual rights. OK, enough! Feel free to email me privately — we shouldn’t mess up John’s blog more with such off-topic stuff! Apologies, John — back to the bits and bytes!

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