Sad news for the technology sector, with the loss of william english, one of the pioneers of the modern interface of computers and a fundamental part in the development of the first computer mouse, after the confirmation of his death on July 26 due to respiratory failure at the age of 91 years.
An electrical engineering student at the University of Kentucky, and a United States Marine until 1950, English joined a Northern California research laboratory called Stanford Research Institute (currently known as SRI International). During his stay there, he contributed to his main project together with Douglas Englebart, with the development of a new computer model that could be used not only by specialists, as it was then, but also by people without technical knowledge.
His multifaceted experimental computer, called the “oLLine System” or NLS, was unveiled on December 9, 1968 at an event in San Francisco that was registered as “The Mother of all demonstrations”. And it is that many previously unknown concepts were shown in it, such as the first graphical user interfaces for computer use with combined interaction with the mouse and cursor, online text editing, video calls or links hypertext.
Although even more impressive was his contribution to the development of the mouse, presented in the NLS project itself. And it is that although Englebart is considered the visionary of this device, English was one of the few people who really understood the ideas and had the talent to bring them to fruition, being able to build the first functional prototype of this peripheral just by seeing the drawings and sketches of your partner.
Years later, William English joined a new Xerox laboratory called the Palo Alto Research Center, or PARCwhere he helped tailor many of the NLS ideas to a new machine called «Stop», which later became a template for the development and creation of Apple Macintosh, the first Microsoft Windows personal computers, and other devices connected to the Internet.
All of them elements that not only meant an enormous accessibility of use for both professional and general pubic at the time, but would be polished in computers over the course of the following decades to become one of the fundamental bases for computers used in today.
For all this, from MuyComputer we want to pay this heartfelt tribute, thanks, and farewell to William English.