Bob Wallace (computer scientist)

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Bob Wallace, 1977

Bob Wallace (born May 29, 1949 in Arlington , † September 20, 2002 in San Rafael ) was an American programmer and the ninth employee at Microsoft . Wallace was also the inventor of the term " shareware ", developer of the word processor PC-Write and founder of the software company Quicksoft . Wallace was also known for investing huge amounts of money and time in psychedelic drugs .


Wallace's father was an economist and assistant secretary in the Treasury during the presidency of John F. Kennedy . Wallace's first encounter with computers was when he was a student at Explorer Scout Group in Bethesda, Maryland , sponsored by Control Data . From 1967 he studied at Brown University , where he worked under Andries van Dam and Ted Nelson on an early hypertext, word processing and editing system ( File Retrieval and Editing System , FRESS), at the University of California, Santa Cruz , where he also studied theater, and from the University of Washington with a bachelor's degree in computer science in 1974 and a master's degree in 1978. In Seattle he worked in the city's first retail computer store, which is also the meeting point for computer Was enthusiastic. When he saw an ad from Bill Gates looking for a programmer. In 1978 he was employed by Microsoft. There he was one of the senior programmers at TI-Basic . In 1983 he left Microsoft and founded Quicksoft. Your PC-Write product was sold as shareware (a new concept at the time). At the height of their success in the 1980s, they had 32 employees and made $ 2 million in annual sales. In 1991 he sold the company.

In 1993, he moved from Seattle to Northern California with his wife, Megan Dana-Wallace, and turned her attention to mind-altering drugs. In 1996 he and his wife founded the bookstore Mind Books with a focus on drug plants and psychedelic drugs. His interest in computers was motivated by the fact that he believed them to be tools for expanding consciousness, as well as later psychedelic drugs. In 1998 they set up the Promind Foundation, which was supposed to support scientific research and public education in this area. He was on the board of directors of the Heffter Research Institute, Erowid (a non-profit organization for the dissemination of information about psychedelic drugs, which he also supported financially), the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, EcstasyData, the Black Rock Arts Foundation and funded the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

He died suddenly of pneumonia in his home.

Paul Allen described him as a gentle soul in an obituary in the New York Times , he appeared quietly, but was creative, persistent and meticulous in his programming and thinking .

Contrary to popular rumors, he didn't name Microsoft after his cat, but instead named his cat after Microsoft.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Bob Drier, obituary Wallace in Seattle Times 2002
  2. ^ "I remember Bob as a gentle soul who was soft-spoken, but creative, persistent, and meticulous in his programming and thinking." Quoted from Ed Lazowska, Brown Alumni Monthly
  3. ^ Obituary by Brier Dudley, Seattle Times, 2002