Lawrence Tessler, a pioneering Silicon Valley computer scientist and programmer who helped to make computers accessible to everyone, has passed away.
Tessler early work at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in the 1970s led to the development of the Gypsy program, introducing innovative features such as “cut, copy and paste” for moving and copying blocks of text in a document, and “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) display that closely resembled printed output. According to an obituary published in The New York Times, Tessler was also heavily involved in the development of the earliest prototypes of today’s laptop computers.
Perhaps the most frequently-told story about Tessler was the demonstration of the Xerox Alto computer he gave to Steve Jobs in 1979. That demonstration is widely credited with serving as the inspiration for the graphic user interface (GUI) featured in Apple’s Lisa and, later, Macintosh computers.
Tessler was 74 years old.