[squeak-dev] Memories on Andreas by Yoshiki
stephane.ducasse at gmail.com
Thu Jan 17 21:29:53 UTC 2013
On Jan 16, 2013, at 9:14 AM, Janko Mivšek wrote:
> I just read them so I hope Yoshiki Ohshima won't mind to forward his
> memories on Andreas to the mailing lists too.
> Yoshiki wrote:
> Andreas Raab, my friend and colleague of fourteen years, just passed
> away (he was only in his mid- 40's). He had a razor-sharp brain, and
> could write best-quality code. Not only that, he could manage projects
> and get a group of people to work. Alan Kay and David Smith say that
> Andreas is one of the top three programmers they have ever met. This
> says a lot.
> The way I got to know Andreas was through a software project called
> Squeak. He ported the Squeak virtual machine to Windows while he was a
> Ph.D student at the Magdeburg university in 1997. The core team members
> of Squeak, led by Alan Kay, were very much impressed with his talent.
> They basically had no way to let him go somewhere else. So when Andreas
> graduated, they just hired him and took him to California. It didn't
> take long that he became the productive members of the core team.
> I was also a Ph.D student at the Tokyo Institute of Technology around
> that time. Prof. Satoshi Matsuoka had a connection to a member of the
> Squeak Central, and that led me to try to port the virtual machine to a
> PDA called Sharp Zaurus. In 1998, I managed to make it (barely) work,
> much of it can be attributed to reading the code Andreas had written. By
> doing so, I got to start communicating with the Squeak group, and,
> eventually I got a job at the group at Disney when the luck and twists
> of events prevailed. Whenever I witnessed the brilliance of Andreas, I
> always thought "Andreas set a precedence of a young guy who ported the
> VM could do so many other things brilliantly. He paved the way and let
> me sneak in here, when I am no match with him." Also in this sense, "I
> would not be myself here today if he was not there."
> He was from former East Germany and as far as I know he even did
> military service (shorter than normal as benefit of being a smart boy).
> I thought I see the remnant of training there occasionally. When five of
> us got on to a small car and Andreas got the middle seat, or when we got
> on a crowded Shinkansen train, he just could stay still for a long time
> without complaining. I imagined that this has something to do with his
> training. Thinking about this root, one thing to be said is that "he was
> somebody who could transform himself"; he started being not only a smart
> guy but added "more depth to his character", stop smoking after a while
> in California, and endorse the capitalist ideals when he started a start
> up company (actually, companies). Not only that, he became a guy of love
> and family! I would imagine that many of us seeing him over time thought
> that "is that the same Andreas?" at many times; he was a walking
> manifestation of the idea of "being yourself by changing constantly".
> (He could argue for something with perfectly logical argument on one
> day, then a few days later he could argue against it with equally
> perfect logic.)
> Yes, he was a person of love and family. I had an opportunity of
> attending his wedding 16 months ago. And when Kathleen and he visited us
> in California as a part of the honeymoon trip, we cooked together family
> foods of Germany and Japan for dinner. During the grocery shopping and
> cooking for the dinner, how happy and sweet Andreas looked! They became
> "pen pals" of my daughter and they often sent us gifts and letter on
> occasions. It really breaks my heart when I think about her (and the baby).
> There is a post he made to the Squeak developers mailing list right
> after the 9/11 incident. It was a community of thousands from different
> countries; so there were some off-topic posts that caused stir. But
> Andreas posted a message, which basically said that we need to keep
> working on to build a better future:
> There must be many in the community who had similar lines of thoughts,
> but besides the idea itself, the way he clearly articulate the idea and
> posted it promptly gave me a very strong and lasting impression. I often
> recall that posts now and then.
> Unfortunately, we are not going to see such emails from him any more.
> But what can we do? We need to press on and try to build a "better future".
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