A regional computer magazine called ComputorEdge has published a Top Ten list of the most influential techies of all time. The piece, titled "The Top 10 Most Influential People in Computing History," is the opinion of one author, but we were pleased to note that two Apple employees made his list, and that Steve Jobs beat out Bill Gates by half the list. The first, at #10, was Bill Atkinson, the developer of HyperCard, and an original member of the Macintosh team. Bill Gates took the #8 spot, while Steve Jobs was named the #3 most influential person in computing history. From ComputorEdge:
10. Bill Atkinson: Hypermedia Pioneer - Probably the most controversial choice for this list, Atkinson was most known for the development of HyperCard (which debuted in 1987), one of the first widely used hypermedia development tools, which inspired hypertext and the World Wide Web five years later. HyperCard demonstrated the functionality of contextual links, and laid the groundwork for the Internet revolution. Critics of Atkinson say that he killed HyperCard because he didnit think HyperCard should be implemented for the network. Atkinson also was one of the original programmers of the first Macintosh operating system, and wrote MacPaint (both debuted in 1984), one of the first graphics editors that set the standard for all graphics programs to follow.
8. Bill Gates: Basic and the Microsoft Empire - The Harvard dropout secured his place in computing history by developing some of the first Basic computer languages and licensing them during the 70s. Gates secured his place in world history by using a combination of shrewd (his enemies would say unfair) business practices and technical acumen to guide the rise of the personal computer, and profit from it.
Gates, who is currently the worldis richest man, changed the course of computing history when he licensed his Disk Operating System, know as MS-DOS, for IBMis personal computer in the early 80s. MS-DOS was the real economic foundation of Gates Microsoft Empire, enabling him to control the operating system used by the majority of computer users, and influence most operating systems to this day.
3. Steve Jobs: Computing for the Masses - Although Steve Jobs never actually invented or programmed anything of consequence, he can be credited for being the driving force behind the first truly widely used personal computer by non-techno hobbyiststhe Apple II. The Apple II proved to the world that a personal computer could be useful to a (relatively) non-technical person.
Jobs, a master marketer, was also responsible for the popularization of the graphical user interface (GUI) and the mouse with his Macintosh project at Apple Computer. (He picked up the unused ideas from Xerox.) Today, no major company would even consider releasing an operating system that didnit have a GUI and mouse.
In many ways, Jobs has been the driving vision and soul of the personal computer revolution, actively leading the leaders of personal computing.
We strongly recommend that you check out the full article, as there are several more very interesting personages on the list. Join in on the discussion about this in our forums, where some of the debate is on why Steve Wozniak wasnit given a berth in this list. Thanks to Observer iShadow for the heads up on this piece.