One of the founders of the American software company Adobe passed away at the age of 81. With the PostScript and PDF file format, Chuck Geschke revolutionized home printing. Its programs made it easy to use pictures and layouts.
Geschke founded Adobe in 1982 with colleague John Warnock. They met at work at copy giant Xerox. When that company showed no interest in its ideas of making digital documents look the same on any printer, they started their own company, named after the table that ran behind Warnock’s house.
Adobe’s work quickly caught attention in Silicon Valley. Steve Jobs, among others, put millions into the company. He launched the first personal computers with a graphical interface with his Mac computer, and by using Adobe, users could print their works exactly as they appeared on screen.
It made it very easy to design reports, flyers, and other paperwork at home that also looked cute, instead of the cool typewriter signs that were popular up until then.
Adobe later also put an important milestone on other digital technologies: The PDF made it possible to share documents online that looked exactly like the original. Their Photoshop has become the standard for photo editing among photographers: the program is so popular that “shopping for photos” has become a verb of photo editing.
Adobe’s success had devastating consequences for Geschke in 1992: criminals kidnapped him for days. He was released four days later when one of the perpetrators was arrested and a ransom of $ 650,000.
Geschke and Warnock abandoned the day-to-day running of Adobe in 2000. However, they remained active on the board of directors. President Obama awarded them both the National Medal of Technology in 2009, the highest American award for scientists and developers.
“Chuck and John Warnock both revolutionized the way people create and communicate things,” Adobe said in the obituary. “Chuck’s unwavering passion has inspired this company to break through in software development.”