Ray Tomlinson, American computer programmer, Died at 74


Raymond Samuel Tomlinson was born in 1941 and died on March 5, 2016.

He a American computer programmer.

Ray implemented an email system in 1971 on the ARPANET.

This was the first system able to send mail between users on different hosts connected to the ARPAnet.

Before, mail could be sent only to others who used the same computer.

To be able to achieve this, he used the @ sign to separate the user from their machine, which has been used in email addresses ever since.

Following that, the first email Ray Tomlinson sent was a test e-mail.

But, it was not stored and Tomlinson describes it as insignificant, something like “QWERTYUIOP”.

And still now commonly misquoted as “The first e-mail was QWERTYUIOP”.

Later, Ray commented that these “test messages were entirely forgettable and I have, therefore, forgotten them.

In the beginning of his work, his email messaging system wasn’t thought to be a big deal.

After Tomlinson showed it to his work colleague Jerry Burchfiel, Tomlinson said “Don’t tell anyone! This isn’t what we’re supposed to be working on.”

During 1967, Ray joined the technology company of Bolt, Beranek and Newman, now BBN Technologies, where he helped develop the TENEX operating system including ARPANET Network Control Program and TELNET implementations.

Raymond Samuel Tomlinson wrote a file-transfer program called CPYNET to transfer files through the ARPANET.

Raymond Samuel Tomlinson was asked to change a program called SNDMSG, which sent messages to other users of a time-sharing computer, to run on TENEX.

Raymond added code he took from CPYNET to SNDMSG so messages could be sent to users on other computers — the first email.

During 2000, Ray Tomlinson received the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum (with the Computer Science Department of Montana State University).

And in 2001, Ray received a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for lifetime achievement.

Followed by his 2001 induction into the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame.

Ray Tomlinson passed away at 74 yrs old.