From his web page (

Rob Pike, well known for his appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman", is also a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, where he has been since 1980, the same year he won the Olympic silver medal in Archery. In 1981 he wrote the first bitmap window system for Unix systems, and has since written ten more. With Bart Locanthi he designed the Blit terminal; with Brian Kernighan he wrote The Unix Programming Environment and The Practice of Programming. A shuttle mission nearly launched a gamma-ray telescope he designed. He is a Canadian citizen and has never written a program that uses cursor addressing.
This is also the blurb that gets used to introduce him in announcements about talks he gives.

Some of this information is a bit out of date. (My favorite bit on the web page is a video, made in 1982, where he explains how to use a mouse. He's really an employee of Google these days, but Bell Labs hasn't taken away his web page yet. He designed a lot of the Plan 9 Operating System, and unlike most Google engineers who use Linux on their desktop, he sometimes uses it. He also uses his Mac quite a bit.

He's rather annoyed at the publisher of The Unix Programming Environment, since they inexplicably removed many of the quotes from the example scripts in the book in some printings. If you want a copy of it, make sure it's one of the really old printings, or one of the really recent printings.

I've heard stories that when he was younger, he always wore a pair of red shoes.

He once told me that his favorite haircut of all time was one which was long on one side, and a crew cut on the other side. If you looked at him in profile, he looked either like a hippie or a member of the military, and head on, I guess he just looked kinda weird. I haven't actually seen it, but apparently it was an amazing sight to behold.

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