Microsoft has inaugurated a "Distinguished Engineers" programme and announced the first recipients. In a letter leaked to Dave Winer's Userland scripting website, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer says the first sixteen DEs are "visionaries... unparalleled and essential to our long-term success".
The gongs go to some familiar and well-respected names. Dave Cutler, ex-DECcie responsible for the design of Windows NT, heads the list, which also includes the great ex-IBM, Tandem, DEC survivor (and author of the TPC Benchmarks) Jim Gray, and ex-DEC and Xerox PARC veterans Chuck Thacker and Butler Lampson. Thacker now heads the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge, England.
They aren't the only ex-DECcies on the list. Others include Mark Lucovsky (NT design) and Wael Bahaa-El-Din (performance analysis).
Also honoured are Lou Perazzoli (NT design), Peter Spiro (SQL Server), Anders Hejlsberg (Visual J++, C#), Mohsen Al-Ghosein (middleware), Suryanarayanan Raman (apps and Internet), Brad Lovering (tools), Antoine Leblond (Office - and the man most culpable for letting the Power Pup slip through - thanks, Antoine), Michael Toutonghi (.NET) and software Veep Darryl Rubin.
Microsoft veteran Charles "lpfnChuck" Simonyi gets one too. Simonyi has spent the last ten years out of harm's way, working on Intentional Programming (as opposed to Unintentional Programming? - ed), but is still notorious for devising Hungarian Notation, a Byzantine variable naming convention christened in his honour
Register Footnote: We were intrigued that Michael Toutonghi's biog includes a reference to OmniView, whcih is described as a "multi-tasking environment". Once we'd composed ourselves after learning that that Microsoft actually has a multi-tasking environment, we set about trying to recall what OmniView was. We know that Microsoft made efforts to make its Windows 1.0 and 2.0 .PIF-compatible with TopView, the clunking DOS task-switcher IBM touted, then abandoned in the mid-80s. But between that and the task-switcher in DOS 5.0 which crept out in 1991, we can only draw a blank. Do any Register readers ever recall seeing OmniView? Come on, Michael. Don't be coy now... (Hint: This wasn't a Microsoft product, but whose was it? And what happened to it? - Ed) ®