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Rob Pike

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Rob Pike
Rob Pike at OSCON 2010
Born1956 (age 67–68)
Alma mater
OccupationSoftware engineer
Known forPlan 9, UTF-8, Go
SpouseRenée French

Robert Pike (born 1956) is a Canadian programmer and author. He is best known for his work on the Go programming language while working at Google[1][2] and the Plan 9 operating system while working at Bell Labs, where he was a member of the Unix team.[1]

Pike wrote the first window system for Unix in 1981.[3][non-primary source needed] He is the sole inventor named in the US patent for overlapping windows on a computer display.[4]

With Brian Kernighan, he is the co-author of The Practice of Programming and The Unix Programming Environment.[1] With Ken Thompson, he is the co-creator of UTF-8 character encoding.[1]

Additional works[edit]

While at Bell Labs, Pike was also involved in the creation of the Blit graphical terminal for Unix,[5] the Inferno operating system, and the Limbo programming language.[1] Pike also developed lesser systems such as the Newsqueak concurrent programming language[6] and the vismon program for displaying faces of email authors.[7]

Over the years, Pike has written many text editors; sam[8] and acme are the most well known.[citation needed]

Pike started working at Google in 2002.[1] While there, he was also involved in the creation of the programming language Sawzall.[9]

Pike appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, as a technical assistant to the comedy duo Penn & Teller.[3][non-primary source needed]

Personal life[edit]

Pike is married to author and illustrator Renée French; the couple live both in the US and Australia.[10]

See also[edit]

  • The plumber – the interprocess communications mechanism used in Plan 9 and Inferno
  • Mark V. Shaney – an artificial Usenet poster designed by Pike


  1. ^ a b c d e f ""The Best Programming Advice I Ever Got" with Rob Pike". InformIT. Pearson Education. Aug 15, 2012. Archived from the original on 22 Sep 2023. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  2. ^ Cox, Russ; Griesemer, Robert; Pike, Rob; Taylor, Ian Lance; Thompson, Ken (2022-04-01). "The Go programming language and environment". Communications of the ACM. 65 (5): 70–78. doi:10.1145/3488716. ISSN 0001-0782. S2CID 248385361.
  3. ^ a b Pike, Rob. "Rob Pike". 9p.io. Alcatel-Lucent. Archived from the original on 29 Jan 2023. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Dynamic generation and overlaying of graphic windows for multiple active program storage areas". Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Pike, Rob (October 1984). "The UNIX System : The Blit: A Multiplexed Graphics Terminal" (PDF). AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Journal. 63 (8). 15. doi:10.1002/j.1538-7305.1984.tb00056.x. Retrieved 7 January 2024.
  6. ^ Pike, Rob (1990). "The Implementation of Newsqueak" (PDF). Software—Practice & Experience. 20 (7): 649–659.
  7. ^ Pike, Rob; Presotto, Dave Lee (June 1985). Face the Nation. USENIX Summer Conference Proceedings. Portland, OR, USA.
  8. ^ McIlroy, M. D. (1987). A Research Unix reader: annotated excerpts from the Programmer's Manual, 1971–1986 (PDF) (Technical report). CSTR. Bell Labs. 139.
  9. ^ Pike, Rob; Dorward, Sean; Griesemer, Robert; Quinlan, Sean (2005-01-01). "Interpreting the Data: Parallel Analysis with Sawzall". Scientific Programming. 13 (4): 227–298. doi:10.1155/2005/962135.
  10. ^ "Renee French – A River Runs Through It – Artist Interview". WOW x WOW. 27 July 2015.

External links[edit]