[Fwd: A glimpse of Phil's insight, wit, and leadership]

Dan Connolly (connolly@w3.org)
Wed, 02 Jul 1997 01:43:21 -0500

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Have a look at the Phil Karlton
memorial website[1] and don't miss his homepage[2].

[1] http://karlton.hamilton.com/
[2] http://www.netscape.com/people/karlton

Dan Connolly

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I met Phil for the first and only time at a meeting of the W3C working group on HTML in Sun Valley, Idaho, February, 1997.

HTML working group meetings can be pretty intense. While we try to just debate the technical issues, the marketplace is intensely competitive, and the legacy issues are daunting, and the technical issues often get trampled by the dancing elephants.

While I often have strong technical opinions about how issues should be resolved, my role as chair means that they are out of order; my only hope is that one of the participants will effectively argue the position I favor.

I discovered early and often that I could count on Phil to argue for the Right Thing. While he was new to to HTML work, he took no time at all to come up to speed, and his contributions were consistently insightful.

But Phil's technical contributions aren't what bring all of us here to remember him...

I started to get a real sense of who Phil was when we were cramped in the back of the van from the meeting room to the restaurant for dinner: the guy had just turned 50, and he was the goalie for the Netscape roller-hocky team, for chrissakes.

His vitality was so tangible, in contrast to the email message from Jim Gettys conveying news of his death to me.

Anyway... for those of you who are not familiar with Sun Valley, it's a ski resort. So at dinner, as we're all becoming considerably lubricated, Phil begins to exhort the group to continue the meeting into the evening, so that we could all hit the slopes in stead of the meeting room the next day.

It was funny, at first. But Phil's enthusiasm caught on, and before we knew it, we were back in the meeting room, hammering out issues and getting hammered.

The minutes record one particularly choice moment as:

PK: text editors are not a great concern (expletive deleted :-)

but the actual Karltonism was:

"F**k Notepad!"

Phil made that meeting fun and successful.

His contribution to W3C seemed to increase steadily from that point forward.

When I see here how instrumental he was in making X and OpenGL fun and successful, the following somber note seems all the more disconcerting:

Lauren Wood wrote: > Here are the minutes from the weekly teleconference of the DOM WG. ... > Memorial: Phil Karlton was killed last Friday in a car accident. We will miss > him.

I join the rest of you in mourning the loss of him and his wife, and I offer my condolances to his family and friends.

But as others have said here, let us honor our fallen comrade by picking up the standard of teamwork, generosity, and warmth that he carried so passionately, and carrying it foward in our lives and work.

Dan Connolly, W3C HTML Working Group Chair