The Man Who Invented GIF Passes Away at 74; Right here’s to Stephen E. Wilhite!

Whereas GIFs have change into well-liked amongst basic internet-treaders solely within the current previous, the

Whereas GIFs have change into well-liked amongst basic internet-treaders solely within the current previous, the Graphic Picture Format (GIF) was invented approach again in 1987 by a staff of engineers at CompuServe. It was led by the American pc scientist Stephen E. Wilhite, who’s deemed because the inventor of GIF. Sadly, Wilhite succumbed to COVID-19 final week and handed away in his hometown of Milford, Ohio.

Inventor of GIF Passes Away

Stephen Wilhite labored as a lead engineer for CompuServe in his early years. He helped develop varied programs on the firm, together with CompuServe’s wire protocol like Host Micro Interface (HMI) and the CompuServe B protocol for the CompuServe Info Supervisor (CIM).

Nevertheless, the invention of GIFs remained one in all his most trophied achievements. For that, he additionally acquired a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award again in 2013. In the present day, GIFs are used on virtually each social media platform as reactions and memes. Certainly one of Wilhite’s favourite GIFs is a dancing child meme (connected under), in line with his interview with The New York Instances. The primary GIF he created was that of an airplane.

The Man Who Invented GIF Passes Away at 74; Here’s to Stephen E. Wilhite!
Credit score: The New York Instances

Speaking about her husband, Kathaleen Wilhite informed The Verge that Stephen was surrounded by his family members till his final breath. His obituary web page mentions that “even with all his accomplishments, he remained a really humble, type, and good man.” As per Kathaleen, Wilhite was the proudest of the creation of GIF. Wilhite was additionally keen on tenting and touring and spent most of his time doing so after the retired within the 2000s.

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Stephen’s title additionally popped up throughout the much-controversial debates surrounding the pronunciation of the GIF picture format. Whereas some pronounce with the right pronunciation of “G”, most of us seek advice from it as “JIF.” Throughout his 2013 interview with The New York Instances, Wilhite talked about that “the Oxford English Dictionary accepts each pronunciations.”

“They’re mistaken. It’s a mushy ‘G,’ pronounced ‘Jif.’ Finish of story,” Stephen added to settle the talk as soon as and for all.

With Wilhite’s passing away, we misplaced one other sensible pc scientist who contributed to creating some of the used digital picture codecs. So, we must thank Mr. Wilhite for his creation and hope he rests in peace. As an ode to Wilhite, share with us your favourite GIFs within the feedback under.