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Doom creator John Carmack's thoughts on Steve Jobs are a must read

His musings on the late Apple co-founder are extensive, brutally honest and heartwarming all at the same time.

The late Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder

James Martin

When John Carmack says something, you should probably listen. That goes double when he's talking about the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

For background, John Carmack is the co-creator of the popular Doom and Quake video game franchises. He's also well-known for being one of the greatest coding minds in the games industry and his resume also lists his work as lead programmer on Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D. That's a pretty good resume. Right now he's the CTO at Oculus VR.

Monday on Facebook, Carmack wrote a lengthy post on Jobs and their relationship. It's an incredible, insightful, often personal read that focuses on what he calls the "'hero/shithead' rollercoaster" of communicating with Jobs.

Some highlights:

It was often frustrating, because he could talk, with complete confidence, about things he was just plain wrong about, like the price of memory for video cards and the amount of system bandwidth exploitable by the AltiVec extensions.

But when I knew what I was talking about, I would stand my ground against anyone.

When Steve did make up his mind, he was decisive about it. Dictates were made, companies were acquired, keynotes were scheduled, and the reality distortion field kicked in, making everything else that was previously considered into obviously terrible ideas.

Carmack didn't think Jobs thought "very highly of games" but never "never took it personally". According to the story, they had several clashes over multiple different issues. But this is my favourite exchange:

I said that OS-X was surely being used for things that were more security critical than a phone, and if Apple couldn't provide enough security there, they had bigger problems. He came back with a snide "You're a smart guy John, why don't you write a new OS?" At the time, my thought was, "Fuck you, Steve."

But they appeared to finish up on good terms, before Jobs passing.

As the public story of his failing health progressed, I started several emails to try to say something meaningful and positive to part on, but I never got through them, and I regret it.

I corroborate many of the negative character traits that he was infamous for, but elements of the path that led to where I am today were contingent on the dents he left in the universe.

I showed up for him.

Read the whole post here.

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