It is with great sadness that we report that Roy Tomlinson, the man credited with creating the first email system, has passed away.
Tomlinson was working on ARPANET, the precursor to the internet, back in 1971 when he contributed to the first email system. Tomlinson is recorded as saying that most of the emails he sent when testing the system were “entirely forgettable, and I have, therefore, forgotten them”.
Tomlinson’s contribution doesn’t end there, it was originally Tomlinson’s idea to use the @ symbol for stating that you could find a user “at” this particular host. He explained his reasoning on picking the @ symbol on BBN’s website:
“I chose to append an at sign and the host name to the user’s (login) name. I am frequently asked why I chose the at sign, but the at sign just makes sense. The purpose of the at sign (in English) was to indicate a unit price (for example, 10 items @ $1.95). I used the at sign to indicate that the user was “at” some other host rather than being local.”
We cannot deny the influence that Roy Tomlinson had not only on the technology we use but also on the way we live. May he rest in peace.