It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that Danny Thorpe has passed away.
I think most people know who Danny is. He worked for a long time at Borland, including a long stretch shepherding the compiler through many changes and Platforms.
But he was way more than the “Compiler guy”. If you ever played the pinball game that came with Windows 95, Danny had a big hand in that. He went on to work at Google on pieces of the Chrome engine, at Looker on really smart data visualisation and a bunch of other things. It seemed whatever he turned his hand to he did with the same inventiveness and rigour. The same with his private pursuits, like absolutely beautiful fired ceramics he created in his shed on his property.
My exposure to Danny began back in the early days of Delphi. Back then, Danny was a Borland engineer who would occasionally post on the beta groups. Obviously super smart, but then almost everybody on those groups seemed super smart to me.
Then his book came out, and I devoured it repeatedly, learning so much from it on every re-read. He became a hero to me.
Then I joined Borland and met him, and apart from still being super smart, what surprised me most was how funny and warm he was. I used to look forward to catching up with him every few months when I went over. He became a friend and a great example of why sometimes it is ok to meet your heroes.