SGML: Memory of Yuri Rubinsky (1952-1996)

SGML: Memory of Yuri Rubinsky (1952-1996)

[Via CTS Digest, (c) Erik Naggum]
Article: 12390 of comp.text.sgml
From: Michel Biezunski <>
Newsgroups: comp.text.sgml
Subject: YURI
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 03:26:01 -0500
Organization: High Text S.A.R.L.
Message-ID: <4en5ba$>


The first time I ever heard about SGML, Yuri was present. It was June
10, 1988. Yuri came to Paris because he was invited to participate to
the first presentation of SGML organized by Dominique Vignaud for the
"Syndicat national de l'Edition" (French Association of
Publishers). When Dominique invited him, he immediately answered: yes,
I am coming.

During that pioneering period for SGML in France, the only source of
information available was the standard itself. For those who were not
involved in its development, (nobody was in France at that time) it
was hard and painful to delve into it. Yuri gave a new light on
SGML. He was able to explain the main issues in simple and clear
terms. He made SGML accessible, intellectually integrable, and even
.. pleasant.

Yuri not only made a bright and colorful presentation, but he also
showed a really user-friendly SGML application: Author/Editor on
MacIntosh. His message was received by the participants to this
meeting : SGML was usable immediately. But he also showed that
SGML was more than that: it represented a high level intellectual
achievement, that was worth studying.

For Yuri, dealing with SGML was far from being simply a way to make
money for his company. He was always looking for the most elevated
usages of what SGML was for. The fact that he contributed to make
electronic documents accessible to blind people was an example.

During the last conversation I had with Yuri, last December, in
Boston, he proposed to adapt his software for producing Braille output
from SGML musical documents (i.e. SMDL). He said that this could be
achieved very easily, and I understood that the reason was because he
always cared about this. He used SGML openness literally.

Yuri was incapable of working with somebody without becoming his
friend. He was particularly skilled to listen to others, and he
understood what others were looking for. The fact that he could apply
this talent to his work made him so exceptional.

Now that Yuri is not there any more, I feel that we have not only lost
one of the most eminent members of the SGML community. I have also
lost a friend, and I think that everybody who has known Yuri feels
the same.

Michel Biezunski
For the SGML Users' Group France.

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   Michel Biezunski,           5 rue d'Alsace, 75003 Paris, France  
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