L Peter Deutsch
Born (1946-08-07) August 7, 1946 (age 77)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
Spouse(s)Barbara J. Grosz (divorced), James R. Hughson (deceased), Michael J. Golub

L Peter Deutsch (born Laurence Peter Deutsch on August 7, 1946, in Boston, Massachusetts) is the founder of Aladdin Enterprises and creator of Ghostscript, a free software PostScript and PDF interpreter.

Deutsch's other work includes the Smalltalk implementation that inspired Java just-in-time compilation technology about 15 years later.[1]

Some stories about him are included in the book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. An interview with him is printed in Coders at Work.

Contributions to computer science

Deutsch wrote the PDP-1 Lisp 1.5 implementation and first REPL, Basic PDP-1 LISP, "while still in short pants" and finished it in 1963, when he was 17 years old.[2] He collaborated with Calvin Mooers on the TRAC programming language and wrote its first implementation, on the PDP-1, in 1964.[3][4]

From 1964 to 1967, during his study at the University of California, Berkeley, he worked with Butler Lampson and Charles P. Thacker on the Berkeley Timesharing System, which became the standard operating system for the SDS 940 mainframe that would later be used by Tymshare, NLS, and Community Memory.

Deutsch is the author of several Request for Comments (RFCs), The Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing, and originated the Deutsch limit adage about visual programming languages.

Deutsch received a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1973,[5] and has previously worked at Xerox PARC and Sun Microsystems. In 1994, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Personal life

Deutsch's father was the physicist Martin Deutsch, a professor at MIT.

Deutsch changed his legal first name from "Laurence" to "L" on September 12, 2007.[6] His published work and other public references before that time generally use the name L. Peter Deutsch (with a dot after the L).

After auditing undergraduate music courses at Stanford University, in January 2009, he entered the postgraduate music program at California State University, East Bay, and was awarded a Master of Arts (M.A.) in March 2011. As of mid-2011, he has had six compositions performed at public concerts, and now generally identifies himself as a composer rather than a software developer or engineer.


  1. ^ "A Conversation with James Gosling", ACM Queue, vol. 2, no. 5, 31 August 2004
  2. ^ The LISP Implementation for the PDP-1 Computer, L. Peter Deutsch and Edmund C Berkeley, March 1964
  3. ^ "TRAC Language: T64". tracfoundation.org. Archived from the original on 8 April 2001. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  4. ^ Mooers, C.N.; Deutsch, L.P. (1965). "TRAC, A Text-Handling Language". Proceeding ACM '65 Proceedings of the 1965 20th national conference. pp. 229–246. doi:10.1145/800197.806048. S2CID 40013081. full text
  5. ^ L. Peter Deutsch (June 1973). "An interactive program verifier". University of California, Berkeley. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "Case CIV464587 - In Re: Laurence Deutsch". San Mateo County Civil Court. September 12, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2011.[permanent dead link]