RIP, Stephen Wilhite

Stephen Wilhite’s favorite GIF, allegedly

The Verge reports that the man who invented the GIF has died:

Stephen Wilhite, one of the lead inventors of the GIF, died last week from COVID at the age of 74, according to his wife, Kathaleen, who spoke to The Verge. He was surrounded by family when he passed. His obituary page notes that “even with all his accomplishments, he remained a very humble, kind, and good man.”

Stephen Wilhite worked on GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, which is now used for reactions, messages, and jokes, while employed at CompuServe in the 1980s. He retired around the early 2000s and spent his time traveling, camping, and building model trains in his basement.

As this blog is riddled with GIFs, we salute you, Mr. Whilhite, but we note that this debate is eternal: it is pronounced gif and not jif. Don’t come at me.


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15 Responses to RIP, Stephen Wilhite

  1. Sirius Lunacy says:

    Of course it is pronounced gif. Unless you are referring to Giraffics Interchange Format, only then is it pronounced jif.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Martin Pollard says:

    Weeelllll… Wilhite himself insisted that it was pronounced “jif,” not “gif,” thus I’m gonna defer to the guy that invented the bloody thing. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stony Pillow says:

      Second the motion.

      Liked by 1 person

    • TheOtherHank says:

      Well he was wrong too. It’s hard-g GIF. This is my hill. This is where I make my stand. vi vs emacs, don’t care. Linux distros, whatever, dude. But it’s GIF. Jif sounds like we’re talking about peanut butter

      Liked by 1 person

    • ali redford says:

      I remember reading once that Mr. Wilhite said “jif.” I’d been saying hard-g gif, but changed due to that. Later on, I read “somewhere” that hard-g gif is the only way to say it.
      So I avoid saying it aloud.


  3. If he wanted it to be jiff, he should’ve found a way (w/a J) to that but, he didn’t so he’s crap outta luck in more than one way (RIP, sir) because it’s gif pronounced “giff”. Look, Mary Anne Trump named her child “Donald” but we call him shithead/LDN, etc.,. Case closed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. skinnydennis says:

    All you hard G giffers probably say Keeve too. Not Kee-ef.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. FELINE MAMA says:

    I’m still trying to figure out that “dancing baby” gif.
    Is it a commercial?

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I remember correct it came from Allie McBeal and it was a baby (in her mind) plaguing/taunting her for her waning childless child-bearing years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • FELINE MAMA says:

        Hey, Thanks, CR. Never watched the show. WOW.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The dancing baby predated Ally McBeal by a couple decades in internet time years . It was a demo file for the 3D Character Animation plug-in for 3D Studio Max (at one time, and maybe still a big high end 3D illustration and rendering program) in 1996. It was first used in Ally McBeal in 1998.

        Tangental weird fact: if it weren’t for Ally McBeal, William Shatner would not have had the late career run he had in Boston Legal, which was a spinoff of a spinoff of Ally McBeal.

        “Denny Crane!”

        OTHER really weird fact (which I didn’t remember) there was a version of it in my favorite “Millenium” episode of all time “Somehow Satan Got Behind Me” which I learned from reading the wikipedia article.

        Personal weird fact: when I was a kid I read through our family’s three sets of encyclopedias for fun. If Wikipedia were around then I would have never, ever left the house 🙂

        Also, quite possibly why when Trivial Pursuit came along everybody made me answer ALL the questions on the last card to win…which I still did almost all the time.

        This is a kind of a curse: stupid trivial knowledge has pretty much filled my memory, so trivial things like “What I came to the store to get” tend to go right on out in favor of things like remembering that the dancing baby was a demo file for a big 3D program and that Boston Legal was a spinoff of The Practice, which was a spinoff of Ally McBeal…:-)

        Liked by 2 people

      • ali redford says:

        Yes! It was a great show-really quirky.


  6. beckymaenot says:

    I love MPS comments- always learning from you scissorheads. Seriously- the best internet comments around.


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