Geof-Crowl / apple-releases-source-code-lisa
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Thursday, Jan. 26th 2023

Apple releases source code to the Lisa

Alongside the source code is this a great post about the place in history that the Lisa had in the development of GUIs.

The Lisa: Apple’s Most Influential Failure

Happy 40th Birthday to Lisa! The Apple Lisa computer, that is. In celebration of this milestone, CHM has received permission from Apple to release the source code to the Lisa software, including its system and applications software.

The invention of the GUI, especially in the form of windows, icons, menus, and pointer (WIMP), controlled by a mouse, occurred at Xerox PARC in the 1970s, on the Alto, a computer with a bitmapped graphics display designed to be used by a single person, i.e. a “personal computer,” despite the research prototype’s high cost. Key elements of the WIMP GUI paradigm, especially overlapping windows and popup menus, were invented by Alan Kay’s Learning Research Group for their children’s software development environment, Smalltalk.

I could read about this kind of content all day. This article also links to one of my favorite folklore posts about the early Macintosh drawing primitives.

It’s so interesting to me that both Sun Microsystems and Apple—alongside others!—saw similar demos at Xerox PARC and had quite different takeaways. Sun was excited about the massive potential of networking and Apple saw the future of GUIs. There’s many different paths in computing history, but it’s undeniable that Xerox PARC was an inflection point.