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Xerox Alto Computer 30th Anniversary 194

Posted by michael
from the back-in-the-day dept.
aheath writes "The New York Times has a story about the 30th anniversary of the Xerox Alto computer: How Digital Pioneers Put the 'Personal' in PC's. According to the PARC Factsheet "The Alto Computer (1973/1980) included the Graphical User Interface (GUI), WYSIWYG editing, bit-mapped display, overlapping windows, and the first commercial use of the mouse." The concepts prototyped in the Xerox Alto contributed to the development of the Xerox Star, the Apple Lisa, the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows 1.0."
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Xerox Alto Computer 30th Anniversary

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  • *cork pop* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KefkaFloyd (628386) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:28AM (#5671689) Homepage
    Well, happy 30th anniversary to them! PARC has provided us with far more than just the GUI, though that is what it is most notable for. PARC has churned out a lot of innovations and I hope it continues as long as Xerox is willing to fund it (which is in their best interest, IMO, a lot of IP comes out of it).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      They gave us (and Xerox) the laser printer.
    • Re:*cork pop* (Score:3, Informative)

      by questamor (653018)
      Ethernet was another of theirs, from memory

      or one they refined to usefulness anyhows. If I weren't so lazy I'd go look it up somewhere :)
      • Re:*cork pop* (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Syre (234917) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:44AM (#5671931)
        Yes, they talked about the 3M computer: 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels on the screen and 1000 bytes of RAM, with a graphical interface and a mouse.

        The Alto was the first computer that met that design goal.

        That same year, Xerox came out with the first laser printer and an ethernet network that connected the printer and workstations. The original network ran at 3Mbps.

        See PARC's History page [xerox.com]
        • Re:*cork pop* (Score:2, Interesting)

          by javiercero (518708)
          Hum... I thought that it was the PERQ the first machine to meet this challenge. I think the 3M challenge was put forward by CMU, and Three Rivers (the group that produced the PERQ) was made mostly of people from CMU. The 3M challenge was supposed to portray what workstations would be like by the mid 80s, I think the Alto was the main inspiration for the PERQ though....

          The 3M challenge asked for a network of distributed workstations, each of which should be able to process 1MIPs, hold 1MB of RAM, and displa
  • is exactly bragging-rights material, know what I mean?
  • by mao che minh (611166) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:29AM (#5671698) Journal
    vi, a text editor that was developed on the Xerox Alto platform, has yet to make any progress since.

    *ducks*

    • I thought vi was long unsupported and has since been replaced by alternatives such as Vim [sourceforge.net] (my personal favorite), Nvi [bostic.com], Elvis [the-little...d-girl.org], and Vile [thehutt.org].
    • by PHAEDRU5 (213667)
      You get it right first time, so why bother changing?
    • I'm sorry, but am I missing a pun here? "vi" was developed by Bill Joy on and for UNIX. See here [thomer.com].
      • Vi was somewhat influenced by Bravo, an editor that was developed on the Alto, according to this interview with Bill Joy [pdx.edu]:

        REVIEW:

        Didn't Bruce Englar implement the count fields feature?

        JOY: Bruce suggested that. At one point there was an acknowledgment section in the documentation for the editor that mentioned all the people who had helped - I don't know if it's still there in Volume 2.

        A lot of the ideas for the screen editing mode were stolen from a Bravo manual I surreptitiously looked at and copied. Do

    • Troll ! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:23AM (#5671870)
      jjjjjjjjj kjjj
      vi is simple, powerfull and easy to use.
      oo
      vi is simple, powerfull and easy to use.
      :w
      q:q
      :wq!
      :wq

    • Vi today aka gVIm has menu's, syntax highlighting, icons, autoindentation, buffer support, split windows, support for every concievable language and batch file format ever made, and multiple OS support. The old VI is still there for older systems. Everyone else I know uses gVIm.

      It has improved greatly. I only use :q! :enew :dd :w so my hands never leave the keyboard and use the menu's and icons for everything else. I am by no means a cryptic command jockey. I find it alot easier to use then emacs as well.
      • I prefer to focus on the core vi functionality, and avoid any new non-standard bells and whistles. I have too many boxes here at home whose only connection to the outside is the ethernet cable. The BSD os'es all include vi built in, and emacs only as a package. And at a job not long ago even the OS/2 boxes, which all had telnet server daemons running on them, had a vi installed.

        It's just nuts to use anything else. Bring up many editors in a remote shell and you just go to a blankscreen (the editor used
  • Windows 1.0 (Score:4, Funny)

    by wordisms (624668) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:33AM (#5671713)
    I just like the screen shot of the "mouse with steel ball" and more notoriously, "the reboot screen after a crash." Somethings never change.

  • by joeflies (529536) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:34AM (#5671715)
    Read Dealers of Lightening for a very good look at what happened at Xerox Parc. It does a good blend of the managment misfires, the politics, as well as providing a solid appreciation for what these guys did.

    The section I found most interesting was the political battles over purchasing a research computer. After selecting a computer that was best suited for the job, they didn't get to buy it, and ended up building their own. A great story about how the pure research and deep thinkers mixed both worked together and battled against the engineers and the suits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:34AM (#5671716)
  • by Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:34AM (#5671721) Journal

    If you had a 1024 node cluster of these things you could load windowsXP in just under 3 months.

    • On a similar note, I once timed how long it took for the BFG to fire in Doom 2 on an old 386. 87 seconds. Why I still remember that from high school I do not know.
      • I once plugged in a 1 MHz crystal oscillator in an AST 286 machine. Which made the machine into a 512 KHz 286.

        I didn't have the patience to let it boot up all the way, though. I waited and waited and waited. Then I heard the floppy drive start going *bip* *bip* *bip* as it started the POST sequence of s-l-o-w-l-y stepping the head up to the top track and back to home. I said 'forget this' and put the original (12 MHz!) crystal back in.
  • by questamor (653018) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:37AM (#5671729)
    If they (and the followon effects, such as apples machines, and windows etc) hadn't created the GUI as we now have it - which in many ways is unchanged, ie overlapping windows, mouse, etc... what kind of interface would we have?

    I'm willing to accept it was a pretty good jump of thought to create the gui on a bitmapped display after so much text-only based human-computer-interaction, but are there other ways of interfacing? perhaps other GUI ideas that we don't see just because they weren't first, and hence now the most developed?
    • Methaphors, Forms (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fm6 (162816) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:06AM (#5671820) Homepage Journal
      Well, any user interface starts out as some kind of metaphor. The dominant file system organization, for example, borrows the ideas of files and folders from simple paper filing systems. By the same token, the overlapping windows GUI is just a metaphor for a desk with a lot of papers on it. So your question really devolves into this one: what other good GUI metaphors are there? I can't think of any, but then I'm pretty bad at thinking visually.

      Not quite offtopic: back in the late 70s, some workstation designers decided they could do an intuitive user interface without waiting for bitmap displays to become affordable. The result was the form-based user interface of the CTOS operating system [byte.com], which ran on special proprietary hardware [cs.uu.nl]. Of course, like most proprietary systems, it was driven from the marketplace by IBM compatibles. Too bad, really.

      • Re:Methaphors, Forms (Score:4, Informative)

        by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot&castlesteelstone,us> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:24AM (#5672066) Homepage Journal
        what other good GUI metaphors are there?

        A whole bunch, actually.

        • A "channel" metaphor, where you "flip" between different programs.
        • A "book" metaphor, where you move between tabbed "chapters" that represent either various tasks or various stages of work
        • A "deep box" metaphor, where you have various objects in a 2D+1 space, with the closer objects getting higher priority.


        The interesting part is, modern GUIs integrate both the "book" and "channel" metaphors alongside the "papers on a desk" metaphor. I certainly know that I don't use overlapping windows for anything but file-sorting; every program I run (exempting IM and Winamp) is maximized, and I switch between the tasks with the fundamental windows keyboard command, Alt+tab.)

        Personally, I'm eagerly awaiting a better file system metaphor. Toss the "files and folders" lie, skip the "everything is a file" concept, and hop right into "Hard Drive is a database."
        • that would be BeOS or the XP2FS.

          as for the paging system I would prefer a right click menu or a pop up menu on the tool bar to tab between programs.

          I mean I guess the task bar is close but that interface sucks...when will we get a mini thumbnail in the tab?
          • I mean I guess the task bar is close but that interface sucks...when will we get a mini thumbnail in the tab?

            IIRC, OS X has this. You can get ObjectDock [stardock.com] to have the same effect in windows.

            As for BeOS--I keep meaning to give it a try, but I'm not sure it'll be worth it.
          • The BeOS file system has a lot of interesting features (I especially like the built-in file typing), but it's hardly a database metaphor. Perhaps you're thinking of the fact that the file system is journalling, a concept you usually associate with databases. But any serious file system has journalling these days.

            Never heard of XP2FS. There's the open-source flight simulator, but I don't suppose that's what you meant.

            Paging system? Whatever. Let's not trot out the tired old "it works best for me, so anyb

        • Wow, I'd heard that there were people who run every program maximized, but I'd never met any.

          Lucky you, stupid web designers build their sites for you!
          • There are a lot of inexperienced users who run every program maximized, at least such is my experience doing support with a few different groups. Sometimes these people get freaked out when you un-maximize something and proceed to drag data from one window to another- bound to freak 'em out every time. :)
        • Good examples. They're not deeply integrated into popular GUIs, but you're right, people do use them.

          Also, "channel metaphor" would seem to describe the virtual consoles on most Linux and a lot of Unix systems. I know text-mode diehards who insist that virtual consoles are more practical than any GUI.

          One of the big design mistakes in early Windows was not making the book metaphor (I prefer to think of it as tabs that access specific windows in an app) a basic feature of the GUI. Instead, it provides tha

      • yay...CTOS....when I worked for the State Of Michigan 2 years ago as network support, they were JUST phasing those systems out for storing data for Child protective services.....man that interface sucked.
  • Jargon file (Score:5, Funny)

    by arvindn (542080) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:44AM (#5671745) Homepage Journal
    The jargon file has an interesting entry [catb.org] on the Xerox PARC.

    It says

    Sadly, the prophets at PARC were without honor in their own company, so much so that it became a standard joke to describe PARC as a place that specialized in developing brilliant ideas for everyone else.

  • There was a neat little dos program that once came with a Logitech mouse called "popdos". It looked very similar to Windows 1.0. The interesting part is that popdos originated from the same place as OpenOffice.
  • by Fritz Benwalla (539483) <[randomregs] [at] [gmail.com]> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:04AM (#5671813)

    Can be found here [digibarn.com] -- odd little note, the original CPU is on casters, so I suppose it ranks as the first portable too.

    Its blazing computational stats:

    BCPL: 5-10 uSec for a simple expression
    Nova Asm: 1-2uSec / instruction
    Microcode: 170 nSec / micro instruction

    Can be found with a lot of other cool information on its original programming language and some software on this very cool page [spies.com] by an Alto collector.

    Neat machine. I think I want one now.

    -----

  • Great milestone! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It also led to GEOS on the Commodore 64!
    Some screenshots [zimmers.net]

    And, let's not forget a TRUE genius and pioneer, Doug Englebart [ibiblio.org]. He predated the Alto. This guy is what engineering and technology is all about. Not the bunch of clueless kids (and women!) that are sucked into the indoctrination of universities these days....

    Ah, my kingdom for a time machine to travel back to the 1960s. Men were men, electrical engineers actually liked electronics way before they went to school and there was no fooling around!
  • I wrote an <a href="http://www.macedition.com/soup/hotsoup_20020 711.php">article </a> on this very topic last summer. In addition to the GUI, the Alto is also largely responsible for the concept of a technical workstation... Sun and SGI both were born on the campus of Stanford University, one of the places where there were plenty of Altos for students to play with.

    SoupIsGood Food
  • I've been searching for one for 3 years now...
    • heh...yeah...if you have 50k I am sure some one will give you their's.......rememeber that there are a lot of colectors out there willing to pay big bucks for those old systems.
      • Only collectable system that fetches those types of prices are Apple I's, as far as I know. Though it wouldn't suprise me to see it get $2000-$3000, I guess, lord knows any of the old IMSAI stuff can get that on ebay.
        • The last Alto that a friend sold went for $5K about three years ago. Even though the economy has tanked since then, I seriously doubt that an Alto would sell for any less than that now. Although there were more Altos made than Apple Is, there may be fewer Altos left in existence. It was easier for someone with an Apple I to store it in their garage or basement. Also, most Altos were not in private hands, so when they were no longer needed they got scrapped.

          On the other hand, it's much easier to find a

          • A Star would suit me just fine, I think. Thanks for the extra keyword (daybreak), incorporating that into my Ebay search as we speak.

            As for Alto's being rarer than an Apple I, that would mean fewer than 150. I can't think of any computer system that would be rarer, off the top of my head. Shame how corporate disposal policies are killing all sorts of historical computers. :(

            Software is always the bitch though, isn't it? An acquaintance of mine has a Cray supercomputer, I think it's going on 2 years now...
            • As for Alto's being rarer than an Apple I, that would mean fewer than 150.
              I don't mean rarer in the sense that fewer were made. Several thousand Altos were made, vs. perhaps 200 Apple Is. But I think there are fewer surviving Altos than surviving Apple Is. There are believed to be under 20 Apple Is left.
              • Well, I was under the impression that there were as many as 60-70 known Apple I's left. Out of 150-200 in the beginning.

                But to think that 2500 (to 4500?) Alto's might have been pared down to fewer than 100 is sad indeed.

                Note: The Xerox Alto is distinct and different from an "Altos" (name of the company) anything.

                Out of the 1800 Beboxen ever built, wonder how many surive?
  • pedigree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:46AM (#5671939) Homepage Journal
    The concepts prototyped in the Xerox Alto contributed to the development of the Xerox Star, the Apple Lisa, the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows 1.0."

    I believe the pedigree should read: "the Xerox Alto and Star pioneered the GUI and mouse navigation in 1980 and 1981. these elements of the operating system while brought to the business mainstream by the Apple Lisa in 1982 (one year behind schedule), were brought to the common PC user in 1984 with the Macintosh."

    Including Windows 1.0 in this company is a joke as Windows 1.0 was nothing more than a shell and not a true OS. In fact, it could be argued that Windows was a shell with DOS being the real OS up until Windows 98.

    • Even Win98 still had the DOS backbone on it - I'd say WinXP was the first "home use" Windows OS that was the first non-DOS-shell OS. Although I know a lot of people not into computers at all that use Win2k, so I guess a line can be drawn somewhere in the NT line.
    • The discussion is of a graphical interface.

      I wouldn't say that MacOS was really an 'os' anymore than the Windows 1.0 shell running on top of MS-DOS.

      Also, I don't get it why they don't list the GEM desktop or GeoWorks. Those were early and fairly popular GUI environments too. Certainly more popular in their time than Windows 1.0.
      • I wouldn't say that MacOS was really an 'os' anymore than the Windows 1.0 shell running on top of MS-DOS.

        Oh? And why not? I would be interested in what your definition of an OS is. It is true that the Classic MacOS (MacOS through System 9.2.2) had some serious problems in terms of its architecture compared with other operating systems (UNIX based), but it most certainly WAS an operating system inclusive of its GUI which was not simply a shell running on top of the OS.

    • Including Windows 1.0 in this company is a joke as Windows 1.0 was nothing more than a shell and not a true OS. In fact, it could be argued that Windows was a shell with DOS being the real OS up until Windows 98.

      ?

      Don't you mean XP/NT (depending on when you move "the OS" away from 9x.) or Win95?

      All that Win98 did over 95 was IE integration and some small tweaks. DOS was still there, still built-in--and still in a vital part of the OS through ME.

      In Win95 MS bundled DOS closer to Windows, such that DOS 7
      • Don't you mean XP/NT (depending on when you move "the OS" away from 9x.) or Win95?

        Yes, indeed. You are most certainly correct. What I intended to say was that Win98 was the last of the Windows based systems running on DOS, but my statement apparently was badly constructed.

  • Little known facts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by soundofthemoon (623369) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:49AM (#5671947)
    When I worked at Xerox (not PARC) in the 80s, we had an Alto lab with a dozen or so Altos. They were so cool. Besides all the visible features, what really made them kick was that they had programmable microcode. So you could code up a new high-level instruction set and build your own language. This was how the Smalltalk-72 VM was implemented. They also had removable hard disk platters. Something the size of a pizza that held about 2.5MB. And besides the 3-button mouse, they had a 5-key chord keyboard - right hand mousing, left hand chording, it was a surprisingly fast way to edit.

    The other totally fun thing about the Altos was they supported network games. My favorite was Mazewars. This was almost certainly the first multiplayer FPS game in the world. Everyone played an identical looking eyeball. You zipped around a maze and shot each other (with withering glares, I guess). But you really needed to be good on the chord keyset to win.

  • Both them and Apple keep pointing it out. Jobs made a mistake and thought they did; so the Apple people worked hard trying to duplicate something that didn't exist.
  • The thing I love about Xerox is that it reminds us all that Windows didn't rip off Apple, they ripped off Apple who was ripping off Xerox. It's interesting to think about what it would have been like if Xerox would have been in control of the computer market, since they had everything that we use today, and gave it away when they could have sold it.

    Thanks Xerox.
    • you are so dumb...Jobs PAID Xerox for a tour of their research labs. that gave them all he needed to get the idea for the lisa.....of cource JObs screwed up and allowed Bill Gates in to see the Lisa before it was released becasue he wanted MS to develop some software for the system and Gates said he needed to see what he would be making the software for. next thing you know, MS has decided to not take Apple up on its offer and MS went to their mother (IBM) with the great Idea for a new GUI based OS later to
      • Actually, he was offered the tour, and allowed the rights to use the idea of GUI. He never paid rights to use the idea. I'm not sure about paying for the tour.

        IBM requested a GUI OS and then allowed MS to use the concepts behind it, the same as they had allowed them to market MS-DOS, as compared to IBM's PC-DOS. And Windows 2.0 was the first to properly implement the GUI idea conceived for OS/2.
    • Try googling Xerox consent decree and you will discover that Xerox neither mistakenly gave away nor generosly gave up their technology --they were forced by the government. That's government as in by the people of the people for the people. Too bad we gave up on that form of government in the US.
      The public domain has to be taken by force, it always has been and always will be. There is no room for charity in monoploly plans.
    • Apple bought the GUI. Stock exchange of some sort, completely above the table. It's M$ that later stole it.

      Your M$ bashing is virtuous, but when it leaks over onto other companies, you might want to be more careful.
  • Why did Xerox just put it all away though and let others develop it.

    It was like the Vikings went to America and did nothing with the knowledge and it had to wait until Columbus went back to America (having read the Viking accounts) and then told everyone about it.

    Full kudos to Xerox for ingenuity but not much else.

  • Since I'm sure it will come up somewhere in this thread, I'd like to launch a premptive strike and debunk the "Apple stole the Lisa/Mac interface from Xerox PARC" Myth.

    1. Apple was already working on some GUI elements before Steve Jobs visit to Xerox PARC in 1979.

    2. Many Apple and Xerox GUI elements were developed in parallel.

    3. Most importantly, Apple paid Xerox millions in stock to incorporate the GUI elements it did borrow for the Lisa/Macintosh projects.


    Apple borrowed a number of elements from PARC research, but not all of them, and it did pay for the ones it did borrow. More details at: http://www.mackido.com/Interface/ui_history.html [mackido.com].
  • I could have sworn that it was a charactor based system.
  • WYSIWYG (Score:5, Funny)

    by trentfoley (226635) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:23AM (#5672062) Homepage Journal
    In the early 1980's, I worked for a software spin-off of an engineering company that was going down the tubes rapidly. One Friday I went to work to find:
    1) A very polite policeman at the door.
    2) No electricity.
    3) No management people.
    4) Confused employees.
    5) An envelope at my desk with a check for 1/2 of my pay.
    6) On the memo line, it read: "WYSIWYG"
    7...
    8) no profit.
  • if you haven't done so; see the really interesting movie Pirates of Silicon Valley [imdb.com].

    Ciryon

  • by euxneks (516538) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:31AM (#5672406)
    Does anyone else think that the simplicity of the OS on Apple Lisa looks extremely attractive? Maybe it's just late at night... =)
  • Last year I did some work on Altogether [brouhaha.com], a microcode-level Alto simulator. It does not yet include simulation of the disk or 3 Mbps Ethernet hardware, which will be necessary in order to boot useful Alto software.

    Because almost all of the interesting Alto software used the writable control store, it is important to simulate the Alto at the microcode level. The Alto used horizontal microcode, so several operations are done in each clock cycle, which IIRC was 170 ns. On an Athlon XP 1900+, the CPU simulation runs at about 1/4 real time. In order to obtain better performance, it will be necessary to do quite a bit of optimization, possibly including binary translation of the microcode into native host code.

    There's no packaged release of the Altogether code, but it can be checked out from CVS.

  • the people of PARC (Score:2, Informative)

    by thesilverbail (593897)
    Bob Taylor headed the labs at PARC in those days. They say that at its height he had 76 of the top 100 computers people in the country working for him. His management technique was simple: Just bring a lot of brilliant people together and give them enough money and time to carry out whatever research they wanted. and they came up with the mouse, bitmapped screens and the ethernet cable. Douglas Englebart worked there and was(is) one of the great unsung heros of the multimedia revolution.

    Irrelevant trivi
  • by jemenake (595948) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:16AM (#5672557)
    Steve Jobs has said that, at the time he visited PARC, they demoed three technologies for him: OO-programming, graphical user interfaces, and LANs.

    He said that he was so blown away by just one of the techs (the GUI, of course), that the potential of the other two were completely lost on him.

    It boggles my mind how far ahead of the curve the PARC guys were. Imagine going to a demo session and having the demonstrators show you a working quantum computing laptop running from a fuel-cell with a virtual holographic 360-degree 3-D display. It must have been something like that... where each advancement is so groundbreaking that you can only absorb one of them in a sitting.
  • by green pizza (159161) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:25AM (#5672568) Homepage
    While many Xerox engineers and even more techies outside of the company were sad to see Xerox discontinue GUI efforts beyond the Alto and Star, this was the full intention of the company's executives. At the time, Xerox was a copy machine company, the powers that be had no interest in making any sort of computer. In return for information, cooperation, and to somewhat return the favor, Apple gave Xerox a large amount of Apple stock. Apple didn't "buy" the GUI from Xerox, neither did they "steal" the GUI. About the only thing they "stole" were some engineers that moved to Apple to continue GUI work (Apple's former chief scientist, Larry Tessler, for example).

    The early Lisa and Macintosh machines were less powerful than the last generation Xerox machines, but had better software support. The Xerox had several impressive demos, but most were incomplete. By 1985, the Macintosh had Mac Write, Mac Paint, Mac Draw, Hypercard, several Postscript-based illustration and DTP applications, and the very first GUI versions of MS Word and Excel.

    Search the web for Apple/Xerox myths, you'll find the real story from several credible sources, including Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder) who was still with the company at the time. www.woz.org may be a good start.

    If it makes you feel any better, you may want to think of Apple as getting a taste of their own medicine with the Newton project. Like Xerox that pioneered a new area of computing, but allowed other companies to mass market smaller/cheaper models, Apple left the PDA market just as it began to take off. The Newtons were impressive technology demos, but were large and expensive and still had some quirks. Two years after Apple discontinued the Newton, everyone had a Palm.
  • Markov != history (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Multics (45254) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:06AM (#5672979) Journal
    We must always remember this story is written by John Markov, whose career is based in part on a set of half truths about Kevin Mitnick (who is by no means a saint) and other spin-based technology reporting. Some of the dotcom frenzy could have been moderated if he'd reported truth instead of illusion from his bully pulpit.

    Given the previous mis-reporting (and I was around in the early 70s) I take issue with any one person or organization getting 'credit' for personal computing. It was time, in the industry, to do this. Already in tbe back of Scienctific American were half a dozen companies advertisting mini-computers that were targeted to a single researcher. I was on PDP 8s and soon thereafter PDP 11s which were mostly being used to support single people.

    Allen Kay shold get credit for bringing to prominance the windowing environments that most of us now use.

    -- Multics

  • Just published: "Open Innovation" by Hank Chesbrough, $24.50 on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1578518377/ .
    It describes what PARC was looking for in its research, the many spin-offs that we've heard of, and proposes a post-PARC theory for tech R&D funding / thinking with research from Intel, IBM, Lucent and others. I've posted a full review at http://www.mironov.com/pb/mar03.html .
    Strongly recommended!

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