CWmike writes "For 40 years, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center has been a place of technological creativity and bold ideas, writes Todd Weiss. The inventions it has spawned, from Ethernet networking to laser printing and the graphical user interface, have led to myriad technologies that allow us to use computers in ways that we take for granted today. When it opened on July 1, 1970, PARC was set up as a division of Xerox Corp. The idea was to invest in PARC as a springboard for developing new technologies and fresh concepts that would lead to future products. 'Conducting research at PARC four decades ago was like magic,' says Dr. Robert S. Bauer, who worked at PARC from 1970 to 2001. 'In an era of political and social upheaval, we came to work every day with a passion to free technology from the grip of the military-industrial complex and bring computation to the people.' Indeed, the company's 'technology first' culture has sometimes brought it under fire. PARC has often been criticized for its past failures to capitalize on some of its greatest inventions, allowing other companies to cash in on its ideas. (Today, PARC has a team working to protect its intellectual property.) Nevertheless, its reputation as a technology innovator is impeccable."