lisa os

oslisa

Something to look forward to in 2018. The Computer History Museum will be releasing the source code of the legendary Lisa operating system next year, free of charge, for all the play with and sigh nostalgically at the black & white windows that are the precursor to Mac OS.

The story is that in 1979 Steve Jobs visited the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center to check out mouse-driven graphical interfaces. Xerox didn’t know what to do with the technology and allowed Apple engineers to play with it for three days, and the Lisa OS was created based on what they learned at Xerox. Lisa, named after Jobs’ daughter, was very expensive and wasn’t a success, selling only about 100,000 units. Jobs was removed from the Lisa team and placed in the Macintosh team and, well, the rest is history. I’m typing this post on a computer that can trace its tech origins to those three days at Xerox PARC.

Legend is that Bill Gates also visited Xerox PARC and from the visit grew Windows. Jobs accused Gates of stealing from Apple, to which Gates replied:

I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.

I think it’ll be fun to have old Lisa and Mac OS to play with. So many of the menu items and GUI are still relevant today.

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