Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Nov 2017 23:58 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

The Xerox Alto, widely recognized as the first modern personal computer, pioneered just about every basic concept we are familiar with in computers today. These include windows, bit-mapped computer displays, the whole idea of WYSIWIG interfaces, the cut/paste/copy tools in word processing programs, and pop-up menus. Most of this vision of the "office of the future" was first unveiled at a meeting of Xerox executives held on 10 Nov 1977, which was 40 years ago last week.

To celebrate that birthday, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., brought together some of Parc researchers who worked on the Alto on Friday. They put it through its paces in a series of live demos. These demos used an Alto that had been restored to working order over the past eight months.

One of the most important computers ever made.

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Gold mine
by WorknMan on Thu 16th Nov 2017 02:04 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Did these guys even know what they had back then? I reckon that they (Xerox) could've been masters of the universe.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Gold mine
by BlueofRainbow on Sat 18th Nov 2017 21:03 UTC in reply to "Gold mine"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

Looking back on history, the contributions of the Xerox Alto to how we interface with computers is phenomenal. Xerox did not fully appreciate what they had. The story might have been different though had the Apple Macintosh, which re-implemented many of its concept, had not been a commercial success.

As a side note, Niklaus Wirth spent a sabbatical year at Xerox and was excited by the possibilities being opened with the Alto. Not able to bring back one with him to ETH Z├╝rich, he went on to design and build the Lilith computer workstation....and did it again a few years later with the Ceres workstation and Oberon program language and operating system.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Gold mine
by zima on Sat 18th Nov 2017 22:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Gold mine"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Hm, and what if Macintosh continued to be Jeff Raskin project, instead of beeing taken over by Steve Jobs?... We would possibly be using something similar to Canon Cat...

Reply Score: 3