Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th May 2014 14:03 UTC

I'm more or less assuming all of us are familiar with the Apple Lisa, Apple's and Steve Jobs' first attempt at turning Xerox PARC's work into a marketable product. It was a flop, but many of its ideas carried over onto the Macintosh, and in fact, Macintosh development took place on the Lisa.

Due to the fact few Lisas were sold, it's hard to get your hands on a working model, meaning most of us will never get the opportunity to actually use one. Luckily, there's a very advanced Lisa emulator available, written by Ray Arachelian. It's open source (GPL) and available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Setting it up is remarkably easy (there are non-hqx Lisa operating system files too), but do note that technically, you need to own a Lisa yourself in order to use the ROMs. But, of course you do.

The Lisa user interface takes a bit of time to get used to, as its terminology is a bit alien, and some things feel quite a bit arbitrary from our modern, harmonised perspective. For instance, it took me a while to figure out how to open a new file in the Lisa office applications; it turns out that you need to double-click a special kind of icon ('stationary'), which the Lisa calls 'tear off stationary', which creates what to me looks like a copy of said stationary icon. This icon is the actual new file; double-click it to open it.

I'm having quite some fun poking around the Lisa, and the emulator has been holding up perfectly - no crashes, and it's remarkably easy to use. I would definitely advise giving this a go if you have some spare time.

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RE: Stationery
by Ray.Arachelian on Tue 27th May 2014 18:04 UTC in reply to "Stationery"
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Unlike other GUIs, the LOS has the concept of Stationary as an infinite source of paper. You don't run LisaWrite or LisaList to launch a word processor or spreadsheet.

Instead, you clone the stationary into a new document, and you get to name it. When you double click on that document, then LisaWrite (or whatever app) will launch and you get to do the work. There's no "save" command, your work is saved automatically, and if you shut down the Lisa or restart it, your documents will open where you left them off. Much nicer than what followed in the 1980s.

Also, if you duplicate a document, you'll get two identical documents with the same exact name.

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