Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Aug 2012 11:10 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Sometimes, you wake up in the morning, check your RSS feeds, and you know you just hit the jackpot. From the AT&T archives comes a video and description of Blit, a UNIX graphical user interface from 1982, on a 800x1024 portrait display. It employs a three button mouse, right-click context menus, multiple windows, and lots, lots more. It was developed at Bell Labs, and is yet another case that illustrates how the technology industry doesn't work in a vacuum.
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I might be wrong...
by thavith_osn on Wed 29th Aug 2012 23:25 UTC
Member since:

...but I think a few people here have misunderstood what Thom intended with this article (so maybe it's me that has misunderstood)

Bascially we have a machine that is not a PC, but a terminal, so noone is about to go home with one, but that's not the point.

However, the ideas behind the terminal are very similar to what the Lisa and then Mac teams came up with at Apple (yes, I'll mention the company that dares not say it's name).

Apple and Bell had obviously both seen what Xerox was doing (and I am sure other companies too) and they worked in parallel with each other coming up with similar ideas.

Personally, I love the name Layers to Windows (maybe MS has dirtied the word).
I also love the idea behind the mouse, having each button used for local, global or pointing.

I wonder how many other projects like this will be unearthed in the coming years, surly these aren't the only two that saw what Xerox was doing? I don't count MS, sorry (they had a more indirect link to Xerox)

Reply Score: 3

RE: I might be wrong...
by tylerdurden on Thu 30th Aug 2012 00:51 in reply to "I might be wrong..."
tylerdurden Member since:

Some in this thread are comparing apples to oranges, almost literally ;-). This was an exercise in network transparency, multiprogramming and multiuser operation, using a GUI. The point of this project was not "just to create a GUI."

There is also the misconception that PARC was the sole originator of the concepts behind graphical user interfaces. In reality other companies and project had already been there and done that by the late 70s not just Xerox. The "mouse," for example, predates PARC. The tragedy for Xerox is that they had the majority of the key components that would define computing and office automation in the 80s and 90s (GUI, local area networks, and several key programming paradigms) ready in-house by the late 70s.

The GUI was inevitable by the early 80s, with or without the mac or Lisa.

Edited 2012-08-30 01:00 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3