After yesterday’s trip down memory lane with OS/2 2.1, I will today take you even further back. With the help of the recently released Apple Lisa emulator, ToastyTech (another invaluable tool for (G)UI fanatics such as myself) updated its set of screenshots from the Lisa Office System (version 3), the first commercially available graphical user interface for home use. “This Lisa emulator tries to give you the full experience of using an Apple Lisa. The backdrop is a photo of a Lisa that changes as the power light comes on and when you ‘insert’ a disk. It even plays the sound of the Lisa disk drive running as you access the disk. To start the emulator you must press the ‘Power button’ just as you would start a real Lisa.” Read more for a few notes.The emulator, by the way, does require Lisa ROMs to function; some older Apple operating systems can be freely downloaded from Apple.com, but I’m not sure if Lisa ROMs are among those.
What has always intrigued me about these very early Apple GUIs, is how little they actually changed over time. If you take a look at the screenshots of the first release of the Lisa Office System, it is instantly recognisable as being an Apple product. It has the global menubar, a few icons with a clear meaning, you name it. Fast forward to today, and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger has the exact same layout and configuration (for better or worse, that’s up to you to decide).
Now, compare this to the difference between screenshots from Windows 1.0 and the recently released (no, really?) Windows Vista. It is a difference of night and day, a difference 395 times as large than that between Lisa and OS X.
Most people won’t really care one bit about things like this, but for GUI enthusiasts such as myself, this is extremely intriguing. I can look and compare these screenshots for hours on end.
Sometimes I wonder, do I, like, need medical attention?
PS: I will try to get my hands on a (legal!) copy of the Lisa ROMs, so I can dive into this in a little more detail. Stay tuned!.