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Xerox Alto Computer 30th Anniversary

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the back-in-the-day dept.

Technology 194

aheath writes "The New York Times has a story about the 30th anniversary of the Xerox Alto computer: How Digital Pioneers Put the 'Personal' in PC's. According to the PARC Factsheet "The Alto Computer (1973/1980) included the Graphical User Interface (GUI), WYSIWYG editing, bit-mapped display, overlapping windows, and the first commercial use of the mouse." The concepts prototyped in the Xerox Alto contributed to the development of the Xerox Star, the Apple Lisa, the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows 1.0."

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194 comments

*cork pop* (4, Insightful)

KefkaFloyd (628386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671689)

Well, happy 30th anniversary to them! PARC has provided us with far more than just the GUI, though that is what it is most notable for. PARC has churned out a lot of innovations and I hope it continues as long as Xerox is willing to fund it (which is in their best interest, IMO, a lot of IP comes out of it).

Re:*cork pop*-fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671704)

They gave us (and Xerox) the laser printer.

SHUT UP (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671755)

YUO stipud FAGTT~

Re:*cork pop* (2, Informative)

questamor (653018) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671754)

Ethernet was another of theirs, from memory

or one they refined to usefulness anyhows. If I weren't so lazy I'd go look it up somewhere :)

Re:*cork pop* (4, Insightful)

Syre (234917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671931)

Yes, they talked about the 3M computer: 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels on the screen and 1000 bytes of RAM, with a graphical interface and a mouse.

The Alto was the first computer that met that design goal.

That same year, Xerox came out with the first laser printer and an ethernet network that connected the printer and workstations. The original network ran at 3Mbps.

See PARC's History page [xerox.com]

Re:*cork pop* (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5672106)

Why don't we celebrate 30 years of my cock in your ass [archive.org] , you sycophant?

A WARMONGER EXPLAINS WAR TO A PEACENIK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671692)

PeaceNik: Why did you say we are we invading Iraq?

WarMonger: We are invading Iraq because it is in violation of security council resolution 1441. A country cannot be allowed to violate security council resolutions.

PN: But I thought many of our allies, including Israel, were in violation of more security council resolutions than Iraq.

WM: It's not just about UN resolutions. The main point is that Iraq could have weapons of mass destruction, and the first sign of a smoking gun could well be a mushroom cloud over NY.

PN: Mushroom cloud? But I thought the weapons inspectors said Iraq had no nuclear weapons.

WM: Yes, but biological and chemical weapons are the issue.

PN: But I thought Iraq did not have any long range missiles for attacking us or our allies with such weapons.

WM: The risk is not Iraq directly attacking us, but rather terrorists networks that Iraq could sell the weapons to.

PN: But coundn't virtually any country sell chemical or biological materials? We sold quite a bit to Iraq in the eighties ourselves, didn't we?

WM: That's ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is an evil man that has an undeniable track record of repressing his own people since the early eighties. He gasses his enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a power-hungry lunatic murderer.

PN: We sold chemical and biological materials to a power-hungry lunatic murderer?

WM: The issue is not what we sold, but rather what Saddam did. He is the one that launched a pre-emptive first strike on Kuwait.

PN: A pre-emptive first strike does sound bad. But didn't our ambassador to Iraq, April Gillespie, know about and green-light the invasion of Kuwait?

WM: Let's deal with the present, shall we? As of today, Iraq could sell its biological and chemical weapons to Al Quaida. Osama BinLaden himself released an audio tape calling on Iraqis to suicide-attack us, proving a partnership between the two.

PN: Osama Bin Laden? Wasn't the point of invading Afghanistan to kill him?

WM: Actually, it's not 100% certain that it's really Osama Bin Laden on the tapes. But the lesson from the tape is the same: there could easily be a partnership between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein unless we act.

PN: Is this the same audio tape where Osama Bin Laden labels Saddam a secular infidel?

WM: You're missing the point by just focusing on the tape. Powell presented a strong case against Iraq.

PN: He did?

WM: Yes, he showed satellite pictures of an Al Quaeda poison factory in Iraq.

PN: But didn't that turn out to be a harmless shack in the part of Iraq controlled by the Kurdish opposition?

WM: And a British intelligence report...

PN: Didn't that turn out to be copied from an out-of-date graduate student paper?

WM: And reports of mobile weapons labs...

PN: Weren't those just artistic renderings?

WM: And reports of Iraqis scuttling and hiding evidence from inspectors...

PN: Wasn't that evidence contradicted by the chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix?

WM: Yes, but there is plenty of other hard evidence that cannot be revealed because it would compromise our security.

PN: So there is no publicly available evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

WM: The inspectors are not detectives, it's not their JOB to find evidence. You're missing the point.

PN: So what is the point?

WM: The main point is that we are invading Iraq because resolution 1441 threatened "severe consequences." If we do not act, the security council will become an irrelevant debating society.

PN: So the main point is to uphold the rulings of the security council?

WM: Absolutely. ...unless it rules against us.

PN: And what if it does rule against us?

WM: In that case, we must lead a coalition of the willing to invade Iraq.

PN: Coalition of the willing? Who's that?

WM: Britain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, and Italy, for starters.

PN: I thought Turkey refused to help us unless we gave them tens of billions of dollars.

WM: Nevertheless, they may now be willing.

PN: I thought public opinion in all those countries was against war.

WM: Current public opinion is irrelevant. The majority expresses its will by electing leaders to make decisions.

PN: So it's the decisions of leaders elected by the majority that is important?

WM: Yes.

PN: But George Bush wasn't elected by voters. He was selected by the U.S. Supreme C...-

WM: I mean, we must support the decisions of our leaders, however they were elected, because they are acting in our best interest. This is about being a patriot. That's the bottom line.

PN: So if we do not support the decisions of the president, we are not patriotic?

WM: I never said that.

PN: So what are you saying? Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: As I said, because there is a chance that they have weapons of mass destruction that threaten us and our allies.

PN: But the inspectors have not been able to find any such weapons.

WM: Iraq is obviously hiding them.

PN: You know this? How?

WM: Because we know they had the weapons ten years ago, and they are still unaccounted for.

PN: The weapons we sold them, you mean?

WM: Precisely.

PN: But I thought those biological and chemical weapons would degrade to an unusable state over ten years.

WM: But there is a chance that some have not degraded.

PN: So as long as there is even a small chance that such weapons exist, we must invade?

WM: Exactly.

PN: But North Korea actually has large amounts of usable chemical, biological, AND nuclear weapons, AND long range missiles that can reach the west coast AND it has expelled nuclear weapons inspectors, AND threatened to turn America into a sea of fire.

WM: That's a diplomatic issue.

PN: So why are we invading Iraq instead of using diplomacy?

WM: Aren't you listening? We are invading Iraq because we cannot allow the inspections to drag on indefinitely. Iraq has been delaying, deceiving, and denying for over ten years, and inspections cost us tens of millions.

PN: But I thought war would cost us tens of billions.

WM: Yes, but this is not about money. This is about security.

PN: But wouldn't a pre-emptive war against Iraq ignite radical Muslim sentiments against us, and decrease our security?

WM: Possibly, but we must not allow the terrorists to change the way we live. Once we do that, the terrorists have already won.

PN: So what is the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security, color-coded terror alerts, and the Patriot Act? Don't these change the way we live?

WM: I thought you had questions about Iraq.

PN: I do. Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: For the last time, we are invading Iraq because the world has called on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he has failed to do so. He must now face the consequences.

PN: So, likewise, if the world called on us to do something, such as find a peaceful solution, we would have an obligation to listen?

WM: By "world", I meant the United Nations.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the United Nations?

WM: By "United Nations" I meant the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the Security Council?

WM: I meant the majority of the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the majority of the Security Council?

WM: Well... there could be an unreasonable veto.

PN: In which case?

WM: In which case, we have an obligation to ignore the veto.

PN: And if the majority of the Security Council does not support us at all?

WM: Then we have an obligation to ignore the Security Council.

PN: That makes no sense.

WM: If you love Iraq so much, you should move there. Or maybe France, with all the other cheese-eating surrender monkeys. It's time to boycott their wine and cheese, no doubt about that.

PN: If you love America so much, you should help us pressure our government to play its part in the world community, making us live up to our image of freedom and democracy. Maybe if America made an effort to commit to international law, we wouldn't become the target of terrorism in the first place.

WM: That's not true, the terrorists just hate our freedom, and want to kill us out of spite.

PN: That doesn't make any sense. If someone is pushed to such a desperate act by an opressive regime, wouldn't they target their OWN government? Unless, of course, a foreign government is providing money and weapons to assist in their opression?

WM: Stop changing the subject! The world should be thanking us for overthrowing brutal regimes like Saddam's!

PN: But not Saudi royalty, or Ariel Sharon, or other leaders who commit crimes against humanity?

WM: Hey, those countries are our allies...

PN: So was Iraq, once upon a time. We have the weapons reciepts to prove it.

WM: Not that again! Why can't you just forget the past?

PN: Because we're in this mess due to the Bush administration's desperate and sloppy attempt to cover their tracks from their old buisiness ventures, while at the same time, seizing more power and resources at gunpoint around the world.

WM: Big deal, we use more energy and resources in America than everyone else, we need it more. It's not like they were using what they had.

PN: Would you listen to yourself? Maybe if we reevaluate our needs, and focus on developing renewable energy, we wouldn't have to invade other countries to meet our energy needs.

WM: If we did that, even just slightly, then the terrorists would win.

PN: I thought, according to the terrorists themselves, they'd win if they managed to kill us all? I guess they'd settle for keeping us from taking their oil.

WM: This isn't about oil, this is about liberating people from dictators.

PN: If it's not about oil, why are we invading Iraq, which poses no threat to us, and not North Korea, whose dictator HAS threatened us?

WM: Because the Iraqi people...

PN: Yes, let's talk about the Iraqi people. We've killed over half a million of them already with 12 years of sanctions, so now we're going to bomb them again? How many civillians are we willing to kill just to reach one man?

WM: You don't understand, the sanctions were desinged to pressure the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam.

PN: Even if it kills hundreds of thousands of civillians?

WM: Liberates them!

PN: Oh, yes, right. Because they couldn't liberate themselves?

WM: Exactly!

PN: So, we're invading Iraq to finish the job that we directly prevented them from doing themselves.

WM: Huh?

PN: They couldn't possibly overthrow Saddam on their own. Our chokehold on their resources made it impossibe.

WM: Hold the phone! That does sound fishy!

PN: You're telling me; what makes this war even scarier is "Dubya's" personal vendetta against Saddam being used to justify his sacrifice of American troops.

WM: That sounds sociopathic, even to me! Gee, I sure hope we can make this administration come to its senses before this war escalates into a nuclear attack from a country that can really threaten us.

PN: Why wait for that to happen? It's more likely that individuals with nothing to loose, thanks to us, sneak over here and blow themselves up in random public places.

WM: So, what do we do?

PN: Well, it's becoming painfully obvious that this administration won't listen to reason, so we have little choice but to vote them out of office, for starters.

WM: For starters?

PN: These guys have made themselves war criminals, they should be made to face the Hauge, along with Tony Blair, and Australian prime minister John Howard. Then, we have to spend years and massive resources helping to rebuild countries that we've damaged and alienated thanks to Bush and Company, like Afghanistan, Columbia, Niger, and now Iraq.

WM: But we already liberated Afghanistan.

PN: Have you checked up on them lately? They're just as miserable as they were before we invaded them, only now, they have a whole new slew of warlords to opress them, thanks to our post-war negligence.

WM: Well...okay...but what do these other countries have to do with it?

PN: You told me not to bring up the "oil thing" again.

WM: No, no, I'm willing to listen now. Explain this "oil thing" to me.

PN: Actually, it's not only about oil, it's also about strategic control of the regions around oil-producers. This goes back for decades. Let's find a library and open up some books. We should get on-line while we're at it, to get some perspective from people from those countries.

WM: Wait a minute, why do their perspectives matter?

PN: Because we're trying to "liberate" them, remember? In a way, perhaps they can liberate us, too.

WM: Hey, one step at a time, pal. I'm just a beginner at this "world community" stuff.

PN: Right, buddy; one step at a time.

WM: I hope we're not too late to change our foreign policy before "Dubya" and his regime get us all killed. I'd like to focus more on domestic problems.

PN: Me too, friend. Me too.

BRAVO! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671710)

You, sir, are a genius.
Well done.

SHVT VP COCKSVCK0R (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671762)

WHAT ARE YOU SOME KIND OF ROMAN FAGGOT? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671783)

fuck you goatse goblin.

I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (0)

Mordant (138460) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671697)

is exactly bragging-rights material, know what I mean?

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671738)

Oh and the Apple Lisa is something to write home about?

SHUT YOUR FUCKING FACE YOU UGLY SHIT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671776)

I WILL BEAT YOU A NEW FACE IF YOU DO NOT SHUT UP RIGHT FUCKING NOW

Try to reply to other people's comments Try to reply to other people's comments Try to reply to other people's comments Try to reply to other people's comments Try to reply to other people's comments Try to reply to other people's comments Try to reply to other people's comments Try to reply to other people's comments

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (3, Informative)

bedouin (248624) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671847)

Have you ever used Windows 1.0? I managed to get it running in Virtual PC one day; it was nothing more than a glorified DOS shell with a calculator and word processing app. The Lisa on the other hand, actually did some useful things, and had a somewhat graceful GUI; nicely shaded grays are much nicer than that 4 color CGA monstrosity that was Windows 1.0.

Actually I remember using Geos on my c64 around 85/86, and unlike Windows 1.0, there were a few decent productivity apps for it. M$ isn't the only company guilty of stealing ideas, it's just they're the only ones to consistently make bad implementations of what they stole . .

Did you know the Lisa could also run UNIX?

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (2, Informative)

CordMeyer (452485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671896)

Apple never 'stole' from Xerox.

Steve Wozniac wrote: Steve Jobs made the case to Xerox PARC execs directly that they had great technology but that Apple knew how to make it affordable enough to change the world. This was very open. In the end, Xerox got a large block of Apple stock for sharing the technology. That's not stealing outright.

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (1)

C0LDFusion (541865) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672003)

Indeed. The common misconception is that Apple "stole" the concept from the PARC, when it was more along the lines of a random friend of a PARC researcher (who happened to be a Mac team member) was invited, checked it out, told Jobs, and then Jobs gave Xerox millions in stock for a technology that Xerox thought was useless at best and a piece of shit at worst.

It's like if you had a shitty G.I. Joe missing an arm, a guy buys it from you for $10,000 and then fixes it up to near-mint and eBays it for $100,000. Hardly stealing.

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671941)

I remember using AOL for DOS (shudder) for my 286 since compuserve was too expensive and the gui used was Geos.

They made dos toolkits for developers and it was a pretty gui. I had great looking icons and everything on my 16 color cga monitor. It looked alot like the WIndows/Mac version.

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (2, Informative)

FlorentinePogen (536380) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671979)

Just to nitpick a bit... :)

Windows 1.0 in CGA mode was 600x200 black and white, if you had colors at all it was running in 16-color EGA mode. It also came with Paint, and a very early version of Win 3.1's File Manager, which was the main way to launch apps. And let's not forget Reversi :).

The Lisa was black and white, not grayscale. And yes, The Lisa 7/7 OS had a brilliant UI, and was a much more robust OS than MacOS would be for years to come. The UNIX variant it ran was Xenix (not sure if Microsoft had any involvement with it at the time.)

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (2, Informative)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672060)

There were a few valid productivity apps for Windows 1.0. Micrografx In*A*Vision was a pretty nice vector-based drawing program. It evolved into Designer, the techie's preferred alternative to the more flouncy CorelDraw.

Back in that day, Windows 1.0 pretty much had to be given away. Early Windows apps came bundled with a 'runtime' version of Windows that would be installed as part of the process of installing the App. This in effect made the Windows/App bundle into a temporary run-time Windows environment.

The boxed copy of In*A*Vision in my collection comes with a runtime version of Windows 1.03.

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (1)

hpavc (129350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671955)

I think it was. I know I wanted one very very badly at that time. Even today those screen shots look very usable. By usable I mean it had a gui that is simular to what we all use today, it had the all purpose application of the day AppleWorks amoung others. It also had the imagewriter (maybe even the v2 model). It also had a lot of games available which isnt all that bad either.

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (0)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672097)

I think it was. I know I wanted one very very badly at that time. Even today those screen shots look very usable. By usable I mean it had a gui that is simular to what we all use today, it had the all purpose application of the day AppleWorks amoung others.

I'm guessing that you're referring to the Lisa...if you were, AppleWorks didn't run on the Lisa. I don't doubt that there was a similar productivity suite for the Lisa, but AppleWorks was an Apple II package. It was derived from an earlier Apple III package called III EZ Pieces.

More recently, Apple resurrected the AppleWorks name when it renamed ClarisWorks. Any version of AppleWorks =6 runs on Macs.

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (1)

hpavc (129350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672115)

Didnt the Lisa run Apple // programs as well?

Re:I'm not too sure that the Windows 1.0 thing (0)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672198)

Didnt the Lisa run Apple // programs as well?

Nope...the Apple II was a 6502/65C02/65C816-based machine, depending on the model. The Lisa, like the pre-PowerPC Macintosh, was a 68K beast (5-MHz 68000 for the Lisa, faster processors for the various Macs that followed).

And for some reason...... (3, Funny)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671698)

vi, a text editor that was developed on the Xerox Alto platform, has yet to make any progress since.

*ducks*

Re:And for some reason...... (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671746)

I thought vi was long unsupported and has since been replaced by alternatives such as Vim [sourceforge.net] (my personal favorite), Nvi [bostic.com] , Elvis [the-little...d-girl.org] , and Vile [thehutt.org] .

It's kind of like LISP. (2, Interesting)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671790)

You get it right first time, so why bother changing?

Re:And for some reason...... (1)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671805)

I'm sorry, but am I missing a pun here? "vi" was developed by Bill Joy on and for UNIX. See here [thomer.com] .

Psssst...it was a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671808)

no text here, move along.

Troll ! (4, Funny)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671870)

jjjjjjjjj kjjj
vi is simple, powerfull and easy to use.
oo
vi is simple, powerfull and easy to use.
:w
q:q
:wq!
:wq

Re:Troll ! (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671969)

Actually, my VT-220 terminal doesn't have an escape key on it's keyboard. It sorta pisses me off.

Re:And for some reason...... (2, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671927)

Vi today aka gVIm has menu's, syntax highlighting, icons, autoindentation, buffer support, split windows, support for every concievable language and batch file format ever made, and multiple OS support. The old VI is still there for older systems. Everyone else I know uses gVIm.

It has improved greatly. I only use :q! :enew :dd :w so my hands never leave the keyboard and use the menu's and icons for everything else. I am by no means a cryptic command jockey. I find it alot easier to use then emacs as well. Try using Emacs using just the menu's. Its confusing and the look and feel do not work right with other apps.

I looked at ultra edit on my windows2k box. Even though it looked cool and had things like the ftp client built inside I still found it lacking compared to gVIm. Autoindentation is not as advanced and will only autoindent if the editor sees brackets. Also its not a scriptable as gVIm either.

I like the default color themes for gvim for c++ code but find it ugly when writing perl and java code. I have a different them automatically come up depending upon what kind of file I open. Try that with Visual C++ or UltraEdit.

Re:And for some reason...... (3, Informative)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671993)

I prefer to focus on the core vi functionality, and avoid any new non-standard bells and whistles. I have too many boxes here at home whose only connection to the outside is the ethernet cable. The BSD os'es all include vi built in, and emacs only as a package. And at a job not long ago even the OS/2 boxes, which all had telnet server daemons running on them, had a vi installed.

It's just nuts to use anything else. Bring up many editors in a remote shell and you just go to a blankscreen (the editor used direct screen writes, etc.) and the whole shooting match is over.

In emergencies, though, it's also useful to remember some of the ed commands. I don't think there's a UNIX system in existence that doesn't have ed lurking down there in /bin

Oh god, no! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671699)

My penis... it just broke off in my hand while masturbating.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Re:Oh god, no! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671712)

Get implants and change your name to Kandi

You free friday night?

THERE IS A THROAT PUNCH WITH YOUR NAME ON IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671784)

SHUT UP YOU INTOLERABLE FUDGEPACKER

No Karma Bonus Post Anonymously
No Karma Bonus Post Anonymously
No Karma Bonus Post Anonymously
No Karma Bonus Post Anonymously

Slow Down Cowboy!

Re:Oh god, no! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671719)

Show it to everyone. Undoubtedly they've never seen anything like that before.

Windows 1.0 (4, Funny)

wordisms (624668) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671713)

I just like the screen shot of the "mouse with steel ball" and more notoriously, "the reboot screen after a crash." Somethings never change.

Dealers of Lightening (4, Informative)

joeflies (529536) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671715)

Read Dealers of Lightening for a very good look at what happened at Xerox Parc. It does a good blend of the managment misfires, the politics, as well as providing a solid appreciation for what these guys did.

The section I found most interesting was the political battles over purchasing a research computer. After selecting a computer that was best suited for the job, they didn't get to buy it, and ended up building their own. A great story about how the pure research and deep thinkers mixed both worked together and battled against the engineers and the suits.

Re:Dealers of Lightening (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671734)

open this in IE [shredon.com]

SHUT UP ASSHOLE PUNCHER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671892)

open this in IE [hick.org]

Re:SHUT UP ASSHOLE PUNCHER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5672117)

I opened it in Opera and I saw a gaping asshole. Do I really have to use IE to avoid the pink anal flesh?

Non-registration URL. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671716)

Re:Non-registration URL. (0)

fussman (607784) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671752)

Read Sig

Just think... (5, Funny)

Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671721)


If you had a 1024 node cluster of these things you could load windowsXP in just under 3 months.

Re:Just think... (1)

Daleks (226923) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671735)

On a similar note, I once timed how long it took for the BFG to fire in Doom 2 on an old 386. 87 seconds. Why I still remember that from high school I do not know.

Re:Just think... (2)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672010)

I once plugged in a 1 MHz crystal oscillator in an AST 286 machine. Which made the machine into a 512 KHz 286.

I didn't have the patience to let it boot up all the way, though. I waited and waited and waited. Then I heard the floppy drive start going *bip* *bip* *bip* as it started the POST sequence of s-l-o-w-l-y stepping the head up to the top track and back to home. I said 'forget this' and put the original (12 MHz!) crystal back in.

Re:Just think... (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672157)

young punk says:

"12 MHz?!?! I am sure you mean 1.2 GHz right....heh MHz god how could you get any work done!!"

heh...doesn't it make you feel old when you recall the days of single and double diget Mhz computers :-)

My PC (-1, Offtopic)

batobin (10158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671724)

I put the "personal" in my PC with Spice Girls background pictures, Britney Spears MP3s, and a mouse cursor shaped like Ricky Martin.

Ooooo, shake your bon bon Ricky!

Alternatives to the GUI (4, Insightful)

questamor (653018) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671729)

If they (and the followon effects, such as apples machines, and windows etc) hadn't created the GUI as we now have it - which in many ways is unchanged, ie overlapping windows, mouse, etc... what kind of interface would we have?

I'm willing to accept it was a pretty good jump of thought to create the gui on a bitmapped display after so much text-only based human-computer-interaction, but are there other ways of interfacing? perhaps other GUI ideas that we don't see just because they weren't first, and hence now the most developed?

Re:Alternatives to the GUI (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671758)

open this in IE [shredon.com]

Methaphors, Forms (4, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671820)

Well, any user interface starts out as some kind of metaphor. The dominant file system organization, for example, borrows the ideas of files and folders from simple paper filing systems. By the same token, the overlapping windows GUI is just a metaphor for a desk with a lot of papers on it. So your question really devolves into this one: what other good GUI metaphors are there? I can't think of any, but then I'm pretty bad at thinking visually.

Not quite offtopic: back in the late 70s, some workstation designers decided they could do an intuitive user interface without waiting for bitmap displays to become affordable. The result was the form-based user interface of the CTOS operating system [byte.com] , which ran on special proprietary hardware [cs.uu.nl] . Of course, like most proprietary systems, it was driven from the marketplace by IBM compatibles. Too bad, really.

Re:Methaphors, Forms (4, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672066)

what other good GUI metaphors are there?

A whole bunch, actually.

  • A "channel" metaphor, where you "flip" between different programs.
  • A "book" metaphor, where you move between tabbed "chapters" that represent either various tasks or various stages of work
  • A "deep box" metaphor, where you have various objects in a 2D+1 space, with the closer objects getting higher priority.


The interesting part is, modern GUIs integrate both the "book" and "channel" metaphors alongside the "papers on a desk" metaphor. I certainly know that I don't use overlapping windows for anything but file-sorting; every program I run (exempting IM and Winamp) is maximized, and I switch between the tasks with the fundamental windows keyboard command, Alt+tab.)

Personally, I'm eagerly awaiting a better file system metaphor. Toss the "files and folders" lie, skip the "everything is a file" concept, and hop right into "Hard Drive is a database."

Re:Methaphors, Forms (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672110)

that would be BeOS or the XP2FS.

as for the paging system I would prefer a right click menu or a pop up menu on the tool bar to tab between programs.

I mean I guess the task bar is close but that interface sucks...when will we get a mini thumbnail in the tab?

Re:Methaphors, Forms (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672132)

I mean I guess the task bar is close but that interface sucks...when will we get a mini thumbnail in the tab?

IIRC, OS X has this. You can get ObjectDock [stardock.com] to have the same effect in windows.

As for BeOS--I keep meaning to give it a try, but I'm not sure it'll be worth it.

Re:Methaphors, Forms (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672164)

wait for openBeOS to finish. then try it. there will actualy be some nice apps for it after then.

Re:Methaphors, Forms (2, Interesting)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672098)

yay...CTOS....when I worked for the State Of Michigan 2 years ago as network support, they were JUST phasing those systems out for storing data for Child protective services.....man that interface sucked.

For some strange reason (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5672082)

the anal input computing metaphor never took off.

Jargon file (4, Funny)

arvindn (542080) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671745)

The jargon file has an interesting entry [catb.org] on the Xerox PARC.

It says

Sadly, the prophets at PARC were without honor in their own company, so much so that it became a standard joke to describe PARC as a place that specialized in developing brilliant ideas for everyone else.

Happy Birthday! (0)

CommunistTroll (544327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671770)

While we're celebrating, let's not forget the language that XEROX Parc wrote to help them program the Alto - the language that was used for the demo that Steve Jobs saw when he popped in for a visit...

Smalltalk [squeak.org]

Re:Happy Birthday! (2, Insightful)

leereyno (32197) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671862)

While this is a little off topic, I'd just like to point out that Steve Jobs saw all that stuff at PARC because his people took him there to see it. They'd already seen it all, in fact some of them came to Apple from PARC. The reason for the effort? Because in order to get Steve Jobs to go along with a good idea it is necessary to make him think he came up with it himself.

Lee

Windows 1.0 looks like "popdos" (1)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671809)

There was a neat little dos program that once came with a Logitech mouse called "popdos". It looked very similar to Windows 1.0. The interesting part is that popdos originated from the same place as OpenOffice.

Re:Windows 1.0 looks like "popdos" (1)

TKinias (455818) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671974)

scripsit cyber_rigger:

The interesting part is that popdos originated from the same place as OpenOffice.

Star Division? Or Germany as a country?

A little better picture. . . (5, Informative)

Fritz Benwalla (539483) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671813)


Can be found here [digibarn.com] -- odd little note, the original CPU is on casters, so I suppose it ranks as the first portable too.

Its blazing computational stats:

BCPL: 5-10 uSec for a simple expression
Nova Asm: 1-2uSec / instruction
Microcode: 170 nSec / micro instruction

Can be found with a lot of other cool information on its original programming language and some software on this very cool page [spies.com] by an Alto collector.

Neat machine. I think I want one now.

-----

Great milestone! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671817)

It also led to GEOS on the Commodore 64!
Some screenshots [zimmers.net]

And, let's not forget a TRUE genius and pioneer, Doug Englebart [ibiblio.org] . He predated the Alto. This guy is what engineering and technology is all about. Not the bunch of clueless kids (and women!) that are sucked into the indoctrination of universities these days....

Ah, my kingdom for a time machine to travel back to the 1960s. Men were men, electrical engineers actually liked electronics way before they went to school and there was no fooling around!

Not Slashdotted? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671818)

I would think Saturday night would be the busiest time on Slashdot... why aren't any of these sites Slashdotted?

bash gays (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671828)

kill all fags

TRoLL.

Alto: ancestor to both GUI and Unix Workstations (1)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671836)

I wrote an <a href="http://www.macedition.com/soup/hotsoup_20020 711.php">article </a> on this very topic last summer. In addition to the GUI, the Alto is also largely responsible for the concept of a technical workstation... Sun and SGI both were born on the campus of Stanford University, one of the places where there were plenty of Altos for students to play with.

SoupIsGood Food

Re:Alto: ancestor to both GUI and Unix Workstation (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671932)

...and fvwm and olvm look no more advanced the xerox star.

Thank god KDE and Gnome came around. Its amazing that until the turn of the century unix users had 1970's gui's.

Re:Alto: ancestor to both GUI and Unix Workstation (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672028)

Those of us who run UNIX on machines like my Toshiba 486 laptop sorta resent you putting down FVWM. It works really well. It's disappointing that big fsking aircraft carrier bloatware desktops seem to be the defacto standard now.

Looks aren't everything, you know.

Re:Alto: ancestor to both GUI and Unix Workstation (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672038)

Try WindowMaker. Its my favorite when using my old p166 adn its themeable and looks really cool. Uses very little resources as well.

Re:Alto: ancestor to both GUI and Unix Workstation (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672076)

Thanks for the tip. If I ever upgrade to a p166 it'll probably be something I'll try. Mine is a 486DX-2 50.

Re:Alto: ancestor to both GUI and Unix Workstation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5672100)

Here's a nickel - buy a modern computer.

Re:Alto: ancestor to both GUI and Unix Workstation (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672158)

Here's $10,000. Good luck funding a vintage Xerox Alto for that price on eBay.

Anyone have a Star/Alto they want 2 find a home 4? (2, Interesting)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671902)

I've been searching for one for 3 years now...

Re:Anyone have a Star/Alto they want 2 find a home (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672120)

heh...yeah...if you have 50k I am sure some one will give you their's.......rememeber that there are a lot of colectors out there willing to pay big bucks for those old systems.

TOTN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5671910)

I saw PARC on the Triumph of the Nerds DVD.

pedigree (2, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671939)

The concepts prototyped in the Xerox Alto contributed to the development of the Xerox Star, the Apple Lisa, the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows 1.0."

I believe the pedigree should read: "the Xerox Alto and Star pioneered the GUI and mouse navigation in 1980 and 1981. these elements of the operating system while brought to the business mainstream by the Apple Lisa in 1982 (one year behind schedule), were brought to the common PC user in 1984 with the Macintosh."

Including Windows 1.0 in this company is a joke as Windows 1.0 was nothing more than a shell and not a true OS. In fact, it could be argued that Windows was a shell with DOS being the real OS up until Windows 98.

Re:pedigree (1)

Kirby-meister (574952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672004)

Even Win98 still had the DOS backbone on it - I'd say WinXP was the first "home use" Windows OS that was the first non-DOS-shell OS. Although I know a lot of people not into computers at all that use Win2k, so I guess a line can be drawn somewhere in the NT line.

Re:pedigree (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672039)

The discussion is of a graphical interface.

I wouldn't say that MacOS was really an 'os' anymore than the Windows 1.0 shell running on top of MS-DOS.

Also, I don't get it why they don't list the GEM desktop or GeoWorks. Those were early and fairly popular GUI environments too. Certainly more popular in their time than Windows 1.0.

Re:pedigree (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672107)

I wouldn't say that MacOS was really an 'os' anymore than the Windows 1.0 shell running on top of MS-DOS.

Oh? And why not? I would be interested in what your definition of an OS is. It is true that the Classic MacOS (MacOS through System 9.2.2) had some serious problems in terms of its architecture compared with other operating systems (UNIX based), but it most certainly WAS an operating system inclusive of its GUI which was not simply a shell running on top of the OS.

Re:pedigree (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672170)

What difference does it make if it's a shell running on top of an OS, or an OS that has the shell embedded in it. Either one is an OS, and MacOS (before they gave up and just bought NextStep, the same way Microsoft bought the first version of MS-DOS, from an outside vendor) is pretty much just as anaemic, or more so, than MS-DOS with Windows on top as a shell.

Your Mac zeal is showing.

Re:pedigree (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672095)

Including Windows 1.0 in this company is a joke as Windows 1.0 was nothing more than a shell and not a true OS. In fact, it could be argued that Windows was a shell with DOS being the real OS up until Windows 98.

?

Don't you mean XP/NT (depending on when you move "the OS" away from 9x.) or Win95?

All that Win98 did over 95 was IE integration and some small tweaks. DOS was still there, still built-in--and still in a vital part of the OS through ME.

In Win95 MS bundled DOS closer to Windows, such that DOS 7 wasn't called a seperate program, they were (AFAIK) never sold seperately, and DOS always assumed that you wanted to head right into windows.

DOS didn't get tossed until the NT kernel rolled out--which was in NT 3.5 at all, and XP for the "home" market.

Re:pedigree (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672123)

Don't you mean XP/NT (depending on when you move "the OS" away from 9x.) or Win95?

Yes, indeed. You are most certainly correct. What I intended to say was that Win98 was the last of the Windows based systems running on DOS, but my statement apparently was badly constructed.

Little known facts (5, Interesting)

soundofthemoon (623369) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671947)

When I worked at Xerox (not PARC) in the 80s, we had an Alto lab with a dozen or so Altos. They were so cool. Besides all the visible features, what really made them kick was that they had programmable microcode. So you could code up a new high-level instruction set and build your own language. This was how the Smalltalk-72 VM was implemented. They also had removable hard disk platters. Something the size of a pizza that held about 2.5MB. And besides the 3-button mouse, they had a 5-key chord keyboard - right hand mousing, left hand chording, it was a surprisingly fast way to edit.

The other totally fun thing about the Altos was they supported network games. My favorite was Mazewars. This was almost certainly the first multiplayer FPS game in the world. Everyone played an identical looking eyeball. You zipped around a maze and shot each other (with withering glares, I guess). But you really needed to be good on the chord keyset to win.

They did NOT have overlapping windows! (2, Informative)

sxdev (664129) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671960)

Both them and Apple keep pointing it out. Jobs made a mistake and thought they did; so the Apple people worked hard trying to duplicate something that didn't exist.

yeah... (0)

1nfern0 (584316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671981)

but does it run linux????

Celebrating what Xerox Gave Away... (1)

dWhisper (318846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5671987)

The thing I love about Xerox is that it reminds us all that Windows didn't rip off Apple, they ripped off Apple who was ripping off Xerox. It's interesting to think about what it would have been like if Xerox would have been in control of the computer market, since they had everything that we use today, and gave it away when they could have sold it.

Thanks Xerox.

Re:Celebrating what Xerox Gave Away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5672023)

Didn't Apple actually purchase the rights of this technology though? Maybe they didn't invent it.. but I think ripping them off is kinda harsh.

Re:Celebrating what Xerox Gave Away... (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672144)

you are so dumb...Jobs PAID Xerox for a tour of their research labs. that gave them all he needed to get the idea for the lisa.....of cource JObs screwed up and allowed Bill Gates in to see the Lisa before it was released becasue he wanted MS to develop some software for the system and Gates said he needed to see what he would be making the software for. next thing you know, MS has decided to not take Apple up on its offer and MS went to their mother (IBM) with the great Idea for a new GUI based OS later to be called OS/2 and windows 1.x then when MS dumps IBM they turn it into Win NT and win 3.x.

so Apple got the technology on the up and up and Gates tricked jobs into shoing him the technology with out a NDA. one of many reasons Jobs was Dumped by the board of directors.

Re:Celebrating what Xerox Gave Away... (1)

dWhisper (318846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672201)

Actually, he was offered the tour, and allowed the rights to use the idea of GUI. He never paid rights to use the idea. I'm not sure about paying for the tour.

IBM requested a GUI OS and then allowed MS to use the concepts behind it, the same as they had allowed them to market MS-DOS, as compared to IBM's PC-DOS. And Windows 2.0 was the first to properly implement the GUI idea conceived for OS/2.

Re:Celebrating what Xerox Gave Away... (1)

CordMeyer (452485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672187)

Wrong.

see here [woz.org]

All credit to Xerox (1)

Azahar (113797) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672012)

Why did Xerox just put it all away though and let others develop it.

It was like the Vikings went to America and did nothing with the knowledge and it had to wait until Columbus went back to America (having read the Viking accounts) and then told everyone about it.

Full kudos to Xerox for ingenuity but not much else.

Debunking the "Apple Ripped Off Xerox PARC" Myth (4, Informative)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672030)

Since I'm sure it will come up somewhere in this thread, I'd like to launch a premptive strike and debunk the "Apple stole the Lisa/Mac interface from Xerox PARC" Myth.

  1. Apple was already working on some GUI elements before Steve Jobs visit to Xerox PARC in 1979.

  2. Many Apple and Xerox GUI elements were developed in parallel.

  3. Most importantly, Apple paid Xerox millions in stock to incorporate the GUI elements it did borrow for the Lisa/Macintosh projects.


Apple borrowed a number of elements from PARC research, but not all of them, and it did pay for the ones it did borrow. More details at: http://www.mackido.com/Interface/ui_history.html [mackido.com] .

Very true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5672146)

If you look at design pages from the late 70's at apple the mouse, icons and menu driven programs were already conceptualized. Apple took that and also what is saw at xerox, they hired away lots of xerox staff, paid xerox 1 mil. to use what it saw. Apple only was given a limited demo of the Alto not the Star, they developed many of the later concepts used in star independent of xerox. Apple developed the metaphor which is now used on many computer systems

Re:Debunking the "Apple Ripped Off Xerox PARC" Myt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5672173)

Since I'm sure it will come up somewhere in this thread

yes, it already did. [slashdot.org]

the '73 alto had a GUI? (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672035)

I could have sworn that it was a charactor based system.

WYSIWYG (5, Funny)

trentfoley (226635) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672062)

In the early 1980's, I worked for a software spin-off of an engineering company that was going down the tubes rapidly. One Friday I went to work to find:
1) A very polite policeman at the door.
2) No electricity.
3) No management people.
4) Confused employees.
5) An envelope at my desk with a check for 1/2 of my pay.
6) On the memo line, it read: "WYSIWYG"
7...
8) no profit.

For more info (1)

ciryon (218518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5672111)

if you haven't done so; see the really interesting movie Pirates of Silicon Valley [imdb.com] .

Ciryon

LOL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5672159)

wind0ws sux linuclks rulez l0o0l

Re:LOL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5672165)

LOL

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Reason: Too much repetition. Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Reason: Too much repetition. Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Reason: Too much repetition. Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Reason: Too much repetition. Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Reason: Too much repetition.

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