To mark the 40th anniversary of the Apple Lisa computer, the Computer History Museum (CHM) has released the source code for the first graphical user interface computer.
CHM received Apple’s approval to release the source code for the Lisa computer as part of the museum commemorating Lisa, which Apple released on January 19, 1983.
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The Apple Lisa is famous for being the first computer with a graphical user interface (GUI), an approach to personal computer interfaces that Steve Jobs took after visiting Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1979. .
Most people remember the GUI of the Apple Macintosh, but CHM software curator Hansen Hsu, who previously worked at Apple on Mac OS X, said in a blog post that without Lisa, a mouse-driven Macintosh and Microsoft Windows would be said it didn’t exist.
“Known for bringing the mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI) to the masses and revolutionizing how we use computers, today’s Apple Macintosh computer line owes its existence to Apple’s immediate predecessor, the Lisa. Without Lisa, there would have been no Macintosh, at least in its current form, and probably no Microsoft Windows,” Hsu writes.
The Apple Lisa, which sold for $9,995 in 1983, was aimed at businesses and featured a Motorola 68000 microprocessor with a hard drive that proved inadequate for the Lisa’s multitasking. It sold poorly against IBM’s $1,565 command-line interface PC. Lisa followed the command-line Apple II for consumers.
Apple Lisa included the operating system Lisa OS and several office applications such as the word processor LisaWrite and the spreadsheet program LisaCalc. Other programs included LisaTerminal, LisaGraph, LisaList, and LisaProject.
As Hsu pointed out, Jobs was dropped from the Lisa project during the 1982 reorganization. Then I discovered his Macintosh project started by the late Jeff Ruskin. He took over his Mac project and brought his mouse-driven GUI design to Lisa at a more affordable price.
Apple began shipping the Apple Macintosh in January 1984 for $2,495, not including the hard drive and multitasking features. Alongside the Macintosh, Apple announced the Lisa 2 series at his $3,495 and his $5,495. The Apple Lisa source code is available from the CHM website here.