Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for XEROX; A personal retrospective... 2001

I looked and Looked and could not come up with a viable X. So I looked up Documentaries on XEROX and I came up with this slow and boring one... But at least I got an X

The Xerox Alto is the first computer designed from the start to support an operating system based on a graphical user interface (GUI) using the desktop metaphor.[1][2] The first machines were introduced on 1 March 1973,[3] a decade before mass market GUI machines appeared.
The Alto used a custom multi-chip central processing unit (CPU) filling a small cabinet, and each machine cost tens of thousands of dollars in spite of being intended to be used as a personal computer. Only small numbers were built initially, but by the late 1970s about 1,000 were in use at various Xerox labs, and about another 500 in a number of universities. Total production was about 2,000 units.
The Alto became well known in silicon valley and its GUI was increasingly seen as the future of computing. In 1979, Steve Jobs arranged a deal in which Apple Computer would license the concepts from Xerox in exchange for Xerox being able to purchase stock options in Apple. After two famous visits to see the Alto, Apple engineers used the concepts to introduce the Apple Lisa and Macintosh systems, sparking the GUI revolution that took hold during the 1980s.
Xerox eventually commercialized a heavily modified version of the Alto concepts as the Xerox Star, first introduced in 1981. A complete office system including several workstations, storage and a laser printer cost as much as $100,000, and like the Alto, the Star had little direct impact on the market.