Programming for the Alto's Mesa

Ian S. King isking at
Tue Jun 21 10:14:53 CDT 2016

On Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 8:09 AM, Josh Dersch <derschjo at> wrote:

>> Mesa became the basis for much of the software on Xerox's later
> D-machines (the Star and its successors).  It was compiled into a
> byte-coded stack-based machine code (the bytecode interpreter was
> implemented in microcode on the Alto and later machines) and apparently the
> code density was pretty remarkable (from what I've read).  The Viewpoint
> GUI and applications were written in it.  It was a strongly-typed
> high-level language with exceptions.  I don't (yet) have any direct
> experience in using the language, but it's something I want to get around
> to one of these days.
> - Josh

ISTR that BravoX was written in Mesa.  -- Ian

Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS, Ph.D. Candidate
The Information School <>
Dissertation: "Why the Conversation Mattered: Constructing a Sociotechnical
Narrative Through a Design Lens

Archivist, Voices From the Rwanda Tribunal <>
Value Sensitive Design Research Lab <>

University of Washington

There is an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China."

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