Pair of Twiggys

Chris Hanson cmhanson at
Tue Mar 14 20:23:19 CDT 2017

On Mar 14, 2017, at 1:46 PM, geneb via cctalk <cctalk at> wrote:
>> Although I suppose you might have been talking about the software. I mean,
>> without that whole display/windows/menu/mouse thing he copied from Xerox, to allow ordinary people to use a computer, where would we be?
> Fixed that for ya. :)

Two problems with this repetition of a bogus meme:

1. Xerox got pre-IPO Apple stock in exchange for the PARC visits and the chance to use and build on what they saw.

2. What the Apple folks saw and what was implemented for Lisa and then Macintosh were vastly different.

Just a few examples:

- Overlapping windows that update even when partially obscured.
- The top-of-screen menu bar.
- The one-button mouse.
- Open & save dialog boxes.

A lot of research and development went into the Lisa and Macintosh interfaces. They weren’t just “copied from Xerox.” If you sit someone who knows how to use a Mac in front of a circa-1979 Xerox Alto, they’ll be pretty mystified.

Some of it is documented on the Folklore site, a large portion is documented in “Inventing the Lisa Human Interface,” a retrospective paper written by a couple of the Lisa folks for ACM’s Interactions journal about 20 years ago.

  -- Chris

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