[TUHS] X, Suntools, and the like

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Sat Mar 18 01:39:02 AEST 2017

    > From: "Ron Natalie"

    >>> I think most people will attribute the desktop metaphor to Xerox.

    >> Strictly speaking, to Smalltalk (from PARC)
    > I beg to differ.  The Star not only pioneered the WISIWYG application
    > presentation

PARC _was_ Xerox. The Star was a product based on the Alto, but much of the
Star stuff was pioneered on the Alto.

For instance, WYSIWYG was one of the modes that the Alto's Bravo editor could
be run in; it definitely pre-dates the Star.

    > also the concept of the desktop.

Depending on exactly what you mean by 'desktop', that also pre-dated the Star.

I heard the multiple overlapping windows of Smalltalk (an Alto application)
likened to a collection of sheets of paper on a desktop (which is where the
term came from); clicking on one with the mouse brought it to the top, just
like pulling a particular sheet of paper out from the ones on a physical

    > The whole conscept of dropping documents as icons on the desktop appears
    > to have orginated there.

Yes, as I mentioned:

    >> things like Bravo, and the basic user command interface on the Alto
    >> [the Exec, my brain finally coughed up the name - can't find my Alto
    >> manual at the moment] didn't have any concept of windows/desktop

The concept of having a graphical front end as the main user interface was not
from the Alto, and the Alto didn't have icons either; both came later (I'll
let the Lisa people and Star people argue that one out).


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