Revisiting the GUI origins

Post date: Jul 25, 2011 12:15:38 AM

Monday, November 12, 2007, 10:07 PM

Posted by Administrator

I should be asleep right now but I was just revisiting my article on the origins of the GUI and I thought it worth a moment to restate a quick summary here.

ARPA - Had a GUI and Douglass Englebart (sp?)

Xerox PARC - Got Douglass and made a GUI and personal computer at $40,000.

Apple - Had Steve Jobs who had stock in Xerox and visited and later released their own GUI

Microsoft - Made deals with Apple and then came out with a competing product

Lawsuits all around.

Now you can buy a home computer with Apple, Microsoft or Linux and all have an easy to use GUI.


The other major player in the OS world is Unix, which came out of Bell labs, but is now owned in part by several players.

Linux is not Unix, but it looks and feels a lot like Unix

Mac OSX Leopard is actually Unix and it feels a lot like Linux

Windows is the only OS that doesn't have strong ties to Unix and the argument could be made that the heavy development lifting done for Windows XP was done by Unix developers

I bring this up because I am typing this from an Apple and will probably be working on a Unix machine tonight. I'm going to head off to dreamland for a couple hours and I imagine that I'll be thinking somewhat of the question what makes Unix so special?

I suspect it is in large part because it is source code that is so widely spread it is nearly open. Linux is certainly due at least in part to the freedom that comes with Open Source software and BSD is nearly Unix, and in fact the Apple system is based on a BSD version that has been certified to now be Unix. AIX is what runs our major systems, and it is Unix.

What else is out there? There are a couple interesting players:

ReactOS - Open source Windows XP compatible variant, not quite ready for prime time.

Anyway thats enough for tonight.