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MacBytes
Oct 13, 2005, 08:24 AM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Whose Idea Was It? (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20051013092456)

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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nagromme
Oct 13, 2005, 08:57 AM
Xerox's GUI work introduced some of what we are used to today, but Xerox was only part of an evolution that started with writings of Vannevar Bush in the 1930s and 40s that predated digital computers! Bush's writings inspired Douglas Englebart, who made the first working GUI and invented the mouse. BEFORE he worked for Xerox.

Then came Xerox's important PARC work (which mainly stayed in the labs), and then Apple came along and added a great deal themselves. They perfected the mouse hardware (it wasn't a practical, reliable device before Apple's) AND introduced much of what we now expect in a GUI. (Jobs' NeXT went its own way and innovated some things we now expect from GUIs too--and of course NeXTStep is a big part of Mac OS X's lineage.)

So for the record, some things Apple/NeXT contributed to the GUI:

Drag-and-drop
Pulldown menus (including the File Edit View structure still used today)
Checkmark-selected menu items
Keyboard shortcuts for menus
Graying-out unavailable items
Trashcan (aka recycle bin)
Double-clicking
Every file being an icon (and dragging for file management)
Hierarchical file browsing with windows representing directory contents
Metadata fork, including assigning what app would open what file
Redrawing of only the necessary part of a window when something in front of it is moved (which Quartz now makes moot--but Windows XP is still that primitive)
Shaded/beveled look for windows and icons (NeXT is the first I'm aware of that went all the way with that)
"X" symbol for closing windows (NeXT had it, then it showed up in other UNIXes and Windows... now it's on Mac too)
Dock that can be placed at any edge
Dialogs ("sheets") visually attached directly to their associated windows
Exposť

So Xerox PARC introduced a lot of important concepts--scrollbars for instance, and some limited use of icons--but to appreciate Apple's contribution to the GUI, just imagine life without the above.

An of course Apple made a successful real-world PRODUCT with a GUI. Xerox never managed that, although they did release the unsuccessful Star.

One thing's for sure, the idea didn't come from Microsoft like many people think :p

For more on GUI history, see:
http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/gui.ars/

wordmunger
Oct 13, 2005, 09:03 AM
So for the record, some things Apple/NeXT contributed to the GUI:

Drag-and-drop
Pulldown menus (including the File Edit View structure still used today)


So you're saying the scene in Pirates of Silicon Valley where the Xerox people show Steve a computer with pull-down menus is not true?

MacFan782040
Oct 13, 2005, 09:51 AM
This stuff should be taught in all schools. It's such crap that people think Microsoft came up with the whole picture.

What kills me more is when people say Bill Gates invented the internet. PLEASE. :mad:

fayans
Oct 13, 2005, 09:59 AM
This stuff should be taught in all schools. It's such crap that people think Microsoft came up with the whole picture.

What kills me more is when people say Bill Gates invented the internet. PLEASE. :mad:
BTW, who invented the internet?

neocell
Oct 13, 2005, 10:04 AM
BTW, who invented the internet?
Gore :rolleyes:

24C
Oct 13, 2005, 10:38 AM
snip ...An of course Apple made a successful real-world PRODUCT with a GUI. Xerox never managed that, although they did release the unsuccessful Star....
Heh, I used to use this Xerox stuff before I used a Mac. I still have them huge floppies I used to load into those brown boxes. The Xerox stuff was way expensive over here, but there is no doubt it worked in an internal office environment. It was years before I could drag & drop a document over a printer icon, walk down the corridor and pick it out of a printer on my Mac, AFAIR.

nagromme
Oct 13, 2005, 11:01 AM
So you're saying the scene in Pirates of Silicon Valley where the Xerox people show Steve a computer with pull-down menus is not true?
According to the history at Ars, not true :) But I'd be curious to see the scene and what was really happening--assuming it was the actual Xerox GUI being shown.

(And wasn't it OTHER people at Apple who wanted to SHOW Steve the stuff at PARC? Really they were the ones who were first inspired by the GUI, not Steve anyway.)

winmacguy
Oct 13, 2005, 12:42 PM
It is a very interesting series of articles in PCMag, including the "Whose idea it was" article. ;)

eric_n_dfw
Oct 13, 2005, 04:47 PM
Okay, so I had a lot of time while waiting for code to compile today and actually read about 90% of the whole Windows 20th Anniversary thing that is article is part of.

Filled with a lot of "rah rah" Windows is awesome stuff, to be expected, but the following 2 Q&A quotes epitomized why MicroSoft products just never seem to have, as Steve Jobs puts it, "class":


...Effectively pulling together such an integrated system from a user-interface perspective is critical, says Joe Belifore, who heads Microsoft's eHome division. "I want consumers to see their PC as a device that really is the nerve center of their home and their digital existence." He imagines a scenario in which you're driving your car and you tell your hands-free cell phone to ask your PC to let you know the gate number of your arriving flight. "I think we will see that happen in the next ten years."...

Why does my PC even come into this picture? How about just asking your hands-free cell phone (or pda, or car computer, or whatever) what the gate is and it not having to use your PC? i.e. "Computer, ", said after tapping the BlueTooth headset button, ", find out what gate my flight leaves from this morning." Phone/PDA checks it's the calendar, searches for the flight, hits some travel SOAP server on the web and reads back the info.


Further out, Rashid imagines a future in which everything you've ever typed, every picture you've ever taken, every word you've ever spoken, and every conversation you've ever held becomes a part of the permanent record of your life. "You can keep about a year's worth of what you see through your eyes in a terabyte disk. It won't be long now before you start to think of that as an archaically small amount of storage," Rashid says.
In pursuit of this vision, Microsoft Research has developed the SenseCam, which snaps a picture every time something changes in your environment, even the temperature. "You could have a complete record from the time you were born. If you want it, we're not that far," Rashid adds.

Um, yeah. I really want my entire life on "video". (or whatever)

Geeez!

DeSnousa
Oct 13, 2005, 04:52 PM
BTW, who invented the internet?

The USA army, if I remember. They needed a means to transfer information during wars. Especially if a building was being attacked, in which they could transfer the data and then delete the info in the building. I believe this was how the internet came about.

HydroMan
Oct 13, 2005, 05:53 PM
Here's (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/story070.htm) a brief history of the internet and this (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventors/berners-lee.htm) is the man who invented the World Wide Web.

nagromme
Oct 14, 2005, 01:33 AM
...invented it, no less, on a NeXT box :) aka ancestor of Mac OS X...

fayans
Oct 14, 2005, 03:26 AM
The USA army, if I remember. They needed a means to transfer information during wars. Especially if a building was being attacked, in which they could transfer the data and then delete the info in the building. I believe this was how the internet came about.
Are you referring to period of vietnam war?
Here's ([URL=http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/story070.htm) a brief history of the internet and this (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventors/berners-lee.htm) is the man who invented the World Wide Web.
The links are broken :(

mpw
Oct 14, 2005, 04:10 AM
...
Here's a brief history of the internet and this is the man who invented the World Wide Web.

The links are broken :(
How ironic!

Nickygoat
Oct 14, 2005, 05:31 AM
Are you referring to period of vietnam war?
This (http://www.freesoft.org/CIE/Topics/57.htm) describes it pretty well.

HydroMan
Oct 14, 2005, 07:44 AM
Here's (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/story070.htm) a brief history of the internet and this (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventors/berners-lee.htm) is the man who invented the World Wide Web.
They work now, bit late though :o

fayans
Oct 14, 2005, 07:55 AM
This (http://www.freesoft.org/CIE/Topics/57.htm) describes it pretty well.
Thanks for sharing the link! :) Didn't know till now that it all started out of Defense Department project.

applemacdude
Oct 14, 2005, 08:19 AM
Are you referring to period of vietnam war?

The links are broken :(


Cold War?

Qunchuy
Oct 14, 2005, 11:15 AM
(And wasn't it OTHER people at Apple who wanted to SHOW Steve the stuff at PARC? Really they were the ones who were first inspired by the GUI, not Steve anyway.)
Multiple interviews with the people involved at the time tell it that way, yes. The people at Apple were already playing around with GUI concepts, and arranged for the PARC tour so they could show Steve Jobs a working version of what they had in mind.