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View Full Version : OT: RIP Doug Englebart, inventor of the computer mouse



tlfamm
07-03-2013, 06:13 PM
"Doug Engelbart, a visionary who invented the computer mouse and developed other technology that has transformed the way people work, play and communicate, died late Tuesday. He was 88..."


http://www.boston.com/business/technology/2013/07/03/inventor-computer-mouse-dies-age/Qw7o5w3K44plvOMjYpfp0K/story.html


A little history showing the role of Xerox PARC in developing the mouse:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/16/110516fa_fact_gladwell

Evan
07-03-2013, 06:59 PM
From the story at the top link:


The notion of operating the inside of a computer with a tool on the outside was way ahead of its time when Engelbart began working on it. The mouse didn’t become commercially available until 1984, with the released of Apple’s then-revolutionary Macintosh, a precursor to future breakthroughs such as the iPhone and iPad.

Utter BS. Xerox had the mouse available in the early 70s and widely available with the production of the commercial version in 1979. I know because I saw them operating when I visited PARC in 1979. Full Windows, Icon, Mouse and Pointer.

http://ixian.ca/pics10/alto1.jpg

BTW, the Xerox mouse was optical. I have a couple.

WhatTheFlux!
07-03-2013, 07:08 PM
Can you post pictures of them? I am curious.

Evan
07-03-2013, 07:31 PM
Do you want pics of the mice? I will have to find them but I think I know where they are.

sansbury
07-03-2013, 08:06 PM
The Alto was a production computer in much the same way the Bugatti Veyron is a production car. There's little argument that PARC was years ahead of everybody at the outset, and they failed epically to capitalize on that. Technically they might have been the first to commercialize it but it was the Steves who made them commonplace.

Evan
07-03-2013, 08:53 PM
The Alto wasn't the commercial version. Xerox only made about 1000 of those with about half used in Xerox research centers and the other half used by the Pentagon as test systems. The commercial system was the Xerox Star 8010. That was made up into the late 1980's with sales in the tens of thousands. They were not intended for home users at all but were for businesses. It was IBM that took over the market from Xerox, not Apple. Apple had nothing to do with the market between IBM and Xerox during the early 80's. The First run Mac was mainly a game machine or considered to be that. Nobody was ready to take a name like "Apple" as a serious business market computer.

This was the Star and it was quite successful until IBM started to make a dent. Even so the Star was many years ahead in capability compared to any other computer on the market then.

http://ixian.ca/pics10/xeroxstar.jpg

lakeside53
07-03-2013, 09:33 PM
They even have the Apple part wrong. Remember the Lisa?


From some random wiki doc.

"Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC in 1979. He was excited by the revolutionary mouse-driven GUI of the Xerox Alto and was keen to use these ideas back at Apple. By late 1979, Jobs successfully negotiated with Xerox for his Lisa team to receive two demonstrations of ongoing research projects at Xerox PARC; when the Apple team saw the demonstration of the Alto computer they were able to see in action the basic elements of what constituted a workable GUI. A great deal of work was put into making the graphical interface into a mainstream commercial product by the Lisa team".

rohart
07-03-2013, 09:57 PM
It was the Sinclair and the BBC micros that weren't taken seriously by business users over here. I believe in my company we bought some Apple II machines to implement small simulation demonstrations on in late '79. I was using the 8088 twin floppy PC in '80 for my work. That was IBM's first mistake - the 8086 was better and was never used ?

For the larger job, we were still using punched cards and sending jobs 100 miles to ICL 1400 front and back ends, for an IBM 360 to do the main work, up till '82 I believe, although by then we'd had a Prime running in house with local terminals from about '77.

My dates are somewhat hazy. But I do know I got two turn rounds a day, by a van taking my cards 4 miles across the Thames and back, in early '66, when I was developing iterative solutions to Bessel functions. I used to sit at my desk making mini telecopes out of cardboard tubes and junk shop lenses so I could watch the traffic on the river while waiting for the van in the afternoon. I thought that was aj IBM 360 too.

macona
07-03-2013, 10:01 PM
The First run Mac was mainly a game machine or considered to be that. Nobody was ready to take a name like "Apple" as a serious business market computer.


The mac has never been considered a game machine. Too expensive. Apple made inroads to other areas like desktop publishing and graphics with the help of the first desktop postscript laser printer in 85, the Laserwriter.

Evan
07-03-2013, 11:14 PM
You are kidding me, right? This is just some of them. I got tired copy and pasting.

http://ixian.ca/pics10/macclassicgames.png

http://ixian.ca/pics10/macclassicgames2.png

Black_Moons
07-03-2013, 11:37 PM
While I hate to admit it, being a hardcore PC fan, In its day mac had HUGE amounts of shareware and low budget titles that where often better then PC games.

Marathon being a wonderful 3d FPS game of its day.
Escape velocity was great too. As was bolo.

Paul Alciatore
07-04-2013, 01:00 AM
In the days of the Macintosh, the IBM machines were greatly preferred by the bean counters. I suspect this may be at least partially due to their familiarity with IBM products that predated the PCs. But I, as a working TV engineer clearly saw the benefits of the graphic user interface of the Macintosh. A fellow engineer and myself were busy completely redesigning a major market TV station at that time. It was unheard of for the company to provide computers for this project, after all, the Macintosh WAS a game machine, wasn't it? So my friend, a bachelor, purchased a Macintosh and did a lot of system design on it. I, a married man with a family, could only afford an IBM PC and I used it with Lotus 123 to produce a lot of detailed wiring lists (text mode only). I did have a graphics program and could do some drawings, but the Mac was so much faster at them that there was really no contest. Between us we got the job done. And eventually, after several years and our successful project, the station did buy computers and programs for the engineers.

The point is, the Macintosh was a fully capable machine for serious work, both engineering and more traditional business uses, like accounting, but it was perceived as a "game machine". We were even accused of wasting company time while working on these computers. The IBM PC of that day was not Windows capable and was a less capable choice for the design work we had at hand. So it was, in fact the better machine for both kinds of work. But the "game machine" rep remains even until today in some quarters.

That "game machine" criticism at the TV station dried up when they saw how fast and well we came up with a really excellent system design. And how easily we could make changes to it when they were necessary. It was truly a new age in system design.

However, as Evan pointed out, the Mac of that day was clearly the better at games also. It was simply a better machine overall. I think that the PC has probably caught up by now. Or perhaps not?

dp
07-04-2013, 01:34 AM
In the days of the Macintosh, the IBM machines were greatly preferred by the bean counters.

Lotus 1-2-3 and WordStar were the killer apps that launched the PC. Add dBase to the list and you had a nice suite of tools for the small business and engineering firm. That and a Compaq luggable computer and Epson MX100 printer accompanied me on a summer-long field trip to Toulouse, France in 1984 to work on weight and balance sensors and flight computers for Airbus. I spent hours each evening reducing and plotting flight data and weight-on-wheels data for calibrating our sensors using 3rd order curve fitting routines that worked Lotus 1-2-3 to the limit. Thank goodness for the "Sideways" program that allowed me to print my charts as wide and the paper stack was long.

Black Forest
07-04-2013, 05:48 AM
My adventure into the computer age started in 1976 when I read in The National Enquirer about someone that used a Tandy something and connected it to a ticker tape machine. I don't remember the details but it triggered something in my mind. I then went to the local IBM headquarters to get information on what was possible and available. From there I went to another vendor and they demo'd a Digital Equipment Corporation machine to me. It was in a desk and had two 8 inch floppy drives. I bought the machine and a daisy wheel printer along with a word processor program and accounting software. $30,000!!! I was in heaven. You all know how we get mesmerized by a shaper doing its thing, well I did the same when I would print a mail merge. Watching that printer print in both directions was absolutely incredible. I would take people into my office just so they could watch the printer. Most did not share my enthusiasm.

I bought the computer to help me organize my horse breeding farm. Magic I tell you, just magic.

A friend of mine bought a PC a few years later and I scoffed at him. Along the lines of what are you going to do with that "little" toy. I was envious of his 10mb harddrive.

Ed P
07-04-2013, 08:21 AM
From some random wiki doc.

"Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC in 1979. He was excited by the revolutionary mouse-driven GUI of the Xerox Alto and was keen to use these ideas back at Apple. By late 1979, Jobs successfully negotiated with Xerox for his Lisa team to receive two demonstrations of ongoing research projects at Xerox PARC; when the Apple team saw the demonstration of the Alto computer they were able to see in action the basic elements of what constituted a workable GUI. A great deal of work was put into making the graphical interface into a mainstream commercial product by the Lisa team".

I've never been able to understand why Xerox, after spending what must of been tens of millions of dollars on research at PARC, just let a couple of outsiders in to see everything. Companies are usually very protective of their research... 'cause it's expensive!

Ed P

jkilroy
07-04-2013, 10:34 AM
[QUOTE=I think that the PC has probably caught up by now. Or perhaps not?[/QUOTE]

The PC has won, the mac never had any major market share. But the single biggest indicator that the PC emerged victorious is that the Macs of today ARE PC's, Intel chipsets and all.

Motorola, the original maker of the chip for the Mac, a great company that it was, is now just another of Googles collection of companies, a mere shadow of its former glory.

The MAC OS is now history, having been replaced with open source Linux. The Mac, as revolutionary as it was, lost to the PC due to Steve Jobs unwillingness to license the design, though it was very briefly tried, to allow other companies to produce Mac clones. This is the EXACT thing they did with the Iphone and Ipad, both of which have now been passed in sales by competitors. There market share will continue to decline and Apple, without the genius of Steve Jobs, is starting its decline, just like the last time he left.

Oh, and in its time, the Commadore 64 was better for games than either the PC or Mac.

ckelloug
07-04-2013, 11:13 AM
The mouse is actually credited to Doug Englebart when he was at SRI. See the article on the mouse linked below.


From the SRI internal website announcement:

SRI Alumnus and World-Renowned Computing Pioneer Doug Engelbart Passed Away July 2
SRI alumnus and computing pioneer Doug Engelbart passed away peacefully at home on July 2, 2013. He was 88 years old. Funeral or service information is not yet available.

Doug’s vision was to solve humanity's most important problems by using computers to improve communication and collaboration. He was world famous for his invention of the computer mouse and the origins of interactive computing. His legacy is immense: anyone in the world who uses a mouse, shares files with a neighbor, or enjoys the productive benefits of a personal computer is indebted to him.

Doug led SRI’s Augmentation Research Center (ARC) for many years, working with other distinguished computing pioneers to develop innovations such as display editing, online processing, linking and in-file object addressing, use of multiple windows, hypermedia, and context-sensitive help. The ARC became the second node of the ARPANET (the predecessor to the Internet).

Among his many accolades, Doug received the National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton in 2000. SRI honored him with its Gibson Achievement Award in 2001.

SRI was very privileged and honored to have him as one of our “family”. He has brought tremendous value to society, renown to SRI, and luster to our reputation. We will miss his genius, warmth, and charm.

A wealth of information on Doug’s life and achievements is available:
http://www.dougengelbart.org/
http://www.sri.com/work/timeline-innovation/timeline.php?timeline=computing-digital#&innovation=computer-mouse-interactive-computing
http://www.sri.com/newsroom/video/engelbart-and-dawn-interactive-computing-40th-anniversary-celebration-christina-engel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mother_of_All_Demos

dp
07-04-2013, 01:56 PM
The MAC OS is now history, having been replaced with open source Linux. The Mac, as revolutionary as it was, lost to the PC due to Steve Jobs unwillingness to license the design, though it was very briefly tried, to allow other companies to produce Mac clones. This is the EXACT thing they did with the Iphone and Ipad, both of which have now been passed in sales by competitors. There market share will continue to decline and Apple, without the genius of Steve Jobs, is starting its decline, just like the last time he left.


I don't think any phones or pad outsell the iPhone/iPad yet. Android is outselling IOS, though, because more vendors offer Android than offer IOS, but Android is software, not hardware. Best thing Apple did was get rid of Mac OS and go with Unix, and the Intel chips were another excellent move. The worst trend at Apple is the relentless march toward cloud computing, and locking the Mac desktop to the Apple Store. As much as I like Mac computers, I hate being locked in to a single vendor, and more than that I hate that vendor to tell me how to run my hardware and where to buy my software.

All desktop sales are in decline now as consumers move to mobile devices. This says most consumers never wanted a computer - they only wanted a tag to carry around that tied them to their security blanket - email/twitter/facebook/multi-media player.

The Apple ecosystem is now more valuable than the Microsoft ecosystem though Gates is the WRM again.

macona
07-04-2013, 04:07 PM
You are kidding me, right? This is just some of them. I got tired copy and pasting.



Sure, there quite a few games for the mac, but nothing compared to what was on the PC, Amiga, and others. I have had macs since the 128k and have played many of those. I have never hear it referred to as a gaming computer. Especially with major popular released coming far after a PC version, if ever.

jkilroy, macs went to intel because of IBMs and Motorola's lack of development of the PowerPC processor. Also linux has a small fraction of the linux market share. Saying MacOS has or will be killed by linux is silly.

Evan
07-04-2013, 04:43 PM
Don't forget we are talking about very specific time frames. At the time of the original Mac with black and white screen and windows etc the Mac was way ahead of the PC in games. The PC was the primary business machine, the Mac was largely for gaming and not business applications. That took a few years to convince people that you could actually use a Mac for serious work. At that time the top game machines were Commodore, Atari, Apple II and Mac as well as a large variety of things like the TI-99 and Radio Shack machines.

The most powerful machines in the first half of the 80s were the Commodore Amiga variations. It was far ahead of all the other systems in terms of multitasking Windows operating system and in graphics capability. It was by far the best game machine and was also very widely used for production and TV graphics systems.

dp
07-04-2013, 05:50 PM
Don't forget we are talking about very specific time frames. At the time of the original Mac with black and white screen and windows etc the Mac was way ahead of the PC in games.

The demographic also had a lot to do with how systems were used. Mac was targeting education institutions while the PC was going after the business world. It didn't help that Apple sued MSFT over the Xerox GUI they used in the Macintosh 128K and beyond which led to an embargo by the GNU movement which limited the variety of software available on the Mac. Oddly enough the X Windows GUI system had been around since 1984 - the year of the Macintosh. A stream of crappy hardware was then released by Apple that kept them in the shadows of the PC evolution juggernaut that continued until the release of the first iPhone. The iPhone changed everything.

sansbury
07-04-2013, 06:51 PM
The MAC OS is now history, having been replaced with open source Linux. The Mac, as revolutionary as it was, lost to the PC due to Steve Jobs unwillingness to license the design, though it was very briefly tried, to allow other companies to produce Mac clones. This is the EXACT thing they did with the Iphone and Ipad, both of which have now been passed in sales by competitors. There market share will continue to decline and Apple, without the genius of Steve Jobs, is starting its decline, just like the last time he left.

1. OS X is based on BSD, not Linux. While both are Unix (more or less), they have almost completely different histories. BSD was considered technically superior in many ways but never had as large a community as Linux. Apple had the good sense to do what many people had said for a decade--take a good UNIX core and layer a really good user-facing GUI on top. It's wonderful: I've got a rock-solid machine that almost never locks up or requires rebooting, and when I need to do some heavy lifting I've got the full command line just a click away.

2. RISC chips like the 68000 series and especially the later-stage DEC Alphas were superior in their, but they lost the economic war because of the scale and resources that Intel could throw at x86.

3. Mac marketshare is looking pretty good these days. The Air pretty much dominates the ultrabook segment, and if you look at them simply as a computer manufacturer versus Dell, Lenovo, Asus, etc., they're arguably one of the largest in terms of numbers shipped. As for mobile phones, it was going to be pretty hard for Apple to maintain >50% market share as the market grew. They remain one of the largest players and in the US and many other first-world countries, the iPhone is still in first place. And Apple is far and away the most profitable company in the business. It used to be that their products were far more expensive but when you compare equal quality that is no longer the case.

dp
07-04-2013, 06:57 PM
1. OS X is based on BSD, not Linux. While both are Unix (more or less)...

Linux is definitely not Unix - it says so in the name (Linux Is Not UX) and Linus agrees :). BSD is one of the few remaining true Unixes left. It is also the first Unix I ever got paid to work with back in the early 1980's.

fjk
07-05-2013, 10:25 AM
The core oS/X kernel is based on Mach
APIs are more or less unix/posix compatible

dp
07-05-2013, 12:40 PM
The core oS/X kernel is based on Mach
APIs are more or less unix/posix compatible

It is actually a blend of Mach and BSD called XNU (X is Not Unix). The kernel in OS X, Linux, and true Unix is largely hidden from the user so they all operate similarly at the terminal level and file system level, and most share the original Unix command line tools and shells.

The window manager in OS X is pure Apple. The GUI of most OSs today follow closely standards formulated in the 1990s, with some minor differences. Apple went with round corners, Windows stayed with square corners, window controls to kill, minimize, and maximize are on the top left on a Mac, and on the top right on most every other GUI. Anyone with skill in one GUI and usually quickly pickup up the operation of any GUI.

The GEM window manager for DOS was the first one that did all I needed and made Ventura Publisher, the DOS equivalent of Aldus Pagemaker for Mac, the standard publishing tool for the engineering company I worked for at the time. It also ran on HP-UX and was a critical component of the Ada programming environment we were using at the time to support the Boeing 777 project. Apple sued the crap out of GEM over some of the GUI features and the functionality they lost ruined the product. This was about the same time Apple sued the crap out of any company that made clones of the Macintosh. They did start a clone licensing program that Jobs later overturned. They still insist OSX can be run only on genuine Apple hardware, even as a virtual machine. Windows, on the other hand, can be run pretty much anywhere since MSFT doesn't build desktop computers.