The importance of building techs from the fundamental source cannot be overemphasized for anyone interested in going beyond current innovations. And any opportunity of having access to the framework of an original technology is always invaluable to the creative minds or individuals desiring to produce something similar. There’s great news for all the software freaks! The original source code for Lisa, Apple’s first computer with a graphics user interface (GUI) will be released in 2018.
Unarguably, the first breakthrough in any technology is always enriched with the raw creativity, which would give birth to multiple successful successors. And each time a new prototype fails, the fundamental design becomes very useful for any new inspiration. There’s no doubt about the success recorded by the successors of Apple Lisa, even though the computer was a flop, despite all modifications under the product name. It has only become an iconic product that led to any perfection or quality observed in the current products by Apple Inc.
The announcement about Apple’s intention to release Lisa’s source code was made by a software curator for the Computer History Museum, Al Kossow. In his statement, the computer’s operating system (OS) source and the application have been recovered and submitted to Apple for a final review before the proposed released of all the available source code by the Computer History Museum in 2018.
When Apple Lisa was first released, the cost to have a unit was too high, $9,995 relative to its efficiency. Imagine when a computer unit for business has a processor speed of 5MHz (Motorola 68000CPU), 5MB hard drive and a 1MB RAM, that is completely unacceptable right?
Now, remember we are referring to 34 years ago, 1983. And we are also referring to one of the first computers with a graphic user interface (GUI). Well, indifference for Lisa was incited by the “Twiggy” floppy disks, and poor sales took its toll by the unreliability. Not even the speed because that was pretty fast as at that time and Apple succeeded in selling about 100,000 units of the computer named after Steve Jobs’ first daughter, Lisa Brennan.
The Lisa operating system has a protected memory which is enabled by a hardware circuit, and programmers are not able to develop an application for the Lisa using its office OS. Lisa Workshop program was introduced as a development environment OS and engineers were switching between the two operating systems for writing and compiling codes. Subsequently, Lisa maintained two operating modes, which are the Lisa workshop and Office system.
Aside from the operating system which features the Office system and text-based workshop environment, source code for the seven Lisa office system apps would also be made available. They include LisaProject, LisaGraph, LisaTerminal, LisaCalc, LisaList, LisaWrite and LisaDraw.
According to Al Kossow, the software curator at the Computer History Museum, the only thing that would probably not be released in the source code is the spell checker feature in the LisaWire; the American Heritage dictionary.