Friday, 8 December 2017

40 years of the Xerox Alto

Just over 40 years ago the Xerox Alto computer was publically unveiled. Why is this important? Well this computer system basically revealed the future (and thus our present). So what do you have on your computer today? A Windowing interface? Bit mapped display? Copy and paste? All these things and more, part of everyday computing now but in 1977 it was alchemy.

This article covers the 40th birthday celebrations of the Alto including live demos of restored Alto hardware. The Alto actually came out in 1973 though it took Xerox a few years to decide to try and commercialise the world beating technology being developed at PARC. However as everyone knows it fell to outsiders (especially Apple and Microsoft) to truly recognise the potential of what was being developed there (though not slavishly copy as some allege) and not the Xerox executives and the rest is history.