Thursday, January 26, 2023

Lisa Source Code on 40th Anniversary

Benj Edwards (MacRumors):

As part of the Apple Lisa’s 40th birthday celebrations, the Computer History Museum has released the source code for Lisa OS version 3.1 under an Apple Academic License Agreement. With Apple’s blessing, the Pascal source code is available for download from the CHM website after filling out a form.


The Lisa was not the first commercial computer to ship with a GUI, as some have claimed in the past—that honor goes to the Xerox Star—but Lisa OS defined important conventions that we still use in windowing OSes today, such as drag-and-drop icons, movable windows, the waste basket, the menu bar, pull-down menus, copy and paste shortcuts, control panels, dynamically movable overlapping windows, and even one-touch automatic system shutdown.

John Gruber:

To this day, I’ve never seen one. The Mac interface captured a certain magic that the Lisa’s quite obviously did not — I think the Lisa ultimately failed more because of that than its price. But its influence on the original Mac is obvious.


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I looked at the code which is written in UCSD Pascal. I used to develop in UCSD Pascal on Apple II and Apple III machines, so it is totally familiar. Someone pointed out a mention of LisaOS being written in "Clascal" as a superset of UCSD Pascal, but to me, it looks like it's just an easy way to create a group of common classes, like an #INCLUDE.

The license agreement to download it is quite ridiculous: don't publish performance data indeed... It's a 40 year old computer.

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