notes on learning, design, tools, & life

50 Years Later, We’re Still Living in the Xerox Alto’s World

David C. Brock celebrates the legacy of the earliest attempt to commercialize a personal computer with a graphical user interface:

The people who developed the Alto came to Xerox PARC from universities, industrial labs, and commercial ventures, bringing with them diverse experiences and skills. But these engineers and programmers largely shared the same point of view. They conceived and developed the Alto in a remarkable burst of creativity, used it to develop diverse and pathbreaking software, and then moved out of Xerox, taking their achievements, design knowledge, and experiences into the wider world, where they and others built on the foundation they had established.

The photos accompanying this article are a real treat. If you’re interested in going back just a bit further, Doug Engelbart’s “Mother of All Demos” presentation in 1968 was a major source of inspiration for PARC.