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Apple’s US$24K OS, Led By Steve Jobs, Will Be Released For Free In 2018
By Mikelle Leow, 28 Dec 2017
Image via Simon Claessen / Flickr (CC 2.0)
In 1983, Apple launched ‘Lisa’, one of the pioneering computers with a graphical user interface. It was a breakthrough project that demanded about US$150 million in research and development investments.
Unfortunately, it ended up becoming a failure, as customers would have to shell out US$10,000 to purchase the computer. Converted to today’s prices, it would cost roughly US$24,000 per unit.
At that time, IBM was already selling machines that were significantly more affordable, which made it even more difficult for Apple to convince the mass public to spend a five-figure sum for a single workplace computer.
Just 35 years later, you can finally own the system. The Computer History Museum (CHM) will release the OS code for ‘Apple Lisa’ in 2018 for free. It will also be open source, so you’ll be able to tweak and experiment with it.
One of the museum’s software curators, Al Kossov, recently made the announcement in a mailing list for ‘Lisa’ fans.
“Just wanted to let everyone know the sources to the OS and applications were recovered… and they are with Apple for review. After that’s done, CHM will do [a] blog post about the historical significance of the software and the code that is cleared for release by Apple will be made available in 2018.”
‘Lisa’ was incredibly ahead of its time. It featured windows and icons, and you could move documents into folders.
It wasn’t created solely by Steve Jobs, but it was the man himself who persuaded Xerox PARC to let Apple play around with models for graphical user interfaces.
Apple also declared that ‘Lisa’ stood for “Local Integrated System Architecture,” but Jobs later affirmed biographer Walter Isaacson that it was christened after his daughter, Lisa Nicole Brennan-Jobs.
[via Business Insider, cover image via Simon Claessen / Flickr (CC 2.0)]
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