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Linux.SYS-CON.com Feedback of the Week: "Recent Technology History 101"

Linux.SYS-CON.com Feedback of the Week: "Recent Technology History 101"

[The following piece of feedback was sent to us by L Samuel Cashwell in response to our recent item about Michael Robertson, CEO of Lindows.com.]

Mr Cashwell writes:

"One of the most 'secret' developments in our personal computer industry was, in my opinion, the Xerox Star computer project. Fully functional in 1979, the Xerox Star provided a graphical user interface (GUI): icons, bit-mapped graphics-based text characters, overlapping windows in which processes were displayed and manipulated, and a pointing device called a “mouse”! These tools and the desktop environment gave a user the ability to navigate from one window to another – one job to the next.

It was also in 1979 that Xerox invested heavily in Apple Computer Corporation, and offered to turn over much of the Star computer’s technology and operating system source code. From this occurrence Steve Jobs managed the 'Macintosh' computer development that had begun under Jef Raskin (an early-on Apple employee/engineer) – fulfilling their dream of providing the general public with an “appliance” computer. Unpack it; plug it in, and with the Xerox Star’s mouse/icon/windows interface, the computer would be not only easy to set up, but also use!

Another interesting note is the June 30, 2003 publication by Microsoft Corporation of the Windows Products and Technologies History - Windows Desktop Timeline. At least they admit that no 'Microsoft Windows®' product (first fully operational with 3.11) was even in testing until the latter part of the 1980’s. Prior versions were really nothing more than menu-driven interfaces to GUI-enabled productivity programs, such as MS-Word. Even those few application interfaces were derived from other WYSIWYG applications like WordPerfect and AppleWorks. Apple sued Microsoft, and lost – but that does not change the reality of whom actually first developed and gave to the public at large the windows user interface: Xerox (in their Palo Alto Research Center, PARC).

It is painful for me with 34 years experience in the information technology industry to witness the manipulations of companies such as Microsoft and SCO. The fact is that neither of these companies’ primary leaders have a legitimate claim to intellectual developments on their personal merit. The processes and subsequent technologies they present and sell were acquired through some means, such as purchase or…. Let’s not forget that MS-DOS was developed for IBM by someone who extracted base-line code from the Digital Equipment Corporation’s PDP-computer operating system. UNIX was also an open environment – developing concurrently at Berkeley and Bell Labs.

I have long admired Michael Robertson’s commitment to keeping information technological developments not only free-flowing, but also very affordable for everyone. From Napster to Lindows.com and Click-and-Run, Michael keeps to his personal integrity and sound business ethic. I salute the latest success, and believe that ultimately Lindows.com will be vindicated and restitution made for the staggering legal expenses."

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