Re: Installing Lisa Office applications on Profile?

From: Shirl <shirlgato_at_email.domain.hidden>
Date: Sun, 07 Nov 2004 22:18:05 -0700


Nice to hear a voice from Lisa's past clarifying a Lisa feature.

> I don't think the Lisa's disk space was all that limited

I recall always running out of disk space while using the Office System even with an internal 10 MB drive (Widget) and an external 5 MB drive (ProFile). I recall specifically having LisaWrite and LisaDraw open and printing at the same time. I believe printing may have been the culprit since the print file was stored on the boot drive and print files could be large, right? I used to write my programming documentation with LisaWrite/Draw which worked like a charm. Maybe all of Apple's Lisa people had Lisas with several external hard drives (believe you could have 6 external ProFiles) so they never ran out of disk space :-)

I also recall from reading some internal Lisa development memos which stressed the need to keep the virtual memory swapping space as small as possible (e.g. segment the program code appropriately). This may have been due to swapping taking lots of time which slowed down all the applications and made the Lisa sluggish for users (Twiggy floppy drives were many times slower than hard drives). I know that in 1982 Apple's Lisa developers tried very hard to improve the Lisa's performance and there was even a special group created for this called something like the "Performance Team". I believe Larry Rosenstein was part of that team since I recall seeing his name on some of these performance memos.

Details about the Lisa's file copying/moving scheme can be found at the great "Xerox Contribution" site:

Frank Ludolph, one of the Lisa Desktop Manager ("finder") people, had the following to say about copying/moving:

"> 3. During the Lisa demo, Frank Ludolph at one point duplicated a
> file that he meant to move. He was quick to point out that Lisa
> (and Mac) use the same UI for moving and copying documents, and
> that this was sometimes a problem for users, but usually did what
> users want.

Actually, Mac and Lisa used the same drag-and-drop action, but Mac does a copy when the destination is a different disk while Lisa always did a move. The Mac get beat-up for being inconsistent, but Lisa's consistency lead to difficult to correct errors when an item was dragged from hard disk to diskette - the item was removed from the hard disk and the diskette may have been physically taken to another location."

An aside ...

Ludolph also talks about the Lisa Desktop Manager's support for same-named documents which was a great idea from my use of the Lisa. This means, for example, you could have 3 Lisa documents in the same folder named "Q3 Results" with one being a LisaWrite document, another LisaCalc, another LisaGraph. This was implemented with unique _physical_ names for the documents where the _logical/user_ name was not unique. The low-level Lisa file system supported names with up to 31 characters in length and the names had to be unique. But the Desktop Manager supported names with up to 63 characters that could be duplicates. The low-level names were never seen by users, only by programmers, and had the naming convention "{TxDy}" where x was the tool number (e.g. LisaWrite I believe had tool # 1) and y was the document number. So document # 1234 for LisaWrite had a name such as "{T1D1234}".

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Received on 2004-11-07 21:19:11

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