Re: Lisa Office System

From: Marcin Wichary <mwichary_at_email.domain.hidden>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2005 11:06:29 +0100

> That sounds reasonable since Microsoft worked on both Lisa and
> Macintosh
> projects. I know Microsoft worked on a version of UNIX for the Lisa
> (Xenix)
> but believe it never released it due to the Lisa's short life span.

I think I've seen copies floating around.

> As far as I know, Microsoft's GUI efforts in the early years were
> based more
> on Xerox's STAR work than on Apple Lisa work. As such, Microsoft's GUI
> work
> was not really a copy of Apple's GUI work, thoght similarities do
> exist. Microsoft hired several ex-Xexox STAR people for its PC-based
> GUI (...)
This is true. Charles Simonyi and Scott MacGregor are examples of Xerox PARC engineers that got hired at Microsoft.

I would say that Microsoft's GUI was based much more on Macintosh than Lisa.

Windows 1.0 [1] had many similarities to Mac's System both interface-wise (for example, Get Info menu option, the look of caption-less dialog boxes, etc.) and under the hood (function names bear uncanny resemblance to those of Macintosh System). Prerelease versions of Windows were even more similar, having black pointer and overlapping windows. [2][3]

> (...) which was announced in 1981 but did not ship as Windows 1.0
> until I believe 1985 or
> so.

Windows was announced in November 1983, after Lisa and before Macintosh (although Microsoft has definitely known Macintosh for a long while at that time). The delay between the announcement and release (November 1985) is widely believed to be a marketing ploy to kill other GUIs which might have become popular at that time (GEM [4], VisiOn [5]). Since everybody heard that Windows from Microsoft will be coming, nobody wanted to risk getting involved into a GUI from a lesser-known company (Microsoft back then had already quite a reputation for its programming languages and IBM PC's DOS).

> You also must factor in IBM's GUI work here too
> which was occuring at this timeframe too. This was called SAA (system
> application architecture) by IBM and the GUI component of SAA was
> called CUI
> (common user interface).

I did not research IBM's GUI development in as much detail as I would love to, but I think it all happened later. First OS/2 1.1 with GUI (joint creation of Microsoft and IBM) was released as late as in 1988.

Also, I believe it was called CUA (Common User Architecture).

> Note that IBM had a name for everything it did -
> made copyright and tademarking easier for them. The CUI had a feature
> called
> MDI (multiple document interface) which was the core interface element
> for
> Microsoft Windows. MDI differed radically from Apple's GUI
> architecture.

That's true. MDI model gives an application a master window, and child windows (documents) can only be moved/resized within that window. This is very different from Mac OS, where there is no master window (instead, there is a "master menu"), and child windows can be moved and interleaved freely on the screen.

In my personal opinion MDI was one of the worst choices I've seen, Microsoft tried to back off from it already in 1995 (it was recommended in the official guidelines not to use MDI), but rather unsuccessfully, as for example Photoshop still uses it.

MDI results in completely different usage patterns -- most users of Windows have their applications zoomed to full-screen and switch between them using the taskbar. On the other hand, there's less clutter on the screen, and I know Mac users have sometimes the problem with that (hence all the Hide and Hide Others options that are not really necessary on Windows).

> Marcin Wichary <mwichary_at_email.domain.hidden> would be the person to ask about
> this
> stuff since he's very knowledgable about the different GUIs.

Thanks. I am still trying to untangle this mess -- everyone seems to have a different version of GUI history.

[1] win101
[2] microsoftwindows
[3] microsoftdoeswindows
[4] romancingaclonegemsmanyfacets
[5] aguidedtourofvision

      Marcin Wichary

e:\> mwichary_at_email.domain.hidden
w:\> >> Attached
w:\> >> Graphical User Interface gallery
w:\> >> 10 years of Being Boring
w:\> >>

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Received on 2005-01-09 02:16:28

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