Computer History Museum will host Apple Lisa source code following review

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2017
Preservationists have extracted the source code and some launch software for Apple's Mac predecessor, the Apple Lisa, and are intending to make it available from the Computer History Museum after Apple examines and releases it for publication.




The Computer History Museum's software curator Al Kossow announced in a mailing list that the source code, and some early apps have been recovered using an assortment of disk imaging tools. Kossow has submitted the code to Apple for review, and plans on releasing the code on the museum website.

The Apple Lisa was released on Jan 19, 1983 after five years of development, and was Apple's first hardware with a graphical user interface. It sported the 5.25-inch "Twiggy" floppy drives which were found to be unreliable very quickly, a 5MB hard drive, and retailed for $9995.

The Lisa featured a 68000 processor, but running slower than that of the original 128K Mac. it also had rectangular pixels, versus the circular ones on the Mac 128 and future compact Macs.

Only about 100,000 were sold in its initial configuration. In 1985, The "Twiggy" drives were removed and replaced with a 3.5-inch drive, the hardware was given 2MB of RAM, plus a 10MB hard drive and was re-branded as the Macintosh XL. It was released for $3995.




In 1986, Lisa and Macintosh XL owners were given the opportunity to exhange the device, pay $1498, and get a new Mac Plus, and Hard Disk 20 in exchange -- worth over $4000 in total at the time.

The Macintosh XL sold for many years with updated software at old-time used and surplus Mac vendors Sun Remarketing and Shreve Systems.

Apple founder Steve Jobs was forced out of the Lisa division, and ultimately took aspects of the machine to launch the Macintosh project.

At present, it is not clear exactly what will be allowed to be released by Apple. The computer history musuem already has an assortment of source code for things like Apple II Disk Operating System (DOS) 3.1, MacPaint plus Quick Draw, and others.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,797member
    It would kind of scary if Apple came back and said, “Er… not that bit. We’re still using it.”
    edited December 2017 StrangeDaysmknelsoncornchip1983repressthisjony0
  • Reply 2 of 14
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,887administrator
    Rayz2016 said:
    It would kind of scary if Apple came back and said, “Er… not that bit. We’re still using it.”
    And, not the first time.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    I'll be very surprised if Apple allows this.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    I had a couple of these and they were just mind blowing compared to anything that came before.  In fact when I got the Mac Plus it seemed a massive step backwards from Lisa at first.
    1983repressthisjony0
  • Reply 5 of 14
    Apple should not allow this.

  • Reply 6 of 14
    Love the 5MB ProFile (that's one MP3 file, kiddos!). Still have a couple of these as XLs.
    1983
  • Reply 7 of 14
    Apple should not allow this.
    Why?
    repressthis
  • Reply 8 of 14
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,797member
    Apple should not allow this.
    Why?
    Because if they did then it would deprive people of the opportunity to say what bast*rds Apple are in blog forums.
    cornchipStrangeDays1983jony0
  • Reply 9 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    zroger73 said:
    I'll be very surprised if Apple allows this.
    I wouldn't.  Google will be using it with modifications as their next  (no pun intended) great thing before you know it.  Then again Microsoft probably reversed engineered it in the early 80's and used it already.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 10 of 14
    zroger73 said:
    I'll be very surprised if Apple allows this.
    Which one of us is not getting this story?

    “after Apple examines and releases it for publication.”
    watto_cobra1983repressthis
  • Reply 11 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,404member
    I'd imagine that most of the interesting code is assembler and C with lots of big endian Motorola specific bit level and register based operations that not many present day programmers would have any inclination to "steal" for modern applications. From a historical, algorithmic, and learning perspective I'd also bet there is some pure genius level stuff in there to behold, if you can understand it. This should be released and preserved for history's sake.
    watto_cobra1983repressthisjony0
  • Reply 12 of 14
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,337member
    zroger73 said:
    I'll be very surprised if Apple allows this.
    Which one of us is not getting this story?

    “after Apple examines and releases it for publication.”
    Many readers on the Internet have problems with reading comprehension even in their native language. I'm not singling out AppleInsider readers by the way. This is typical of pretty much any Internet service or site.

    People making inane comments that imply that they did not fully comprehend what they read is now commonplace in the Internet of 2017. And be prepared for even more poor reading comprehension in 2018.

    Enjoy!

     :D 
    edited December 2017 1983repressthis
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Wow that's a great photo, I forgot the LISA had cheat sheets that pulled out from under the keyboard. I was a LISA dealer back in the day. I published a huge binder of LISA marketing and technical details on my website, you can download it as a 204 page, 33Mb PDF file. Here is the link: 

    Apple Lisa Sales Marketing Binder – 1983

    I loved the LISA but it baffled me. It was the first computer I ever saw that didn't shut off when you hit the power switch. Instead, you got shutdown messages while the computer saved your open documents and context. Then after a lot of slow file saves, eventually it would shut down. This "soft off" shutdown was quite a difference from typical on/off switches that just shut down the power instantly.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,337member
    Doesn't Apple have the source code with the developers' annotations that could be released? Just redact the profanities and it should be good to go!
    jony0
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