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article imageApple issues source code for pre-Mac computer Lisa

By Tim Sandle     Dec 30, 2017 in Technology
Apple has announced it is to release the source code for its pre-Mac computer, which was called Lisa. The code will allow any interested person to experiment with a slice of IT history.
The decision by Apple to release to code follows its discovery by The Computer History Museum. The museum, based in Mountain View, California, passed on the code to Apple for review. As soon as Apple have finished clearing the code for release, it will be made available early in 2018.
The Apple Lisa was a desktop computer developed by Apple, following on from the Apple III, and released on January 19, 1983. The name 'Lisa' was a tribute to Steve Jobs's daughter. Although there was considerable interest at the time of the release, especially given that Lisa was one of the first personal computers to offer a graphical user interface, the launch was not a success.
Lisa began development in 1978 and on launch its sale price was a whopping $9,995 (in today's money that's close to $25,000). In all only 100,000 units were sold. Lisa is remembered more for the lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft over the first version of Windows, with Apple claiming the firm stole Lisa's technology to develop Windows.
Key Lisa features:
5 MB hard drive.
Unreliable "Twiggy" floppy disks.
Operating system: Lisa OS or Xenix.
CPU: Motorola 68000 @ 5 MHz.
Apple Lisa  with an Apple ProFile external hard disk sitting atop it.
Apple Lisa, with an Apple ProFile external hard disk sitting atop it.
Stahlkocher (CC BY-SA 3.0)
According to the BBC, Al Kossow of The Computer History Museum sent out a message to fans of old Apple technology, which said: "Just wanted to let everyone know the sources to the OS and applications were recovered... and they are with Apple for review."
Kossow told that one aspect would not be included with the release, however: "The only thing I saw that probably won’t be able to be released is the American Heritage dictionary for the spell checker in LisaWrite."
The software, given the first attempt at commercial graphics, is of importance in the development of computing and its release will be of interest to fans of Apple products and those with an interest in the evolution of computers.
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