The Computer History Museum is celebrating the 40th birthday of the original Apple Lisa by releasing the Apple Lisa source code, including its system and applications software. The Lisa was first released on January 19, 1983.
The Apple Lisa shipped with a suite of applications including a word processor, spreadsheet, and charts—bundled with the system—which discouraged third party developers from writing their own software for it. The Lisa’s GUI was inspired by elements from Xerox PARC’s Smalltalk system, but also included new innovations that were validated by user testing. The Lisa sold for $9,995, two years after Xerox had released a commercial GUI-based workstation – the Star – for $16,595, which was similarly targeted towards office workers. The high price of both machines compared to the IBM PC, a command-line based PC released two years earlier and that retailed for $1,565, resulted in their eventual demise.
The Apple Lisa included several apps, such as a word processor, spreadsheet, and charts, all of which were bundled with the system.
Hansen Hsu, Curator of the Software History Center at the Computer History Museum, said, “The release of the Apple Lisa was a key turning point for the history of personal computers. Without the Lisa, today’s computers might not use mouse-driven GUIs, and perhaps the Macintosh, and even Microsoft Windows, might not exist either. We’re thrilled to publicly release the source code for the Apple Lisa—for the first time—and thank Apple, Inc. for their permission and support that led to this release.”
For download options and more information about the release of this historic source code, please visit the blog post here and or download the source code here. For more information on the Art of Code series please visit the site here.