Ars Technica: Apple Computer ‘the most important of the graphical user interface pioneers’

“Today, almost everybody in the developed world interacts with personal computers in some form or another. We use them at home and at work, for entertainment, information, and as tools to leverage our knowledge and intelligence. It is pretty much assumed whenever anyone sits down to use a personal computer that it will operate with a graphical user interface. We expect to interact with it primarily using a mouse, launch programs by clicking on icons, and manipulate various windows on the screen using graphical controls. But this was not always the case,” Jeremy Reimer writes for Ars Technica. “Why did computers come to adopt the GUI as their primary mode of interaction, and how did the GUI evolve to be the way it is today?”

Reimer covers much of the basic history of GUI development and along the way writes, “The most important of these GUI pioneers was a small startup founded in a garage in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, called Apple Computer. Apple had built its fortune on the wildly popular Apple ][, which displayed both text and graphics but had a traditional command line interface. Apple was a young company that found itself flush with money, and was more willing to take risks.”

Of Windows 1.0, released in 1985, Reimer writes, “Microsoft was one of the earliest 3rd-party developers for the Macintosh, and actually got to use beta models of the first Mac before it was released to the world. Undoubtedly this influenced the direction of future releases of Windows.”

“The history of the development of the graphical user interface is a long and complicated tale. While it is easy to find individuals like Douglas Engelbart and Alan Kay who made great contributions to advancing the state of the art, the truth of the story is that the GUI was developed by many different people over a long period of time. Saying that ‘Apple invented the GUI’ or ‘Apple ripped off the idea from PARC’ is overly simplistic, but saying that ‘Xerox invented the GUI’ is equally so. In fact each team borrowed liberally from all GUIs that had been created in the past, added their own unique contributions, and paved the way for other teams to move forward in the future,” Reimer writes.

Full article, an excellent read, here.


  1. Sputnik. Come on man, Im as much of a Windows fanatic as you are, but, you’re really out of line with that comment.

    You’re correct that the past doesnt matter. Its neither here nor there. Its in the past, we must move on.
    The future isnt Windows or .Net or Crystal Reports or WebCentrics, The future isnt Mac, the Future isnt Unix. The future is bringing ALL of these technologies together to a point where no matter what “OS” your on, the functionality is the same and the “OS” is transperent.

    I see a future of Unix being more dominate in everything (hence MS licensing Unix). And Web applications that blurr the line along the way.

    While you are correct in assuming that MS.Net has gotten alot more popular on the web, infact almost too popular. But as I’ve seen in the past, Every dog has its day. Personally, I’ve been diggin around using OS X and Linux just to familiarize my self with (Other) technologies not attached to MS. If you where a “Real IT” Guy, than you would know better than to spread FUD about any platform. I’ll admit that I am still 80% on Windows, but that doesnt stop me from opening my horizons on other OS’s that DO SEEM TO MATTER.

    Quit your BS. Macs, PC’s, OpenBSD, Linux, they all have mostly the same functionality. The problem is that there IT guys out there such as yourself who refuse to connect with other options because your either a) Too Lazy to pick up on other technologies.
    b) Just to stupid to see that the other options are available.

    mw (Talk) as in, You (sputnik) Talk the Talk but can you walk the walk? Give it 5 years…Their WILL be a test..And that test IS Unix ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Hello, all you lurking Patchers with no life.

    I’m currently writing to you from de Apple Store in SoHo. Yeh-heh-hessssss. Let me tell you something — there are so many geeks in here I think I’m going to need a whole series of geek tetanus shots after I leave. Seriously, I’ve wandered around for de past hour and talked to many of the fine dorks in this store, and I can tell you one thing for sure: Most of these people are not attractive. And many have no immediate hope of getting laid. Kind of like Sputnik. No, I keed. But really, yes.

    Oh, one other thing that is certain: So many of the nerds in here are clueless Patchers that it’s definitely going to be a good year for Apple. No really, I mean it — they’re mostly wandering around with bewilderment on their pitiful, zit-covered faces at all the glorious techy gear. Many are actually drooling on de Mac mini’s . . . it’s kind of disgusting. Yeh-heh-hessssss. I’ve already helped a couple of the Win-nerds (that’s my term, BTW — send all royalty checks to me, c/o Late Night) with their silly questions. No really, like “Where’s the registry?”. “How do you get to the DLL set-up?”. “Why doesn’t this thing need virus protection?”. “Can I still use it to view my porn?” It’s really sad. Sad, I tell you.

    So, to de likes of Sputterdick and his ilk, I say this: Mark my words, you Win-nerd wondernut, in one year the picture on the computing scene will be verrrrrryyy different. As in, still no Longturd from LimpNSoft and de Mac with, ohhh I’d say, 8% market share. Yeh-hehessssss. Seriously, Microsoft is falling faster than Kirstie Alley‘s ass. I would t-

    Ooops! Sorry, but there goes another Apple Store employee into de back room for another Mac mini purchase — by a Patcher! I tell you — this is positively orgasmic! Come onnnn, Sputterskank — GIVE UP the patching life. Tear off your patches and come into de light. It’s bright, yeh-hehessss, but it won’t burn you, I promise. You know I wouldn’t keed you.

    Well, yes I would.

    Yours truly,

    The “T” Dog
    Apple Store SoHo
    6:32pm EST

  3. What the hell? MAN, that was quite a bender. I dropped some acid AND did Viagra at the same time. Pretty bad. Especially when you’re alone. Don’t do it kids. I mean, just look at my posts above.

    It’s just not worth it.

    Ohh, I almost forgot — now that I’m sober again: OS X rules.

  4. For those who are new to MDN, Sputnik has been posting for quite some time, although more frequent in the past than now. But, he’s known for his sarcasm.

    Bottom line: Don’t take him literally or seriously.

  5. What’s this about Microsoft passing through the anus of time? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”shock” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Anyone reading this ought to be made aware of some facts about Jeremy Reimer:

    Jeremy Reimer doesn’t even have a single degree that is about the field of computer sciences or even a certification in comp. sci. fields (like MCSE), as well as completely lacking professional/in-the-trenches experience in it and he is cited here him as somekind of expert?

    Research who it is you are citing for your own sake. Making a ‘sidewalk-surgeon/quack’ out to be an expert in a particular field is just bad business.

    I.E.-> Jeremy Reimer is just another wannabe poseur with no skills period in computer science, who merely scours wikipedia and other sources and spits back already known information.

    In other words, nothing fundamental or original exists in the lot of his ‘articles’ (high-school level termpapers @ best) & they are written by a charlatan posting as a computer expert, & that charlatan poseur is Jeremy Reimer.

    If this is hard to believe, ask Jeremy Reimer yourself if he has a degree or certification in the field of comp. sci., but more importantly if he has years of actual professional work experience in computer networking, programming, etc. & see he is nothing more than a wannabe.

  7. Jeremy Reimer got his butt kicked hard here:

    This makes sense: Jeremy Reimer has no degree in computer science, nor even a certification in it (not even an A+, much less an MCSE for example), and Jeremy Reimer has no years of professional experience in the field of comp. sci. either.

    So much for his non existent expertise. Jeremy Reimer was left speechless without the ability to reply and then out of frustration at being exposed for his being a poseur in this field, Reimer resorted to posting edited photos of people and writing twisted songs about them (plagiarized from Southpark no less).

    Jeremy Reimer has to be an idiot, you can get into trouble for that.

    Jeremy Reimer and his friend Jay Little were also run off by an actual computer person with facts @ that URL above, & were unable to disprove the points that person made.

    Both were initially warned for eamil harassment and later kicked from their ISP’s &/or Hosting Providers for such reprehensible behaviors as well. Some expert(s) Jeremy Reimer and his friends are about this field.

  8. Jeremy Reimer has no degree or certifications in computers and no professional hands on years to decades of experience in them either.

    Jeremy Reimer was caught email harassing, impersonating, & bother others online which ended up having his website have portions removed and his friends that helped him in it (a Mr. Jay Little of Atlanta Ga. USA) had their websites removed in their entirety. See here for that:

    Also, others from educational institutions where actual professional journalism & writing are taught, are questioning Jeremy Reimer’s validity & credibility as a writer, period, here:

    All Reimer does is spit back what others wrote already anyhow. He is an ambulance chaser at best.

    Jeremy Reimer and his friends were also caught here:

    Posting as others (i.e. same person posting under multiple names/guises/nicks/handles) along with his friend Jay Little above to “support one another” when they were found SO technically inacurrate, they were laughed off that site and both of them outright left & that was after law enforcement were called on them both. Windows IT Pro is a widely read publication in the field of computers.

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