Meet the software wizards who brought Apple’s Macintosh to life

“The Macintosh hardware was brought to life by several teams working in concert on everything from the logic board, disk drive and power supply to the mouse, plastic casing and factory production line,” Dan Farber reports for CNET. “Similarly, a small team of young and talented software engineers were writing the code that would bring the Macintosh to life.”

“At the core of the Macintosh software were the QuickDraw graphics routines, which performed the operations that painted the screen with graphics and user interface elements. Bill Atkinson wrote the code for Apple’s Lisa workstation computer, and then it was ported the Macintosh,” Farber reports. “Bud Tribble was friends with Atkinson and Jef Raskin, who conceived the Macintosh project, and joined the team as its first software developer. He started in September of 1980, when the Macintosh team consisted of three people other people — Raskin and his long-time colleague Brian Howard and hardware engineer Burrell Smith. Tribble wrote some graphics code for the Motorola 6809 processor that was being used for the Macintosh project, but later convinced Macintosh hardware wizard Burrell Smith to switch to the more powerful 68000.”

“At that point Steve Jobs had become involved in the Macintosh project and began exerting his substantial influence on how the low-cost, user-friendly machine would evolve,” Farber reports. “He brought in Andy Hertzfeld from the Apple II team to work on the project in February 1981. ‘Writing a big chunk of the system software for the original Macintosh was the high point of my career, if not my entire life,’ Hertzfeld said.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

15 Comments

      1. Unfortunately, Wozniak is loose cannon, so you can not take his words seriously. However, on Raskin’s role with Xerox deal it could be true. Though I doubt, since his Macintosh was totally different from being anywhere close to Xerox’ concepts.

  1. Back when the Mac was still in prototype, there was a low memory global the programmers called “MonkeyLives.” When it was set true, random mouse and click events were generated. They had convinced Steve that an ephemeral monkey lived in his machine. It was “the stuff that dreams are made of.”

  2. “At that point Steve Jobs had become involved in the Macintosh project and began exerting his substantial influence on how the low-cost, user-friendly machine would evolve,”

    Excuse me? “Low cost”?? At $2,500 (that’s 1984 dollars), that’s hardly “low cost”. Still, I bought mine in 86 and have never left…

    1. Steve tried to have a low cost machine, but Scully didn’t left him do that, thought remember: Lisa vas $10,000, meaning original Mac was a 25% the original Lisa value.

    2. Steve Jobs wanted the original Macintosh to retail for $1695. The CEO vetoed that plan. The idea that the Mac was too expensive in relation to other computers of similar vintage is a later invention however. A fully decked out IBM-PC of the period with Microsoft DOS would cost $2995 with dual floppy drives. Add a 5-10 megabyte hard drive to that with a monitor and you were knocking on $5000. So a complete Mac with monitor, 3.5″ floppy for $2495 was not bad. Add a $1000 5m hard drive and you were still less expensive than the IBM DOS machine. We paid $1995 for one of the first AT class (16 bit) no name clones (1 5,25″ floppy) sans monitor in March of 1984 with a 10MB hard drive as a $600 extra. Green screen monitor was $495 extra. . . and that was a bargain I drove to San Francisco to buy from the builder to get.

  3. Bought the original 128K Macintosh while an undergrad. Our university participated in a special Apple discount and the Macs were going at roughly 1/2 the retail price. Had to upgrade once the 512K upgrade came out.

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