Pioneering Apple Lisa goes “open supply” due to Laptop Historical past Museum

The Apple Lisa 1, released in 1983.
Enlarge / The Apple Lisa 1, launched in 1983.

Apple, Inc.

As a part of the Apple Lisa’s fortieth birthday celebrations, the Laptop Historical past Museum has released the source code for Lisa OS model 3.1 underneath an Apple Tutorial License Settlement. With Apple’s blessing, the Pascal supply code is on the market for download from the CHM web site after filling out a kind.

Lisa Office System 3.1 dates again to April 1984, throughout the early Mac period, and it was the equal of working methods like macOS and Home windows immediately.

The whole supply bundle is about 26MB and consists of over 1,300 commented supply recordsdata, divided properly into subfolders that denote code for the primary Lisa OS, numerous included apps, and the Lisa Toolkit growth system.


First launched on January 19, 1983, the Apple Lisa stays an influential and essential machine in Apple’s historical past, pioneering the mouse-based graphical consumer interface (GUI) that made its method to the Macintosh a yr later. Regardless of its improvements, the Lisa’s excessive worth ($9,995 retail, or about $30,300 immediately) and lack of software assist held it again as a platform. A yr after its launch, the equally succesful Macintosh undercut it dramatically in worth. Apple launched a serious revision of the Lisa {hardware} in 1984, then discontinued the platform in 1985.

A screenshot of the Apple Lisa Office System.

A screenshot of the Apple Lisa Workplace System.

The Lisa was not the primary business pc to ship with a GUI, as some have claimed previously—that honor goes to the Xerox Star—however Lisa OS defined essential conventions that we nonetheless use in windowing OSes immediately, equivalent to drag-and-drop icons, movable home windows, the waste basket, the menu bar, pull-down menus, copy and paste shortcuts, management panels, overlapping home windows, and even one-touch computerized system shutdown.

With the LisaOS supply launch, researchers and educators will now be capable of research how Apple builders applied these traditionally essential options 4 a long time in the past. Apple’s Tutorial license permits utilizing and compiling the supply code for “non-commercial, tutorial analysis, instructional instructing, and private research functions solely.”

The Laptop Historical past Museum had beforehand teased the release of the code in 2018, however after spending a while in assessment, they determined to carry again its launch till the pc’s fortieth birthday—the proper reward to honor this essential machine’s legacy.

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