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The Real History of the GUI (Graphical User interface)!

The Origins of the GUI

“What I saw in the Xerox PARC technology was the caveman interface, you point and you grunt. A massive winding down, regressing away from language, in order to address the technological nervousness of the user.”

- An IBM technician lambasting the Apple Lisa’s GUI

Once upon a time, way back in the Stone Age, lived two cavemen, Ugh and Glug. Ugh was a handsome, sportsy, outdoorsy type, with a stunning physique and the mental capacity of a waterbug. His pal Glug was just the opposite: nervous, toothy, skinny (except for the little pot belly he’d earned from eating too many delivery pizzas), and smart. Damn smart. One day, while Ugh was out hunting game and posturing for the caveladies, Glug was sitting morosely in his cave, absently scratching under his loincloth and telling himself that he was not jealous of that lout Ugh. Directly over his head, a chunk of rock trembled and shook as it pulled free from the ceiling. It snapped free and dropped directly onto Glug’s pointy head with a thunk.

When Glug awoke, it was to the annoying feeling of water being sluiced into his face, and the equally annoying scent of Ugh’s aftershave Mammoth Musk. Ugh was bent over him, concern in his perfect blue eyes. “Glug okay? Rock whack Glug.”

Glug shoved his friend out of the way and said, “Give Glug room! Must think!” Glug dashed from the cave and into the grassy meadow beyond the cave entrance. Panting, he snatched up shards of coconut shells, wads of tall grass, smooth flat rocks, and several mammoth bones left over from breakfast. He lugged his haul inside the cave and, almost as an afterthought, picked up the rock that had knocked him unconscious earlier. Ugh looked wonderingly at his friend, then went outside to stare at bugs (he was endlessly fascinated). With a pointy stick, Glug began to draw strange diagrams in the dirt. Ugh peeked inside hours later and, seeing his friend engrossed in his odd cave drawings, shrugged and went to the third cave over to spend the evening with his ladyfriend Oohlala.

Days passed. Ugh quickly learned to stay out of the cave, as Glug snarled and threw bits of rock and coconut shell at him if he entered. Besides, it was more fun staying with Oohlala. On the fourth day, Glug came outside for the first time. He squinted at the harsh sunlight, then motioned for Ugh to come inside. Ugh shoved Oohlala off of his lap and followed his friend inside the cave.

In the corner, hidden by a bearskin, was a squarish object. Dull light seemed to come from underneath the animal skin. Wonderingly, Ugh approached the object, ready to bolt at the first odd noise or threatening motion. Glug said, “Ugh behold!” and whipped the bearskin off of the object.

Whatever it was, it was built of coconut husks and pieces of mammoth bone, with a large hollowed-out coconut shell sitting atop the large, flattish hunk of rock that had brained Glug earlier. Hanks of grasses were twisted together and shoved into the backs of the various objects. A flat rectangular rock covered in tiny river barnacles sat in front of and slightly below the main body of the object, connected to the main housing with a braid of grasses. Dark light poured from the large, centrally placed coconut shell. Ugh stared in fearful awe at Glug’s creation.

“Look, Ugh!” Glug exclaimed. “Glug build wonder thing!” As Ugh gaped, Glug hunched over the flat, barnacle-studded rock and began poking it, apparently at random. But…lines, tiny bright green ones, appeared in the dark light of the coconut shell. Apparently the more Glug poked at the barnacle-covered flat rock, the more the green lines appeared in the shell.

After a few moments, Ugh began to grow impatient. Oohlala was waiting outside, after all. “What good this thing?” he asked. “Not good to eat. No good for wearing in snow. Maybe good for whacking mammoth….”

“No, no, no!” Glug snarled. “Can do things. Count mammoths Ugh kill. Watch.” He began to poke the barnacle board in short, sharp jabs, and one by one, lines appeared in the shell. “One…two…here one you kill last month…here one that you chase over cliff…here one that washed up in river…” He kept poking, and finally he stopped. “See? Ugh kill seventeen mammoths since first thaw. Good to know, uh?”

Ugh was interested, despite himself. “Can Ugh use?” Glug motioned him to sit in front of the shell and placed Ugh’s dirty fingers on the barnacles. “Okay, Ugh pay attention. First, must log in.”

“Log in?”

“Log in…we create Ugh a user name. We call it…Ugh.” Over Ugh’s shoulder, Glug poked at the barnacles, to Ugh’s mounting confusion. “Now Ugh can get in system. Good. Now we go to C: prompt….”

“See prompt? Where? Ugh confused.”

“Ugh wait. Good, we in. Now we access file directory.”

“File directory? User name? See prompt?” Ugh shoved himself away from the strange object and stood up, towering angrily over Glug. “Glug confuse Ugh! Make head hurt! You want Ugh to use strange thing, give Ugh pretty pictures! Bright colors! Point and click, not barnacles and see prompts! Ugh leaving!”

Ugh shoved Glug aside and made his way to the cave entrance and outside. He failed to notice that he had shoved Glug too hard, and poor Glug went reeling headfirst into the cave wall. For the second time in a week, Glug’s skull impacted solid rock.

It was dark outside when Glug finally awoke. Ugh was nowhere in sight. Glug sat up, cradling his injured head in his hands. “Whoof, head hurt big time,” he muttered to himself. “But Glug have better idea!” He found his pointed stick and began drawing in the dirt again. “Him want bright colors, pretty pictures, Ugh, him get bright colors, pretty pictures. Glug call it…Graphical User Interface. But Glug not tell Ugh that. Him hardheaded as cave bear, fancy name scare Ugh. What me call it?” Glug thought and thought. Finally he decided to go for the simple, straightforward approach. “Ugh make baby talk OK,” Glug thought. “Just stick with baby noises. Glug call it…GUI. Gooey. Even Ugh smart enough to say that one. Gooooooeeeeeey.”

“"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." ”

“– Ken Olson, President, Chairman and Founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977”

The story is part of the computer world’s mythology. December 1979, an ordinary afternoon: young computer whiz and entrepreneur Steve Jobs leads a band of his homeys into the rarefied enclave of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Jobs and friends tour the plant with wide-eyed admiration, doing their best Norman Rockwell gee-whiz kids-in-the-dugout impression (“Golly, Dr. Kay, can we have your autograph, huh?”), while behind guileless eyes and black-framed glasses, mental notes are being taken and schematics memorized.

Jobs leads his friends out of the building, waves bye-bye to the nice lab geeks inside, and dashes back to his shabby warehouse, where he and cohort Steve Wozniak stuff every idea and process they can remember from the Xerox tour into their new product, the Macintosh. Xerox is befuddled, Microsoft’s Bill Gates is enraged, and Apple gets the jump on everyone with a new dance craze, the GUI. “Do the GUI” sweeps the computer world and everybody else scrambles to get on the gravy train. Gates takes Jobs’ thievery one step beyond Jobs’ own and brings out Apple-clone Windows, Microsoft does a pas de deux with the local judiciary to dodge an Apple lawsuit, Windows takes over the world, and Apple is relegated to cult status among the renegade hackers and Mac addicts of the computer industry.

Nice story to read your kids to sleep with. It has everything: drama, criminal behavior, ruthless rivalry between former associates, everything except sex (which the stereotyped computer geeks are unfamiliar with, anyway). Hell, it would even make a good David Allen Coe drinking song. The only problem with it is that it isn’t true.

The Real History of the GUI

The real history of the Graphical User Interface is more complex and interwoven than the simplistic “It Takes a Thief” conception.

“"So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.’" ”

“– Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer”

From Small Seeds…

Apple was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in Jobs’s garage in 1976. Jobs and Wozniak met at Hewlett-Packard and began their collaborative careers by building (Wozniak) and selling (Jobs) “blue boxes” illegal devices that scammed free phone calls from Ma Bell. Both shared an interest in the “primitive” computers of the time and enjoyed cobbling together electronic goodies with solder and breadboards. Eventually they decided to start a company and build computers that wouldn’t take up an entire basement, didn’t need supercooling, and didn’t require platoons of guys in jumpsuits to take care of them. In other words, they envisioned building personal computers for the masses. Of course, neither Jobs nor Wozniak were the first to think of personal desktop-sized computers (common wisdom gives that honor to the MITS “Altair,” a 1975 kit-based creation running Microsoft’s BASIC OS and based on Intel’s 8080 chip), but that’s another story. They put their heads together and decided to call their company Apple.

In March 1976, Wozniak built the first Apple, the Apple I. It was a cobbled-together curiosity made of circuit boards and LED displays stuffed into a wooden box, but it stirred enough interest in the computing community to inspire Jobs and Wozniak to found Apple on April Fools’ Day, 1976 to sell their little beasties. Jobs sold his VW minibus, and Wozniak his HP scientific calculator, to finance the startup. They only managed to sell about 200 of the Apple I’s, so the fledgling company now consisting of Wozniak, Jobs, and a few friends/employees used the money they managed to raise from Apple I sales to start work on the Apple II (Wozniak has reputedly said that a large part of his desire to build the Apple II was due to “Breakout,” a classic video game he had designed for Atari. Wozniak wanted to program it for a PC). In 1977 the Apple II debuted, featuring a sleek plastic case (as opposed to the “orange crates” that houses the Apple I’s), game paddles, and color graphics on the video display. Being descendants of Ugh, people were fascinated by the bright colors and the flickering images, and the Apple II began to move off the shelves.

Jobs realized that he had started something that could mushroom into a serious business concern, and he laid on more employees, more workspace, and buckled down to the task of meeting the sudden consumer demand for his goodies. When Apple added the inboard floppy disk in 1977 (abandoning the slow and clumsy tape storage facility), the II’s sales really took off, and Apple was suddenly at the crest of a wave of interest in personal computing. Never mind that many novices bought an Apple II without a clear idea of what to do with it… the mere concept of the average Joe being able to own and operate a “personal computer” was catching people’s imaginations.


“– 1982 Apple Computer ad”

Which brings us to Jobs’ infamous trek to Xerox’s PARC facility. Actually, we need to look further back in time to set the stage for Jobs’ visit.

The 40s – GUI Forefathers: Bush and Engelbart

Let’s back up to 1945 (!) and a visionary named Vannevar Bush. Bush, a scientist and futurist, went public with his ideas of the “memex,” a computing device that would use what we’d call hyperlink technology to bring information to every user’s fingertips.

Bush’s ideas sparked some visionary thinking in a scientist named Douglas Engelbart. As early as 1962, while Jobs and Wozniak were still drinking Ovaltine and watching Saturday morning cartoons in their jammies, Engelbart was creating several items of interest to the personal computing crowd that would follow. He invented the first “mouse,” which he called an “X-Y Position Indicator,” a little gizmo housed in a wooden box on wheels that moved around the desktop and took the cursor with it on the display. Engelbart saw the mouse as being an integral part of a “graphical windowed interface,” and invented what he called "a windowed GUI" that fascinated co-workers but wasn’t considered useful outside the lab. In 1968 Engelbart created NLS (oNLine System), a hypermedia groupware system that used the mouse, the windowed GUI, hypermedia with object addressing and linking, and even an early version of video teleconferencing to wow its audience, a group of technicians, engineers, and scientific types at Stanford University.

However, Engelbart was not the only visionary in the history of GUI. In 1963 a grad student at MIT, Ivan Sutherland, submitted as his thesis a program called “Sketchpad,” which directly manipulated objects on a CRT screen using a light pen.

“"Sketchpad pioneered the concepts of graphical computing, including memory structures to store objects, rubber-banding of lines, the ability to zoom in and out on the display, and the ability to make perfect lines, corners, and joints. This was the first GUI (Graphical User Interface) long before the term was coined." ”

“- from a Sun Microsystems biography of Ivan Sutherland”

The idea of direct manipulation of objects on a screen is integral to the concept of a graphic interface. In fact, the idea of a GUI derives from cognitive psychology, the study of how the brain deals with communication. The idea is that the brain works much more efficiently with graphical icons and displays rather than with words words add an extra layer of interpretation to the communication process. Imagine if all the road signs you saw were uniform white rectangles, with only the words themselves to differentiate the different commands, warnings, and informational displays. When the “Stop” signs hardly look different from the “Resume Highway Speed” signs, the processing of the signs’ messages becomes a slower and more difficult process, and you’d have even more wrecks than you have now.

Combine this with Alan Kay’s concept of “biological computing,” where computer components function like organic “cells,” either independently or in concert whenever appropriate, and you have an idea of the thinking behind both modern computing, and the GUI.

The 70s – SmallTalk and Xerox

“"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." ”

“– informal PARC slogan”

The underground buzz stayed underground, but Engelbart’s and Sutherland’s creations were not lost on the creative fellows at Xerox’s PARC facility. PARC was (and is), at least in some respects, a computing “think tank,” where brilliant and brilliantly erratic minds cranked out ideas and tried, with varying success, to implement them on the workbench.

In the early 70s, as part of a (sadly abortive) project called “Dynabook” that envisioned notebook-sized, hyperlinked computers, Alan Kay and others developed an interactive object-oriented programming language called Smalltalk. Kay had previously worked with a team at the University of Utah that developed a programming system called Flex. This was a design for a flexible simulation and graphics-oriented personal computer, with many ideas derived from the Norwegian-developed Simula programming language, another programming language called LISP, and Sutherland’s Sketchpad. Kay also borrowed ideas from a highly graphical language called Logo, which was designed to teach programming to children. Smalltalk featured a graphical user interface (GUI) that looked suspiciously similar to later iterations from both Apple and Microsoft.

Smalltalk didn’t stop with an innovation in user interface: it featured a multi-platform virtual machine years before the folks at Sun came up with Oak/Java, object orientation, overlapping “windows,” and the first instance of bit-blt or "bit-blitting," the last two contributed by Dan Ingalls (the object-oriented language featured in ST actually showed up in the Simula-67 program in the late 1960s; “bit-blitting,” or bit block transfer, is, in simplistic terms, the protocol by which objects on a screen can be manipulated). A lot of observers feel that ST’s clean, easy-to-use interface has yet to be surpassed even today. The first program to be written under Smalltalk was Pygmalion, which is most notable for its demonstration that computer programming could be graphically based and not restricted to text. The idea of using icons to stand for data was reflected in Pygmalion.

The first real-life, usable GUI appeared in Xerox’s Alto computer, which debuted in 1974 and was envisioned as a smaller, much more portable replacement for the mainframes of the time. The Alto, which didn’t have a GUI as you and I are used to using, but instead featured graphically driven applications, was about the size of a Volkswagen (well, not quite, but the thing was big) and certainly not useful for the average user, even though it started its life showing an image of Sesame Street’s “Cookie Monster.” The Alto featured a bit-mapping display, which was essential for displaying graphics and WYSIWYG printing. Kay, David Canfield Smith, Bill Verplank, and others also developed iconic representations for various programs for the Alto, most noticeably the drawing program “Markup,” the text editor “Bravo,” and the painting program “Superpaint.”

In 1981, the design and concepts which gave birth to the Alto led to the development and production of the much more streamlined, and more usable Xerox Star the first true GUI-driven PC. According to Bruce Horn, an ex-Xerox employee who wound up working for Apple, the software architecture for Smalltalk and the Star were much more sophisticated than the Mac or Windows equivalents. While the Apple machines incorporated much of Xerox’s brainstorms, many of the most innovative and sophisticated ideas never made it into the Apples, mostly due to Apple’s insistence on keeping costs down. The Star featured the first “computer desktop,” as well as overlapping, resizable windows, and the sophisticated PARC mouse, a gee-whiz gizmo that ran with no moving parts and used laser beams and a metal grid to track the cursor’s movement (though employees found that the mouse worked just as well on Levis as it did on the metal grid). The interface was known as WIMP Windows, Icons, Menus, and Pointers. PARC’s consensus was that once these ideas were implemented on a wide scale, computing efficiency would increase dramatically.

1979 – Apple Visits PARC

Jef Raskin, a project manager with Apple, first told Jobs and Wozniak about the research being done at PARC. It’s a mistake to envision this scene as taking place in some deserted parking garage, with Raskin hiding in the shadows and doing his best Deep Throat impersonation. A closer scenario is that Raskin wanted to work more directly on a GUI, and dropped a bug in Jobs’ ear about the neato keeno work being done at PARC. Jobs was reluctant to go at first, but eventually Raskin, who wrote his master’s thesis on a WYSIWYG graphical interface back in 1967 and was seeing some of his ideas brought to fruition by the folks in PARC, piqued his interest.

At any rate, Jobs, who was first told by Raskin about the fun going on at PARC in 1976, decided that he wanted to bring a team of Appleniks into PARC and see what was causing such a buzz but again, the idea of Jobs coming in like a kid touring Epcot with a tape recorder hidden under his shirt is mistaken. Apple negotiated a deal with Xerox; in return for a block of Apple stock, Xerox allowed Jobs and his team to tour PARC in December 1979, take notes, and implement some of the ideas and concepts being bounced around at PARC in their own creations. I’m not sure how Xerox felt about Apple subsequently hiring half perhaps the better half of PARC’s staff away from them, but the process was relatively above-board; no night kidnappings or bribes under the table at Jack In the Box. Xerox allowed Apple to use their ideas in their machines. As Wozniak says on his Website, “Steve Jobs made the case to Xerox PARC execs directly that they had great technology but that Apple knew how to make it affordable enough to change the world. This was very open. In the end, Xerox got a large block of Apple stock for sharing the technology. That’s not stealing outright.”

“"The reason why Jobs got the reputation of being so brilliant in human-centered computing is because he neglected to tell anyone at PARC that his perceptive questions about GUIs and so on were drawn from his discussions of such things with Raskin at Apple a month or two earlier. He masterfully made it appear as though he was encountering bitmapped GUIs for the first time in his life instead of having discussed them with someone who had visited PARC himself." ”

“– Neil Franklin”

At any rate, Jobs and the Apple guys came back from their PARC tour with stars in their eyes. They were entranced with the idea of a “windowing GUI” and loved the flexibility and power of Smalltalk. They had a new vision, and were determined to unleash it on the computing world ASAP. Development immediately began on the Apple “Lisa.”

1979 – Birth of Apple Lisa

Lisa is worth a paragraph or two on her own. Jobs and his buds envisioned Lisa (named for the original chief engineer’s daughter, and also standing for Local Integrated Software Architecture) as the first of a new, GUI-based PC family, but developed her primarily for business use. It’s notable that the new product line came on the heels of the 1981 failure of the Apple III line, which was so flawed that it had to be recalled. Apple had some ground to recoup. The Lisa line featured the warhorse Motorola MC68000 microprocessor which trundled along at 5MHz, boasted 512K of RAM (upgradable to 2MB), had every bell and whistle that the Apple design team could stuff inside her, and cost more than $10,000. Lisa was rather large and clunky, though many veterans of the PC wars insist that she is still one of the most efficient and usable machines of her type ever built.

Initial development on Lisa began before the 1979 field trip to PARC (Raskin says that Lisa was first envisioned as a text-driven PC along the lines of the Apple II), but she didn’t appear on the market until January 1983. Eventually the cheaper, pared-down Lisa2 appeared, but neither sibling did well on the market they were too expensive, and the Apple II family was still riding high on the market, even with the competition from other machines like the Commodore 64 and VIC-20, the IBM PC, and the Radio Shack TRS-80. Even later, after the Macintosh had begun to take the PC market by storm, Apple decided to unload some of their Lisa stockpile by repackaging it as the “Macintosh XL.” The buyers weren’t fooled, and many Lisas ended up in a California landfill. Interestingly enough, Lisa featured a set of integrated software called “7/7,” that included a word processor, a spreadsheet, chart builder, outline manager, project scheduler, drawing program, and modem communication utility. 7/7 may well have been the first integrated “works” package.

“"A few months after looking at it [the Xerox Star] we made some changes to our user interface based on ideas that we got from it. For example, the desktop manager we had before was completely different; it didn’t use icons at all, and we never liked it very much. We decided to change ours to the icon base. That was probably the only thing we got from Star, I think. Most of our Xerox inspiration was SmallTalk rather than Star."”

“– one of the Lisa development team”

Jobs and the Lisa design team worked hard to integrate the Xerox/PARC concepts they had obtained into their own design. Lisa’s GUI was, indeed, based on Smalltalk as it ran on the Alto, but much of Lisa’s design was Apple’s own, including click-and-drag capability, and the pull-down menu — this according to Jef Raskin, who headed the Macintosh design team and should know, but other sources give the credit for click-and-drag and pull-down menus to PARC. Whether this is another example of PARC’s ideas being implemented at Apple, or it’s an example of side-by-side independent development is uncertain. As they say, it steamboats when it’s steamboat time. Apple also worked with psychologists, artists, teachers, and ordinary users to improve their interface. In one famous example, Apple provided a California elementary school with free machines for every student’s use. During the summers, the Apple programmers worked with the teachers and kids to enhance the software and the GUI, because they felt that kids gave the truest reaction to basic interface issues, e.g. “These menu things are cool!” or “That picture sucks!”

“"The [Lisa] user will be able to carry out many functions simply by pointing to a picture of what he wants done rather than typing instructions." ”

“– Time Magazine, 1983”

1983 – Mac Arrives

Jobs was no longer the only alpha male in the Apple pack (if he ever was). John Sculley, the corporate executive brought in to reshape Apple into a “grown-up” business, took Jobs off the Lisa project because of Jobs’ poor project management skills, and turned him loose on the next Apple project, a slimmed-down and considerably cheaper “daughter” of Lisa, eventually to be known as the “Macintosh.” The Mac was named for team leader Jef Raskin’s favorite strain of apple, but spelled differently in order not to offend audio manufacturer McIntosh. Under development since September 1979, the Mac lost much of Lisa’s bulk and price tag (the first Mac sold for $2500), and was the first popular PC to feature a graphical user interface. The Mac also bundled MacPaint, which brought computer “art” design to the average user (and not unimportantly, sold the average user on the mouse), and MacWrite, a simple word processor that was the first WYSIWYG product of its kind on the consumer market.

Raskin left Apple in 1982, but the Mac team labored on, and the Mac hit the market in January 1984, heralded by the famous “1984” commercial that aired during the Super Bowl and depicted the Apple PC demolishing the gray, faceless world of IBM computing. Prophetic. Many average users fled screaming from the aggravating world of the DOS command line to the friendly Mac GUI, and while power users and DOS fans dismissed the Mac as a Playskool product, the Mac’s user-friendly interface made friends throughout all levels of the computing community. Later iterations of the Mac boosted the underpowered 128K of RAM, giving it the gumption it needed to compete with the button-down IBM machines. In 1986, Aldus released its desktop publishing app, PageMaker, for the Mac, and the Mac suddenly became everyone’s PC of choice for graphic arts and desktop publishing. GUIs were all the rage (later made even more tasty by the addition of color displays in the Mac II), the Mac ruled the PC universe, Microsoft was scrambling to catch up, and all was right with the world. Even though Jobs had been forced out of Apple in May 1985 by no-fun CEO Sculley, Apple was riding the tiger.

There are supposedly reliable sources that claim everything original in the Macintosh was cooked up at PARC and transposed wholesale into the Mac; other equally “reliable” sources claim that the Mac is virtually a homegrown Apple creation, with very little influence from PARC-generated concepts. Both ideas are wrong; it’s plain that the Mac is a product of intense cross-fertilization between both creative sources. As Raskin says, “The years of study, thinking, and experimentation by many talented people on the Macintosh project and elsewhere have gone largely unreported, though they led to the breakthroughs that made the Macintosh and the systems that have been built since its introduction so much of an improvement over what went before. Against this complex reality we have the powerful mythological image of Jobs drinking from a Well Of All Knowledge, having an ‘aha!’ experience and coming back at full cry to Apple to create a fantastic project.” In fact, the Lisa owes more of a creative debt to the PARC designs than does the Mac. Many of Lisa’s features were borrowed wholesale from PARC, down to the fonts and their nomenclature. As Raskin notes, “We were somewhat more pure while I was running the Mac project.”

“"The future lies with a graphical windowing interface, mouse cursor control, pull-down menus, dialog boxes, and the like [and computers based on such interfaces] are destined to take over the IBM PC and compatible world as well." ”

“– W.F. Zachmann, 1987”

In the Meantime at Microsoft…

Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, a great evil was stirring… Oh, please. To cast Microsoft and its head honcho Bill Gates as the Great Satan, or as Sauron to Apple’s brave little band of hobbits, is ridiculous. Both co-founders, Jobs and Gates, are much more alike than they are different. Neither one is a lily-white altruist just trying to bring personal computing to the masses, nor is either a black-moustachio’ed villain bent on destruction. While I doubt either Jobs or Gates would recognize a code of ethics if it hit them in the mouth, neither one belongs on the Ten Most Wanted List, either. Both wanted to carve out a place for themselves in the PC market, both were willing to cut corners to get what they wanted, and both were tremendously successful at what they did.

“"640K ought to be enough for anybody." ”

“– Bill Gates, 1981 (possibly apocryphal)”

Microsoft began just as small and insignificantly as Apple did. Starting out as a two-man operation out of the backseat of Bill Gates’s car, Gates and cohort Paul Allen saw the MITS Altair and in the span of a month had a BASIC interpreter ready to go for the beastie. The code wasn’t tested until they demonstrated the program for MITS, and Allen’s first time even touching an Altair was when he inputted the code into MITS’ machine. MITS bought the product the first programming language written specifically for a personal computer and Allen joined MITS as Director of Software. By July ’75, BASIC 2.0, a Microsoft creation, was running the new, more powerful Altairs. The name “Microsoft” wasn’t chosen until November ’75.

“ALLEN: "We would almost always overestimate our competitors’ ability to compete."”

“GATES: "Or we’d assume that they were going to execute competently."”

“– from a 1995 interview with Bill Gates and Paul Allen”

1977 – Microsoft and Apple Team Up

Allen rejoined Microsoft in time to christen the company’s new offices in Alberquerque. In early 1977 Microsoft licensed “AppleBASIC” to Apple for the flat fee of $21,000, which turned out to be a steal of a deal, as Apple sold over a million computers with AppleBASIC running the show (Wozniak actually wrote the integer BASIC for the early Apples). By the end of 1979, Microsoft had participated in porting both FORTRAN and COBOL languages to microcomputers, moved to Washington State, entered into agreements with ASCII Corporation of Japan, and expanded into Europe. The two-man operation was now employing 40 people and bringing in over $7 million. Microsoft’s congenial association with Apple continued into the 1980s, with Microsoft bestowing the Z-80 SoftCard upon Apple in 1980. The SoftCard allowed the Apple II to run most of the CP/M programs currently featured on most smaller computers.

Interestingly, Microsoft was working out the details of a secret deal between themselves and Big Blue for a new operating system, which they called DOS (Disk Operating System). MS-DOS (which was spawned from an operating system called Q-DOS written as a CP/M knockoff by Seattle Computer Products, and bought by Paul Allen in 1980) appeared as the operating system for the first IBM machine, the IBM PC, in August 1981. Since Gates had insisted on keeping the rights to MS-DOS for his company, he was able to license the operating system to any number of “clone” computer and application manufacturers. IBM made an effort to keep DOS to themselves by releasing machines that ran their own version, PC-DOS, but with Microsoft’s willingness to license MS-DOS to all comers, PC-DOS never caught on. As late as 1993, IBM was still trying to market PC-DOS as a viable alternative to the Microsoft operating systems, but by then DOS was waning in market appeal mass-market users liked the various GUIs and had little use for further command-line interfaces) At the end of 1981, Steve Jobs paid a visit to Microsoft to give them a look at the embryonic Mac, and authorized Microsoft to develop apps for the new, GUI-based system. From 1981-1984, Microsoft folks were all over the Apple labs, working alongside Apple techs to develop applications for the Mac. In the process, Microsoft acquired an intimate familiarity with the inner workings of the Mac design.

A note on the above: Microsoft’s DOS 1.0 code structure was virtually a clone of Digital Research’s CP/M 1.4 operating system…one source calls it a “bug-for-bug” copy. Digital Research (DRI) began working on an updated version for 16-bit computers called CP/M86, to be used with machines featuring Intel’s 8086 processor; unfortunately for DRI, CP/M86 wasn’t ready for prime time when IBM came looking for an operating system, and they went with Microsoft’s DOS instead. In 1982, Digital Research finally released CP/M86, and converted it to their own DR-DOS system in 1987. Digital Research sued Microsoft over the CP/M DOS imbroglio, but the lawsuit fizzled. One source very hostile to Microsoft alleges that Microsoft did their level best to sabotage DR-DOS when it was released, including making spurious claims that Windows would not run under DR-DOS, as well as hustling their own updates to MS-DOS onto the market to cut the legs out from under Digital Research’s product, and using illegal marketing practices to force PC manufacturers to use their own system in lieu of DR-DOS.

Naturally, this isn’t the only version of this story, but the bare facts are that DR-DOS never impacted the market in the way that Microsoft’s competing MS-DOS did, at least partially due to Microsoft’s energetic and possibly underhanded attempts to push their own system over DRI’s. Digital Research later sold DR-DOS to Novell in 1991. After attempting to integrate it into their own Networking Operating System and releasing versions under the name “Novell DOS,” Novell sold it to Caldera in 1996, almost three years after Novell’s final attempts to work with DR-DOS. Caldera transformed DR-DOS into an open-source product, called OpenDOS. Caldera also sued Microsoft for illegal marketing practices over the DR-DOS affair, and Microsoft settled the lawsuit out-of-court in January 2000. Had CP/M86 been ready for use when IBM came calling, it’s possible that Microsoft would never have gotten the “in” with IBM that propelled it to glory, and we’d all be cussing Digital Research today, instead of Microsoft. Who can say?

Two months before the Macintosh officially hit the market, in November 1983, Microsoft announced that it was working on its own GUI-based operating system (actually, a “shell” that rode atop the DOS OS) to be known as “Windows” (which Gates wanted to call “Interface Manager,” but slicker heads prevailed). Microsoft had already caused a stir in April ’83 by giving a “smoke-&-mirrors” demo of their prototypical Interface Manager, using overlapping windows to simulate multiple programs running simultaneously. IBM executives were not happy with Microsoft’s little toy, as they were working on their own DOS-based program manager, to be called “Top View.” Gates had tried repeatedly to interest IBM in Windows, and was rebuffed each time; IBM felt that the interest in GUIs was a passing phase. Top View was released in 1985 and discontinued in 1987; its graphical interface influenced IBM’s much more noticeable OS/2, even though a GUI-driven version was never made public.

Windows 1.0 made its official debut almost two years after it was announced, in November 1985. Apple was stunned by the similarities between the Mac and Windows interfaces, but as there were almost no applications available for the Windows environment (Aldus’s PageMaker for Windows was a notable exception), Win 1.0 came and went on the consumer market without much fanfare. The failure of Win 1.0 to capture a decent market share, along with plateauing Mac sales, caused some to wonder if the GUI craze was a fad that had peaked. Ironically, in light of the bad blood to come between the two companies, Microsoft’s Excel (a GUI-based spreadsheet that was similar to its predecessor VisiCalc, but easier to use) gave the Mac much-needed viability at this time.

1983 On – Other GUIs Hit the Market

Were the Mac and Windows GUIs the only ones on the market? Hardly. In fact, the first consumer-oriented, PC-based GUI was made not by either company, but by VisiCorp, the makers of VisiCalc. Called VisiOn, it debuted in October 1983, shortly before the Lisa, but was crippled by the lack of popular software written to run under it. The same story can be told of DRI’s GEM (Graphical Environment Manager), which appeared in September 1984 and disappeared shortly thereafter, partially because it, like VisiOn, lacked the ability to run DOS apps, and had no software of its own. Worse luck for GEM: Apple didn’t like GEM’s similarity to the Mac desktop, and threatened to sue. Rather than fight, DRI revamped the GEM desktop to get Apple off its back. Both VisiOn and GEM had their proponents, but neither made a major dent in the consumer market, which continued to be dominated by the twin monoliths Apple and Microsoft .

And there was Quarterdeck’s DESQView, the first program to bring multitasking and windowing capabilities to a DOS environment. DESQView wasn’t a full-fledged GUI OS, but its GUI “shell” over DOS won many fans and intrigued many folks at Microsoft, including Gates, who by some accounts based his first iteration of Windows as much or more on VisiOn, GEM, and DESQView than on the Mac interface (this conflicts with the stories passed around the campfires of the Apple fans, who portray Gates as a petty thief who snarled to his Windows team, “Make it look just like a Mac!”). Berkeley Softworks’ GeoWorks (GEOS) is another GUI OS worthy of note; it was used on the Commodore 64, some Apple IIs, and still survives in an altered form as software for the PalmConnect system. GEOS was lauded as a slick, stable operating system, but the lack of software for it developer software did not appear for six months after GEOS’ debut ensured that most PC users never gave it a second thought.

Apple was not happy at all with Windows. Even before the system appeared on the shelves, Apple was threatening Microsoft with lawsuits that alleged patent infringement, intellectual theft, what have you. In an ingenious move, Microsoft signed a licensing agreement with Apple that stated Microsoft would not employ Apple technology in Windows 1.0, but made no such agreement for further versions of Windows. It took a while for Apple to realize that Microsoft had thoroughly skunked them; the realization took longer to hit because of Windows’ dismal failure on the consumer market.

Nevertheless, both Apple and Microsoft forged ahead with their own plans for world domination…er, rather, their plans to expand their niche of the PC market. As always, though, these two were not the only bands marching in the parade. In 1985 Commodore launched its Amiga line of home PCs, and won the hearts of millions of users. The Amiga was the first PC to truly introduce the idea of “multimedia” into PC-dom, although since most users didn’t know what to make of their new multimedia capabilities, they played games on it instead. Great-looking games. Amiga’s advanced sound and video capabilities went along with its sophisticated GUI-driven OS (which also featured preemptive multitasking, shared libraries, messaging, scripting, multiple simultaneous line consoles, a real use for the right mouse button, and other features not found in the Apples and IBMs of the day). To add insult to injury, Amiga featured Apple/IBM interface emulation. Apple or IBM users who preferred their old interface could have Amiga mimic that look instead of its own.

So why didn’t Amiga wipe both Apple and IBM/Microsoft off the PC market? As usual, we have a patchwork of reasons. The best guess is that Amiga made the same mistake as the Tucker passenger auto made… it was too far ahead of its time too fast, and couldn’t take advantage of its own capabilities. The heated competition that existed between Amiga and Atari worked to Microsoft’s advantage, as did Amiga’s spotty ability to keep their dealers and customers happy. Adding to Amiga’s problems were the first machines’ failure to settle on a single GUI (one Amiga user tells me that the early models had different interfaces depending on which program was running). But whatever the reasons, Amiga was one sharp puppy, and deserved a better fate though today Amiga is neither gone nor forgotten; a new OS called “The Digital Environment” is being touted as the next step in GUI-driven operating systems. We may hear from Amiga again before all is said and done.

Yet another mid-80s contender in the GUI wars was the Atari ST. Atari, much better known for their video games, produced a PC that featured the GEM OS. Like the Amiga, the ST couldn’t compete with the big boys, nor could it compete with Amiga for gamers, but its sophisticated sound processing capabilities earned it a niche with audio editors and musicians.

Sometime around the debut of the Amiga, the first UNIX GUI appeared as well. Many UNIX heads had long sneered at the simple-minded, overly convoluted operating systems and playtoy PCs that were populating the consumer market. But some UNIX users decided to see if they could overlay a GUI on UNIX in the same fashion as Microsoft overlaid Windows atop DOS, and thus X was born. X (sometimes called “X Windows,” and sometimes incorrectly called “X for Windows”) was born at MIT, fathered by a Stanford University windowing system called W and mothered by Sun’s “SunView” environment. X became the main graphics system for most RISC-based UNIX operating systems. While X was a well-written and easily handled OS shell, it never settled on a particular “look and feel,” and as a result at least three different interfaces, or “windows managers,” floated around for it.

This isn’t the main reason why X never caught on much outside the UNIX community, but it’s certainly one reason. X is still a viable GUI shell, and has a relatively small but vocal following. X is making something of a resurgence among UNIX users: the battle between “windows managers” has shaken itself out, the interfaces are more polished and easier to use, and it’s very useful for high-end computer graphics production. X is also the underlying GUI for most Linux graphical interfaces. The “several GUIs” are more correctly known as the various *nix windows managers, and users can run desktop environments such as Gnome or KDE for additional functionality. X-driven interfaces are popping up in such non-PC devices as TiVo, Web pads, and PDAs, and one X user speculates that as these devices become more widespread, we may see X actually being used more than either Apple or Windows GUIs.

It’s also worth mentioning that Three Rivers Computing Company manufactured a graphics workstation called PERQ in 1981 that incorporated a UNIX-based GUI, and was marketed in the U.K. by ICL. This GUI actually predates all of the above, including VisiOn, but as far as I know, it was never made available for personal computers.

Completists will point out that IBM’s MVS (Multiple Virtual Systems) mainframe system included an optional program known as ISPF (Interactive Structured Programming Facility) that allowed split-screen windows to be supported on terminal displays. Considering that ISPF was created in the late 1970s, it’s one of the first “windows-like” systems that became available. Of course, it’s highly unlikely that home PC users would have ever seen this.

It’s worth noting that many, many graphically-driven applications were released independently of any of the abovementioned systems. One of the very first was Bill Budge’s Pinball Construction System, which appeared in 1985 for the Atari and quickly became famous among both gamers and programmers for its sophisticated ability to manipulate objects using click-and-drag. Programs like PCS made their mark on the operating systems that followed them into the PC marketplace.

““I had an enormous reservoir of goodwill towards Microsoft because it and it alone unlike Xerox, Apple, Amiga and many others who tried before it was the one that finally delivered a usable graphical interface on ubiquitous, inexpensive hardware. Microsoft often wasn’t the first, and its software wasn’t often the best, but it was inarguably the one that delivered on the early promise of personal computing in a way no other software maker did. Microsoft more than any other company opened up computing for ordinary people. I loved Microsoft for that.” ”

Fred Langa

Back to the big guys. December 1987 saw the release of Windows 2.0, to the consternation of Apple but the yawns of the consumer. Although Win 2.0 looked more like the Mac than ever, with icons representing files and programs, cascading windows, and the like, Mac users weren’t leaving the Apple flocks to buy the IBM/Windows machines (especially since the hunky Mac II’s were all over the shelves). Apple hemmed and hawwed a few more months, and finally sicced the long-threatened lawsuit on Microsoft, claiming that Windows stole the Macintosh’s “look and feel.” 1988 saw the market all but ignore Apple’s GS/OS for the Apple IIGS, but the Mac continued to dominate the market. By 1989, the general buzz was that Windows was a mammoth flop. Microsoft continued to work with IBM in developing the fully graphical OS system, but kept pounding on Windows, hoping to eventually get one version right. As the cliche says, “even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then.” It was about to be acorn time in Redmond.

Windows in the 90’s

“"I think Windows 3.0 will get a lot of attention; people will check it out, and before long they’ll all drift back to raw DOS. Once in a while they’ll boot Windows for some specific purpose, but many will put it in the closet with the Commodore 64." ”

“– John Dvorak, 1990”

A great, orchestrated hullabaloo welcomed Windows 3.0 to the market in May 1990. Steve Ballmer led the chant of “Windows! Windows! Windows!” at Microsoft HQ in Redmond, Washington; the great beast that was, and is, Microsoft’s marketing machine took care of the rest of the world. Microsoft unveiled dozens of applications written specifically for Windows at the same time it released the new version of Windows, which now featured the OS/2 style “sculpted buttons” credit to icon designer Susan Kare for the much more appealing button styles; Kare also worked on the Mac more color support, real multitasking, and a much-improved program manager, among other things. These new features and fresh software releases finally got the market’s attention. Impelled by the popularity of its own Win-compatible versions of Word and Excel, and numerous other 3rd party apps, Microsoft sold over 3 million copies of Win 3.0 in its first year of release, and Apple was feeling the chill. Win 3.1 (April ’92) added scalable TrueType font support and better multimedia capabilities, and Apple was on the run. For the first time, Windows-equipped PCs were outselling the Macs. Windows 3.1.1, called "Windows for Workgroups," did relatively well in the corporate world, as well as bequeathing much of its design to later versions of Windows.

1993 saw the first version of Windows NT (New Technology), which abandoned the crash-prone kernel of its predecessors for a new, much more stable kernel. NT started out as a new version of IBM’s OS/2 system, part of Microsoft’s and IBM’s joint venturing. It was originally known as OS/2 3.0 or OS/NT, but during early development, Microsoft and IBM split, and Microsoft walked away with the program, combining IBM’s OS concepts with their own, rewriting the code, and eventually releasing it under the Windows umbrella. Problem was, Microsoft marketers couldn’t decide what to do with it. Obviously it was more useful for business usage, so, being Microsoft, they tried to sell it to anyone but business users. It quickly became known as “Windows No Thanks”, and catty observers decided that Microsoft had shot itself in the foot. Not so fast… it turns out that a lot of people who were using Unix had decided to give NT a go, and liked what they saw. By early 1995, many European corporations had shifted over to version 3.5, the second “official” version of NT. By mid-1995, NT had established itself among technical and business users, and by the time the “bulletproof” (read: virtually crashproof) version 3.51 was available, Win NT was firmly entrenched. NT worked very well in the corporate and office environment, but less so in the home: it wasn’t engineered to run older DOS-based software, which made it the wrong choice for gamers and folks with less-than-cutting edge software.

The lawsuit wasn’t going well, either. Apple’s strategy was to prove that Windows had illegally copied the “look and feel” of the Mac GUI, but that strategy sprang some significant leaks after the Microsoft lawyers pointed out that both systems “borrowed” liberally from the original Xerox concepts. To Jobs’ accusation of theft, Gates made the damning retort, “No, Steve, I think it’s more like we both have a rich neighbor named Xerox, and you broke in to steal the TV set, and you found out I’d been there first, and you said, ‘Hey, that’s no fair! I wanted to steal the TV set!'” The fact that Windows’ interface design looked, if anything, more like the old Alto GUI than the Mac designs didn’t help Apple’s case. Suddenly Microsoft was the buzz, and Apple seemed to be yesterday’s news.

Apple’s Torrid Ride

The long-running lawsuit was finally settled in Microsoft’s favor in June 1993, and the doomsayers thought that Apple’s fate was sealed. Wozniak and Jobs were long gone. The company was in financial trouble (though the reports of imminent bankruptcy were wrong). Their long-anticipated “Newton” personal data assistant was a bust. Management seemed more interested in fighting among themselves than righting the company. Orders went unfilled due to production problems. Some predicted that Apple would fade into complete irrelevance when, in August 1995, Microsoft unveiled its groundbreaking Windows 95 OS. Win 95, the first operating system to take advantage of Intel’s powerful 32-bit chips, and a near-clone of the Mac GUI, seemed to be the irresistible force destined to finally run Apple out of business once and for all. Apple tried to recoup by pushing its “Performa” line of low-end PCs (basically older, repackaged Macs) over its higher-end “PowerPC” line, and failed miserably Performas sat gathering dust in the Apple warehouses, while buyers found it difficult, if not impossible, to get hold of the PowerPCs they wanted. More and more first-time users chose Windows-driven PCs over Apples, in large part because the fierce competition between the Windows-clone manufacturers were keeping the Windows machines’ prices relatively competitive, while Apple’s relentless refusal to let others manufacture clones (only partially loosened in 1994 and yanked in 1999), its embarrassing quality-control problems, and its comparatively high sticker prices, soured many buyers on the Apple name. Microsoft’s decision to slap a modified version of the Win 95 interface onto Win NT 4.0 boosted the NT platform’s popularity, and detracted that much more from the Apple market share.

In October 1994, IBM tried unsuccessfully to yank some of Microsoft’s market share with the third version of its own operating system, OS/2 Warp. OS/2 was originally a Microsoft/IBM joint venture, but Warp was IBM’s own offering, and featured a Windows-like GUI. It managed to stay afloat and win some loyalty, but it never really became anything more than a weak alternative for IBM-machine users who didn’t want to use Windows. And while we’re on the topic of weak alternatives, now’s the time to give a sardonic nod to Microsoft Bob, the “next-generation” GUI that rode atop of Windows and “assisted” novice users with a happy, chatty, virtual assistant named Bob. Bob tanked hard, and became a figure of fun among the computer cognoscenti. His only legacy was the equally annoying Office Assistant, the “dancing paper clip” that currently plagues Microsoft Office.

“"Software is getting to be embarrassing." ”

“- Alan Kay”

Meanwhile, Apple wasn’t cored just yet. Steve Jobs had founded a company called NeXT, and while the NeXT computer failed in the marketplace, the sleek and sophisticated NeXT OS (an OS built on the UNIX MACH kernel and featuring a fabulous GUI) was quite attractive to Apple. Apple’s Mac operating system was showing its gray hairs, and Apple wanted something new and glitzy to throw up against Microsoft’s monolithic offerings. In December 1996, Apple bought out NeXT, thus acquiring NeXTStep, elements of which would turn up in the new Mac OS, Rhapsody. Jobs came along for the ride, and it wasn’t long before he was again at the helm of the company he had founded.

Apple fans weren’t happy with the return of their hero for long. In August 1997, Jobs announced a formal liaison with Microsoft, to the dismay of the rank and file. Microsoft bought $150 million of Apple stock, and both companies agreed to once and for all end the GUI dispute. Many disgruntled Apple users, already disturbed by Apple’s continuing inability to build enough machines to fill orders, along with Apple’s failure to license the Apple system to clone manufacturers, leapt off the Apple bandwagon once and for all; it’s no coincidence that the new surge of interest in “alternative” OS’s such as Be and Linux began about the same time as Jobs’ perceived “sellout” of Apple to Microsoft. Certainly the ex-Apple minions fleeing their former home didn’t start the Linux/Be/etc. buzz, but they made their contribution, especially when Apple yanked its support from the Be platform, originally designed to run on the PowerPC.

Note, though, that most Appleniks didn’t dive overboard solely because of the “sellout” of Apple to Microsoft. The more knowledgeable in the Apple community understood that Microsoft’s commitment meant more stability for Apple, as well as continued development of MS Office for the Mac. Microsoft’s $150 million purchase was a small fraction of the Apple stock base, and Microsoft’s shares were strictly non-voting. According to some stories, Apple fans had a reaction similar to a church congregation whose preacher announced that Beelzebub was being named as head deacon. But the real reasons why so many Apple fans were disaffected are much more complex.

Apple gained ground with the successful release of the Mac OS 8 “Platinum,” a popular and stable OS. Unfortunately, some of that ground was lost in the confusion that followed OS 8. The original idea was to give Apple users a “next-generation” system to be called Copland. Instead of releasing it in mid-1996, Apple squelched the project in favor of working with the newly acquired NeXT OS. Apple then announced a new system under development, Rhapsody, which would combine elements of the NeXT OS on top of a UNIX core. The aforementioned OS 8 appeared in July 1997, and featured some of the more touted elements from Copland. Rhapsody also failed to materialize, and eventually transmogrified into the OS X project, announced in May 1998. An upgrade to the “Platinum” system, OS 9, was released in October 1999. The next-generation OS X was finally released for the PC in March 2001, and many of the features promised for Rhapsody appeared in this system.

In 1998 Apple reinvented the PC market with the now-ubiquitous iMac. The iMac, withas its cutesy color scheme and user-friendly design, won the hearts of many users and the scorn of many reviewers. “Serious” Apple users gravitated to the ever-more powerful PowerMac line, but millions chose to perch the cute little iMacs on their desks. Along with the modestly successful PowerMac and PowerBook laptop/notebook PCs, the iMac gave Apple the recharge it so badly needed. The iMac comes with either OS 9 or OS X installed. The trend of other folks copying Apple continued, with Daewoo’s eMachines drawing Apple’s fire for looking and acting like the iMac. This time Apple prevailed.


In Redmond, Microsoft barrels along. Its hyped-to-the-max release of Windows 98, launched in June 1998, failed to live up to expectations. Most users, who were led to expect a revolutionary new product, were annoyed when Win 98 proved more of an upgrade than a groundbreaking new product. Feelings are much the same about Windows 2000, or “Win 2K,” the latest and last iteration of the NT line, and even more so about Windows Millennium, which after all the ballyhoo settled, turned out to be little more than a minor upgrade to Win 98. Microsoft is betting its OS fortunes on its integration of the 9x and NT lines in its upcoming Windows XP system. Microsoft hasn’t fared so well in its latest court outing, with the Department of Justice doing what Apple was unable to do, obtaining a ruling that Microsoft was a monopoly and was acting against the best interests of the market and the competition (though as I write this, the DOJ has abandoned its attempts to break up Microsoft). Apple continues to push their latest iteration of the Mac OS, OS X, and promises a new version, 10.1, by the time you read this. Both corporations are poised to continue their dominance of the PC market for the foreseeable future, though UNIX fans remain firm and Linux is steadily gaining ground.

And the future of the GUI? Well, considering that well over 90% of the world’s users employ one GUI-faced OS or another, considering that new GUI-driven OS’s such as Be seem to be catching on, and considering that this season’s darling, Linux, is usually used with any of several GUI’s from Caldera, Corel, and Red Hat, among others, the future for the GUI seems secure. Comrade Gates and others have proposed a much more “involved” interface, with voice recognition, touch screens, retinal and fingerprint scans for security, holographic representations, and virtual “avatars” that interact with the user much more directly than, say, that damned MS Office paper clip. Ugh would be pleased. I’m not sure what Glug would think.

Note: I am indebted to the many people who responded with commentary, corrections, and criticism of the original version of this article. In particular, Jef Raskin was of enormous assistance through the revision process; I appreciate both his cooperation and his patience. The many respondents on the Slashdot message boards were also very helpful, as were the dozens of people who took the time to e-mail me with their own commentary and enlightenment. Thanks to one and all.

MT, September 7, 2001


Microsoft: Νέο Outlook για υπολογιστές Mac και πληροφορίες για το επόμενο Office!

Η έκδοση της δημοφιλούς σουίτας εφαρμογών Office της Microsoft για υπολογιστές Mac δεν έχει μαζέψει και τις καλύτερες κριτικές, με την εταιρεία να ετοιμάζει μια πλήρως ανανεωμένη έκδοση, αρχής γενομένης από σήμερα.

Το γνωστό πρόγραμμα διαχείρισης e-mail, το Outlook το οποίο και αποτελεί σημαντικό μέρος της σουίτας, είναι το πρώτο που αναβαθμίζεται, με τη Microsoft να το διαθέτει αρχικά αποκλειστικά για τους συνδρομητές της υπηρεσίας Office 365.

Έτσι το Outlook για Mac φέρνει ένα εντελώς νέο σχεδιασμό ο οποίος θυμίζει αυτόν της έκδοσης για Windows, ενώ αναμένεται να έχει βελτιωμένες επιδόσεις και αξιοπιστία. Όσον αφορά το γραφικό περιβάλλον της εφαρμογής το οποίο μπορείτε να δείτε στην παρακάτω φωτογραφία, αυτό είναι πιο μοντέρνο με πιο ομαλή μετακίνηση μεταξύ των καρτελών που βρίσκονται στο Ribbon αλλά και καλύτερο scrolling.

Στο αναλυτικό μήνυμα της στο επίσημο blog του Office, η Microsoft δίνει πληροφορίες και για τις υπόλοιπες εφαρμογές που αποτελούν το Office για Mac και συγκεκριμένα το Word, Excel, PowerPoint και OneNote. Αρχικά η εταιρεία προετοιμάζει να κυκλοφορήσει μια δημόσια δοκιμαστική έκδοση αυτών των εκδόσεων το πρώτο εξάμηνο του 2015, με την τελική έκδοση να αναμένεται το δεύτερο εξάμηνο. Όσοι είναι ενεργοί συνδρομητές της cloud υπηρεσίας Office 365 θα μπορούν να κατεβάσουν τις εφαρμογές χωρίς επιπλέον κόστος αν και θα υπάρχει δυνατότητα αγοράς με μια εφάπαξ τιμή.


Why I may never install Office for Mac again!

With Office for Mac in limbo and Apple continuing to spoil Pages for the rest of us, I took a risk installing OpenOffice on a newly configured Mac – and may never look back.

By David Braue

Old habits definitely do die hard, which is probably why I have dutifully pulled out the Microsoft Office for Mac (OfM) install disk every time I've reformatted or upgraded one of the many Macs I've set up and kept running over the years.

When recently setting up a new iMac with Mavericks and I couldn't locate that OfM install disk, however, an act of desperation turned into a new modus operandi after I realised that our open-source allies have made the world's most widely used office suite nearly irrelevant.

Microsoft Office may be rusted onto the corporate office worker's psyche, but many Mac users will find OpenOffice just as capable.

There has been a lot of movement in the office-suite market of late, what with Apple releasing Pages, Keynote and Numbers for free; Google Docs popular but still outage-prone; and Microsoft's Office 365 gaining momentum even as the company puts free versions of Office in the cloud to varying effect.

While cloud-based alternatives are getting better all the time, I'm a traditionalist who has used local productivity applications since the days of Wordstar. So, as you can imagine, when I set up a new computer I like to have a writing tool that works whether I'm online or not.

Previous versions of iWork had promise as an alternative, but I have a long-running feud with Apple over iWork for one simple reason: Apple refuses to give it the ability to simply load and save files in Word's .DOC format.

That's right: the only way to handle documents in Pages is by saving your working documents as .pages files – which are, inexplicably, often 10 or more times larger than their Word .DOC equivalent – and then exporting .DOC versions as and when you need them.

If you work with a lot of documents, the double-handling rapidly grates on you. I was hoping to standardise on Pages after hearing about Apple's move to make it free, but Apple is still insisting that we use its own file format to save documents.

Little wonder the business community has been increasingly abandoning Pages and iWork: in the real world – the business world outside Apple's closed-garden ecosystem –absolutely nobody uses the .pages format. Apple's determination to force it down our throats has made its latest iWork iteration less of an Office killer and something more resembling TextEdit on steroids.

At any rate, with Pages out of the question and Office nowhere to be found, I took a chance and revisited the open-source equivalent, OpenOffice, to see if it might allow me to maintain my workflow based on the frequent loading, editing and saving of .DOC files.

OpenOffice has been around for some time, but despite heroic efforts by its developers it has struggled to gain a massive following mainly because Microsoft Office is so broadly available. Business users know Office and have it available to them as a matter of course, while home users probably get it through student bundles or the like.

Mac users, however, have a different decision set. Despite its name, Office for Mac is a rather different productivity suite than Office for Windows – with a different interface and a different feature set. These differences are often significant: it was only with the latest version, for example, that the Mac version of Office was given Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripting capabilities after years of conspicuous absence.

Rumour has it that the next version of Office for Mac will bow early next year – prompting many to upgrade, no doubt, even as the memory of now-unsupported Office 2008 fades. But if you can't wait that long – or, like me, you find yourself without an OfM install disk – it's time to give OpenOffice another look.

I had tried it a few versions ago but found it woefully underfeatured as a replacement for OfM. But with its latest iteration (v4.0), OpenOffice is not only extremely quick and easy to use; thanks to ongoing improvements and the contribution of a large volume of code from IBM's Symphony, it's compatible and close enough to Office that you may not even notice you're in the new environment.

Certainly, for someone with very specific requirements – all I need to do is be able to edit documents, save and send .DOC files, and use tools like the highlighter and word counts – OpenOffice ticks all the boxes.

I have found it to be a simple-to-use, capable alternative to Word that costs nothing and offers more than enough features and flexibility that it probably does everything you need it to. It even has Pages' contextual sidebars.

If you have several Macs in the family, this may make OpenOffice not only curious but absolutely compelling because of its much lower cost.

Sure, I've made a few changes: for example, using Mac OS X's application-specific keystrokes I have set up a few keyboard shortcuts for functions like Format Paragraph (Shift-Command-M) and Word Count (if you don't know how to do this, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Application Shortcuts, then click +, choose your application, enter the unique text of the menu item you want the keystroke to start, and then the keystroke you want to use).

Play around with it and you'll find that the latest OpenOffice gives you more than enough room to stretch your arms and get to work. The spreadsheet and presentation modules are so similar to Excel and PowerPoint – the Mac versions, at least – that you may never know you're not using the real thing.

This is not meant to be a primer on OpenOffice, as much as a reminder that it is still out there, and in its latest iteration it is better than ever.

That may be good news for its authors, since figures suggest that OpenOffice is not exactly burning up the charts; a recent Forrester survey suggested that only 6 percent of companies offer their employees an alternative to Microsoft Office.

As I mentioned earlier, favourable enterprise licensing terms mean most people don't have any need for OpenOffice; recent figures suggest 16 percent of businesses will upgrade to Office 2013 within a year and 20 percent more in the long term.

This is great news for Microsoft and Windows users. But if you're a Mac user who can't or won't buy OfM – or are just looking for an easier and faster productivity option – give it a try. You may find, like I did, that the days of installing massive, monolithic applications are simply over.

What do you think? Have you switched to OpenOffice? Did you try it and discover it was underpowered for your needs? Or am I already late to the party?


Κυκλοφόρησε το Microsoft Office για iPad!

Όπως αναμενόταν, η Microsoft έδωσε πριν λίγο τέλος στις φήμες για την παρουσία του Office στο iPad, παρουσιάζοντας σε ειδική εκδήλωση τη δημοφιλή σουίτα εφαρμογών για το πιο δημοφιλές tablet.

Το Office για iPad περιλαμβάνει το Word, Excel και PowerPoint αλλά όχι το Outlook. Και οι τρεις εκδόσεις είναι ειδικά βελτιστοποιημένες για χρήση με την αφή. Στην κορυφή τους διακρίνεται το γνωστό ribbon το οποίο ενσωματώνει όλες τις λειτουργίες της εκάστοτε εφαρμογής, με εύκολη επιλογή της λειτουργίας που επιθυμείτε.

Σύμφωνα με τη Microsoft, τα έγγραφα που φορτώνει ο χρήστης σε οποιαδήποτε από τις τρεις εφαρμογές θα εμφανίζονται χωρίς προβλήματα μορφοποίησης, «όπως θα φαινόντουσαν αν τα βλέπατε στο PC ή το Mac». Στα χαρακτηριστικά που ξεχωρίζουν είναι η συνεχής αποθήκευση στο One Drive των αλλαγών κατά την επεξεργασία του εγγράφου καθώς και η δυνατότητα επεξεργασίας των εγγραφών από πολλά άτομα ταυτόχρονα.

Όπως είδαμε στην παρουσίαση αλλά και στις παρακάτω εικόνες, το Office για iPad υποστηρίζει μια σειρά από λειτουργίες που έχουμε συναντήσει στις desktop εκδόσεις και είναι σημαντικά πιο "ενισχυμένο" από το Office Mobile των Windows Phone, iPhone και Android. Στα χαρακτηριστικά ξεχωρίζει η μεγάλη συλλογή διαγραμμάτων και η δυνατόττηα αλληλεπίδρασης με αυτά, μορφοποίηση κειμένου σε συνδυασμό με φωτογραφίες, ειδικό πληκτρολόγιο στο Excel το οποίο εμφανίζει διάφορα απαραίτητα σύμβολα για τα λογιστικά σας φύλλα κ.α.

Μέρος της πολιτικής της εταιρείας, "Cloud για όλους και οποιαδήποτε συσκευή", το Office για iPad είναι διαθέσιμο από σήμερα στο App Store δωρεάν για όσους θέλουν να εμφανίσουν έγγραφα Word, λογιστικά φύλλα Excel και παρουσιάσεις από το PowerPoint. Για τη δημιουργία και την επεξεργασία όμως αυτών των αρχείων ο χρήστης θα πρέπει να διαθέτει συνδρομή στο Office 365, με τη Microsoft να ετοιμάζει να διαθέσει ένα νέο πακέτο συνδρομής με την ονομασία Office 365 Personal.

Η Microsoft δεν έδωσε περισσότερες πληροφορίες για την παρουσία του Office σε άλλες πλατφόρμες όπως αυτή του Android αλλά ακόμη και του μοντέρνου περιβάλλοντος των Windows 8, αναφέροντας ότι σύντομα θα υπάρχουν περισσότερες πληροφορίες. Για την ώρα η εταιρεία προσφέρει πλέον δωρεάν την έκδοση του Office για iPhone για προσωπική χρήση.


To Microsoft Office για iPad θα ανακοινωθεί στις 27 Μαρτίου!

Η προγραμματισμένη ομιλία του νέου CEO της Microsoft, Satya Nadella, στις 27 Μαρτίου, θα έχει ως κεντρικό σύνθημα τη «διαστάυρωση του cloud και του mobile computing» και απ' ότι φαίνεται ανάμεσα στις ανακοινώσεις θα περιλαμβάνεται και το Office για το iPad.

Σύμφωνα με την ιστοσελίδα ZDNet, το εσωτερικό χρονοδιάγραμμα της Microsoft αναφέρει ότι η πολυαναμενόμενη έκδοση για το iPad της δημοφιλούς σουίτας εφαρμογών, θα πρέπει να ανακοινωθεί μέχρι το τέλος Μαρτίου και η συγκεκριμένη εκδήλωση είναι η καταλληλότερη στιγμή για να γίνει κάτι τέτοιο.

Το Office για iPad αναμένεται να περιλαμβάνει το Word, Excel, PowerPoint και OneNote, σε ειδικές βελτιστοποιημένες εκδόσεις για χρήση με την οθόνη αφής. Το πιθανότερο σενάριο αναφέρει ότι το Office για iPad θα είναι διαθέσιμο μέσω του App Store της Apple αλλά θα απαιτεί κάποια διαθέσιμη συνδρομή στην υπηρεσία Office 365, όπως το Office 365 Personal που ανακοινώθηκε την περασμένη εβδομάδα.

Αν οι πληροφορίες επιβεβαιωθούν, το iPad θα είναι το πρώτο tablet που θα αποκτήσει την touch έκδοση του Office και η οποία θα προηγηθεί από την αντίστοιχη έκδοση που ετοιμάζει η Microsoft για το μοντέρνο περιβάλλον των Windows η αλλιώς το Metro UI. Πρόσφατες έρευνες φέρουν τη Microsoft να χάνει έως και 2.5 δισ. δολάρια το χρόνο από την απουσία των συγκεκριμένων εφαρμογών στο iPad το οποίο έχει συμπληρώσει ήδη 200 εκατομμύρια πωλήσεις στις διάφορες του εκδόσεις.

Χωρίς να υπάρχει κάποια σχετική ενημέρωση, λίγο μετά την κυκλοφορία του Office για iPad αναμένεται να κυκλοφορήσει η έκδοση για Android tablets ενώ μέσα στη χρονιά θα δούμε και μια ανανεωμένη έκδοση της σουίτας για υπολογιστές Mac.

Microsoft Windows Epic Fail!

Microsoft, Past and Future.

In broad strokes, here is my view of Microsoft’s history.

In the beginning, Bill Gates stated the company’s goal: “A computer on every desk and in every home.” That was crazy. The PC revolution was well underway, but the grand total of PCs sold when Gates stated that mantra was, by today’s standards, effectively zero. PCs were for hobbyists. Everyone involved knew they were on to something, but Gates realized, at the outset, that they were on to something huge. The industry was measuring sales in the thousands, but Gates was already thinking about billions. Here’s Gates, in an interview from 2010:

Paul Allen and I had used that phrase even before we wrote the BASIC for Microsoft.We actually talked about it in an article in — I think 1977 was the first time it appears in print — where we say, “a computer on every desk and in every home…” and actually we said, “…running Microsoft software.” If we were just talking about the vision, we’d leave those last three words out. If we were talking an internal company discussion, we’d put those words in. It’s very hard to recall how crazy and wild that was, you know, “on every desk and in every home.” At the time, you have people who are very smart saying, “Why would somebody need a computer?” Even Ken Olsen, who had run this company Digital Equipment, who made the computer I grew up with, and that we admired both him and his company immensely, was saying that this seemed kind of a silly idea that people would want to have a computer.

He was right. And not only did the first part of the phrase come true, the last three words — “… running Microsoft software” — did too. From the mid-’90s and for the next decade, there was, effectively, a computer on every desk and in every home running Microsoft software. At least 95 percent of them were running the Windows operating system, and among the rest, most were Macs running Internet Explorer and probably Microsoft Office too.

Windows was almost everywhere, and Microsoft was everywhere.

Peak Microsoft was unfathomably pervasive. They won so thoroughly that Steve Jobs conceded that they’d won, telling Wired in February 1996:

The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That’s over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it’s going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.”

Steve Fucking Jobs said that. He was exactly right. And who knows where we’d be today if Jobs and NeXT had not been reunified with Apple the next year.

“A computer on every desk and in every home” was incredible foresight for 1977. It carried Microsoft for 25 years of growth. But once that goal was achieved, I don’t think they knew where to go. They were like the dog that caught the car. They spent a lot of time and energy on TV. Not just with Xbox, which is alive and well today (albeit not a significant source of income), but with other ideas that did not pan out, like “media center PCs” and the joint ownership of “MSNBC”, which was originally imagined as a sort of cable news network, website, dessert topping, and floor wax rolled into one.

What they missed was the next step from every desk and home: a computer in every pocket. It’s worse than that, though. They saw it coming, and they tried. Pocket PC, Windows CE, Windows Mobile — swings and misses at the next big thing. They weren’t even close, and damningly, Steve Ballmer didn’t even seem to realize it. That’s what’s so damning about that video of him laughing at the original iPhone. Whenever I dredge up that video, a handful of defenders will write and tell me it’s unfair to mock him for his reaction, that he was actually right — that the original iPhone was too expensive. But what should have scared Microsoft wasn’t what the iPhone was in 2007, it was what the iPhone clearly was going to be in 2008, 2009, 2010. Prices come down, chips get faster. Software evolves. Apple had unveiled to the world a personal computer that fit in your pocket. That was amazing. That the original iPhone left much room for improvement is simply the way revolutionary products always get their start.

Microsoft’s institutional lack of taste had finally come to bite them in their ass. While Ballmer laughed at the iPhone and presumably walked around with a Windows Mobile piece of junk in his pocket, Larry Page and Sergei Brin carried iPhones. Google never laughed at the iPhone; it made money from it by providing web search and maps. Google quickly became, and remains to this day, a leading developer of iOS apps. And it was Google that was fast to follow the iPhone with Android, slurping up the commodity-market crumbs that Apple, focused as ever on the quality-minded high end of the market, eschewed. I don’t think it was ever within Microsoft’s DNA to produce the iPhone, but what Android became — the successful fast follower — could have been theirs if they’d recognized the opportunity faster. The Microsoft of 1984, a decade away from industry dominance, wrote software for the original Mac, and learned from it. When Bill Gates first saw a Mac, he didn’t laugh — he wanted to know how it worked, right down to specific details, like the smooth animation of its mouse cursor.

No company today has reach or influence anything like what Microsoft had during the golden era of the PC. Not Apple, not Google, and not Microsoft itself. I don’t think Ballmer ever came to grips with that. Ballmer’s view of the company solidified when it dominated the entire industry, and he never adjusted.

Hence Windows 8. One OS for all PCs, traditional and tablet alike, because that’s the only way for Windows to run almost all of them, and Windows running almost all PCs is the way things ought to be. Rather than accept a world where Windows persisted as merely one of several massively popular personal computing platforms, and focus on making Windows as it was better for people who want to use desktop and notebook PCs, Microsoft forged ahead with a design that displeased traditional PC users and did little to gain itself a foothold in the burgeoning tablet market. It was easy to see. Windows 8’s design wasn’t what was best for any particular device, but instead what seemed best for Ballmer’s “Windows everywhere” vision of the industry and Microsoft’s rightful place atop it.

Horace Dediu captures the change in the industry wrought by iOS and Android in this succinct (and, as usual, well-illustrated) piece from a few months ago, writing:

If we include all iOS and Android devices the “computing” market in Q3 2008 was 92 million units of which Windows was 90%, whereas in Q3 2013 it was 269 million units of which Windows was 32%.

That’s a startling change, and Ballmer never seemed to accept it. Windows 8 wasn’t designed to adjust to the new world; it was designed to turn back the clock to the old one.

I think it’s a very good sign that Satya Nadella comes from Microsoft’s server group. As my colleague Brent Simmons wrote today:

Creating services for iOS apps doesn’t sound at all like the Microsoft I used to know. Using Node.js and JavaScript doesn’t sound like that Microsoft. The old Microsoft would create services for their OSes only and you’d have to use Visual Studio.There’s still a lot of the old Microsoft there, the Windows, Office, Exchange, and Sharepoint (WOES) company. It’s most of the company by far, surely. (I just made up the acronym WOES. It fits.)But in the Azure group, at least, there’s recognition that Microsoft can’t survive on lock-in, that those days are in the past.Even if you don’t choose to use Microsoft’s cloud services, I hope you can agree on two things: that competition is good, and that Azure’s support-everything policy is the best direction for the future of the company.

In short, Nadella’s Server division is the one part of Microsoft that seems designed for, and part of, the post-iOS, post-Android state of the industry. A division pushing toward the future, not the past.

Successful companies tend to be true to themselves. The old Microsoft’s Windows and Office everywhere, on every device strategy was insanely ambitious, but also true to their culture. Apple has grown to eclipse Microsoft in financial size, but never set its sights on Microsoft-ian market share. Google is unfocused at the edges, but it’s never tried to act like any company other than Google. Google makes operating systems and office applications, but in a decidedly Google-y way. The last thing Microsoft should do is attempt to be like Apple or Google.

Cloud computing is one potential path forward. The cloud is nascent, like the PC industry of 1980. In 30 years we’ll look back at our networked infrastructure of today and laugh, wondering how we got a damn thing done. The world is in need of high-quality, reliable, developer-friendly, trustworthy, privacy-guarding cloud computing platforms. Apple and Google each have glaring (and glaringly different) holes among that list of adjectives.

Satya Nadella needs to find Microsoft’s new “a computer on every desk and in every home running Microsoft software”. Here’s my stab at it: Microsoft services, sending data to and from every networked device in the world. The next ubiquity isn’t running on every device, it’s talking to every device.

ΠΗΓΗ: http://daringfireball.net/2014/02/microsoft_past_and_future

Microsoft Office. Έρχεται για iPad μέσα στο πρώτο εξάμηνο του έτους;

Πριν λίγο καιρό, ένας αναλυτής είχε πει πως η Microsoft χάνει δισεκατομμύρια ($2.5 δις πιο συγκεκριμένα) που δεν προσφέρει το Microsoft Office για το iPad. Όπως είναι η γνωστό η εταιρεία με έδρα το Redmond, έχει “κρατήσει” το Office για να δώσει ένα πλεονέκτημα στο Microsoft Surface έναντι του ανταγωνισμού, ωστόσο από ότι φαίνεται κάτι θα αλλάξει.

Σύμφωνα με αναφορές η Microsoft ετοιμάζει μία έκδοση του Office για το iPad που έχει την κωδική ονομασία Miramar και η οποία θα κυκλοφορήσει νωρίτερα από την touch-centric έκδοση του Office που έχει την κωδική ονομασία Gemini.

Όσο για τον τρόπο χρέωσης, η Microsoft σκέφτεται κάτι αντίστοιχο με την λογική που ακολούθησε όταν ανακοίνωσε την εφαρμογή Office στα iPhone και Android. Η εφαρμογή μπορεί να είναι δωρεάν αλλά θα απαιτεί συνδρομή στην υπηρεσία Office365 για να εκμεταλλευτεί κάποιος χρήστης ζωτικής σημασίας λειτουργίες, όπως η επεξεργασία κ.ά.

Κανονικά ήταν να κυκλοφορήσει το ερχόμενο Φθινόπωρο, ωστόσο άλλαξαν τα σχέδια σε “ASAP” (As soon as possible). Αυτό σημαίνει ότι πιθανότατα στους επόμενους μήνες –μέσα στο πρώτο εξάμηνο της χρονιάς λέγεται- να έχουμε εξελίξεις στο θέμα.

Τεχνική υποστήριξη Microsoft!

Windows fails on Apple!!!

Microsoft patches critical vulnerability in Office 2011 for Mac!

Microsoft has issued an update to Office 2011 for OS X, which closes a critical vulnerability that may allow remote code execution from an attacker.

With this vulnerability a maliciously crafted Word document or e-mail message in Outlook (with Word configured as the e-mail reader) could give an attacker the execution rights as the current user, allowing them to arbitrarily run code on the affected system.

Microsoft's AutoUpdate tool is the most convenient way to apply the update.

While this update is a run-of-the-mill closure of identified vulnerabilities, be sure to keep your system fully updated. While there are undoubtedly other undocumented vulnerabilities in software, malware developers often use known and patched security holes in software, in hopes that they can hook someone who has not updated and secured their system.

Therefore, be sure to always keep your software fully updated.

In addition to security vulnerabilities, this update fixes an error with IMAP accounts in Outlook, where the flagged or starred state of messages is not properly retained.

The update is available through Microsoft's AutoUpdate utility as a 113MB download, but can also be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. After installing, the version of Office on your system should be 14.3.5.

Child of the 90s | Internet Explorer

Apple Software Update: iTunes 11.0.1


Version: 11.0.1
Post Date: Dec 13, 2012
Download ID: DL1614
File Size: OS X (191.08 MB ) Windows (83.01 MB) Windows64 (84.72 MB)

System Requirements


Mac OS X version 10.6.8 or later
Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, 32-bit editions of Windows Vista, or 32-bit editions of Windows 7, and Windows 8
Safari 4.0.3 or later
400MB of available disk space
iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match availability may vary by country.


Mac computer with an Intel Core processor and 512MB of RAM
To play 720p HD video, an iTunes LP, or iTunes Extras, a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor and 1GB of RAM is required. 
To play 1080p HD video, a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor and 2GB of RAM is required. 
Screen resolution of 1024x768 or greater; 1280x800 or greater is required to play an iTunes LP or iTunes Extras
Broadband Internet connection to use the iTunes Store
Apple combo drive or SuperDrive to create audio, MP3, or back-up CDs; some non-Apple CD-RW recorders may also work
Apple SuperDrive to back up your library to DVDs; some non-Apple DVD-RW drives may also work

About iTunes 11.0.1
This update to the new iTunes addresses an issue where new purchases in iCloud may not appear in your library if iTunes Match is turned on, makes iTunes more responsive when searching a large library, fixes a problem where the AirPlay button may not appear as expected, and adds the ability to display duplicate items within your library. This update also includes other important stability and performance improvements.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222.
SHA1 = 8f4a9261bfba2876b24763848a0745179fba8a3a
WIndows 64
SHA1 = 36004574ad0c0e44aede9146183fa005e402e1f6 

SHA1 = 83e703e3ab604fdc1f8eba492e153f4d81c5e94f

Αδιόρθωτη η Microsoft!

Σύμφωνα με το Reuters, οι ρυθμιστικές αρχές της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, ερευνούν νέα υπόθεση μονοπωλιακών πρακτικών, αφού σύμφωνα με καταγγελίες κατασκευαστών υπολογιστών, η Microsoft δεν επιτρέπει την εγκατάσταση ανταγωνιστικών web browsers στα Windows 8.

Ο επίτροπος της ΕΕ Joaquin Almunia, δήλωσε πως η Microsoft είναι έτοιμη να ανακοινώσει μέτρα που θα αντιμετωπίσουν τις ανησυχίες της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, σχετικά με τις μονοπωλιακές πρακτικές της και το δικαίωμα των χρηστών να επιλέγουν ποιον browser θα χρησιμοποιήσουν.

"Κατά τη διάρκεια επαφών μας με τον CEO της Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, με διαβεβαίωσε πως θα συμμορφωθούν πλήρως, ανεξάρτητα με το αποτέλεσμα των ερευνών" δήλωσε ο Almunia, συμπληρώνοντας σχετικά πως "είναι ένα εξαιρετικά σοβαρό θέμα".

Η Microsoft είχε τιμωρηθεί με πρόστιμο 1,68 δισ. ευρώ για μονοπωλιακές πρακτικές, περίπου πριν μια δεκαετία, ενώ το 2009 υπηρξε συμφωνία σχετικά με το να υπάρχει μια οθόνη επιλογής εκ μέρους του χρήστη για το ποιον browser θα χρησιμοποιήσει στα Windows.

Το πιο πρόσφατο συμβάν ήταν μόλις πριν από δύο μήνες και η εταιρεία εκ νέου βρέθηκε κατηγορούμενη από την ΕΕ, αφού σε περίπου 28 εκατομμύρια υπολογιστές με την έκδοση Windows 7 Service Pack 1 δεν είναι διαθέσιμη η οθόνη επιλογής browser, ώστε οι χρήστες να επιλέξουν μεταξύ των Internet Εxplorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera και Safari.

Το Skype (η Microsoft) αρνείται ότι άνοιξε κερκόπορτα για την αστυνομία...

Διαψεύδοντας τα ρεπορτάζ της Washington Post και άλλων αμερικανικών μέσων, η υπηρεσία Skype της Microsoft δηλώνει ότι οι αλλαγές που πραγματοποίησε πρόσφατα στα κέντρα δεδομένων της δεν έχουν στόχο να διευκολύνουν τις αρχές στην παρακολούθηση των κλήσεων και των μηνυμάτων των χρηστών.

Με ανάρτηση σε επίσημο εταιρικό ιστολόγιο, το Skype χαρακτηρίζει «ψευδή» τον ισχυρισμό ότι «προχώρησε σε αλλαγές της αρχιτεκτονικής του με εντολή της Μicrosoft, προκειμένου να προσφέρει στις διωκτικές αρχές μεγαλύτερη πρόσβαση στις επικοινωνίες των χρηστών του».

Η υπηρεσία ωστόσο δεν διαψεύδει ότι προσφέρει δεδομένα στην αστυνομία όταν αυτό απαιτείται από το νόμο. «Όταν ένας φορέας επιβολής του νόμου ακολουθεί την κατάλληλη διαδικασία, αποκρινόμαστε όταν αυτό απαιτείται από το νόμο και είναι τεχνικά εφικτό».

Με την τελευταία της ανακοίνωση η υπηρεσία της Μicrosoft επιχειρεί να καθησυχάσει τις φήμες και τα ρεπορτάζ σχετικά με τη συνεργασία της με την αστυνομία.

Η υπόθεση ξεκίνησε το 2009, όταν η Microsoft κατέθεσε αίτηση για δίπλωμα ευρεσιτεχνίας για μια τεχνολογία «νόμιμης υποκλοπής», η οποία «έχει τη δυνατότητα να αντιγράφει σιωπηλά την επικοινωνία μεταξύ τουλάχιστον δύο οντοτήτων». Η αίτηση αναφερόταν συγκεκριμένα «στο Skype και υπηρεσίες σαν το Skype», παρόλο που κατατέθηκε 17 μήνες πριν η Microsoft αγοράσει τελικά το Skype για 8,5 δισ. δολάρια.

Η υπόθεση απασχόλησε αυτή την εβδομάδα την Washington Post, η οποία έγραψε ότι, σύμφωνα με αξιωματούχους της κυβέρνησης και της βιομηχανίας, το Skype «επέκτεινε τη συνεργασία του με τις διωκτικές αρχές ώστε να καταστήσει τα online chat και άλλα δεδομένα των χρηστών διαθέσιμα στην αστυνομία».

Η διεύθυνση της εταιρείας δεν αρνείται ότι συνεργάζεται με τις αρχές όταν αυτό της ζητηθεί βάσει του νόμου, διαβεβαιώνει όμως ότι οι αλλαγές που πραγματοποίησε στην υποδομή της δεν ανοίγουν νέα κερκόπορτα για υποκλοπές από την κυβέρνηση.

Το λογισμικό Skype βασιζόταν παλαιότερα σε υπολογιστές των ίδιων των χρηστών προκειμένου να εντοπίζουν οι συνδρομητές του ο ένας τον άλλο και να συνδέονται για κλήση. Τώρα, όμως, οι κλήσεις δρομολογούνται μέσω κέντρων δεδομένων, ή «υπερκόμβους», τους οποίους νοικιάζει η Skype στο υπολογιστικό νέφος της Amazon και της Microsoft.

H εταιρεία διαβεβαιώνει πάντως ότι οι κλήσεις φωνής και βίντεο δεν καταγράφονται από τα κέντρα δεδομένα της εταιρείας, αφού τα δεδομένα ανταλλάσσονται απευθείας μεταξύ των χρηστών. Εξαίρεση είναι η περίπτωση τηλεδιασκέψεων με περισσότερα από δύο πρόσωπα, οπότε η κλήση πρέπει να περνά από τους διακομιστές τους για τεχνικό λόγο.

Όσον αφορά τα μηνύματα κειμένου, η ανάρτηση αναφέρει ότι ορισμένα από αυτά αποθηκεύονται στα κέντρα δεδομένων για να παραδοθούν αργότερα σε όλες τις συσκευές του παραλήπτη. Σύμφωνα με την πολιτική ασφάλειας και ιδιωτικότητας του Skype, τα στιγμιαία μηνύματα (ΙΜ) αποθηκεύονται για χρονικό διάστημα 30 ημερών κατά το μέγιστο, εκτός αν επιτρέπεται ή απαιτείται από το νόμο να γίνει διαφορετικά».

Όταν οι αρχές «ακολουθούν τις κατάλληλες διαδικασίες και μας ζητηθεί πρόσβαση σε μηνύματα που βρίσκονται προσωρινά σε διακομιστές μας, θα το κάνουμε» αναφέρει η νέα ανάρτηση, τονίζοντας όμως ότι αυτό συμβαίνει «μόνο αν απαιτείται από το νόμο και είναι τεχνικά εφικτό».

Kaspersky: Apple "10 years behind Microsoft in terms of security"!

Kaspersky Lab last week detailed why the increasing market share of the Apple Mac means more malware on the platform. Eugene (Yevgeny) Kaspersky, co-founder and CEO of the security firm, has now gone further in statement made at the Infosecurity Europe 2012 conference.

“I think [Apple] are ten years behind Microsoft in terms of security,” Kaspersky told CBR. “For many years I’ve been saying that from a security point of view there is no big difference between Mac and Windows. It’s always been possible to develop Mac malware, but this one was a bit different. For example it was asking questions about being installed on the system and, using vulnerabilities, it was able to get to the user mode without any alarms.”

Kaspersky is of course referring to the Flashback malware that has infected hundreds of thousands of Macs. He then reiterated what his employees and many security researchers have been saying for years: Apple needs to step up its game.

“Apple is now entering the same world as Microsoft has been in for more than 10 years: updates, security patches and so on,” Kaspersky said. “We now expect to see more and more because cyber criminals learn from success and this was the first successful one. They will understand very soon that they have the same problems Microsoft had ten or 12 years ago. They will have to make changes in terms of the cycle of updates and so on and will be forced to invest more into their security audits for the software. That’s what Microsoft did in the past after so many incidents like Blaster and the more complicated worms that infected millions of computers in a short time. They had to do a lot of work to check the code to find mistakes and vulnerabilities. Now it’s time for Apple [to do that].”

Kaspersky, the privately-held company, produces antivirus and other computer security products. Excluding the energy sector, Kaspersky Lab is considered one of Russia’s few international business success stories. The company makes excellent security software and I have personally recommended some of its products a few times.

That being said, Kaspersky, both the man and his company, of course would benefit from a malware epidemic on the Mac. That’s important to keep in mind, while acknowledging that the numbers are indeed growing and the Mac security situation is getting worse. Just how bad it’s getting, and will get, is a matter of perspective.

Πηγή: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/kaspersky-apple-10-years-behind-microsoft-in-terms-of-security/11706

Ο Bill Gates είναι ψυχοπαθής;


Imagine being able to announce your intention to kill 900 million people.

Imagine devising a plan so cunning that people line up to be complicit in their own murders.

Imagine having the resources to put that plan into action and the power to publically share your intention without any fear of repercussions.

This is pure psychopathy.

Psychopathy is defined as “a personality disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of others and the rules of society. Psychopaths have a total lack of empathy and remorse, and have very shallow emotions. They are generally regarded as callous, selfish, dishonest, arrogant, aggressive, impulsive, irresponsible, and hedonist.”

Bill Gates, the mega-rich founder of Microsoft, could be defined as a classic psychopath.

Following in the jackbooted steps of his father, William Gates Sr., Bill Gates has been a long-time proponent of population control. Gates Sr. has long-time ties to outspoken eugenicist David Rockefeller, as well as Planned Parenthood (which was founded by a member of the American Eugenics Society).

In 2010, Bill Gates spoke at a TED convention, where he stated, While reproductive health care and birth control can obviously steer the population downward, how would health care and vaccines DECREASE the population unless by design?

"The world today has 6.8 billion people... that's headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”

This was a clear public announcement of Gates’ plan to kill off hundreds of millions of people.

And yet, this announcement of mass murder has resulted in no punishment.  No prison time has occurred, no criminal charges have been filed and no one is suing the pants off of the Gates family.

Gates has proclaimed this as “The Century of the Vaccination”, unrolling plans that 90% of the world be vaccinated. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has “philanthropically” subjected hundreds of thousands of children in India to a polio vaccine that was banned in the United States because it caused the very disease it was purported to prevent.  Over 47,500 Indian children given this vaccine have since developed a polio-like paralysis.

If Gates can’t poison you directly via vaccines, he has developed a secondary plan, and this one has the added bonus of lining his already-stuffed pockets.  Under the benevolent cloak of promoting agricultural advancement, Gates has provided the farmers of the Third World with Monsanto seeds.

Gates has recently invested heavily in Monsanto, the GMO giant. Monsanto is responsible for the genetically engineered seeds with pesticides built right in.  The seeds can only be used one time and the food that results from the seeds is nutrionally inferior to unmodified seeds.  Despite (or perhaps because of) the lack of nutritional value and the inability to save seeds from one year to the next, Gates is gifting these toxic “terminator” seeds via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

In effect, by giving these seeds away, Gates and Monsanto are like the drug dealers that give someone the first hit for free.  If the user wants to keep getting high, they’re going to have to buy the drugs after that first freebie.  The fact that these GMO seeds are self-terminating makes this the gift that keeps on giving, because as Third World farms convert to these self-terminating seeds, the farmers will have no choice but to continue using the Monsanto seeds – new seeds must be purchased every year, which puts Monsanto well on the road to creating a global agricultural monopoly. 

In Gates’ “annual letter” he outlines his plans under a humanitarian guise.  He mentions agricultural technology, vaccines for every child, and his plans to get others to give “gifts” to the Third World.

The depopulation plans of Bill Gates are chilling when they are presented to the world as “philanthropy” but it’s even more disturbing that Gates makes public statements about the reduction of population. 

He has clearly announced his plans….they are insidious. It’s infuriating to hear people say, “Oh, he didn’t mean it like that!”  He clearly did mean it “like that” because every move he makes is another step towards his stated goal of depopulation.

Part of the game for a psychopath is manipulation.  The challenge of convincing people to be complicit in their own deaths and enslavement is part of the entertainment.  The psychopath manipulates and deceives just to see if he can get away with it.  He is ruthless and utterly without conscience.

The only way to combat people like this is with information.  Expose the plan by sharing this information.  Let the world know about this evil NWO agenda of depopulation and control. 

The bottom line?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promotes mass murder, involuntary sterility and agricultural monopoly that will ultimately lead to control of the world’s food supply.

Announcing their intentions only makes the game more interesting for them.


Untested vaccines causing new wave of polio-like paralysis across India

Bill Gates and Monsanto Team Up to Fight World Hunger

2012 Annual Letter from Bill Gates

Πηγή: http://daisyluther.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/is-bill-gates-psychopath.html

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