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Whether they (MS/Apple) paid for the idea is irrelevant when one is bashing the other for no imagination. In the Xerox scenario they both took what they saw from someone else and built on it. In that context Gates is right.



"In that context Gates is right"

I disagree because Jobs/Apple looked at the xerox stuff and improved on it, drop down menus, overlapping windows etc. Whereas Microsoft just copied what Apple had done, bringing no new ideas to the table.


How did they improve on it, those first Mac didn't have everything those Smalltalk 80 images had, and Smalltalk already had overlapping windows and drop down menus. If anything, those first macs were a poor copy, not a better one.


The Xerox star did not have overlapping windows at the time the mac group got to see it. I believe it had popup menus but no concept of a common menubar with pulldown menus the way mac had (and still has). Some of the features it lacked then were added later - overlapping windows was among them.

One account of the differences is here: http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=On_Xerox,_Apple_a...

According to Bruce Horn:

"There is a significant difference between using the Mac and Smalltalk. [Xerox PARC Alto Workstation] Smalltalk has no Finder, and no need for one, really. Drag-and- drop file manipulation came from the Mac group, along with many other unique concepts: resources and dual-fork files for storing layout and international information apart from code; definition procedures; drag-and-drop system extension and configuration; types and creators for files; direct manipulation editing of document, disk, and application names; redundant typed data for the clipboard; multiple views of the file system; desk accessories; and control panels, among others.

The [Apple] Lisa group invented some fundamental concepts as well: pull down menus, the imaging and windowing models based on QuickDraw, the clipboard, and cleanly internationalizable software. The Mac and Lisa designers had to invent their own architectures."


In some ways that's true, but the original Mac was far more user-friendly and, importantly, hugely cheaper in a way that seems very unlikely to have been doable with Smalltalk in the first half of the 1980s.




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