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It appears to me that Google Research has already done more for Google than PARC ever did for Xerox. I worked at Xerox El Segundo somewhere around 1976-78 on the OIS project, a massive effort to make the Alto, Ethernet, and laser printer into a viable and profitable commercial product. The hardware we got from PARC blew me away, but the software stank. Everything written in MESA, including the compiler itself, was about nine steps away from commercial quality, about what you'd expect from a university research program using undergraduate programmers. OIS spent a pile of money and, well, fumbled. This was pretty typical of PARC developments.It's always irritated me that PARC seems to stretch their claims in various subtle ways: Doug Engelbart invented the mouse; Don Bitzer and his colleagues invented the plasma display; the laser printer was in prototype before PARC was founded; Alto had a great graphic engine (BITBlt), but was essentially a PDP-11, [i][b]not[/b] a PC;[/i] our Hypertext and FRESS systems at Brown were WYSIWYG in the 60's; etc. etc. Ethernet was huge, but it owed a lot to work done in Hawaii. I loved both Smalltalk and PostScript, but Mesa -- feh.

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Wow, Bob...can I have your autograph? It's been a while since I ran into anyone working on OIS.Interesting you should mention MESA..as Rational was forming and working on its first product (the R1000, basically an Ada machine running a software development environment), our developers were influenced by the design of Cedar.I love Smalltalk, too, BTW. The first prototype of what became ROSE I wrote using Ada (on the R1000) and ObjectPascal (on the Mac); the second version I wrote entirely with Smalltalk.

3 localhost commented Permalink

You think I don't know about the R1000? Right after the Xerox assignment, I went home to SofTech and started going to DoD-1 Strawman meetings. Long story short, I think my last substantiative contact with the Ada community was the SIGAda conference at Disneyland in 95 or 96. My wife Chris Braun (also SofTech) ran a few of the last AdaTech conferences. Now she's doing CMM-I assessments and I'm writing web sites in PHP.Btw, I also worked for IBM once upon a time. The Cambridge Scientific Center, writing CP-67/CMS. Multics was one floor up, and the AI group was up on 10.The high point of the OIS job was going out to a great Chinese restaurant for lunch on the first day. My fortune cookie said "[b]OIS will be the death of you.[/b]" That, and when they wheeled an Alto into my office, shoved aside a ceiling tile and plugged it into the big black Ethernet cable up there. I still have my copy of Metcalfe's paper.

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