I was reading this article and found this part:

The irony was that when they left we still had shown the like only 1% of what PARC was doing but it was enough that they got really excited and decided they were going to retarget the Lisa to be something like what they had seen, in terms of GUI.

Has anyone written or summarized about the other 99%?

  • Dealers of Lightning. The story of the astoundingly brilliant team at PARC inventing the system of the GUI and related technologies. That Xerox is not essentially an "Apple" today is perhaps most fundamentally due to Xerox management's utter, willful I think, lack of imagination for what they had in the palm of their hands.
    – radarbob
    Nov 22, 2020 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


Even Steve Jobs himself mentioned that they had a whole lot of other stuff going on at PARC, but he got so excited about the GUI that he ignored everything else.

I had three or four people (at Apple) who kept bugging that I get my rear over to Xerox PARC and see what they are doing. And, so I finally did. I went over there. And they were very kind. They showed me what they are working on. And they showed me really three things. But I was so blinded by the first one that I didn’t even really see the other two. One of the things they showed me was object oriented programming – they showed me that but I didn’t even see that. The other one they showed me was a networked computer system…I didn’t even see that. I was so blinded by the first thing they showed me, which was the graphical user interface. I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen in my life.

You can see a list of some of the other stuff PARC was working on here. I think the only thing of layman significance the Jobs didn't mention is probably the Laser Printer. But with all this stuff, the GUI used by their experimental computers was kind of a small thing. To them at least.

  • I don't know about you, but I think most people are familiar with bitmap graphics, even if not by name. Same with WYSIWYG text editors. Nov 17, 2016 at 19:49
  • @called2voyage - That's debatably an inherent part of the GUI (the "G" to be precise).
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 17, 2016 at 19:53
  • Fair enough, Wikipedia saw fit to list them separately though. Nov 17, 2016 at 19:54
  • 1
    @called2voyage - Note that the Lisas and the first Macs shipped came with both as well though. So if you were to claim they should be accounted for, they would have to be accounted for as extra things Apple took with them, not things they didn't.
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 17, 2016 at 19:56
  • Good point. It probably doesn't hurt to specify that those, while being components of the GUI, were also specifically innovations of PARC. Nov 17, 2016 at 19:57

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