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XEROX PARC

/zee'roks park'/ Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center.

For more than a decade, from the early 1970s into the mid-1980s, PARC yielded an astonishing volume of ground-breaking hardware and software innovations. The modern mice, windows, and icons (WIMP) style of software interface was invented there. So was the laser printer and the local-area network; Smalltalk; and PARC's series of D machines anticipated the powerful personal computers of the 1980s by a decade. Sadly, the prophets at PARC were without honour in their own company, so much so that it became a standard joke to describe PARC as a place that specialised in developing brilliant ideas for everyone else.

The stunning shortsightedness and obtusity of XEROX's top-level suits has been well described in the reference below.

["Fumbling The Future: How XEROX Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer" by Douglas K. Smith and Robert C. Alexander (William Morrow & Co., 1988, ISBN 0-688-09511-9)].

[Jargon File]

(1995-01-26)


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