20 Jul

History of GUI

Wether you are a geek or just an Windows user over at arstechnica.com there is an very interesting A History of the GUI from Englebart’s NLS demo and Xerox Parc until the nowadays Windows XP and MacOSX.

Many people consider the graphical user interface to be stagnant, differing little in its basic desktop, windows, mouse, icons, and pointer concept from the original Lisa of 1983. In some respects this is because people became familiar with the Lisa/Macintosh style of graphical interface and future projects leveraged that familiarity. However, given the extremely long gestation of the GUI from its humblest beginnings, and given that personal computer sales rose exponentially only in the mid-1990s, it is probably more accurate to think of the GUI as a slow evolution towards an ideal interface. While some attempts have been made (such as Sun’s Looking Glass demo and Microsoft’s 3D user interface research project) to radically change the way we interact with the GUI, the chances of these types of changes making their way to mainstream GUIs seem remote.

However, as we look forward to Longhorn and future versions of Mac OS X, we can see that although much of the core functionality of the GUI remains unchanged since its earliest debut, the potential for adding new features and modes of interaction remains limitless.

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