The Computer History Museum will open source Apple’s Lisa OS in 2018

Apple companies header
Josh Edelson/Getty Images
Before the first Macintosh and the first Windows PC, Apple released a desktop computer known as the Lisa which ran its own specialized operating system. Soon, enthusiasts will be able to pick apart its source code to see exactly what was going on under the hood.

Al Kossow, a software curator for the Computer History Museum, took to a Google Groups discussion board in order to give Lisa enthusiasts an update on the project. “Just wanted to let everyone know the sources to the OS and applications were recovered,” he wrote.

Kossow was able to convert this code to the end of line conventions associated with the Unix programming language and has submitted the results to Apple for review. If all goes well, the Computer History Museum expects to release the code to the public in early 2018.

Of course, before that happens, Apple needs to make sure that an open-source release won’t cause any problems. Kossow suggested that the only thing he feels will be omitted is the American Heritage dictionary that was included in the original release as part of the LisaWrite application’s spell-checking functionality.

The Lisa was a groundbreaking system for its time, as one of the very first computers to adopt a graphical user interface, as well as support for a mouse peripheral, and access to a file system. Both Lisa and the earliest iterations of Windows owe a significant debt to the pioneering work carried out at the Xerox PARC lab, a fact that would contribute to subsequent hostilities between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

The original Lisa computer cost $25,000 at launch when adjusted for inflation, according to Gizmodo. Despite later, cheaper revisions, it was not a huge success, which led to Jobs being removed from the project and placed on the Macintosh team.

The Mac line flourished and formed the basis for the computers that remain a key part of Apple’s output, while the Lisa range died off within a matter of years. However, it’s still an important chapter in the early history of computing, so it’s good to see the operating system being preserved in this manner.

Photography

Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless is coming August 23 — here’s what we know so far

Nikon is keeping a tight lid on details surrounding its upcoming full-frame mirrorless camera, but we know it has a touchscreen, and the latest teaser is the most revealing. Here are all the teasers and analyst predictions.
Wearables

Is this proof Google plans to launch a Pixel Watch soon?

From its Pixel smartphones to Google Home, the Google brand is quickly becoming synonymous with high-quality consumer hardware. This year, it looks like Google may branch out a little further by creating its first smartwatch.
Mobile

Sixth public beta of iOS 12 still lacks one key feature

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.
Wearables

Apple considers making its own health-monitoring processors

Apple could be looking at making its own dedicated health tracking processors. These chips are dedicated to health-monitoring features on wearables, and could mean more health tracking features on the next Apple Watch.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Dell's XPS 15 is the PC every laptop wishes it could be

Not everyone needs the power that a laptop like the Dell XPS 15 provides. But if you need a computer that can handle the heavy workload you use every day, the XPS 15 might be the best you can buy.
Product Review

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (late 2017) review

As our Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (late 2017) review shows, adding an 8th-gen Intel Core processor to an excellent thin and light chassis makes for a great combination.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for something without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses with one of these handy services.
Computing

Both the Razer Blade and XPS 15 are capable laptops, but which is better?

We pit the latest Dell XPS 15 against the latest Razer Blade 15 to see which machine meets the needs of most people. Both are a fast, attractive, and well-built, but they still appeal to different users.
Computing

Use one of these password managers to stay safe online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper passcode manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options. Find the right password software…
Computing

Logitech’s distinctive new ergonomic mouse looks as good as it feels

Logitech's first true ergonomic mouse sports an interesting tilted design that encourages less muscle strain. We spent some time with the MX Vertical to see how comfortable it is and determine whether or not we'd prefer it to a standard…
Mobile

Airport’s low-tech solution to digital chaos involves the humble whiteboard

A U.K. airport has suffered a major computer error, caused by data connection problems, which has stopped flight boards from showing crucial passenger information. The solution is wonderfully low-tech.
Computing

Here’s how to watch Nvidia’s GeForce event at Gamescom

Today is August 20, and that means Nvidia may showcase its GeForce RTX 20 Series of add-in graphics cards for gamers. We’re sticking with that name rather than the previous GTX 11 Series brand due to today’s date.
Computing

HTC breaks down VR barriers by bringing Oculus Rift titles to Viveport

HTC's Viveport store and subscription service will be opened to Oculus Rift users in September this year, letting them buy titles directly and take advantage of the monthly game-delivery service.