Xerox as the Mother and Father of the Modern PC Industry

Here is a terrific piece from Salon on why the folks who worked at Xerox in the late 1970s should always and forever be considered the mothers and fathers of the modern computer industry.

Pretty much everything we think of today that makes up the modern PC can be traced back to one of the projects from PARC. Its very true that companies like Apple and Microsoft took these ideas and developed them into the systems we use today, but the birth of those ideas, ironically enough, is traced back to a company whose very name, in some parts of the world, is synonymous with photocopies.

It’s definitely worth a read, and the videos they’ve included of a Xerox Star/8010 being demoed are downright eerie to watch. I got a sense of this bit of history—but only a sense—from watching Pirates of Silicon Valley way too many times back in the day, but seeing everything I know about computing right there on that Xerox machine was just downright weird. We really do owe the people that built that machine a lot more than I ever realized we did.

Just think, as Steve Jobs invites us to do in the video I’ve embedded above, what might have happened if the higher-ups at Xerox had realized what they were giving away to Apple way back when. Wow…