I’ve finally completed Chapter 12 of my book (Bringing It All Together – The Graphics Workstation), which leaves only one more chapter left to write. As the title suggests, Chapter 12 covers the development of the graphics workstation from the earliest efforts to create a high performance personal computer system for scientific and technical applications at MIT in the 1960s to the establishment of a commercial market for graphics workstations by companies such as Apollo Computer and Sun Microsystems in the early 1980s, and the subsequent adoption of workstation technology by Apple for the Macintosh. It also includes Networking, an important building block which led to the creation of the global system of interconnected computers that we now call the Internet.
Weighing in at nearly 25,000 words, Chapter 12 is the longest chapter in the book and writing it took me 5 months longer than I’d originally estimated. The main reason for this was the dearth of source material on this subject. Unlike other areas of computer history, the development of the graphics workstation is not well documented so I had to conduct more research for this chapter than with previous chapters. I also wanted to describe the contribution of Xerox PARC in some detail, as this was where so much of the graphical user interface technology we now take for granted originated.
The final chapter of the book will cover the development of Microsoft Windows and the emergence of the so-called ‘Wintel’ platform as the dominant platform for personal computing from the mid 1990s onwards. Given the copious amounts of source material available on this topic, the research required should take less time than for Chapter 12 so I’ve set myself an ambitious target date for completion of 31 July this year. I’ll keep you posted on progress.