MacPaint Source Code Released to Museum

This article is well worth the read. I have been down on Apple quite a bit recently. The story here involves Donald Knuth’s admiration of the early Mac program as the impetus. It harkens back to some of the original developers of the software of the first Macintosh and the sort of coding required to do something so clearly useful with so few hardware resources. It is a solid reminder that even for a company that is beholden only to its bottom line, attitudes and values change over time, for both better and worse.

I am also drawn to the archaeological and historical aspects of the efforts needed to liberate the code. It is fortunate that a network enabled Lisa was ultimately found to read the floppies the original author, Bill Atkinson, was finally able to unearth. It is a matter of luck–I wonder how much software of this vintage and early has been resigned to the dust bin of history for want of even an emulator, let alone original hardware.

Apple donates MacPaint source code to computer history museum, via Slashdot.

4 Replies to “MacPaint Source Code Released to Museum”

  1. The fact that so man-hours of our coding, and the data locked in that old code, is being lost to obsolete hardware is striking. It is like the Library of Alexandria burning in slow motion.

  2. My history with Apple goes back to 1985, when i took my first computer graphics course in college (UMBC) using Apple IIe’s. G actually had one (bought in 1984 i think), and i remember using it for various projects.

    i started working in the field in 1986, while still a student, for UMUC in College Park. Originally hired to work on a PC-based interactive video project (wow! light pens and 16 colors!), i was soon using Mac Paint, and its successor Super Paint on Macs for other courseware in the office. It’s been a looooooooong strange trip hasn’t it!

  3. I still have a working Apple //c down in the basement. It has a 9″ green screen monitor as well as a mouse and MacPaint’s little brother MousePaint.

    One of my “when I get time” projects is to connect it up to a PC through serial null modem cable and transfer all of my 5.25″ floppies over so that I can run them in emulation. I have some of the first programs I ever wrote on those disks.

    So many memories…

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