Vintage Technology Throwback Thursday : The Xerox 8010 Information System


The 8010 Information System from Xerox was the first system to use a fully integrated desktop application suite. Initially the term “Star” referred to the application and desktop software. However the system as a whole became commonly known as “The Xerox Star.” The software was later renamed to “ViewPoint”, and later renamed again to “GlobalView.”

Development of the Star started in 1977 with early development machines, codenamed Dolphin and Dorado, that could also run the Alto software. The final result was completely new software written in Xerox’s MESA programming environment rather than BCPL, which the Alto software was written in. (BCPL even used different microcode) The final 8010/Dandelion hardware was not backwards compatible with the Alto.

First commercially sold in 1981, the Original Xerox 8010, Codename Dandelion, specs were:

Custom processor based on the AMD 2900 bit-sliced microcode programmable microprocessor
384 KB (expandable to 1.5MB) of real memory
10, 29 or 40 MB hard drive
8-inch floppy drive
17-inch display
Display resolution of 1024*808 monochrome
2-button Mouse
Ethernet networking
“Pilot” operating system
“Star” desktop software

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