Graphical User Interface
<operating system> (GUI) The use of pictures rather than just words to
represent the input and output of a program. A program with a GUI runs under
some windowing system (e.g. The X Window System, MacOS, Microsoft Windows, Acorn
RISC OS, NEXTSTEP). The program displays certain icons, buttons, dialogue boxes,
etc. in its windows on the screen and the user controls it mainly by moving a
pointer on the screen (typically controlled by a mouse) and selecting certain
objects by pressing buttons on the mouse while the pointer is pointing at them.
This contrasts with a command line interface where communication is by exchange
of strings of text.
Windowing systems started with the first real-time graphic display systems for
computers, namely the SAGE Project [Dates?] and Ivan Sutherland's Sketchpad
(1963). Douglas Engelbart's Augmentation of Human Intellect project at SRI in
the 1960s developed the On-Line System, which incorporated a mouse-driven cursor
and multiple windows. Several people from Engelbart's project went to Xerox PARC
in the early 1970s, most importantly his senior engineer, Bill English. The
Xerox PARC team established the WIMP concept, which appeared commercially in the
Xerox 8010 (Star) system in 1981.
Beginning in 1980(?), led by Jef Raskin, the Macintosh team at Apple Computer
(which included former members of the Xerox PARC group) continued to develop
such ideas in the first commercially successful product to use a GUI, the Apple
Macintosh, released in January 1984. In 2001 Apple introduced Mac OS X.
Microsoft modeled the first version of Windows, released in 1985, on Mac OS.
Windows was a GUI for MS-DOS that had been shipped with IBM PC and compatible
computers since 1981. Apple sued Microsoft over infringement of the
look-and-feel of the MacOS. The court case ran for many years.
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Graphical User Interface » Graphic Display
Interface » Graphic Language » graphics accelerator