Why Xerox never chose to capitalise on the groundbreaking GUI developments made at its Palo Alto Research Center may never fully be understood. But other companies certainly saw the value, and in addition to Microsoft and Apple creating their own graphical computer interfaces, Bell Labs created the Blit in 1982, which was originally called the Jerq as a ‘humorous’ homage to another graphical workstation.
Guess you had to be there.
The Blit’s black and green monochrome UI was a little hard on the eyes, but the workstation demonstrated many concepts we still use today like multitasking, layered windows and a three-button mouse interface. The machine was eventually turned into a commercial product excitedly called the AT&T 5620, but as you can probably guess, it wasn’t quite the runaway success like the original IBM PC or the Apple Macintosh. But maybe that’s because those companies learned early on to avoid product names that sounded like personal insults. [YouTube]