The DigiBarn produced the Xerox Alto 30th Birthday Celebration & D* Machines Extravaganza at the Vintage Computer Festival (October 11-12th, 2003)
The Alto personal workstation was commissioned by at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in December 1972 and the first were constructed in 1973. The Alto system was at the heart of PARC's mission to create an "Architecture for Information". By the mid 70s a growing collection of networked Altos at PARC and elsewhere served as a research and development platform that brought us Ethernet, windows and icons interfaces, on-screen full page document and image editing (known later as desktop publishing), laser printing, object oriented programming (smalltalk) and many, many other innovations. The Alto served as the platform on which the Xerox D* Machines and MESA architecture was developed. By the early 1980s the Alto and its successors allowed Xerox to begin marketing the Star 8010 workstation and the Xerox 9700 high volume laser printer. Needless to say, the personal computing revolutions of the 80s and 90s with the Macintosh, Windows, desktop publishing, the Internet and World Wide Web, multiuser virtual worlds and much more owe their direct lineage to the Alto.
More on the Alto and D* Machines at the DigiBarn Computer Museum website. The DigiBarn, Don Woodward and others will be displaying a number of artifacts at this presentation including an Alto II/XM, early Ethernet drops and transceivers, a number of D* Machines including the first (D0, the "Dolphin"), the D1 Xerox Star 8010 "Dandelion", a running network of Xerox 6085s "Daybreak", the Bounty Board "Dlily" and derivative systems such as the Elixir Desktop.
.The Vintage Computer Festival together with the Computer History Museum is kindly sponsoring this event which is being co-organized by the DigiBarn Computer Museum together with members of the Computer History Club. The Alto 30th birthday party together with a Xerox "D*-Machines" extravaganza will all be held at the VCF within the fine new rooms of the Computer History Museum's new building in Mountain View on the weekend of Oct 11-12th. There will be an exhibit of Altos (hopefully working), D* Machines (definitely working) and a special panel by folks who worked on the Alto at 1pm on Saturday October 11th. There will be a D* Machines presentation either later on the 11th or on Sunday the 12th. Seating is limited so register with the VCF and get to the sessions early!
We have begun to confirm great speakers for the event including: John Ellenby, Dave Robson, Charles Simonyi and L. Peter Deutsch. Don Woodward and others will be helping to bring us the story of the D* Machines. Panelists will be discussing the construction and use of the Alto at PARC and elsewhere as well as where the Alto fits in the history of what followed.
You can get ready
to attend this event (or exhibit/sell you old computers) by visiting the
VCF 6 site. See the VCF
page on this event here.
We would like to confirm any more original Alto/PARC folks you might know as speakers or attendees so contact us here at the DigiBarn if you would like us to get in touch with PARC colleagues.
We still need folks to help with this event: organization, system restoration (we hope to have Altos running there), an artist to help design an Alto/30 T-shirt, someone to bake a cake etc etc. Contact us if you can contribute any of these skills. This should be a very fun, once in a lifetime event!
Our Xerox Alto II/XM with mouse and keyset which will be making an appearance at this event!
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