Why Alto

Butler W. Lampson


Citation: Xerox internal memorandum

Links: Postscript, Acrobat, Web page, Word.

Email: blampson@microsoft.com. This paper is at http://research.microsoft.com.



This memo discusses the reasons for making a substantial number (10-30) of copies of the personal computer called Alto which has been designed by Chuck Thacker and others. The original motivation for this machine was provided by Alan Kay, who needs about 15-20 'interim Dynabooks' Systems for his education research. Alto has a much broader range of applications than this origin might suggest, however. I will begin by outlining its characteristics, and then go on to consider some of the many exciting uses to which Alto can be put. It turns out that there is some interaction with almost every CSL research program.