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More than three decades ago, Apple unveiled the Apple Lisa. It turned out to be one of the biggest flops of Apple, selling only 10,000 units; Apple spent a mammoth $150 million on R&D. Lisa, one of the first commercial computers with a GUI, also set the stage for a conflict between CEO John Sculley and Cofounder Steve Jobs. For those who don’t know, LISA stood for Local Integrated System Architecture.

This doesn’t mean that Lisa’s pioneering operating system is completely dead. Soon, in 2018, the Computer History Museum will be open sourcing the code of the Apple Lisa operating system, and you’d be able to download it for free, according to Business Insider.

As it’s open source, you’d be free to modify it and create something new–just like Linux and other open source operating systems. This announcement was made on the LisaList mailing list for Lisa enthusiasts.

Back in 1983, Lisa computer cost $10,000; if you factor in the inflation, it’ll cost $24,000. On the other hand, IBM was already offering computers that were far cheaper. This flopped OS brought some of the advanced features for the first time, including protected memory, sophisticated HDD-based OS, etc.

Image: Original Apple Lisa

Lisa OS also because the reason why Apple sued Microsoft over the first version of Windows, claiming that Redmond stole Lisa’s technology. Countering the same, Gates made the famous “we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox” remark.

In 1984, Apple launched Lisa 2, which cost half of Lisa 1. Having failed to do some magic with this release as well, Apple discontinued the product after launching Macintosh. In 1989, the last 2,700 Lisas were buried in a Utah landfill.

Check out Lisa commercial here:

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Adarsh Verma
Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]

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