The Computer History Museum in California has planned to release Apple’s legendary Lisa operating system (OS) for free as open source this year, the media reported. The Mountain View-based museum announced that the source code for Lisa, Apple’s computer that predated the Mac, has been recovered and was being reviewed by the tech giant itself, reports 9to5Mac.
Lisa, released in 1983, was one of the first personal computers to come equipped with a graphical user interface and a support for mouse, but ultimately only sold 10,000 units.
“Just wanted to let everyone know the sources to the OS and applications were recovered, I converted them to Unix end of line conventions and spaces for Pascal tabs after recovering the files using Disk Image Chef, and they are with Apple for review,” said Al Kossow, a software curator at the museum.
“After that’s done, the code that is cleared for release by Apple will be made available in 2018. The only thing I saw that probably won’t be able to be released is the American Heritage dictionary for the spell checker in LisaWrite.”
The source code for both the OS and applications has been recovered. Once that code is finished being reviewed by Apple, the museum will make the code available sometime this year, Kossow added.
In 1983, Lisa was released for $10,000 but ultimately only sold 10,000 units. Despite being a flop, the OS holds a major piece of Apple history. It is reportedly the reason why Steve Jobs left Apple and also led to a huge rift between him and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. After Lisa’s rather public failure, Jobs founded NeXT Computer — which was ultimately acquired by Apple, bringing him back to the company.