THE ENGELBART SAGA IN BRIEF
Doug Engelbart had a vision in 1951--
URGENT COMPLEX PROBLEMS FACING MANKIND
EMPOWERING WORK TEAMS
In the sixties, with sponsorship
from Bob Taylor at ARPA,
Doug directed the NLS (On-Line System) system at Stanford Research Institute (not Stanford University).
Doug’s team pioneered--
Documents on screens
Text links between them (OVERLAID, not embedded)
A five-finger keyboard (to be used along with the mouse)
Library methods for tracking documents by the team
And much more.
Their high water mark was the famous demo of fall 1968
(still to be seen on the Web).
Doug was by then involved with
ACCELERATING METHODS OF WORK IMPROVEMENT,
And a conceptual framework for improving work
Faster and faster.
However, his team began eroding
as the same Bob Taylor, now at Xerox PARC,
started hiring his people away, but not hiring Doug.
The crowning blow was when Bertram Raphael
(an AI guy) argued that he should have Doug’s office
at SRI, and got it.
Doug went for a time to TymShare, then McDonnell-Douglas.
Both tried to productize NLS,
But there was no more chance for innovation.
What more Doug might have accomplished is unknowable.