The Mother of All Demos

The Mother of All Demos

Note to readers: Doug Englebart passed away on July 3, 2013. In his honor, we are placing this old commentary on top of our page.

Few weeks back, someone forwarded a blog post from a young techie, who was working on his laptop at a coffee shop in Portland. An old guy took the chair in front of him and started a conversation about kind of work he is doing. The young techie was very excited to explain how internet, mouse and windows work, but the old guy claimed that he invented them all.

Here is a fascinating computer demo from 1968, where Engelbart (the old guy) presented his inventions. That was a year before C-programming language was introduced by Dennis Ritchie.


The demo is one hour and forty minutes long, so unless youre a geek or you love the history of technology, this probably isnt the video for your morning coffee. But if you take a few minutes to skip through it, you will see the first demonstrations of:

The mouse

The cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor (what we all used before flat screens, if you can imagine such a thing)

The graphical user interface (GUI) with windows (as opposed to the previous state of the art, the teletype)

The word processor (with cut, copy, and paste)

The outliner

Computer generated slides

Hypertext with clickable links


More abstractly, the file, with file name, creation date, and creator, with navigation through a hierarchy of files

And Herman Miller office furniture!

And much, much more.

Written by M. //