OT: Priorities (was: Re: Stack with the same name loop)

Paul McClernan paulmcclernan at gmail.com
Sat Oct 23 12:02:39 EDT 2021

On Thu, Oct 7, 2021 at 11:56 AM Bob Sneidar via use-livecode <
use-livecode at lists.runrev.com> wrote:

> I say the people at Livecode LTD. deserve all the recompense they can get,
> and by the way, we should be thankful to Steve Jobs who gave us Hypercard
> (and actually convinced Apple to give it away for free!

This may be going slightly further off topic, but it's a subject
I've recently become very interested in again, and so for the sake of
accuracy I'd like to try to correct this...

It was actually HyperCard creator Bill Atkinson that gave HyperCard
(originally called WildCard) to Apple on the condition that they would give
it away to users included free with Macintosh computers.

According to Bill, Jobs was actually angry that Atkinson refused to leave
Apple to join Jobs' new company NeXT. Bill wanted to finish HyperCard and
so stayed at Apple. Meanwhile NeXT created Objective C / NeXTstep, AppKit,
etc. (much of which is open source, still available as GNUStep, thanks to
Roger Stallman requiring Jobs to do so to use his GCC compiler). That's
stuff that became the basis for the modern macOS.

In the late 80s the first, and more advanced, clone of HC, SuperCard showed
up, but Apple didn’t sue, they had a working group to standardize HyperTalk
compatible languages (commonly known as xTalk).

Over at Apple HyperCard while financial troubles hit, HC was spun off to a
new subsidiary Claris (now FileMaker Inc.), which re-released HC as
seperate a commercial product, and then HC's popularity started to wane.
Around the same time HC inspired “WebBrowsers” with JavaScript their
Scripting language, came to be. Which further reduced HCs popularity.
Eventually HC was returned to Apple Proper, but hitch was then going to be
used for QuickTime Interactive features of QT 3.0, which didn’t happen due
to a shift towards streaming movies over interactivity.

When Jobs came back to Apple, allegedly Jobs didn’t like HyperCard because
it had “Sculley’s Stink all over it” because Jobs blamed John Sculley for
convincing Atkinson to stay at Apple, and so under Jobs, Apple stopped
supporting HyperCard, leaving it to wither away and die.

HyperCard’s early success popularity was in large part due to it being
freely available and ubiquitous on Macintosh, not in spite of it. Of course
Apple was (and much more so now) a large company that could afford to give
away a product like that to add value to its platform.

I like the idea that in some alternate universe timeline where Apple
successfully made XTalk a widely used standardized language, interactive
pages of information and interactive content is being driven by xTalk
Script rather than HTML/CSS/JavaScript.

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