Interview With Macintosh Godfather, Jeff Raskin

Stanford University has posted a new interview with Jef Raskin, who was the original creator of the Macintosh in that he was the one who came up with the concept of a computer for the people, and who named it Macintosh. According to the excellent resource The Mac Bathroom Reader, it was Mr. Raskin who initially turned Steve Jobs onto the Zerox PARC, and by extension, the Graphical User Interface. Steve Jobs eventually took over the Macintosh project, and Mr. Raskin did not stay with the project much longer. From many interviews, including the one posted at Stanford, it is clear that the Mac would have been different, and according to Raskin, more user friendly, if he had stayed. According to the Stanford University interview:

If you said you were a user interface specialist, you wouldnit have been understood. And certainly in the computer industry, it was a totally unknown concept: you just didnit worry about that. The idea of building a whole computer system starting with the user interface and working from there was completely alien, at least in the personal computer industry.

It was supposed to be a $400 game machine. I told him I had no interest in working on a game machine, which is an indication of my general orientation to the industry: just because it will sell and make money doesnit mean Iim interested in working on it. I think there are higher goals. But I counter proposed, and said, "Well, Iive been thinking about something I call Macintosh." It would give all the power of the computer, but with greater ease of use.

I started out with people I knew from publications and QA departments Iid started. I hired Mark Lebrun from outside; that didnit work out too well, he left after a while, but weire still friends. I hired Brian Howard, my musical friend. Brian and I had shared apartments, and played gigs-- weddings and birthday parties and every other kind of gig-- and we had been poor living in a rented apartment in Palo Alto, and cooking up rabbits from the Biology Department...

You can read the full interview at the Stanford University Web site.