Jacob Goldman, Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre Founder, Dies Aged 90

Jacob Goldman, founder of the famous Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC) where the first commercial graphical user interface was produced, has died this week, aged 90.

In his role at Xerox, Goldman pushed for the creation of a state-of-the-art research and development centre on the West Coast of the continental US - a proposal initially rejected by the board.

John Bardeen, the man responsible for poaching Goldman from Ford, backed the idea, however, and the Palo Alto Research Centre, or PARC, was born.

The project's most famous output was a personal computer featuring a mouse-driven graphical user interface - the first such commercial outing for the concept. Sadly, Xerox would fail to capitalise on the idea.

Instead, it would invite Apple's Steve Jobs to tour the facility, during which key features of the GUI-based computer system were revealed - directly leading, it is generally accepted, to the invention of the Apple Lisa.

During legal tussles between Microsoft and Apple, with the latter accusing the former of basing the Windows operating system on the Lisa's successor product the Apple Macintosh, a key point of the defence would rest on the technology for a GUI-based operating system having been developed at PARC first.

According to the New York Times, Goldman died on Tuesday in Westport, Connecticut of congestive heart failure, aged 90. He is survived by his wife Rhoda Miller Goldman, children Mevin, Edit and Beth, stepsons Shalom, Ari and Dov, his sister Judy Crystal, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.