Microsoft vs Lindows

From: Jerome H. Fine <>
Date: Wed Aug 14 19:43:01 2002

>Stan Barr wrote:

> > Owen Robertson <> said:
> > > on 8/13/02 7:46 PM, Martin Marshall at wrote:
> > > This may be a bit off topic.
> > > I received a forwarded message that originated from They
> > > are in a suit with Microsoft regarding the use of "Lindows,com".
> > > Microsoft is suing Lindows for trademark violation. In the message,
> > > Michael Robertson, with Lindows, is looking for old documentation of the
> > > use of the word "windows" and "windowing" prior to 1983. I can't think
> > > of a better resource than this list to find these references. The
> > > relevant part of the forwarded message is quoted below.
> > I have some old (late seventies/early eighties) computer graphics books that
> > have entire chapters on windows. What about the Lisa. It came out in 1983,
> > but I'm assuming that Apple used the term 'window' to describe it's
> > interface prior to it's actual release. What about TopView? Was it pre 1983?
> > Probably not.
> Byte's Smalltalk issue, August 1981, has a number of articles describing
> windows and windowing in the Smalltalk environment. In fact terms like
> "Browse.Window" etc. are part of the Smalltalk-76 specification.
> I have e-mailed with the details.

Jerome Fine replies:

I sent the following e-mail to


As far as I can remember, the TSX-PLUS Operating System
used a "Windows" concept all during the 1980s. Because there
was no mouse available and only a monochrome character terminal
was available which was used in place of a monitor/keyboard, the
whole concept was completely different than with a monitor and the
current PC hardware. But the term "Window" was used and it went
as far as it could with the available hardware.

Note that I can't remember when the term "Window" was first
introduced, but TSX-PLUS was a mature Operating System by
1985 and the last version was V6.5 released in 1991. As far as
I know, it can still be purchased to run either with a real PDP-11
computer or an emulator which can run PDP-11 code. At one
point I actually sold a few copies of TSX-PLUS to some large
companies and I still use it myself every few years as required
since I still have a valid license.

The "Windows" feature was a key essential part of the TSX-PLUS
Operating System. Since a user could easily and quickly shift from
one window to the next (TSX-PLUS saved the contents of each
"Window"), the need to have multiple terminals was greatly reduced.

Switching from one "Window" to the other only required the user to
use the two character request:
where CTRL/W was the "W" character while the CTRL key was
held down and "n" was a single decimal digit - up to 10 "Windows"
were allowed per job.

Perhaps this is of some help. Currently S&H owns TSX-PLUS.
I remember upgrading a system from V5.1C of TSX-PLUS to
V6.5 of TSX-PLUS. I seem to remember that V5.01 of
RT-11 was being used to boot TSX. V5.01 of RT-11 was
released in 1984. Since the Windows concept was firmly
established, in use and debugged with V5.1C of TSX-PLUS,
That would mean that it would have been in use prior to 1983.
Can anyone here remember when TSX-PLUS started to use
the Windows concept just in case it is relevant to the Windows
vs Lindows situation?

My feeling is that it will be the shear number of Operating Systems
and ways in which the specific "Windows" word was used which
will prove the point in a Trademark case. But, since I never had
studied law, what do I know? But every bit should help.

Sincerely yours,

Jerome Fine
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Received on Wed Aug 14 2002 - 19:43:01 BST

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