Xerox PARC IFS archive

In 2014, the Computer History Museum released the Xerox Alto file server archive, constituting about 15,000 files from the Xerox Alto personal computer including the Alto operating system; BCPL, Mesa, and (portions of the) Smalltalk programming environments; applications such as Bravo, Draw, and the Laurel email client; fonts and printing software (PARC had the first laser printers); and server software (including the IFS file server and the Grapevine distributed mail and name server). I told the story behind that archive here.

Today CHM released the Xerox PARC Interim File System (IFS) archive:

The archive contains nearly 150,000 unique files—around four gigabytes of information—and covers an astonishing landscape: programming languages; graphics; printing and typography; mathematics; networking; databases; file systems; electronic mail; servers; voice; artificial intelligence; hardware design; integrated circuit design tools and simulators; and additions to the Alto archive.

A blog post by David Brock introduces the archive. Access to the archive itself is available here.

I began working on this project in 2018 under an NDA with PARC: reading the old media prepared years earlier by Al Kossow, updating the conversion software I’d written for the earlier Alto project, and winnowing down a list of 300,000 files to the 150,000 files that I submitted to PARC management for approval. David Brock’s post ends with an Acknowledgments section noting all the people at CHM and PARC who contributed.