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Location: GUIs > Xerox > Three Rivers / ICL Perq

In July 1980 the Perq was publicly demonstrated at an annual conference on computer graphics called SIGGRAPH.

A number of graphical demonstrations were created while the Perq was in development.. These included a simulated office automation environment that used multiple windows, some rapid movements of information to demonstrate the graphics power of the system, and the use of an editor and fonts..

The original Perq was followed by the Perq 2. This enhanced version included:

  • 1 to 2 megabytes of RAM.
  • The option of either the portrait monitor or a landscape monitor that could display a resolution of 1280*1024.
  • The option of a "Kriz" mouse or the Summagraphics tablet
  • A smaller 8" hard drive instead of the 17" hard drive. Later models used 5.25" hard drives.
Additionally the marketing focus changed to focus more on its use as a scientific workstation.

The Perq and Unix:

There were several versions of Unix ported to the Perq. The first was Accent Unix. Accent ran on the Perq using its native Q-code instruction set and could run both Accent and POS applications.

Interesting Trivia: The Accent kernel was the predecessor to the Mach kernel. The Mach kernel is probably most famous today as being the basis for the kernel used in MacOS X.

The more popular version of Unix for the Perq was PNX. (another unfortunate sounding name). It used a custom microcode instruction that was more conducive to running applications compiled in C and as a result ran much faster than Accent.

The PNX Windowing system, its editor "Spy", a clock application, and its window manager. .

Several more applications running under PNX including a Sphere demo and "nroff", a Unix type setter.

Another image of various demo applications running under PNX.