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A brief history of Taligent

When Taligent was founded in early 1992, Apple and IBM had already committed substantial resources to the exploration of object-oriented programming (OOP) as the basis for a new generation of applications. At Apple, this commitment went at least as far back as the early 1980s and the Lisa® Toolkit. Other object-oriented projects included the Object Pascal programming language, the MacApp® application framework, and (in spirit, if not in detail) the HyperCard® "software construction kit."

After furious internal debates in the late 1980s, a new project, code-named "Pink," emerged. It was called Pink because, at a meeting in 1988, key Apple engineers and managers settled on a direction for the company by jotting down ideas on index cards and pinning the cards to the wall in two groups: blue cards, representing technologies that could be supported as extensions to the current system software for Macintosh" computers, and pink cards, representing technologies for a future dream system. The technologies listed on the blue cards eventually formed the core of System 7, Apple's current system software. The pink cards listed precursors of Taligent's object-oriented system software.

IBM's involvement with objects also extended back to the early 1980s and a series of pioneering projects that were incorporated into software for System/38(tm) and eventually the AS/400®, one of IBM's most important hardware platforms. Projects in the late 1980s included work with the object-oriented programming language Smalltalk, joint research with the company Metaphor/Patriot Partners, and cross-platform standards like the System Object Model (SOM) and Distributed System Object Model (DSOM).

Apple and IBM joined forces to form Taligent because they shared an interest in catalyzing the development of a new generation of applications, based on object-oriented technology, that would work the same way across an entire organization, regardless of the underlying hardware platforms. In early 1994 Hewlett-Packard decided that it could also benefit from this approach and became Taligent's third major investor and partner.

Hewlett-Packard had also undertaken pioneering work in object-oriented technology throughout the 1980s. This included the development of the NewWave® operating environment and user interface; cofounding the Object Management Group, an important standards organization for the industry; early adoption of C++ for use with the SoftBench(tm) development environment; and, by the 1990s, the release of HP® Distributed Smalltalk. As it also does for Apple and IBM, the Taligent® approach fits naturally with Hewlett-Packard's goals in terms of both technology and marketing.

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Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Copyright©1995 by Sean Cotter and Taligent,Inc. All rights reserved.