Andy Hertzfeld

Web 2.0 Conference

Macintosh Folklore
51 minutes, 23.5mb, recorded 2004-10-28
Topics: Apple
Andy Hertzfeld joined the original Macintosh team in February 1981, as the second programmer on the project (Bud Tribble was the first). He wrote much of the original operating system and user interface toolbox in 68000 assembly language. Even after leaving Apple in March 1984, he continued to make major contributions to the Macintosh platform as a third party developer by writing programs like Thunderscan, Switcher and Servant. And fortunately for us, he has a terrific memory.

In June of last year, Hertzfeld started writing down his recollections about the development of the original Macintosh. In January, he published them online at, in time for the Mac's twentieth birthday, using software that he wrote to enable a community of authors to create interlinked anecdotes, classified by topic and characters. He invited other original team members to chime in, and there are now over 115 stories on the site.

Hertzfeld showed to Tim O'Reilly in October 2003, who suggested that O'Reilly publish it in book form. O'Reilly Media is publishing the stories in a beautiful hardbound book titled Revolution in the Valley in December 2004, embellished with lots of pictures and developer notes from Hertzfeld's early days at Apple.

But he knows lots more interesting anecdotes that didn't make it into the book. In fact, some of the better ones are best told in person. Join Andy Hertzfeld for a memorable keynote talk on Macintosh folklore from someone who was there at the very beginning. Not only will you learn how the Mac came to be, but you'll also gain a clearer understanding of the values that underly the platform, which will help clarify the decisions that Apple makes today.

Andy was a principal member of the original Macintosh team, writing much of the original operating system and user interface toolbox for Apple's revolutionary computer. He left Apple in 1984 and has since co-founded three innovative companies: Radius (1986), General Magic (1990) and Eazel (1999). He is passionate about making computers easier and more fun to use, and is convinced that developing and improving free software is the best way to do that.

This session is one of many from the IT Conversations archives of the Mac OS X Conference presented by O'Reilly Media, October 25-28, 2004.

This free podcast is from our Max OS X Conference series.