The infamous QuickDraw region patent

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. Using Google's new patent search service, here
    <http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT4622545&id=rRU1AAAAEBAJ> is what I
    believe (it can be a bit hard to decipher the thick legalese) to be the
    QuickDraw "region" concept invented by Bill Atkinson at Apple. He was one
    of the group that Steve Jobs took to Xerox to see their pioneering work
    with mice, windows, WYSIWYG and stuff in 1979. Their demo showed
    overlapping windows, but in fact they hadn't solved the problem of how to
    update nonrectangular areas that could be revealed when the windows were
    moved.

    Atkinson didn't know this. He went home and thought about it, and came up
    with the "region" concept described in this patent. It was elegantly
    simple, and was very compact and efficient when dealing with approximately
    rectangular regions of arbitrary size, and even ones with arbitrary-sized
    holes in them. This was a key part of the "secret sauce" that allowed the
    early Macintosh to do graphics at interactive speeds on a processor that
    ran at a nominal 8 MHz with no hardware acceleration at all. The QuickDraw
    graphics engine could do oval shapes and rectangles with rounded corners,
    and windows with offset shadows--all things which greatly slowed down
    competing systems, if they could do them at all.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 24, 2006
    #1
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  2. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Phil Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote, On 24/12/06 9.13 p:
    > Atkinson didn't know this. He went home and thought about it, and came up
    > with the "region" concept described in this patent. It was elegantly
    > simple, and was very compact and efficient when dealing with approximately
    > rectangular regions of arbitrary size, and even ones with arbitrary-sized
    > holes in them. This was a key part of the "secret sauce" that allowed the
    > early Macintosh to do graphics at interactive speeds on a processor that
    > ran at a nominal 8 MHz with no hardware acceleration at all. The QuickDraw
    > graphics engine could do oval shapes and rectangles with rounded corners,
    > and windows with offset shadows--all things which greatly slowed down
    > competing systems, if they could do them at all.


    There's a good account of the story, as told by Andy Hertzfled (another
    guy on the Macintosh team), up at:
    <http://folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=I_Still_Remember_Regions.txt>

    -Phil
     
    Phil, Dec 24, 2006
    #2
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