NLS (computer system)

NLS (Computer System)

NLS (computer system)

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<!-- Deleted image removed: -->NLS, or the "oN-Line System", was a revolutionary computer collaboration system designed by Douglas Engelbart and implemented by researchers at the Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) during the 1960s. The NLS system was the first to employ the practical use of hypertext links, the mouse (co-invented by Engelbart and colleague Bill English), raster-scan video monitors, information organized by relevance, screen windowing, presentation programs, and other modern computing concepts. It was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force.


Douglas Engelbart developed his concepts while supported by the Air Force from 1959 to 1960, and published a framework in 1962.The strange acronym, NLS (instead of OLS) was an artifact of the evolution of the system. His first computers were not able to support more than one user at a time.First was the CDC 160A in 1963 which had very little programming power of its own.

As a stopgap measure, the team developed a system where off-line users — that is, anyone not sitting at the one terminal available — could still edit their documents by punching a string of commands onto paper tape with a Flexowriter. Once the tape was complete, then the user would feed into the computer the paper tape on which the last document draft had been stored, followed by the new...
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