Some time before 1989, Apple Computer, Inc.
started a lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard
, claiming they had breeched Apple's copyright
on the look and feel
of the Macintosh user interface
. In December 1989, Xerox
failed to sue Apple Computer, claiming that the software for Apple's Lisa
computer and Macintosh Finder
, both copyrighted in 1987, were derived from two Xerox
, developed in the mid-1970s and Star
, copyrighted in 1981.
Apple wanted to stop people from writing any program that worked even vaguely like a Macintosh
. If such look and feel
lawsuits succeed they could put an end to free software
that could substitute for commercial software.
In the weeks after the suit was filed, Usenet
reverberated with condemnation for Apple. GNU
supporters Richard Stallman
, John Gilmore
, and Paul Rubin decided to take action against Apple. Apple's reputation as a force for progress came from having made better computers; but The League for Programming Freedom
believed that Apple wanted to make all non-Apple computers worse. They therefore campaigned to discourage people from using Apple products or working for Apple or any other company threatening similar obstructionist tactics (e.g. Lotus
Because of this boycott the Free Software Foundation
for a long time didn't support Macintosh Unix
in their software. In 1995, the LPF and the FSF decided to end the boycott.
[Dates? Other events? Why did Xerox's case against Apple fail?]