The Mother of All Demos
The Mother of All Demos is a name given retrospectively to Douglas Engelbart's December 9, 1968, demonstration of experimental computer technologies that are now commonplace. The live demonstration featured the introduction of the computer mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, hypermedia, object addressing and dynamic file linking, bootstrapping, and a collaborative real-time editor.
Engelbart, with the help of his geographically distributed team, demonstrated the workings of the NLS ("oN Line System") to the 1,000 computer professionals in attendance. The project was the result of work done at the Stanford Research Institute's Augmentation Research Center, and the session was presented under the title A research center for augmenting human intellect as part of the Fall Joint Computer Conference at the Convention Center in San Francisco. Bill English is listed as the co-author of the conference paper of the same name and is acknowledged as one of the principal engineers responsible for NLS and the demo.
Apparently coined in 1994, the retrospective name "The Mother of All Demos" references "The Mother of All Battles," a name used by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to describe the 1991 Gulf War; the term "the mother of all" subsequently became a widely used stock phrase or snowclone. The first use of this name for Engelbart's talk is ascribed to journalist Steven Levy in his 1994 book, Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything, where he describes the event as "a calming voice from Mission Control as the truly final frontier whizzed before their eyes. It was the mother of all demos."
Subsequently, Andries van Dam repeated the phrase in a speech at the 1998 Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution Conference, at the opening of Session 3, and the phrase was also cited in John Markoff's 2005 book What the Dormouse Said.
- Tweney, Dylan (12.09.2008). "Dec. 9, 1968: The Mother of All Demos". Wired News. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
- Metz, Cade (11 December 2008). "The Mother of All Demos — 150 years ahead of its time". The Register. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
- English, WK; Engelbart, DC (December 9, 1968), A Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect, "AFIPS Conference Proceedings of the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference", Augment (San Francisco, CA) 33: 395–410, 3954.
- Levy, Steven (1994), Insanely Great, p. 42.
Further reading 
- Bardini, Thierry. Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8047-3871-8
- Engelbart (Feb 2008) , session flyer, Coding paradise.
- "The Demo", MouseSite, Stanford University including streaming video of the demo, background, links, archival reports and papers, etc.
- Engelbart (1968), Demo, Doug Engelbart Institute devoted to the event, including links to video footage, background information, retrospectives, etc.
- Engelbart (1968), Demo – a brief review of What the Dormouse Said followed by an authorized excerpt focused on the Demo.
- Engelbart, D; English, W (1968), "A research center for augmenting human intellect", AFIPS Fall Joint Computer Conference, pp. 295–410.
- The programming languages behind "the mother of all demos", Lambda the ultimate.
- Doug Engelbart Institute – extensive information and resources on Doug and his work.
- Commemorative Events: 30th Anniversary Event, 1998 and 40th Anniversary Event, 2008.
- Englebart's Unfinished Revolution 30th anniversary symposium, Stanford University.
- The Invisible Revolution (documentary) about Doug Engelbart.