History of the graphical user interface

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The graphical user interface, understood as the use of graphic icons and a pointing device to control a computer, has a four decade history of incremental refinements built on some constant core principles. Several vendors have created their own windowing systems based on independent code, but with basic elements in common that define the WIMP paradigm. There have been important technological achievements, and enhancements to the general interaction were given in small steps over previous systems. There have been a few significant breakthroughs in terms of use, but the same organizational metaphors and interaction idioms are still in use. Although many GUI Operating Systems are operated by using a mouse, the keyboard can also be used by using keyboard shortcuts or arrow keys.

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