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X > XEROX  > 6085   


The Xerox 6085 was the successor of the revolutionary Xerox Star, first commercial computer to use a graphical user interface (GUI) with the familiar desktop, icons and a mouse.

The 6085 series was offered in models for network, remote (linked by Ethernet) and stand alone operation. The main unit was founded upon Xerox's Mesa 8 MHz processor which had 256 auxiliary registers and executed 48-bit-wide instructions. It also used an 80186 as an auxiliary processor.

The basic system came with 1.1 MB of memory, expandable up to 3.7 MB, a 10 to 80 MB hard disk drive, two serial ports and a 15-inch high-resolution monochrome display. An optional card allowed the 6085 to run MS-DOS software.

The operating system and GUI interface was called ViewPoint. It also came from the Star. It was written in a language developed at Xerox PARC in the 1970's and also called Mesa. This strongly-typed and structured high-level language, would have a large influence on future well known languages like Pascal or C.

Two improved versions were launched afterwards, the 6085-II with an almost twice as fast processor, and the XPIW (Xerox Publishing Illustrator's Workstation), basically a 6085 workstation with a scanner.
Sadly, like the Alto, the 6085 didn't meet a large success in spite of numerous vanguard concepts, mainly because the Xerox marketing policy was, at the time, above all directed towards copiers rather than computers.


David Lowy was part of the field technical and marketing support team:
There were four peripherals available for the 6085. A Tape Drive for backup (using a cartridge). A Xerox 4045 Laser Printer/Copier (When sold together, it was called a Documenter). A Xerox 7650 flatbed scanner. And lastly a PC Option card that added a 386 class processor along with MS DOS to enable running MS-DOS applications.

About the sound capabilities, Edward T. Weeden specifies:
I was part of the original team working on the release of the Xerox 6085 PCS (Professional Computer System). I was scanning your description of it and noted that you do not know if it was sound-capable. It was. As a matter of fact, I programmed many tunes and sounds for it in the Xerox proprietary programming language called CUSP. This thing would play sound in sequence. For example, if you were doing something which took up buffer/time, you could click on the bell icon on your desktop and the bell sound (whatever tune you had in the icon properties) would sound in sequence, after the other stuff was done!...

Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners from anywhere in the world (Europe, America, Asia, etc.).


I ran a computer center in the 80s $ 90s when I had Xerox sales reps visit me quite often. I pleaded with them in 1985-86 to get management to push their computers as they were the best at that time. Alas, all they wanted was to sell copiers. What a missed opportunity.

Friday 28th October 2022
Dan C (United States)

This is a real trip down memory lane for me. I acquired one of these ''brown beasts'' in the 90s. Sadly I didn''t know how to do a ''factory reset'' and it went in the skip. It was very nice while it lasted, it was decades ahead of its time. If only someone had made an effort to sell it and a certain Mr Gates not visited Palo Alto, the story would have been so different!

Monday 23rd November 2020
Col Blake (UK)

Nowhere hve I seen any mention of the 6085 ''s backward compatibility with the STAR system nor the ability to near instantly interact with systems around the world.

There was a little network game called Maze Wars. You put your player into a maze and searched for other players navigating with the arrow keys. When you spotted someone you shot them by depressing the space bar and gained points for a kill. (the killed player was reincarnated at a random place in the maze.

The players of the game could be located anywhere in the world!

Wednesday 30th October 2019
Robert Stackk


NAME  6085
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  1985
KEYBOARD  95 key Typewriter style with 20 funtion keys and numeric keypad
CPU  Xerox Mesa
RAM  1.1 MB up to 3.7 MB
VRAM  Unknown
ROM  Unknown
TEXT MODES  Bit-map characters
GRAPHIC MODES  880 x 697 dots
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  Yes, see below
SIZE / WEIGHT  Unknown
I/O PORTS  2 serial ports
BUILT IN MEDIA  5.25 floppy drive, 10 to 80 MB HDD
OS  Xerox ViewPoint
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PRICE  From $4995

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