The PERQ, also referred to as the Three Rivers PERQ or ICL PERQ, was a pioneering workstation computer produced in the early 1980s.
The workstation was conceived by six former Carnegie Mellon University alumni and employees, Brian Rosen, Jim Teter, Bill Broadley, Stan Kriz, Raj Reddy and Paul Newbury, who formed the startup Three Rivers Computer Corporation (3RCC) in 1974. Brian Rosen also worked at Xerox PARC on the Dolphin workstation. The PERQ design was influenced by the original workstation computer, the Xerox Alto. It was the first commercially produced personal workstation, a prototype PERQ being shown at the 1979SIGGRAPH conference. The origin of the name “PERQ” is from the word perquisite.
This is a promotional video for Minneapolis, MN based Intran company and its Metaform software system, a highly innovative interactive document and graphics platform that first appeared in the early 1980s on the PERQ workstation. Metaform and its associated products used a unique interface that one could argue has not been equaled today. Metaform was launched before the Lisa, Macintosh or many other computing systems that used a bit-mapped graphic screen and mouse. In fact Metaform and the PERQ workstation is a bridge between the innovative environments developed by Xerox on the Alto computer and the coming of consumer machines with graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
ICL’s PERQ Brochure
Intran Metaform was probably the biggest application for the Perq. Intran Metaform was a suite of applications that included
- Form Builder – a graphical application for designing and printing forms.
- Font Builder – used to customize fonts.
- Graphics Builder – a drawing program with many advanced features.
These were used in conjunction with laser printers to generate high quality output.
PERQemu: A PERQ 1 emulator