Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

GEM released under the GPL 135

acb writes "Remember GEM, Digital Research's Mac-clone GUI, seen on old PCs and Ataris? Well, Caldera have now released the source code under the GPL. Should be interesting, from a retrocomputing point of view. " Someone fire up my ST. Oh wait-I don't have one.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

GEM released under the GPL

Comments Filter:
  • *sigh* I hand you guys a perfectly good description and you turn around and hose it. Jeeze. :)

    Yes, GEM would be good for some kind of VERY thin client box. Would be kind of interesting to combine an updated GEM with a single disk Linux distribution. Would be great for doing special diag or management work from a single bootable disk. Hmm...

    Gene Buckle
    The guy who fought to get GEM GPL'd. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Porting GEM to a Linux-like environment has been done several times, first by Atari when they released MultiTOS. There are also two free AES'es out there (XaAES, oAESis) that should be rather easy to port to Linux. In fact, some swedes are writing a AES and a VDI for Linux right now. I can't remember the URL off-hand, but try searching for oAESis or oVDIsis, or look for a link at

    There's also some info about N.AES at

    Jo Even Skarstein
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Milan Computer ( of Germany own TOS. They currently make Atari ST clones that use '040 or '060, PCI, IDE, etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Because 'this guy' kicked and screamed to get it released after Caldera closed their European Development Center and all hope of ever seeing a new commercial release of GEM dried up. I've been sitting on the GEM sources for nearly three years waiting for this to happen. I've got the ViewMAX code set for release as well, but I need to finish putting the GPL notices in.

    Gene Buckle
  • Anyone have any screenshots of this beast? I don't think I've ever seen GEM in the wild...

    Alex Bischoff

  • IIRC, DR DOS [] (didn't that used to be called OpenDOS?) is not GPL'd. However, FreeDOS [] is an effort to produce a GPL'd DOS.

    Alex Bischoff

  • I don't suppose that GEM could be ported to Palm Connected Organizers []? Are the hardware requirements even close?

    Alex Bischoff

  • Also, thanks for your efforts with OpenDos (pitty your bosses wouldn't listen then).

    I remember you from the OpenDos mailing list on DJ Delorie's server. For me, those were the days. Oh the heady excitement, a free(ish) open source dos! Still got od701 on a cdrom.

  • Didn't they change the name back to DR-DOS? I seem to recall that they decided they wanted the brand recognition.
  • Yup! I remember when I saw the machine in a computer show in France at around the same time... Gee, I only was a kid, but sure I wanted the machine real bad!!!! it was the PC 1512 if I remember well... it even had a mouse 8-)

    My first computer was a CPC 464, and I think I already had the 6128 by the time, but gee, wasn't the 1512 a great computer ;))))


  • I have few fond memories of the ST (mine was an ST520 with the memory bumped up to a whopping 1 MB). It was good for MIDI sequencing, but for now-commonplace stuff like sample editing (I used Sound Designer II), the results were often goofily hit-and-miss, as SDII just wore the hell out of that 68K CPU -- plus you could go take a cigarette or coffee break while it did the processing on "large" files, and still have to wait a little longer. Good riddance to that!


  • Ik own both an Atari ST and an Amiga 1000. both are gems of my collection. (Although I have always been more of an Amiga fan),
  • (the old RatBastard runs for cover whilst slipping on his fireproof underpants).... :)
  • The New Deal OS is based on GEOS and runs on IBM compatible PCs, even old 286s.

    A friend of mine used to run GEOS (Geoworks? I can't remember the name...) on his 286 because it didn't have enough RAM to run Windows 3.1 properly. It was very cool; much nicer appearance and integration than Windows, and it ran fast with 1 MB RAM.


  • I'd bet Alan has something else in his mind. Atleast there's a merge of the bogl library (Ben Pfaff's simple graphics library created for the graphical Debian installer) and mini-x (sic) floating around at Mini-x is the windowing system used on Minix. Some of his comments in the diary talk about this too.
  • Until this thread, I'd felt old twice in my life:

    1) I used a "buy pizza or records" example in an econ help room. I paused, then asked, "you've probably never seen a record, have you?" ANd got a strange look, and "Just how old *are* you?"

    2) I passed afamily moving in with two teenage sweet young things, and my instinctive reaction was, "I wonder if they baby sit?"

    Now, even the folks that want to dig back farther (the Atari 800) are talking about machines after my time :(

    What makes me wistful are the old machines you could build, or build copies of. Apples before they fixed the purple text (rev 7). ANything wire-wrapped. HUngering for that 16k memory kit, with no idea what you'd do with it. Jealousy of those rich folks who could afford floppy drives.

    But most of all, you could really understand the entire system, rather than pieces of it.

  • Hardly. It was just properly engineered for it's target: cheap and fast. There were certainly things that it could have done better. However, most of those were of less general purpose use. It got the job done and the fact that it could be burned into ROM was quite handy.

    No system disks to currupt & no need to boot a system disk that might have a virus on it.

    The system to really bash the ST with would be the Amiga. At least it was in the same price universe.

    Sitting down in front of a Mac or PC didn't make me wish I had gotten something else, sitting down in front of an Amiga did.
  • Pester some ST programmer for one. GEM browsers certainly do exist.
  • Just wrap the VDI around X or SvgaLib or whatever graphics primitives you want. GEM is quite modular actually. You'll also have to deal with DOS level services of course.
  • ...and another thing: GEM/VDI is quite capable of dealing with modern resolutions and colordepths even if the hardware it originally ran on did not.

  • You know what's sad?

    1. Geos for the PC is still around--I saw Freedom Desktop recently uns great on little memory, has a full suite of applications...

    2. Geos for the PC/PDAs uses Motif. :^)
  • Erm...I suppose that's why Apple sued DR for using the smiley, a direct copy from the MacOS.
  • GUI CrUD [] is site created for people who want to use GNU/GPL stuff to create a GUI that functions similar to existing GUI's. This might be usefull in situations where you want to use Linux, but would have to retrain your staff, or your family in order to use it. Just set it up to look work just like a Mac, or whatever, and they don't have to deal with too much change....

    I kept hearing people talk about it, and ideas floating around. Someone asked me for some webspace for it, I slaped the pages together, and stuck them up.

    Unfortunately, I personally don't want to lead any of these projects, I only offered the site space, and some server side stuff (mailing list setup/mantainance, etc...). And, so far only about a dozen people have showed any interest, so there isn't much to do or talk about yet. If anyone wants to work on it, let me know, I'd be happy to give ya some space, or just the list of names I have so far....

  • I remember Instant Artist, one of the few DOS programmes that would handle PostScript correctly, and damn was it easy to use. But I believe Autodesk ditched it and some other company took it and released it as Print Artist for Windoze, and that's what it is being sold as now.
  • Here's the $64K question: could this be easily adapted to be an XWindows alternative for low-end systems? If GTK were ported to it, you could probably get most of the apps you want.

    Of course, I know SO little about GEM it's pathetic. Can someone more knowledgable comment?
  • AFAIK, TOS is a version of CP/M 68k (the 68000 port of CP/M), licensed from DRI and rebadged to exalt then Atari CEO Jack Tramiel's ego. Therefore large chunks of it would belong to Caldera.

    Mind you, Caldera aren't as liberal with CP/M and variants as they are with GEM, as CP/M still may have market value (as a low-end embedded micro-OS).
  • my very first pc was a cheapo 8086 Amstrad with (only) dual 360k floppies.

    It took 4 floppies to boot into the GEM environment (which was essentially useless anyway without a hard drive).

    I quickly learned about batch files, which enabled me to get rid of the prompts to load the final 3 diskettes. (you mean I don't HAVE to load GEM?).

    The 3 disk GEM exercise was nothing to trying to compile a QuickBasic program for my first programming course. (insert disk 2, remove, insert disk 3, removed, insert disk 6, removed, insert disk 9, remove, insert disk 1, after 5 minutes of swapping diskettes.....hello world!).

    And I thought I'd heard the last of GEM....

    When billg claims "GEM is dead", we'll know it's back :-)
  • While i never ran geoworks, i think GEM has a whole lot to offer. I remember running GEM & Ventura on an 8086 machine! I had a VERY full fledged desktop Publishing system! Not wordprocessing, that was FAST, on an 8086 machine! To even come close to that functionality now, i need a pentium class machine, >32MB of Ram, and several Gigs of hard drive space! Have we really made progress?
  • Hear! Hear! I also used Ventura 1.0! I justrecently bought, at a used SW store the, the Ventura 3.0, the last version under GEM for DOS!
    zI think it still has the most bang for the buck!!!

    What happened to program develoment! Shouldn't we have had more functionality/performance? did windows and M$ do this to us?

  • FOr all the advantages that we now have, i can't help but kind of wonder if things might have been different if GEM had prevailed instead of Windows? When GEM emerged, as someone else mentioned as a way to have a Mac environment on the PC for those of us who couldn't afford a Mac, it was pretty amazing. Granted there were few applications but the ones that were there, coupled with Ventura, all this running on a 8086 machine!

    I guess i'm getting nostalgic, a sure sign of getting old, but i can't help but fondly look back to that time when memory was expensive and programs, seemingly, had to be better crafted. Wouldn't it be nice to be running the types of applicatiosn we have now, with the performance that was available then?

    My 2 cents, FWIW!

  • Actually, when i was at TI, since we were an early GEm/Ventura adopter, i had received a beta copy of GEM that did pseudo-multitasking. Albeit it was actually more of a context-switching system, that ran under regular MS-DOS.


  • No. No no no.

    Apple's Macintosh GUI was based on the GUI they developed for the Lisa. The Lisa was released in January 1983, and showed a much stronger Xerox PARC influence than the Mac GUI did (it didn't feel like it was "hiding" the computer from you the way the Mac Finder did, looked more Smalltalk-ish, and interestingly, did cooperative multitasking, something the Mac didn't get for several years after its release). The Macintosh was released a year later in January 1984.

    In no way were either the Lisa or the Mac interfaces a derivative of GEM, whose first version was released in March 1985; the first retail PC version wasn't out until September of that year. In fact, Apple sued Digital Research for copying the Macintosh interface, which is why later versions of the GEM Desktop were "downgraded" to have fixed windows and lost the trashcan icon. (This showed up in later versions as the "ViewMax" shell in DR-DOS 5 and 6.)

    Sources for this information, with dates, are pretty easy to find. The GEM information comes from the "gemnotes.txt" file available on the site the source code is at; the Lisa information comes from
  • by spitzak ( 4019 )
    Get Sun to release NeWS! Now that would be a great thing to have. It would be nice to get both the original Gosling code and the somewhat broken version which had X11 compatability.
  • GEM did have some aspects that indicated that certified morons were at least partially responsible for it's design.

    Best example is that they detected double clicks by waiting until the time has passed before sending a "single click" or a "double click" event to the application. This of course meant the system had a built-in delay in responding to any clicks. As an exercise to the reader, try to figure out a better interface (you have 12 seconds to answer).

  • I wonder, why is GEM being released from this guy first and not from Caldera themselves? I know Caldera planned on releaseing GEM quite some time ago, but GPL was certainly not something I'd expected.

    On another note, does anyone know about GEM-32 (or whatever the proper name for it is)? I remember reading about it on the OpenDOS mailling lists, but that was a while back. Are there still plans to develop such a product?

    And please tell me there is a lightweight web browser available. I mean, an operating system just isn't complete without one!
  • A/UX (apple's 68k un*x)... at the very least, having that code out there to look at would be a great benefit to all the maclinux/macbsd coders out there...
  • Hehe. I see the trashcan has been named Amiga. I guess after all these years some ST owners can still be mad. I'd kind of picture it like this now. The Amiga and the ST would be like two old men sitting on the front porch fighting over a checker game.

    Well at least the ST did the way a computer should, in the market place. Not hung up by it's own parent company and strangled due mis-management and stupidity.

  • I know a guy with i think 64MB of ram in his c64
    and a couple of gb's of disk space. is his page iirc.
  • I still use it on my Pentium notebook. It's small, fast, sophisticated (it's multithreaded, object-oriented, has virtual memory, long filenames, is compact, you name it) and does exactly what I want it to. It comes with an excellent DTP package supporting outline fonts (rotatable and scalable), bitmap graphics (ditto), vector graphics (ditto), text frames (ditto), paragraph styling, tight wrapping of text around objects, and is blazingly fast... the entire program's 80kB. That's good programming. And this all runs in real mode, no 32-bit code in sight. I've never seen it use more than 4MB of memory, ever...

    Go to New Deal []'s home page for screenshots and a shareware downloadable version (fully working, but you only get one app --- the awsome DTP package mentioned above).
  • If you want to try it out without copying 300kB of data onto each of five floppies, which the original GEM installer requires, you can try my highly unofficial installer package which you can find at my GEM page [].

    This currently has a silly little bug which prevents it from running of MSDOS machines, only DRDOS ones (it's that = vs == thing in the batch language), which I will fix ASAP.

    You may also find the source interesting if you like hairy batch files.

    GEM is scarily fast on my P90...
  • Somewhereabouts I still have an annotated source listing of GEOS, a similar windowing system on the Commodore 64. Now, those were the days; writing apps in assembler and working out how to overlay them so you could fit everything in 38k. I never bought the mouse, though; I used the joystick like most users.

    Ladbrokes, the bookmakers in the UK, used to use Vic 20's for settling bets; we still have a few gathering dust in some shops. The new system works on windows. This is progress? If the Vic had developed at the same rate as PC's have, we'd all have 100MHz 6502's with maybe half a meg of RAM, and that'd still be enough...

  • The Palm's Dragonball processors are in the 68020 family. The Atari STs used its brothers, so a Palm port of GEM can probably be done. However, the rest of the hardware design was probably very different, so how hard this would be may depend on how well the code is organized on the device driver front.

    And most existing GEM apps would be a bit awkward in 160x160. But that never stopped anyone.

    And unlike the Linux distro for the Palm, GEM should be small enough to fit on a stock Palm Professional, to say nothing of the later models.
  • GEM is cross-platform. GEM runs fine on a 286 with 512K RAM, not to mention a plain old 68000.

    Hey! I know what would be great: a DOS palmtop with Hercules graphics support and IrDA running the DOS GEM version of Ventura Publisher. You could turn it into a handheld print shop and beam PostScript output to IR-capable printers and PCs.
  • I've not ever seen a GEMwm nor GEM theme. As far as I can tell, it's one of the few popular GUI environments that have never been cloned under a wm.
  • Who holds the copyright to TOS these days? JTS, Hasbro? It would be great if that was freed too.
  • I use to play civilization on my fathers old ST ;-). And it only had 2 megabytes of ram. It always worked.

    I still from time to time play ST Civ on my Linux box, running STonX, the ST emulator. Civ runs perfectly.

  • Or GEM is 796x faster than W2K since it has that much less code. ;-)
  • Is Defender of the Crown the one they also had for the Amiga with the Gorgous Graphics.
    I remember the scene with the Knight and Lady siloweted(spelling) in front of the fireplace...for the time, some of the best computer graphics I had ever seen!
  • Gary Kildall [] would approve.

  • by Some guy named Chris ( 9720 ) on Thursday April 22, 1999 @09:01AM (#1921234) Journal
    Now, I don't care one way or another about GEM, but maybe this is the start of companies releasing old, obsolete source code into the world, so that it isn't lost.

    Once a piece of software clearly has no commercial future, the source should be given away, be it public domain, GPL, BSD license, whatever.

    It's just wasteful how much code will be lost, never to see the light of day.
  • by vr ( 9777 )
    Damn. this actually brought a tear to my eye.. :)
    My first computer was an Atari ST. Oh how I loved it. I should never have sold it..

    I remember the day my dad bought it to me.. it had only a single sided disk drive (one of ataris mistakes) and no games whatsoever. Only a demo of a bouncing 3D ball.
    But! It came with a programminglanguage.
    Many evenings were spent drawing circles and boxes.

    Finally I got some games.. Microprose Soccer was my favourite. Anyone remember Defender of the Crown?

    aaahh.. those were the days :-)

  • by vr ( 9777 )
    Yes it did. And it was great! :-)
    Well.. it may not have been that good, but I'd like to rember it that way.. :'-)
  • "Just promise me one thing, let's never resurrect GEOS as a window manager!"

    IIRC it was ported to the PC... :-)

    In fact, if the oldies - desQview and GEOS too - are released as GPL, there would be a certain peer pressure so that Micros~1 might feel compelled to release Windows 3.1 in the same manner.

    (As if...) :-)
  • The IC socket problem was nothing a quick drop onto a hard surface wouldn't fix :-) A friend of mine picked up an old MegaST a few months back, which promptly died. The guy who sold it to him told him to do the ever-reliable "drop it to reseat the chips" trick, and it's worked just fine ever since.

    I liked my old ST, but I still find it difficult to believe that I paid 100 quid back in 1987 or so to get it upgraded from 512K to 1Mb and thought I was getting a deal at the time.

  • Don't get me wrong. Not only did I love my Atari 1040ST, I even still have it! But it only took me a year and a half to realize what a truly feeble rip-off of the Mac GEM was. I mean, come on. It combined the most trivial parts of the Mac's GUI with the most annoying aspects of MS-DOS (I know, it's really CP/M that's to blame for that). I could go on for hours about the ways Finder+MacOS was/is better than GEM+CP/M.

    The single greatest thing about the Atari ST was that it could boot in 1 second, and that has nothing to do with GEM. In fact, most of what made the ST great was its hardware, and had nothing to do with GEM. GEM was never more than a third-rate GUI.

    As near as I can tell, there's not one single thing in GEM that even Macs of the same time didn't do better, albeit a little slower (they were clocked at 7.1 MHz, vs. 8 MHz). Let's not even get started talking about X-Windows. Even (shudder) Windows 3.0 was better in many ways (worse in others).

    Yes, I loved my Atari ST. But I am truly glad that I saw the light and never have to go back to GEM again.
  • As far as I know, nothing you said is true. If you can provide references to back up your statements, I might believe you. Frankly, though, I doubt you can substantiate anything you said.

  • The Mac Classic (c1989) had MacOS in ROM, too, 6.0.1 IIRC. Not that I ever tried to use it, but it's cute that it was in there.

    Putting TOS in ROM was an incredibly STUPID move on Atari's part. It meant that I had to live with all the bugs of TOS 1.0 for YEARS (can you say "40 folder limit"?) while MacOS updates came along every few months. When a newer OS finally did come out, it cost $100 and needed factory authorized installation!

    For the same money, the Amiga was a MUCH better computer. It's the machine that the ST should have been.

    Finally, when I got my 1040ST, I paid around $1500 for a system with two floppies and a color monitor. For the same price, I probably could have found a used Mac Plus (they were $2500 new). At the time, I thought I was getting a great deal. I was wrong. A computer is only as good as the software you can run on it, and the ST never had software as good as what you could get on the Mac. I should know, I used both.

    Much as I wanted my ST to be a beautiful swan, it was never anything but an ugly duckling.
  • by RinkRat ( 15800 ) on Thursday April 22, 1999 @08:34AM (#1921243)
    Gah! My beloved GEM! Why do you taunt me so? I hung with you 'till the bitter end! All I have now is my ST monitor, hooked up to my Jaguar.

    No! I can't! I left you for a reason! I'm in a new relationship now and I'm very happy. She's GPLed also and... I know... No, I had a good time with you... No! You're not ugly! It's just... I thought you were dead! I waited! Long, bitter years! I learned German just to be able to run more software for you! Damn you! I went to hell and back defending you from those Commodore Zealots and what did you do for me??? Nothing! Nothing!

    So finally, I had to move on. Everything was great. And now... (sobs) you've come back here begging me to take you back. Claiming you're GPLed... Get out! No, please... (sobs) ...please, leave. (breaks down crying)

  • You ask whether Windows and M$ did this; 'fraid so. That's what the fuss is about. Call it intellectual cancer, maybe?
  • The Amiga 1000 was, too. I thought both were good; I wasn't a screaming brat partisan. Btw, the Amiga was Latin-1 compatible, 'way back in early 1986! I wondered why my dealer recommended the printer they did (a Seikosha MP-1300AI, similar to an Epson JX-80, iirc). It had the Latin-1 char. set, back in 1986! Think I'll keep it for a second Linux printer. Interesting beast; downloadable char set (but no software to do that).
  • I cut my teeth on a one-of-kind all-discrete machine built with germanium PNP transistors in TO-5 cans. It had a 19-bit word length, was programmed in absolute base-32 (duotricenary), had 4K of core (not enough), and backup program storage was head-per-track mag. drum. Had no OS at all. Console typewriter was a Flexowriter (before Teletypes became commonplace). Had a maint. console that was a hacker's paradise: Every FF in the machine (except for the mem. address reg.) had its own lighted pushbutton. Floor space was maybe 400 sq. ft.
    Next door was a Philco 2000, which had a rather-disgusting instruction set; 48-bit words.
  • I wish this had happened a year or more ago. I spent a whole summer trying to write an interface to a UV-vis spectrophotometer that's native platform was GEM...
    On another note, none of this would have been necessary if Perkin Elmer had released their old crappy source code in the first place anyway.
    Alas, when they stopped supporting the Lambda6 the software, docs, specs, and everything were lost in a corporate downsizing...
  • Re: Tracker programs.. have you played with Voodootracker under Gnome/GTK? Seems pretty nice so far.. (I haven't tested it heavily yet).

    Find linked from Freshmeat, I think.. there are a few midi sequencers too, including a rudimentary midi+audio one in a Cubase stylee, called Jazz..

    Until we get some kind of unified audio and midi architecture (with routing a la OMS etc), this kind of thing will always be tricky, mind you.

    Personally, I use DAP as a sample ed under leenux right now, and Terminator-X is lot of fun. Do you know of an SMIDI dumper so I can do digital dumps down to my lil Akai sampler?

    Considering trying out Freebirth.. I don't think I could rig Rebirth 2.xx (which I love to death- why don't the props look at a linux port? :) to work properly under Wine..

    Anyway, I prefer using the sequencer on my mc505 to drive everything- no sync probs there :) However, an SMIDI dumper and a decent patch librarian would be nice..

  • Very nice Caldera! I like you!
  • I had one of those too! The Amstrad 1640 with EGA.
    It's still alive to, but the harddrive is dead... :-(
  • Hey! I still have my Ventura 1.0 floppies! And the 12lb book that explained how to use it.

    The future is looking bright.
  • I have an ST 4Meg with the following: - 2 monitors, one color the other hi-res Mono - Switch for changing monitors - Mouse - Keyboard - Externel SCSI hardrive 10 or 20Mb - Software, books, etc. You pay the shipping costs and it's yours absolutely free (AS IS). It is in full working order. Due to the age of the software diskettes, I don't know if all of them work or not. You would be on your own to salvage what you can. I would prefer that this go to 68000 Linux developer, collector, or Atari Enthusiast. I also have an Atari 800XL with 2 Atari Floppy drives and one Black Indus GT drive (remember those beauties?. Cables, books, software, cartridges, etc. Serious inquiries only please: (Disclaimer: Again, AS IS condition; unknown if all devices and software diskettes are in working order.) inquiries to be sent to:
  • I know there's a GEM theme out there for WindowBlinds, a Win32 theme manager.
  • by swanky ( 23477 )
    didn't that game also feature FPJ (first-person jousting?)
  • I wonder how long it'll be before someone borrows bits of this for an X11 window manager, complete with buzzy bee mouse pointer instead of X11's stopwatch, and bombs on the screen when something segfaults.

    Mind you, it's probably been done. I wouldn't be surprised if there are GEM themes for Enlightenment, Gnome and KDE out there.

  • ST's are pretty much the bomb diggity. :-)

    I used them in high school as MIDI workstations with Kawai K4's and Notator. I wish I could find a MIDI/notation program a good as Notator, thought. I have found it hard to learn anything else. Especailly since there are virtually NO MIDI composition programs for Linux. Are there any for BeOS? I might just have to buy myself a cheap Mac to run maybe Finale and a Tracker program. Ahh, well.

    -- A wealthy eccentric who marches to the beat of a different drum. But you may call me "Noodle Noggin."

  • You actually get STonX to work?
    I got this dual-processor box (300MHz each) and it runs slow as hell.
    F.J.J. van Heusden
    Mobile: +31-6-22390057
  • I though GEM was quite cool actually. For a start it ran on an 8086.....can anything else beat this?
  • You could spill anything on that keyboard and it you could not even bother wiping it up. It still would work. Of course you couldn't type very fast.
  • IBM said that there wouldn't be any new releases of OS/2 (client?) So why don't they open source it before it gets old and crusty.
  • Actually, I think GEM would fall under the control of the "thin-clients" division, which is going to use it as a GUI for DR-DOS, probably in some sort of embedded internet device.
  • GEOS is still around and is still sold, but it has evolved quite a bit. The New Deal OS is based on GEOS and runs on IBM compatible PCs, even old 286s.

    You can read about it here:

    or go straight to the owners here:

  • GEOS is still around and is still sold, but it has evolved quite a bit. The New Deal OS is based on GEOS and runs on IBM compatible PCs, even old 286s.

    You can read about it here:

    or go straight to the owners here:

  • The atari was much better that other computers back then. I had a built-in os, nice bombs to show you that somthing had exploted and a nice soundcard. That was before "The Blue Screen of Death", soundblaster and other modern stuff...

    I use to play civilization on my fathers old ST ;-). And it only had 2 megabytes of ram. It always worked. There were always a OS to boot, always some (mostly german) public domain programs and games to play. And the floppy drive in the Atari ST was much faster than those in the Amiga 500 :-)
  • by dublin ( 31215 ) on Thursday April 22, 1999 @10:42AM (#1921267) Homepage
    Wow, this both brings back memories and shows my age. GEM was the official windowing environment for the Flexible Composites Center program at LTV Aircraft Products in the late 80's. (FCC was an automated plant to build parts for the B2 - it died when the B-2 (called ADP-101 as a black project) came in WAY over budget.

    GEM was selected over Windows, which for those of you too young to know, wasn't even available as a separate product at that time - MS only created Windows so that they could sell PC versions of Excel, which was originally a Mac-only program. In those days (pre Windows 3.0), Windows came bundled with Word for Windows and Excel, which created the interesting problem of having a Windows install step on the existing one when you added another product at a later date...

    GEM and it's application suite was much faster and more usable than the MS stuff. While GEM was no Mac, it worked reasonably well. I probably still have floppies somewhere with the network design for the never-built FCC in GemDraw. As I recall, we were trying to get other software vendors to write programs to run in GEM (proj. mgt., etc.) It ran fine on the 286's especially the "fast" 20 MHz ones, and was far faster on the short-lived 40 MHz 286s than on the first 386's, which I think were 16-20 MHz. EGA was the order of the day for graphics and we had an extravagant hundreds of machines with EGA cards! For those that are wondering, it's pretty weak compared to today's windowing systems/WMs - I doubt there's much code there that would be valuable except for embedded systems.

    Shifting gears, as for GEOS, I think putting a (usable!) graphical user interface on a Commodore 64 has got to be one of the greatest hacks of all time. It wasn't real fast, but worked well - I wrote my senior papers in college and all my letters an resumes for my job search in GEOwrite. I had the cheesy mouse that pretended to be a joystick - this was seriously inferior to the later Commodore mouse that actually worked like a mouse in GEOS and some other later C64 software.

    kill -9 "Earth Day"
    rm -rf /tmp/Earth\ Day*
  • My friend maintains a site for "saved" obsolete code here:

    and is collecting more.

    He calls is "AtticWare" (for obvious reasons). If anyone has stuff or ideas, you should check out the url.
  • ahhh, that was pretty funny . . . capital research were the people who funded some anti free software rant a week or so back.

    I was trying to find some way to fund the AtticWare project from them tho . . .

    anyway, correct URL is
  • I loved my Atari ST and ran it for years. Of course I had tricked it out with a CLI and other sorts of goodies (NeoDesk, UIS III, etc.) and it was a speedy little machine. Between my Atari ST and beginning with Linux I ran WIN95 for two month: Going from the ST to WIN95 was a big step down in terms of reliability and performance.

    Linux is a big step up *cheer* and has made this Atari user love his hobby again (I still post an Atari .gif on my WindowMaker Desktop in honor and rememberance of my beloved ST.)

  • I was visiting my folks not too long back, and my father mentioned that he had thrown out the 5.25s that GEM had originally come on. I was disappointed, first because I had forgotten that we had a copy, and second because I have machines at work that have working 5.25 inch drives... I might have been able to rescue (and use!) the software.

    I used to run GEM on a 10 MHz 286 with 1 MB of RAM! (Remember the IBM PS/2 Model 50?) I could make a boot floppy (3.5 in / 1.44 MB) with the complete graphical shell on it... Then I could mess with a HD -- move subdirectories, hidden files, etc. It was easier than DOS, and many times it was faster. Try doing that with windows!

    Now, what about GEMwrite, GEMdraw, and their relatives? I remember a spreadsheet/graphing program called MicroGrafx (spelling?) It was straight-forward, but it did everything I needed as a high school student...

    Back in those days, you expected to get extra credit for handing in an assignment that came out of a computer. Your teachers seemed to understand just how much extra work went into using DisplayWrite 3!

    Fortunately, an upgrade to WordPerfect 5 followed after using DW3 for am amazingly short period of time... Know what? I still use it. It just goes to show you that upgrades aren't as important as M$ would have you believe!

  • at first my reaction was.... Cool, finally I can hack GEM to multitask... like I always wanted to back in the late 80's / early 90's....

    But after looking at how primitive the source really is, the temptation has waned... how did they managed to achieve such coolness, when they did everything the hard way like that?

    Before you could do anything you'd have to 'fix' it all... yuk
  • I Don't know where people are getting this crap about GEM was before the Mac. I sat in a Operating Systems class and the teacher said that "Apple paid for rights to GEM..." It must be high ed spreading this crap :)

  • This is sort of cool, from a nostalgic point of view. I remember reading in an old computer-magazine (which sure is funny, blocky graphics, 20kg portables etc) about GEM. The reviewers thought it was quite good. The funny thing was a small side article about GUI:s. There they mentioned, briefly, one other GUI: Windows from Microsoft.


    // Simon
  • Check out this link [] That's by default how GEM on an Atari ST looked (at least TOS v2.x) The last incarnations of GEM by Atari were 'beefed up' a little bit with 256 color icons, 3D widgets, etc. I should know as I still have an Atari Falcon030, the last new Atari computer ever made. Actually, I run Linux on the beast, too! The Motorola 68030 running on a half speed bus cranks out a whopping 3.95 BOGOMips IIRC. :) Works well, though!
  • Man this brings back memories.. back in 1986 when my family spent $2000 for an Amstrad XT clone that had 640KB of Ram, 20MB Hard drive, and a *colour* monitor. (CGA)... It shipped with DR-Dos and GEM... I can remember playing with the draw/paint program and being absolutely enthralled with the idea... Then I tried MacOS and never looked back... except for the three Linux boxen living under my desk. :-)

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.