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Operating Systems GUI Software

GEOS Available for Download After 18 Years 471

gp writes "Back in 1986, Berkeley Softworks presented GEOS, the Graphical Environment Operating System for the Commodore 64 (screenshots). GEOS effectively turned the 8-bit Commodore 64 into something very similar to a Macintosh, but for an 8th of the price. In 2004, pushed hard by rivaling C64 open source alternatives such as the Contiki operating system and desktop environment and the LUnix *nix clone, the owners of GEOS have finally decided to release GEOS to the public. Hordes of Commodore 64 users are expected to download the system." Sadly, there's no mention of GEOS for the Apple 2 series of computers, which also enjoyed this fine precursor of GUIs to come.
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GEOS Available for Download After 18 Years

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  • cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:43AM (#8266926)
    look out XP!!
    • Re:cool (Score:5, Funny)

      by Ianing ( 715094 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:46AM (#8266936) Homepage
      what is this 8th bit?
    • You say that, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @09:34AM (#8268537)
      There was an individual who, during the mid-to-late nineties, wrote a package to run software from the original C64 GEOS on IBM PCs. He never released it as CMD didn't want him to (they probably couldn't have stopped him, but he chose not to release it anyway). With this free download release, that package may now reappear and become a bizarre yet effective way to put a tried-and-tested, low-cost office environment onto a low-powered handheld PC. (Highly suitable for low-resolution/low-colour screens!) As the file formats are completely stable (there will be no ongoing development), handheld/PC synchronisation would be pretty future-proof, and if native GEOWrite file format support was to be added to StarOffice, we'd have a neatly integrated setup.... HAL.
    • Re:cool (Score:5, Funny)

      by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @09:48AM (#8268630) Homepage
      First they leak the source code for WIndows, now this! What's the world coming to?

      Look out for a bunch of GEOS exploits as soon as some k1dd13$ get their mitts on the code. The shit is going to hit the fan, I'm telling you...
    • Re:cool (Score:4, Informative)

      by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @12:09PM (#8269982)
      Hordes of Commodore 64 users are expected to download the system.

      Does anyone still use the Commodore 64 for anything serious? At best I would assume that it would be used as a gaming platform for people obsessed with the simple games for the Commodore that were released twenty years ago.

      Or it would be used as an extended embedded system with a composite video (television) but no need for extensive disk storage.

      I was one of the Commodore 64's biggest fans. But even I switched to MS-DOS and IBM PC in the late 1980's. With ten-year old 286 and 386 laptops selling for $50, why would anyone want to spend time developing and using a Commodore 64 now?
      • Re:cool (Score:3, Interesting)

        So Simonetta sez:

        "Does anyone still use the Commodore 64 for anything serious?"

        Yep, I do. I use it for address labels (printed on my 24 pin dot matrix printer) as well as for most of my letter-writting needs. In the time it takes to get the Macintosh booted and for the LaserWriter to spit out the letter, the 128 has not only been used to write the letter, spell check it and print it, it has also printed the mailing label. Of course, if it's someone I regularly send mail to, then the 128, using a different
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:45AM (#8266931)
    So somebody *did* get that leaked NT code to compile?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:47AM (#8266944)
    Is there really THAT much pressure among C64 OS's?
  • Great Timing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:47AM (#8266947) Homepage Journal
    Anyone who's got a CatWeasel MK3 card in a Windows PC should visit Jens' site [jschoenfeld.de] and get the skinny on Arjuna. I got it running last weekend and I've written a few C64 disks using a normal 1.2MB floppy drive. Should help get GEOS onto a real C64. Now I just need GEOS drivers and software for the RR-Net cart [jschoenfeld.de]. Not that Contiki isn't good too, but it would be really nice if the extra RAM in the Retro Replay cart was used to improve the web browser.
    • by teklob ( 650327 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:51AM (#8266983)
      Anyone who's still got a C64 should really consider upgrading...
      • Re:Great Timing (Score:5, Informative)

        by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:42AM (#8267250)
        Put a sock in it. The C64 can nowadays serve web pages, surf the internet, receive email, and do office chores. All the time without being hacked!
        The OS boot time is also enviable (just switch it on)
        Just how many PCs these days are invulnerable to viruses, and boot instantly?

        Some people are loath to buy more expensive word processors when they have one that already works, and has been adapted to work with newer hardware (incl. ink jet printers, fast floppy and Hard drives, 16Mb memory, faster CPU, etc.). They're just a few of the reasons why people still use these things!

        Oh, and did I mention the library of over 15,000 games?

        Are you keeping up with the Commodore? Because the Commodore is keeping up with you!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:47AM (#8266950)
    "Hordes of Commodore 64 users are expected to download the system."

    Watch out, I hope their web servers will be capable of handling all 23 downloaders.

  • And I have found (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kyknos.org ( 643709 )
    12 Commodores in the trash can near our housee. Know I have use for them. And willing to share!
    • Re:And I have found (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @03:59AM (#8267528)
      If you can, find the Schematics of the C64 on the internet and prise out the SID sound chips of those babies.

      The sound chips of the C64 were revolutionary for the time, and even today are still sought after by SID music enthusiasts and other PC music junkies (for use in PC board hardware - such as HardSID), and quite frankly I would like two of them myself!
  • GEOS Nostalgia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... Do.com minus bsd> on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:49AM (#8266965) Journal
    I had a Commodore 64 as a kid. I remember when GEOS came out, I was so impressed. The Mac Plus gave me computer envy, but here was a windowing system I could put on my $200 computer! It was small and fast, and it came with a basic set of tools. It was also fairly easy to learn the programming interface.

    Later, in the mid 90s, I met a guy who had it installed on an Intel box. I had no idea at the time that they made a 386 version. It did everything he needed, mostly writing. This was a guy who administered SCO Unix boxes for an ISP, and he used GEOS at home.
  • bastards... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by segment ( 695309 )
    They leaked out the source code...

    Anyway, considering no one (outside the ultra high geek) is going to be starting a c64 any time soon, it would be a nice idea if a company decided for history's sake to clone the old time machines. I'm sure there would be a market for it... Heck I know I would love to get my hands on a coleco vision adam computer again. Complete with cassettes and all.

    • Re:bastards... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kg4czo ( 516374 )
      There is a C=1 [c64upgra.de] coming out sometime. It's going to have a complete C64 compatability with updated hardware plus it's own functionality. GEOS64 should run on it also. Something for that "ultra geek" in your life.... hehehehehe....
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:50AM (#8266977)
    Hordes of Commodore 64 users are expected to download the system."

    Great, I can download GEOS. Now how do I get it on a single sided, strangely formated, low density floppy so that I can actually run it on my C64?

    • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:00AM (#8267035) Homepage Journal
      You can build a PC interface for an old C64 drive or you can, as I have, buy a Catweasel MK3 and install it and a 1.2MB floppy drive into a PC (or Amiga).

      (Or if you've got an RR-Net cart and you're lucky enough to have the Web Downloader working, you can setup a local web server on your PC and transfer a .D64 disk image onto a disk that way.)

    • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:02AM (#8267052)
      Here's a start:

      http://sta.c64.org/xcables.html [c64.org].

      Note: I tried making a cable to run off my PC's parallel port a couple of years ago, and it never worked. It's not as simple as it looks.

      For those too lazy to read, it boils down to this: You cannot read or write a disk formatted for a Commodore drive on a PC, and the same is true for a PC-formatted disk in a Commodore drive. They use entirely different formats to write to the disk, it's not just a matter of a different filesystem. The above link allows one (in theory) to build a parallel1541 (one of the most common Commodore disk drives) interface, and some PC software to handle the data transfer.

      Either way, this is still pretty neat if just for (legit) emulator use. I remember GEOS when it first came out, and as annoying as it was, I saw pretty quick that this was the future for all home computing. It took me until the early 90s before I saw anything like this on the PC (Macs have always been too pricey for my tastes).
    • I'll be needing a WAV file for the tape drive version (Though I don't think there was one) ... my 1541 gave up years ago ....
      • Yea, the hard drives were really awful. Used to beat themselves to death against a track zero stop rather than just sense when the drive was at thack zero, all would go out of alignment in short order. Mush more useful than a cable that would let you hook up an old 1541 to a PC would be a program that let a PC store everything on it's hard drive and serve files to the C64 over the serial cable protocol. Of course, they would have to emulate a lot of the 1541 subroutines too, and give you ways to run the fan
        • by SmokeSerpent ( 106200 ) <benjamin@ps[ ]com ['nw.' in gap]> on Friday February 13, 2004 @03:30AM (#8267441) Homepage
          The only reason they ever "beat themselves to death" knocking over to track zero was because of the "awful copy protection" schemes and "fancy loaders". If used as designed, the 1541 didn't knock all that much. So, yes they did go out of alignment sometimes, but it wasn't so much due to bad design, as due to abuse. I did use two 1541s heavily for about 10 years (fancy loaders, copy "protection", nibblers, and all) without an alignment problem though.
          • Head alignment (Score:5, Informative)

            by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @04:19AM (#8267592) Homepage
            I used to work in a computer repair shop in the early 90s, when we were just catching the tail end of the 8-bit computers (I can still diagnose all the ZX Spectrum "stock faults" with a two-second look at the screen). We had a 1541 alignment disk, that had the "boot" tracks written really "hot" so even very badly out-of-alignment drives would read them, then tracks that started off deliberately too far out, worked their way to perfect alignment, and eventually were too far in, across the surface of the disk. What happened was, it would boot off the disk, then start reading the "test" tracks until it found the track where it got the least CRC errors. Then it would smack the head off the end stop a few times, and try reading the disk again. Painful to listen to, and took all night (I feel sorry for the people in the flat above the shop), but it *always* worked. Second thing to try after a headcleaner.
        • by Man In Black ( 11263 ) <(ze-ro) (at) (shaw.ca)> on Friday February 13, 2004 @04:12AM (#8267568) Homepage
          Actually, the program you mention already exists! In fact, there are two of them: server64 and 64hdd (I don't have any links to provide at the moment, so load up your favorite search engine I suppose).

          Now, I've tried both of these, and I honestly can't remember which one was which. The first one I tried (I think it was server64) didn't work at all... and I never figured out why.

          The second one (I guess 64hdd) worked amazingly well! All you had to do was build an X1541 cable (someone else already linked to the page with the information... luckily, I had already built one of these when I was 10 or so in order to "pirate" C64 games, so I used that)... With the X1541 cable connecting the parallel port of the computer to the serial port of the C64 (or of a connected drive, since they daisy-chained), you could easily load and save programs from the computer's hard drive.

          I set up a 486 with an 80 meg hard drive (enormous by C64 standards) with no monitor or keyboard simply acting as a fileserver for my C-128. The only problem was that the 486's CMOS battery had died, so if the machine ever lost power, I had to drag a monitor and keyboard downstairs to reset all the BIOS information :( I eventually gave up on it because I didn't use it very often (I still have plenty of blank 5.25" disks), and keeping it running 24/7 was a pain in the butt.

          The program actually let you create and browse directories (although in a rather painful manner, since the C64's BASIC wasn't well suited for this), and you could keep .d64 files on the hard drive and attach them at will using commands from the C-64. I can't remember off-hand what the speed was like... I seem to remember it being even slightly faster than the 1541, but I might be mistaken.

          Unfortunately, .d64 files don't carry enough information to properly do all the goofy copy protections, so you'd have to rely on cracked games if you were pirating (hackers were usually forced to remove speed-loaders when cracking games, so these versions often have painfully long load times)... and naturally, doing multi-disk games didn't work either, since changing disk images could only be done from BASIC (Maybe you could do it from the PC, I forget). It certainly doesn't replace disks, but it'll provide essentially limitless data storage for all your homebrew and hobbiest stuff.
    • You don't (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:37AM (#8267230)
      You do what most people who play C64 these days do, you emulate it. Even a pathetically old PC should ahve no trouble at all emulating a C64, and there is no lack of C64 emulators out there (www.zophar.net if you are interested).

      Then again, maybe you do use C64 hardware, I've heard stranger thigns. I still remember playing a MUD in 1997, Realms of Despair. One of the guys I regularly hung out with had many characters, but only ever had one at a time on. Odd, that, as teh MUD let you log plenty in and even with a crap modem like I had you could handle lots. I mean it was just text after all. Turned out he used a C128 to connect to the net via a dialin that gave him a UNIX prompt. I was honestly stunned.
    • by Penguinshit ( 591885 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:40AM (#8267242) Homepage Journal

      Don't forget to use a hole-punch on the edge of the disk so you can use BOTH sides...
  • I'm sure in my early DOS days (DOS 2.11 on an 8086) I had a trial copy of a windowing system which from my vague memory was called GEO. Is this the same company? Odd there is no mention of it. Am I making this up?
    • Re:GEOS for DOS (Score:5, Informative)

      by CaptainFlyingToaster ( 265282 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @04:49AM (#8267678)
      You're thinking of Geoworks Ensemble. It came bundled with a number of Magnavox 8086 through 80386 machines back in the late 80's / early 90's. It did everything windows 3.1 did, except: 1. Crash every 30-60 seconds 2. Run more than the 30 or so apps that came with the distro. Still, a good, solid windowing system for low-end hardware.

      The GeoWorks of old can be found at Home Of the Underdogs. A newer incarnation, updated for newer hardware and the Web is called Breadbox Ensemble, and is viewable here: http://www.breadbox.com/ensemble/geocats.asp?categ ory=Ease-of-Use
  • by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:51AM (#8266981) Homepage
    Believe it or not, the GEOS codebase is still alive and kicking. I haven't gotten around to trying it personally, but it's supposedly updated for modern hardware and is capable of browsing the web. Breadbox, the company that apparently owns the code now is marketing it as a low-cost alternative to Windows for schools that could be run on older hardware. Interesting in the least.
    • Sorry, I messed up the link in that post. The link is http://www.breadbox.com/ [breadbox.com]
    • by William Tanksley ( 1752 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:00AM (#8267034)
      Berkley Softworks developed C64-Geos, which was also ported to the Apple and such, and then all through the 80s worked on their next accomplishment: Geos for the PC.

      When released, it was the first commercial object oriented OS for the PC (NeXTStep was earlier, but Geos beat it to the PC).

      And honestly, it kicked BUTT, because not only was it fast and elegant, it had a KILLER application suite and awesome dot matrix printer driver. Near laser quality from a mere 24-pin and my old '286... And it ran as a DOS application, too, with special drivers to make it cooperate with DR-DOS' task switcher.

      I miss it now.

      • by Splork ( 13498 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:52AM (#8267298) Homepage
        hell yeah, i *loved* geoworks ensemble. i had a 286-20, it ran great. the integration between all of its office applications and the fact that it actually did preemptive multitasking of them was great. printing in the background (very important considering how "fast" dot matrix and hp deskjet printers of the day weren't), etc. excellent piece of work but in the wrong place at the wrong time to be able to catch on.

        it even ran in the cool 800x600x16 vga mode if your monitor supported it.

        another odd footnote: AOL's first client for the PC was written as a geoworks ensemble 1.0 application. this was in '93-94 before aol was allowed to corrupt usenet.
  • interesting stuff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by highwaytohell ( 621667 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:55AM (#8267011)
    This looks like it could have actually gone pretty far had it had a chance. As a cheap alternative to an apple it looks like it had some good functionality. Does anyone know what the reliability of this OS was like. It says that it provided some decent support for 286/386. Its a shame that this wasnt given the support that it deserved. WHo knows what it could have been capable of. I suppose most people rejhected it as the C64 was mainly for gaming, at least when i was a kid it was. If i had known it was around, and i had more interest in OS', this probably would have ended up in my living room. Its been a while, but its still good to see what some of the pioneers were capable of.
    • Re:interesting stuff (Score:5, Informative)

      by GrouchoMarx ( 153170 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:13AM (#8267107) Homepage
      You're thinking of two different products. What has been released, as I understand it, is the source code for GEOS 1.0 for the C64. Awesome little machine, with an even more awesome GUI that ran off of floppies. (Back in my day we didn't have hard drives, and we liked it!) Very powerful, very stable, especially when you consider it had a whole 64 KILObytes of RAM and ONE Megahertz to play with. They had a trash can concept long before Apple even thought of it.

      You're thinking of GeoWorks Ensemble, based on the GEOS 2.0 kernel, which ran on the PC. It was a contemporary of Windows 3.0, and every review at the time said that it wiped the floor with Microsoft's baby. Of course, the company had zero marketing skill while Microsoft, well, we know their marketing strategy. So Windows won and GEOS, which I still consider to be one of the best idiot-friendly interfaces ever created, eventually petered out.

      It's last gasp was on the Casio Z-7000 Zoomer handhelds. They were released right after the original Apple Newton (the Newton beat them by about 3 months), and wasa joint coventure between Casio (hardware), GeoWorks (OS), and a little startup company run by Jeff Hawkins and Dona Dubinsky called "Palm Computing". While the Z-7000 was a market flop, along with the original Newton, it was from the mistakes there that Hawkins and company learned how to make a handheld the right way, and so was born the Palm Pilot.

      There was also an attempt at a GEOS 3.0-based handheld, or more accurately a "tablet PC", called the Sharp PT-9000. It ran all of the same apps as the desktop GeoWorks and used the exact same data file format, and used a very tablet PC-esque form factor and design as far back as 1995-1996. Unfortunately, Sharp for unknown reasons killed the project at the last minute, and it was never produced outside of beta units within the company itself. Once again, GEOS beat Microsoft to the punch, by nearly a decade this time, but it just didn't work out for whatever reason.

      (I have a used Z-7000 I bought off eBay for nostalgia, but never did get my hands on a PT-9000.)

      Except for really hard core hackers with old C64s, this is not really major news. Still, it's a nice trip down memory lane.
      • Re:interesting stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

        by edwdig ( 47888 )
        The PT-9000 was developed around 94, as it shared the same SDK as the Zoomer.

        There was also the Nokia 9000 smartphone released in 96 or so. It was a ~$900 cellphone that opened up to reveal a screen and keyboard. It was pretty much a phone with a 386 in the same case. Supposedly it sold really well to business people - enough to prompt a second version of it, the 9110. Eventually Nokia created Symbian. I don't really know what prompted Nokia to start Symbian, considering they already had a fairly successfu
      • Re:interesting stuff (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        They had a trash can concept long before Apple even thought of it.

        GEOS: 1986
        Apple Macintosh: 1984 (trash can from day one)
        Apple Lisa: 1983 (okay, so it was called WasteBasket)

        In what crazy universe does that qualify as "long before Apple even thought of it"?
      • Huh? GEOS came out in 1986... the Apple Lisa shipped with a trash can icon in 1983, the Mac did the same in 1984. I belive it was first mocked up in 1982, check folklore.org for the specifics straight from the engineers themselves.
        folklore.org [folklore.org]
      • trash can lineages (Score:3, Informative)

        by jpellino ( 202698 )
        um, I'll check the math, but:
        the Mac in 1984 had a trash can before GEOS 1.0 in 1986...
        the Lisa had it a bit earlier on their desktop...
        and they may have been inspired by the Xerox Star / Elixir Desktop that traces back to 1981...
  • Geoworks? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @01:57AM (#8267020) Homepage Journal
    Whatever happened to GeoWorks Ensemble, the version of GEOS that ran on low-end intel/amd boxes? Once upon a time you could load that onto a 386 and it would make a Pentium-based Windows machine look like it was standing still.

    I'm looking for Geoworks to throw onto some 486's I want to bring back to life -- the last version I remember had a web-browser and everything!
    • I don't know anywhere that it can be downloaded, but GeoWorks came with a couple of refurbished 486s my school had around 6th grade... This is part of the reason I rescued them when the school decided to get rid of them a year ago. It's really a great little system, it even has an AOL client of all things. If it can still be found someplace, then I think it certainly makes a superior environment to the ubiquitous DOSSHELL, and Win3.1's only advantage is application compatibility.

      Not that anyone is still go
    • AOL (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:09AM (#8267094) Homepage
      I'm loathe to admit this now, but I was one of the very first subscribers (I think the first -- not sure about the whole Quantum service and prehistory) to AOL in my town. This was before the Windows version, and the DOS version was actually a GeoWorks app. Or rather, it came with a GeoWorks runtime, which wasn't good for anyone else. I remember thinking it was really cool.

      I was also on the beta team for AOL for Windows 1.0.

      Damn I'm lame.
    • Re:Geoworks? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Brandybuck ( 704397 )
      I used it for quite a while. I even ran it on an 8086, even though the specs said I couldn't. Even as late as 1998 I was using it in a shop I worked at on some old 386's, for basic office productivity stuff. At $79 it was a heck of a lot cheaper than a new system plus Windows.

      For a while it was going head to head with Windows, and doing well. Even preinstalled on some systems. What ultimately killed it was the lack of a good SDK. No one developed for it, so the only apps available were pretty much what cam
  • by joeseph schmo ( 222243 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:00AM (#8267036)
    LOAD "GEOS",8,1


    ahhh yes...
    • What was that ,8,1 all about anyways? I remember you had to type it to load certain programs but I never knew the reason.
      • here it goes...

        if i recall correctly, the ",8" had to do with the device number (disk drives were typically 8, but i believe 9,10, and 11 could be addressed for additional disk drives as well.)

        as for the ",1", i believe that loaded the program in machine language...or not, i forget :P
        • by The Vulture ( 248871 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:32AM (#8267205) Homepage
          You're correct on the ",8" part.

          As for the ",1", well, it went like this. The first two bytes of every standard file that was designed to be loaded using kernel routines (whether it be from the BASIC LOAD command, or through the actual kernel routines) were the load address. Most basic programs were loaded into memory at $0801, so those two bytes (actually $01, $08) were at the beginning. If it was assembly code that loaded into memory at $C000, then the first two bytes were $00, $C0.

          Anyway, to make a long story short, that ",1" told the load routines to load the file into the memory space pointed to by those first two bytes. Otherwise, they would be ignored, and the program would be loaded into memory at the start of BASIC memory (by default, $0801, but I think memory locations 43 and 44 changed that).

          -- Joe
  • by sleepypants ( 599905 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:02AM (#8267049)
    I remember using a joystick to navigate the UI, since mice were a bit of a rarity. Plus, GeoWrite actually had fonts to choose from, and they looked great on the trusty old dot-matrix (or 'impact printer', if you will...)
    • by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:07AM (#8267084) Homepage
      Not only did GEOS have fonts, it was possible to overload the system memory and crash the computer, forcing a reboot if you tried to load too many of them at once. Man, those were the days. :)
    • Heehee I remember that! Then we got the boxy Commodore mouse ! :) Ergonomic, I think not.
      Got me through school assignments fine.
      I wonder if you could put together an indestructable 'laptop', with a screen, a keyboard, and about a thimblefull of 'hardware' to run it on. Tweak it to support file transfer via USB. Kind of like the Newton-based eMac, or Alphasmart's Dana. It's a perfectly functional OS and the footprint doesn't get lower than that.

  • Emulator (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MagPulse ( 316 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:03AM (#8267054)
    Can someone post instructions on how to get this set up with an emulator like CCS64? We don't want to have to wade through that ten page explanation on how to use a real C64, copying around floppies, etc. to check this out.
    • Re:Emulator (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Vulture ( 248871 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:35AM (#8267223) Homepage
      I haven't done this yet, but I would imagine that you could create .D64 files (disk images), and use them.

      However, it's hard to say whether or not this would work with an emulator or not. GEOS used fast-disk routines that ran in the drive memory of the 1541/1571/1581 drives, and if the emulator can't emulate the CPU in the drive (6502 in the 1541) and the 6510 in the C64 with 100% cycle exactness, then you'll have some problems.

      -- Joe
  • by justdave72 ( 651133 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:05AM (#8267068)
    The Apple II version was released 6 months ago. as announced on a2central.com [a2central.com]
  • I used GEOS (C64 version) a few times on my great aunt's C128. It ran very well considering the hardware it was running on. You see color screenshots on the site, but it really had to do all that with 2 color tiles. It had a wysiwyg document editor. It was even able to load normal programs and then restore itself when the program exited.
  • The cost... (Score:3, Funny)

    by joeseph schmo ( 222243 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:08AM (#8267089)
    "The price has been reduced to a very affordable $25 (plus shipping) for either version, GEOS 64 or GEOS 128."

    Does that makes the TCO (total cost of ownership) more than Linux?

  • ...GEOS v1.0 had this cool feature I had never seen before at the young age of 6. The paintbrush in particular gave me hours of entertainment, and there were some nifty fonts as well. Annoying, however was the fact that the boot disk could not be copied by any conventional means, thanks to error track copy protection.

    My dad never let me touch his sacred GEOS version 2.0 disks for that reason - that and his SX 64.

  • ...the server's /.'d. And after only 80 replies, too.

    That's what you get when you actually host a website on a C64 running Contiki...
  • Heh.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darken_Everseek ( 681296 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:20AM (#8267136)
    I'm willing to bet there are a good number of /. readers that are younger than GEOS (I'm not one of 'em). It's an interesting reminder of just how far computers have come.
    • Yup. We sure take for the current systems for granted. I mean, these days, even my car's EFI computer is much faster than the ZX81 and similar machines I started out with.
    • Re:Heh.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BrookHarty ( 9119 )
      I'm willing to bet there are a good number of /. readers that are younger than GEOS (I'm not one of 'em). It's an interesting reminder of just how far computers have come.

      Back when I was using GEOS and Quantum Service.
      The joys of going from 40 column to 80 column terminals, punter to xmodem, to ymodem to zmodem. Real Ansi (with reverse and blink!) 300 baud baby. First long distance phone bill and parents whipping my ass.


      Powerpacking workbench floppies and using the ram disk, when you had more memor
  • new deal office (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hiroshi912681 ( 589840 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:22AM (#8267150)
    the latest incarnation of Geos for x86, New Deal Office, is still not released for free =( it's a neat OS that's very win95 like... even has a MS Office clone, web browser, irc, and instant messaging software. all this, and it runs on a 286! supports all kinds of graphics modes from hercules up to svga

    I think they went outta business... they were charging way too much for it. might as well buy a new computer with win95 than pay for what they were asking for.

    they had a demo avail on the net... I could never get the web browser to work. expired in 30 days or something, but that was extremely easy to turn off. I think the evaluation version was crippled (or was missing files), nonetheless.
    • Re:new deal office (Score:4, Informative)

      by edwdig ( 47888 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @03:26AM (#8267428)
      Yes, New Deal went out of business. About 3 years ago cash was running low, and they signed a contract to get funding from investors. However, the money never showed up, so the company went under.

      New Deal charged about $80, which included the operating system, the office suite, and a bunch of internet applications. If that's not worth $80, then you're just really damn cheap.

      The last version to be officially released was a bit of a pain to get on the internet, as it didn't have a dialler application, and the ethernet support didn't work on a lot of networks. The next release had those issues fixed, but the company ran out of money right before going into production.
  • by oingoboingo ( 179159 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:23AM (#8267156)
    Geoworks was certainly an early pioneer in one area: unimaginative name conventions for its apps. Looking at the screenshots page, every damn app is geoThis, or geoThat. It's a wonderful trend that the KDesigners of the KDE KDestop KEnvironment have picked up one, as well as their GCompetitors Gover Gat Gthe GNOME GProject. And don't get me JStarted Jon Java JApplications.
  • so sad (Score:2, Funny)

    the fact that the authors of this (ahead of its time) platform are nobodys, and bill gates is a household name is quite sad.
  • on 64s and probably still does. Talk about bad for your eyes. It's a wonder we of a certain age can see at all.
  • Not So Nostalgia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Martigan80 ( 305400 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @02:42AM (#8267253) Journal
    You know I still have a c64. Good got that out of the way.

    I noticed that there are still Demo groups out there, specialy in Europe. I must say I'm still impressed as to what these programmers can do on a little 8-bit CPU. It think it's true are and skill to pack so much "entertainment" into a small amount of memory. Just because the CPU might be so many years old, but it can still do so much. Proof I think at the fact that technology may be increasing so fast that we don't use it to its fullest potential.
    • What kind of crack were the 1541 disk drive engineerings smoking? Did they even have crack back then?

      The 1541 was a somewhat self-destructing device. As I recall, the designers needed a way to make sure the read/write head shuttle was properly aligned with the (freeway sized) magnetic disk tracks, so they rubbed their brain cells together and decided it was appropriate and OK to just keep seeking the head shuttle inwards until it violently slammed the read write head into whatever was blocking its way. Th
    • on a little 8-bit CPU

      8-bit? It's supposed to be 64-bit as I can tell reading the name c64. Otherwise, why is it c64?

  • DesqView 386 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zork the Almighty ( 599344 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @03:01AM (#8267336) Journal
    As long as we're re-releasing old software, is it too much to ask for a copy of DesqView 386 ?
    • Re:DesqView 386 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alioth ( 221270 )
      Oh, good 'ol DesqView, a legend in its lunchtime. I used that to run a RemoteAccess BBS along with my usual day-to-day use of my 16MHz 386 system, with a whopping 2.5MB RAM (all in discrete 32kbyte chips, populating a massive full-length expansion card)

      I remember plugging in each of the chips, buying them 512K at a time in a long tube filled with the buggers. 'Wow, this is amazing,' I thought, 'each of these chips has as much memory as a complete BBC Micro!'
  • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Friday February 13, 2004 @03:32AM (#8267446) Homepage
    If you'll remember, before the AOL access software was a Windows application, it was previously a GEOS application; when you started AOL, a customized version of GEOS was started and then GEOS ran inside that.

    This was just around the time that Windows 3.0 was beginning to be popular.

  • Copy Protection (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jan-Pascal ( 21029 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @04:03AM (#8267542) Homepage

    The GEOS article under the first link talks a lot about the copy protection on GEOS, and why it hurt widespread acceptance so much. Am I the only one who was able to produce the "special" track on copies of the GEOS disk, so that the copies would actually work?

    If I remember correctly, I found the checking code somewhere in GEOS, then wrote some code to produce the proper patterns on the disk. Mind you, that code had to run inside the 1541 disk drive, so that it could determine what would be written to disk directly.

    Those were the days...

  • Geoworks Ensemble? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mirabilos ( 219607 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @04:10AM (#8267562) Homepage
    What's with Geoworks Ensemble? It used to be a
    fine piece of GUIware, too...
    And since GEM has been free for years, this would
    probably complete the list (tho I'd like to get
    my hands on DOS 3.3 and Windows 2 and 3 sources
    as well).
  • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @04:19AM (#8267590) Homepage
    http://www.digibarn.com/collections/systems/xerox- 8010/index.html [digibarn.com]

    For the low low price of $17,000 the Xerox Star had a better GUI than the Lisa, Mac, or Geos. Ran on beefier hardware too.

    Neat stuff, I wonder if a Xerox Star emulator would ever be possible...?
  • AOL on GEOS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FreekyGeek ( 19819 ) <thinkstoomuch&gmail,com> on Friday February 13, 2004 @05:26AM (#8267761)
    Most people won't remember, but AOL was originally released on GEOS. I was one of the beta testers.
  • by LibrePensador ( 668335 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @06:41AM (#8267982) Journal
    Suddenly, I feel so old and jaded. Why must you bring out the past in this manner?

    Oh, why, why?

    On a more serious note, it's interesting how innovation always appears to be right around the corner, yet it doesn't happen fast enough when you breath and live technology.

    And while technology has indeed evolved a great deal, I am not sure whether I can say that it has effected the type of social change that I once thought it would bring about.

  • by Mantrid ( 250133 ) on Friday February 13, 2004 @09:08AM (#8268417) Journal
    I remember using this in High School - the problem was the C64 printer couldn't print descenders in text mode, so all my "g"s and "p"s where pushed up and the teachers didn't like that.

    With Geos I could print just about any font, but boy do those dot matrix printers make a racket printing graphics!

I just asked myself... what would John DeLorean do? -- Raoul Duke