Cameron Kaiser on the Old Vintage Computing Research blog gives a very detailed account of the GEOS operating system, the PC/GeoWorks Ensemble, and a line of laptops made by Brother (of typewriter fame) that run Ensemble.
Incredibly, the first commercial release in October 1990 of what was called GeoWorks Ensemble achieved almost all of its goals, running on XT-class systems with only 512K of RAM, CGA and MS-DOS 2.0. Recognizing the importance of the new operating system to the company, Berkeley Softworks also rebranded itself as GeoWorks with the release. In addition to serving as a graphical shell for DOS, which GeoWorks ran on, the adjustable user levels featured a simplified or full user interface, depending on beginners and advanced users. It included a word processor, file manager, paint program, and telecommunication modules, all written in assembly language, C with non-standard object extensions, and an interpreted language called IZL…
…Ensemble lives on and today is free and open source. NewDeal Office went through several revisions, including two major version upgrades (to PC/GEOS 4.0) and support for the 486-based set-top box MyTurn GlobalPC, until the company went out of business in 2000 and GeoWorks took over resumed the licence. Breadbox Computer Company acquired the rights in 2003 as part of the dissolution and continued modest development of GeoWorks. A long-gestating project to bring GEOS to Android devices came to a sudden halt when company founder Frank Fischer died suddenly of a heart attack and the company went out of business. Luckily, former Breadbox employee Falk Rehwagen negotiated with his family to bring GEOS to a freely available modern platform buildable with Watcom and with a full SDK, and this is the package you can download today that still works great in DOSBox .
Read more in the post here.
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