Author Topic: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???  (Read 2204 times)

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Offline GlennSprigg

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Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« on: November 18, 2017, 01:40:10 am »
I remember with my old Commodore-64, I had an old software package from "Berkley Software".
It was called "G.E.O.S."..... (Graphical Environment Operating System), before PC's Windows existed!
As a purely 'graphical' interface environment, then anything could be done, (within the small system limits).
You had many types & sizes of 'fonts', there was a 'desktop' with icons, you had multiple 'Windows' you
could open including resizing/min/max/close for multiple 'apps' at once...  It even had a Waste-Paper basket,
(recycle-bin!!) you could drag/drop files to, etc etc..... Seemed like 'Windows' to me !!  :-)
I was later left wondering if Bill Gates & his buddies had THAT in mind, when they first made "Windows"...
As it sure as hell looked & behaved almost exactly the same... :-)
 

Offline dexters_lab

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2017, 01:54:33 am »
there were (are!) many windowed GUIs... apple lisa's os, apple mac, digital research gem on the atari, amiga's workbench, x windows on unix etc etc

i think they all have their inspiration from the various projects at Xerox PARC and the Alto which was in the 1970s
"A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams
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Online coppice

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2017, 02:20:58 am »
Its Wikipedia page says GEOS was released in 1986. Window 1.0 was out a year before that. As dexters_lab said, there were many things MS used a model for how to build Windows. GEOS certainly wasn't one of them.
 

Offline Mjolinor

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2017, 02:27:39 am »
I think that is GEM but it has been a while.

GEM ran under DOS before WIndo$e on PC hardware. Nothing to do with MS.

 

Offline helius

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2017, 03:07:51 am »
The direct precursor to Windows 1.0 was Visi On from VisiCorp, the publishers of VisiCalc.
Neither had a graphical file manager: at the time of Visi On, the only systems to feature that were the Xerox Star and Apple Lisa. When it was released in 1985, GEM had one as well.
Windows 3.0 would add icons to the file manager.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 03:13:27 am by helius »
 

Offline Mjolinor

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2017, 03:13:05 am »

I used to use GEM on my Nascom (IIRC) and it was released for PC in 1985, about 6 months before Windows 1.0.

 

Offline GlennSprigg

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2017, 12:23:13 am »
Thanks to ALL for your enlightening comments.
I wasn't aware there were so many 'contenders' back in the day !!!!
It's still amazing how back then, with just the 'C64' and it's limited memory space,
including switching out/in different memory banks, that they achieved it at all !!!  :-)

Back then, 'Code', and spaces for it, was TIGHT.  I remember the Joy of writing
M/C Boot-Strap loaders to fit into say 30 to 100 Bytes... and playing with my home-
made PCB Cartridge Interface to switch out/in multiple tracks with DIP switches, to
copy & re-write entry-points for software. High-speed loaders... double sided disks...
Lot of fun back then....
 
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 10:56:13 pm »
Thanks to ALL for your enlightening comments.
I wasn't aware there were so many 'contenders' back in the day !!!!
It's still amazing how back then, with just the 'C64' and it's limited memory space,
including switching out/in different memory banks, that they achieved it at all !!!  :-)

Back then, 'Code', and spaces for it, was TIGHT.  I remember the Joy of writing
M/C Boot-Strap loaders to fit into say 30 to 100 Bytes... and playing with my home-
made PCB Cartridge Interface to switch out/in multiple tracks with DIP switches, to
copy & re-write entry-points for software. High-speed loaders... double sided disks...
Lot of fun back then....

Thanks for the brief glimpse into your world. I just missed out on all that stuff. But "kids these days" wouldn't have a bloody clue. Their idea of drama is when Instagram goes down or when their internet connection is less than what's required to stream a 4K video on YouTube.

I can't say I "miss" the old days of computing, but I certainly appreciate and value everything that happened back then. These days, innovation seems rare. Look at Apple, they've just been churching out the same crap for the past 10 years, nothing much has changed or improved (in many cases, have gone backwards in leaps and bounds).

Microsoft are heading in the same direction. So many users are clinging onto Windows XP and Windows 7 for as long as possible... after that... I think we'll see a new revolution in computing and it won't include Apple or Microsoft. Perhaps we'll see a return to "grass roots" CLI before too long with a health dose of GUI for good measure.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 10:58:47 pm by Halcyon »
 

Online bd139

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2017, 01:30:10 am »
Everyone in the software sector I know has moved or is moving to macOS X or Linux. I myself am a mac user. It's actually one of the only  certified UNIX operating system that you can run on a laptop that is left (Linux is not certified). The CLI is there and it plays music, 4k videos. Just what the doctor ordered!
 

Offline janoc

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 01:36:53 am »
I think that is GEM but it has been a while.

GEM ran under DOS before WIndo$e on PC hardware. Nothing to do with MS.

GEM and GEOS are different things. I have actually used this GEOS on a PC sometime in the early 90s, it was a pretty decent system, in fact. Compared to plain DOS and the (then current) Windows 3 and Windows 3.1 it was much nicer to use and quite a bit snappier. On the other hand, there were pretty much no applications for it apart from what was included with it.

 

Online austfox

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2017, 11:05:50 am »
Although I never used Geos for the 64, I have extreme fondness for the PC version of Geos (Geoworks). It ran well on my 386 at the time, and was released around the time that Windows 3.0 was ramping up. As already mentioned, third-party software was non-existent, which was a blessing in that it made it extremely stable, yet a curse that it faded away to nothing.

The suite of programs that came with it worked well, and it beat Windows to 'true-type' fonts. I recall upgrading from Geoworks 1.2 to Geoworks Enemble 2.0 where you had to mail back the 5.25 floppies to be eligible for the cheaper upgrade option.

I still have it installed in one of my DOS Virtualboxes to help relive some of those happy early computing memories.

 

Offline ebastler

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2017, 12:11:32 am »
Everyone in the software sector I know has moved or is moving to macOS X or Linux.

Gosh, that would suggest that pretty soon there will be no more software for Windows -- I'm scared!! Or wait, maybe it suggests that you only know people in a certain, narrowly defined slice of "the software sector"?  ::)
 

Online bd139

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2017, 01:00:00 am »
Not even slightly. I have spent the last 20 years doing consultancy across a large number of disparate industries from analytics, finance, media, defence, gaming etc. Most of the middleware type applications are moving away from Windows bar some crap stuck on sharepoint and even this is going away now because the TCO (via opex) is way too high. Web presence is almost entirely 100% not windows now. The only thing that is hanging on is traditional desktop applications and there is a big problem there: MSFT are pushing UWP and no one wants it.  People are getting very nervous. Ergo, the logical path they are taking is going cross platform via Qt / WX on v.next. Also lets not forget the persistent array of abuse large orgs get from MSFT "compliance" these days.

Even one of the crappiest bits of software ever written in the UK, a broker's desktop application which was a mulch of SQL Server CE, WPF, winforms and bits of C++ just to kill your soul, just arrived as an Electron application and is suddenly cross platform. We nearly fell on our arses when that was announced.

Also, at least here in the UK, it's starting to get hard to find windows platform developers. They are drying up. The older more established staff who were around in the 00's are wanting to escalate to management and architecture positions or have jumped ship already. The new people were brought up on other platforms. Nearly all our employees are from Europe / India.

Times are changing, much as they did for IBM's traditional workload in the 1980s/1990s.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2017, 04:47:41 am »
Ah, alright. So the slice is defined by „middleware“, right? The prior discussion about Windows and its precursor GUIs suggested to me that we were discussing desktop...
 

Online bd139

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2017, 04:51:35 am »
what do you think people talk to the middleware with? Acres of win32, winforms and WPF apps that are being ported away right now.

There are so many out there that the scope is far larger than the public side of things that we all see. I saw one for a commercial bank that has 5,600 forms and 50k users and several hundred financial models. That's big and that's just the front end of it.
 

Offline GlennSprigg

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2017, 11:21:39 pm »
Thanks to all the new contributors too  :-+
(though it's starting to snow-ball into other topics haha...  :)
It was my learning here, at least, that there were many other 'precursor' contenders.

To make a few points about my observations, although off-topic......
Regarding 1st comments about MAC systems, (and I have nothing against them!!), PC's as of today, see....
https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0
Windows-7      46.63%
Windows-10    29.26%
Windows-XP     6.47%
Windows-8.1    5.97%
Mac OSX 10     3.34%
Linux                2.98%
(Plus others....)

Of course this is for personal PC's, not the likes of Server-Side Linux servers etc......
I KNOW Mac's are good!! (although I'm ignorant about them), and it seems that a LOT if not most? technical
or scientific establishments use them. In Australia, virtually ALL medical establishments use them !!!, including servers?

Within this 'post' people have also talked about future redundancy for PC's as we know them,and the likes of Microsoft,
ALSO in regards to SOFTWARE development that IS, or WILL decline.
Well, here's MY take on it, and it pisses me off, and a lot of other people too . . . . .

I hate the look of Windows-10, (but luckily I can change that), but it's layout & interface is to facilitate the ever increasing
touch screens & Tablets!!!  One of my Laptops can fold down to just a Touch-Screen like a large Tablet, and that's fine.
Secondly, a LOT of software is now changing to "Cloud-Based" for the interface. I KNOW why, (portability), but I HATE it !!
Thirdly, more & more software these days is TOTALLY running while 'on-line' with nothing really 'installed'......  NOPE !!!

I'm old school, and I know that's a problem  :)
But I want to install & run a local app, when I want, and off-line, when ever I choose to do so !!!!! (Pant-pant...)
The FUTURE.... (I'll probably be dead) is just for Smart-Phones' & 'Tablets', and will be like the 'Old-Dumb-Terminal'
screens & keyboards, that were literally an 'interface' to the REAL Computer/Server/Brains.....
I would like to think there will always be a compromise between the two.... but there won't be.
WE will be 'dealt' the hardware that the 'Gods' deem we need, and all the young up-and-comers will do what THEY are
told, in regards to Server-Side scripts, (& Java, JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, and numerous new DataBase standards......
Ok...  I'll shut up now....  :) :)
 

Offline Alex Eisenhut

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2017, 11:20:36 am »
GEOS on the 64 was a tour-de-force. I worsphipped the stupid thing when I was in high school, and ended up spending a lot for a 1581, 1351, and 1764 RAM expansion unit.

Basically, this was a 3.5" 800K floppy, a proportional mouse (as opposed to the older C64 mouse that simply simulated a joystick), and a 512K (well, it was a 256K unit I expanded to 512K for free) RAM expansion.

GEOS fairly flew in that setup, the RAM was used as a RAM drive so all applications simply loaded instantly. The RAM expander had a DMA controller and it was able to transfer 1 byte per CPU clock cycle in and out of the 64's main RAM.

The problem was that computer users in the 1980s were fairly sectarian, with the school's IBMs viewed as "serious, academic computers" and the Commodore 64 as a game machine for children.
 
edit: corrected 1581 storage capacity
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 10:25:11 am by Alex Eisenhut »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2017, 07:48:02 am »
There is one aspect I truly do miss about the earlier days of computing. Software (and hardware) were improving by leaps and bounds and every year there were exciting new things. New versions of software were virtually always superior to the older versions they replaced, offering new and improved features, better user interface, allowing me to do things with my computer that I never could before. Processor speeds were doubling on a regular basis and overclocking could net you a very substantial boost. Also when a piece of software shipped it was *done*, tested, ready to use, none of this "ship it now and fix it later" crap that has plagued the industry. It wasn't bug-free by any means but the overall quality level was much higher.

These days all of this has plateaued, computers have become so powerful that we are seeing diminishing returns on the improvements, even a 10 year old PC is still completely usable for many people. Most software categories matured 10+ years ago and new versions now typically focus on shuffling the UI around to make it look "new" and adding useless features nobody asked for. With fewer reasons than ever to upgrade to the latest version every company seems to be jumping on the software "as a service" (rental) bandwagon where lacking any compelling reason to buy the latest version they will simply extract the money anyway and continuously tinker with the product in attempt to justify the ongoing payments. No longer can you stick with a version you like and choose when to upgrade, the company has control now and you will take what they give you or leave. Software companies themselves now routinely spread FUD about their own previous products, pushing the benefits of staying constantly updated. Despite the fact that every bit of malware I've ever cleaned off someone's computer got there by the user installing something sketchy rather than some exploit being leveraged by a hacker.
 

Offline daybyter

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Re: Precursor to M.S. Windows ???
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2017, 03:48:21 pm »
Back in the days I bought the zorland C compiler dev system for my commodore pc 10. It came with a gem copy and I guess all the libs to write gem apps. The only app, that I ever got to work, was a demo app. It seemed, that at least some of the libs were missing, I guess.
 


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