Welcome to the PC/GEOS FAQ. Here you'll find answers to some questions frequently asked about Geos. This document is also available in an ASCII version compressed with PKZIP.

From: rayancog@pldtdsl.net (Raymond Ancog)
Newsgroups: comp.os.geos.misc, comp.answers, news.answers
Subject: PC/GEOS operating system FAQ, General Geos Information (part 1/6)
Followup-To: poster
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.EDU

Archive-name: pcgeos-faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: July 1, 2005
URL: http://webspace.webring.com/people/mr/ravinray/geos/faq/pcgeosfaq1.html

The most recent version of this file can be found at any news.answers archive site. One such site is rtfm.mit.edu, in the /pub/usenet/comp.os.geos.misc subdirectory. The most recent version of the FAQ is also available from my home page at http://webspace.webring.com/people/mr/ravinray/geos/faq/ in both HTML and ASCII format.


I make no claims about the accuracy of this information. Use it at your own risk. This file is compiled from various sources, including but not limited to USENET, the Web, commercial networks, and electronic mail. The FAQ is mostly targeted towards desktop Geos users, both Ensemble and NewDeal Office. However, there are still many sections devoted to other topics and Geos platforms.

This information may be freely distributed, in whole or in part, in any form, provided that any distributor:

If this file leaves the confines of USENET for any BBS's, web pages, user groups, commercial networks, or other networks (FidoNet, GeoHolics Net, etc.) or vendors, please let me know so that I can pass along the information to others.

Please send submissions, comments, suggestions, or corrections to rayancog@pacific.net.ph.


I'd like to give the following folks my thanks:


Since the previous update (March 23, 2004), the following sections have been updated:

1 General Geos Information

1.1 Version and Platform Information

1.1.1 What is Geos?

Geos is a 16-bit, graphical operating system from Geoworks that is generally platform independent. The most common version runs on top of MS-DOS or compatible operating system such as PC DOS, DR-DOS, ROM-DOS, OS/2, or Win95/98, and provides a preemptive multitasking, multithreaded, object-oriented environment for almost any DOS-based computer. (Note though, that other versions of DOS such as FreeDOS, and Multiuser DOS or Concurrent DOS do not support Geos, though PTS-DOS apparently supports it.) For more modern versions of Geos, an 80286-based computer with at least 2 Megabytes of memory is strongly recommended. All versions provide built-in memory management, virtual (disk) memory, a single imaging model, outline font technology, automatic scrolling and scaling, complex graphics rendering, and a flexible, scaleable GUI. Version 4.0 is the current version of Geos, found in Breadbox Ensemble and its sibling software. Prior to this, version 3.x was one of the most widespread releases of Geos, with 3.0 in the Nokia 9000/9000i/9000il/9110/9110i Communicator, Brother GeoBook, NewDeal Office/SchoolSuite/WebSuite Release 3, and 3.1 for the GlobalPC (aka GPC) from MyTurn.com (a company that manufactured inexpensive PC's), and the envisioned GreenPC from NewDeal. (Both companies are now closed. For the rest of this document, I shall use "NewDeal" to refer to Office, SchoolSuite, and WebSuite.)

Geos is also defined by the platform that it is running on. Currently it runs on the Apple II, Commodore 64/128, IBM PC compatible, Hewlett Packard OmniGo 100 and 120, several Brother desktop publishers, Canon StarWriter Pro 5000, Nokia 9000 series and 9110 series Communicators, MyTurn.com's GlobalPC and three other DOS-based PDA's collectively referred to as the Zoomer. The OmniGo 700LX is not a native Geos platform, and for the rest of the FAQ all references to just "OmniGo" refer to the OmniGo 100 or 120. The operating system that runs on the Toshiba Genio, Dialo, Camesse Petit, and Mitsubishi Moem-D, is a Japanese version of Geos-SC and not a RISC-based version of Geos as earlier reported. The Seiko-Epson Locatio runs the EdenOS and not Geos-SC, the former of which was developed by the UK company Eden that Geoworks acquired. (Thanks to Don O'Connell of Shasta QA for the correction.) The IBM PC version, also referred to as the desktop version, started as GeoWorks Ensemble 1.0 in November 1990. A copy of Geos 1.2 was also bundled with CD-ROM drives from NEC and Sony as part of a package that included a Geos-based CD player and several DOS-based programs. The current retail version is now a liquidated version of NewDeal Office 2000, available from Breadbox. Breadbox also has Breadbox Ensemble 4.x which is even newer, but this is available only in multiuser amounts. A detailed account of the evolution of desktop Geos is available in my History page at http://webspace.webring.com/people/mr/ravinray/geos/history.html. The desktop version contains more software than any other Geos package out of the box. All other versions are still called Geos.

This FAQ does not contain any information on the Apple and Commodore versions except for the following:

1.1.2 Is Geos a real operating system?

It depends on how you define operating system, but by most standards, it certainly is a real operating system. DOS is only used for the file system support. Many people consider Windows 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98 and ME to be a real operating systems even though they also use DOS for the filing system. Geos was the first object-oriented operating system (OOOS) for the PC.

1.1.3 Is Geos an alternative to Windows?

Hmm. It won't run Windows applications, but it will provide you with a lot of functionality that Windows won't, especially if you have a low-end machine (less than a '386, and/or less than 4 megabytes of RAM). You can run the desktop version from most other operating systems like Win95/98/ME, OS/2, or even Linux, in which case it acts like a sophisticated, integrated application suite and environment.

1.1.4 What's the difference between Geos, Geoworks, and the desktop versions?

Geoworks is the name of the company that created the Geos operating system. The company was formerly called Berkeley Softworks, then GeoWorks until 1994 with the name style change. It was a public company, and Novell, Hewlett Packard, Nokia, Ericsson, Toshiba and Amazon.com made equity investments in it. It moved away from the desktop and refocused on wireless communications and services. In April 2003 the corporate structure was sold to a company in Dallas, Texas. The http://www.geoworks.com website is under construction as of this writing, so we will have to wait for its relaunch.

GlobalPC was purchased by Compu-DAWN, which provided Internet and telecommunications services in North America. (Compu-DAWN has since renamed itself MyTurn.com. It has now closed down.) Geos doesn't stand for anything legally since you can't trademark an acronym, but in earlier times it was said to be an acronym for "Graphical Environment Operating System." Packaged with each different desktop version is a suite of programs that were developed by Geoworks to run under the Geos operating system, and has changed names almost every time a new version has been released. The more notable names have been Ensemble (v1.0 - v1.2), GeoWorks Pro (v1.2.8), Quick Start (v1.2.9), Ensemble (v2.0 - v2.0.1), NewDeal Office (v2.5+), and Breadbox Ensemble (4.x).

Quick Start is basically the same as GeoWorks Pro without the Pro (no Quattro Pro bundled with it). Many folks run Quick Start on their XT and AT compatible machines since it is even less resource intensive than more modern versions. Quick Start can sometimes be found at Surplus Software (US orders 1-800-753-7877, International 541-386-1375, Web: http://www.surplusdirect.com), or at eBay (http://www.ebay.com). It is no longer available from NewDeal.

Ensemble (v2.01) contained a brand new operating system and applications compared to Quick Start, plus a spreadsheet and a flat file database. NewDeal is basically Ensemble with bug fixes, renamed applications, and some additional new applications. NewDeal does not include Tetris, but some users have copied it from earlier versions, or obtained it by installing the Ensemble 2.01 upgrade patch and then reinstalling NewDeal.

1.1.5 What is new in Geos 3.0 and 4.0?

Currently three devices (Nokia 9000 series & 9110 series Communicator, Brother GeoBook, and PC) have different flavors of Geos 3.0. The GlobalPC and GreenPC had the newest 3.1 kernel. In general though, all Geos 2.x and 3.x applications will run on any Geos 3.x based machine. The most exciting thing about v3.0 was that a TCP/IP stack had been added to the system, while NewWrite has been augmented with fax support. Internet applications like a browser, e-mail and chat client software are also bundled. Version 3.0 also includes a new user interface called NewUI based on the current Industry Standard look and feel.

The 9000 and 9110 series of Communnicators are no longer being produced by Nokia, although support and accessories are still available at http://forum.nokia.com (though Nokia is actively providing support for the Symbian OS used on the unrelated 9210, 9290, 9300, 9500 Communicators).  The GlobalPC is likewise not being produced anymore.

All the different distributions of Geos 2000 (which is based on Geos 3.1) have in common:

In additional, the GlobalPC had the following features: Since the licensing agreement with Geoworks (announced in January 24, 2002), Breadbox has added many enhancements, many of which are not immediately obvious. That, and the transfer of ownership of Geos to Breadbox, has lead the company to distinguish their release as version 4.0 (Thanks to John Howard of Breadbox for this info).

1.1.6 When did Geos 3.0 debut?

Geos 3.0 has been available for some time. The initial version of v3.0 was completed in July of 1995, and the Nokia 9000 Communicator was released in September of 1996. The desktop upgrade from NewDeal arrived in January 1999, and forms the kernel of NewDeal Release 3. The Brother GeoBook came with a CD-ROM called BrotherWorks 98, which includes a desktop version of Geos v3.0 and many of the same new applications as NDO Release 3.2A. Geos 3.1 was released in September 2000 with the debut of the GlobalPC.

1.1.7 What features do the newer desktop versions include that are not present in the older desktop version?

The main feature differences between 1.x and 2.x versions of the desktop are: NOTE: See section 1.1.5 for differences between 2.x and 3.x versions of Geos. Basically, 2.x software will run on 3.x platforms, and 3.x platforms have much better communications and Internet capability. Also, starting with version 2.5 of the desktop, all GeoWhatever programs have been renamed NewWhatever.

1.2 Miscellaneous Questions

1.2.1 Where can I get a demo version of the desktop version?

NewDeal had an evaluation version of NDO Release 3.2A available from its website that has a 45-day time lock before expiring. Before, it also made made a shareware version (v2.5) available, and a previous shareware version (v2.0) called GeoPublish was created by Geoworks. The latter two are available on major on-line services as well as FTP sites that have Geos content. Both earlier versions include the bare minimum number of files necessary to run GeoManager (aka NewManager, a file manager) and a slightly crippled version of GeoWrite (aka NewWrite, a word processor). The most notable side effects of this are that the shareware versions have no spell checking, thesaurus, or import/export filters. Also, most Geos shareware will not run on the shareware versions. However, some functionality and programs like Tetris and the AOL client can installed by applying the 2.01 patch. If this is applied to the NewDeal shareware version, you must then reinstall it. The new evaluation version had all the applications but lacks the import/export filters.

There was also a demo version of the GlobalPC software. This does not save or print, and the tutorial is limited to basic mouse lessons.

Breadbox Ensemble Lite is available at http://www.breadbox.com/downloads.asp. This version is a limited version of Breadbox Ensemble. Breadbox has removed many applications and some functionality, but it will provide you with a good feel for the full working version.

1.2.2 Does Geos exist in any other language versions than English?

NewDeal Office 98 was available in English and French versions. A German version is almost done and a Spanish version is expected soon. Each of these versions comes with drivers for other language keyboards, so if you can speak one of these languages, you can probably use the software with little difficulty. The Geos found in the Nokia 9000/9110 cellphones supports more European languages.

The German version of Breadbox Ensemble is in final review and a French and Spanish version are in progress.

More recently, a French support group for Geos has gone on-line. Alain Carriere has started GeoSphere, a virtual club for Francophones (the site is in French only). He has another website, The Sanctuary of the Stars, that was created with the Geos HTML editor WebBox. Unfortunately, both are of this writing off-line.

1.2.3 What fonts are available for Geos?

All DOS-based versions of Geos can use the same fonts. A wide variety of fonts are also available via FTP, networks, and supporting BBS's.

Terri Ferrier sells a collection of over 3400 Geos fonts, over 7500 clip art images, and over 250 Geos programs. The CD along with a printed catalog of font examples costs $35 for US orders, $45 for foreign orders and can be found at:

Other font CD's are also sold by:

End of the PC/GEOS FAQ Part 1

Updated July 1, 2005

Copyright © 199?-1999 James Bearden. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 1999-2005 Raymond Thaddeus C. Ancog. All rights reserved.

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