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.
Subject: PC/GEOS operating system FAQ, General Geos Information (part
Last-modified: July 1, 2005
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
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.
FAQ is mostly targeted towards desktop Geos users, both Ensemble and
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,
groups, commercial networks, or other networks (FidoNet, GeoHolics Net,
etc.) or vendors, please let me know so that I can pass along the
- Tells me, so that I can inform you of updates to the FAQ and tell
community (I will keep the information confidential, if you desire)
- Makes every reasonable effort to keep this information current
- Releases myself and the rest of USENET from any liability.
Please send submissions, comments, suggestions, or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'd like to give the following folks my thanks:
Since the previous update (March 23, 2004), the following sections have been
- Section 1.1.1 What is Geos?
- Section 1.2.2 Does Geos exist in any other language versions than English?
- Section 3.1.12 How can I run Geos on Windows CE-based PDA's?
- 1 General Geos Information
- 1.1 Version and Platform Information
- 1.1.1 What is Geos?
- 1.1.2 Is Geos a real operating system?
- 1.1.3 Is Geos an alternative to Windows?
- 1.1.4 What's the difference between Geos, Geoworks, and the desktop versions?
- 1.1.5 What is new in Geos v3.0 and 4.0?
- 1.1.6 When did Geos v3.0 debut?
- 1.1.7 What features do the newer desktop versions include that are not present in the older desktop version?
- 1.2 Miscellaneous Questions
- 1.2.1 Where can I get a demo version of the desktop version?
- 1.2.2 Does Geos exist in any other language versions than English?
- 1.2.3 What fonts are available for Geos?
- 2 Geos Software Information
- 2.1 Desktop Software Products
- 2.1.1 What desktop products are available for Geos?
- 2.2 Geos Development Products
- 2.2.1 What development products are available for Geos?
- 2.2.2 How can I order development products?
- 2.2.3 What is IZL?
- 2.2.4 What is Geos programming like?
- 2.2.5 Are there any visual development tools for Geos?
- 2.3 Shareware
- 2.3.1 What shareware available for Geos?
- 2.3.2 Are there any anonymous FTP sites for Geos software?
- 2.3.3 Are there any Geos related BBS's?
- 2.3.4 Are there any DOS programs written for Geos?
- 2.4 Communications Software
- 2.4.1 Are there any communications programs available for Geos?
- 2.4.2 Does Geos do TCP/IP?
- 3 Geos Compatibility Information
- 3.1 Where to find more compatibility information
- 3.1.1 Where can I find more information about running Geos with my software and hardware?
- 3.2 DOS Compatibility
- 3.2.1 What versions of DOS are compatible with Geos?
- 3.3 DR-DOS
- 3.3.1 I switched from MS-DOS/PC-DOS to DR-DOS and Geos won't load, even after I run SETUP. What am I doing wrong?
- 3.3.2 Does the desktop version support DR-DOS 6.0 task-switching?
- 3.3.3 Can I run Windows 3.1 on DR-DOS?
- 3.3.4 DR-DOS is kind of old. Are there any updates?
- 3.3.5 Will ZIP drives work with DR-DOS 6.0?
- 3.4 Novell DOS
- 3.4.1 What about the Task Switcher/Multitasker in Novell's NW-DOS 7?
- 3.5 Linux
- 3.5.1 How can I get Geos to run under Linux?
- 3.6 Macintosh
- 3.6.1 How can I get Geos to run on my Macintosh?
- 3.6.2 How can I exchange files between my Mac and my Geos platform?
- 3.6.3 Will Geos work with a DOS Compatibility Card?
- 3.7 Network
- 3.7.1 How can I use one document directory for different drives?
- 3.7.2 Are there any versions of Geos made specifically for networks?
- 3.8 Windows NT/2000/XP
- 3.8.1 Is Geos compatible with Windows NT/2000/XP?
- 3.9 HP 200LX and OmniGo 700LX
- 3.9.1 Will the desktop version run on my Hewlett Packard 200LX or OmniGo 700LX palmtop computer?
- 3.10 Iomega Zip Drives
- 3.10.1 Does the Iomega Zip drive or removable drives work with Geos?
- 3.11 Windows 95/98/Millennium Edition
- 3.11.1 Can I run Ensemble/ NewDeal under Windows 95/98/ME?
- 3.12 Geos and Windows CE
- 3.12.1 How can I run Geos on Windows CE-based PDAs?
- 3.13 Y2K Compliance
- 3.13.1 Is Geos fully Y2K compliant?
- 4 Where to Get More Information
- 5 Customizing Geos
- 5.1 The Standard User Interface
- 5.1.1 I don't like the interface. Can I customize it?
- 5.1.2 Which character set does Geos use? Most European languages need the special characters above CHR (127)...
- 5.1.3 When I install other fonts, they are displayed in the fonts menu in the order they were installed. Is there a way to have them in alphabetical order?
- 5.1.4 I want to make a graphics file into a Geos background. How do I do that?
- 5.1.5 How can I keep the splash screen from showing up?
- 5.2 The GEOS.INI File
- 5.2.1 What is the GEOS.INIfile, and why would I want to mess with it?
- 5.2.2 Is there an easy way to tweak the GEOS.INI?
- 5.2.3 How do I associate DOS files with programs?
- 5.2.4 How do I get rid of drives in GeoManager?
- 5.2.5 How do I get rid of the link button?
- 5.2.6 How do I enable the floating keyboard?
- Common Problems
- 6.1 It's broke!
- 6.1.1 When I try to start Geos, I get a message saying that unable to find /userdata/fonts! What's the problem?
- 6.1.2 I installed Geos on my zippy new computer, but it won't load up. What's the problem? It dies with a KR-01 error (divide by zero).
- 6.1.3 I keep getting SHAREor File Lock errors when I run Geos. What's going on?
- 6.1.4 I'm running the desktop version with Stacker installed. Drive C is my Stacker volume. For some reason GeoManager insists on looking at drive E for the /geoworks/worlddirectory, even though when I exit Geos I'm on drive C. Any ideas?
- 6.1.5 I keep having problems with Geos 2.0 and DoubleSpace/SuperStor/Stacker. What can I do?
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:
- Apple GEOS has been discontinued. Berkeley Softworks (the former name of
Geoworks) is no longer selling, distributing, or supporting any Apple GEOS
products. It is now distributed by Breadbox, and is available as a download
from its FTP site.
- Commodore GEOS is available from:
- Commodore Key Dot Com - the
free download is software only, no manuals. The complete set of
diskettes and manuals is available for US $25.
- Some support for Commodore GEOS is available on comp.sys.cbm,
and CompuServe's CBM Applications forum. James D. Hefner had an excellent
Commodore GEOS homepage at http://www.pernet.net/~james1/cbm_geos/.
Bo Zimmerman maintains a Commodore GEOS FAQ at http://www.zimmers.net/geos/GEOSFAQ.html.
There are several 3rd-party extensions to Commodore GEOS, one of which is
named GEOS 2000 (not to be confused with the Geos 2000 version of PC/GEOS).
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
1.1.4 What's the difference between Geos, Geoworks, and the desktop
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
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
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:
- a choice between an easy and advanced desktop
- right-click bubblehelp in NewUI for buttons
- 256-color icons
- a full-featured browser, e-mail client, and newsgroup reader
- security features for kid-friendly web browsing
- a Design Assistant for guided, step-by-step creation of documents
- consumer utilites such as an accounting application and simple database
- a viewer for Adobe Acrobat PDF documents (not in the Nokia and Brother
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
- support for TV output (PAL/NTSC)
- drivers for the Canon BJC-1000/2000 series printers
- tutorial for learning to use the keyboard, mouse, front panel, and basic
- system update wizard
- add/remove software wizard
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.
- GeoWrite: Text wrapping around pictures, a built-in thesaurus, importing
from and exporting to WordPerfect, WordStar, MultiMate, MS-Word and Xywrite,
search-and-replace, and built-in graphic capabilities.
- GeoComm: Hasn't been substantially altered, but at least it doesn't crash
on the VT-100 change-scroll-region code like the old one did. Third-party
communications applications are now becoming available.
- GeoFile: New forms-based graphical database with import-export
functionality and built-in text, graphic, and spreadsheet capabilities.
- GeoCalc: New graphical spreadsheet with import-export functionality and
built-in text, graphic, and database capabilities. The worksheets have been
debugged and are now usable.
- Calculator: New math functions and multiple memory registers.
Metric/Imperial conversion functions are also included.
- GeoDraw: Now has a whole range of import/export filters (PCX, TIFF, GIF,
MAC, PICT, and Windows clipboard formats). It allows conversion between
bitmaps and graphic object, editing of bitmaps, advanced object
manipulation, polycurves, skewing, and much more, and also has full text
- Spell Checker: Now operates across all text applications, and multiple
dictionaries are available for American English and British English. A
thesaurus has been added, which is also available system-wide.
- Text File Editor: New text file editor, allowing multiple documents to be
open simultaneously, plus spell-checking and thesaurus capabilities.
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:
- Terri Ferrier P. O. Box 5516
Victoria, TX 77903
- Fantazia Concepts, Inc. PO Box 5142
Willowick, OH 44095
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
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