This page documents the history of PC/GEOS as it evolved from version 1.0
(and even earlier) to the latest incarnation. The information was gathered
from the Breadbox website, the now defunct NewDeal website and other sources.
Table of Contents
Previewed in 1990. This was a pre-release (beta) version of PC/GEOS. Though
it was never released to the general public, it was reviewed by computer magazine
reporters and was featured in the August 1990 issue of BYTE. According to the article, written by
Tom Yager, OS/90 touted four user interfaces with which to choose from: Motif,
Open Look (both licensed), CUA (Common User Access, the UI used by Windows
2.x and OS/2 1.2), and DeskMate (developed but not licensed). The article
shows a screenshot of the Geos File Manager sporting the Open Look UI.
By the time Peter Scisco wrote his article "Artful Appliance" in the October
1990 issue of COMPUTE, the beta was already known as GEOS. One screenshot
shows the Motif and CUA UI's side-by-side.
GeoWorks Ensemble 1.0
Released in November 1990. The pioneering release of PC/GEOS. This was the
very first version that was ever released to the general public. The welcome
screen had three buttons, for the Appliances level, Professional level, and
the DOS Room. In the first level, the user is greeted by large buttons for
the calculator, Rolodex, planner, and notepad. These four apps run in full
screen, and there is no multitasking or task-switching. In the Professional
level, the user is exposed to all the applications, which can run in windows
and multitask with one another. The screen could be filled with a background
(wallpaper in Windows lingo) for some fancy decoration. The accessories included
Clock, Calculator, GeoBanner, GeoComm, GeoDex, GeoPlanner, Notepad, and Scrapbook.
The major applications were GeoManager, GeoDraw, GeoWrite, and Preferences.
There was also an icon for the client software to America Online. (At that
time, it was the only way to connect to AOL). The user interface was Motif,
and a gray color scheme was used. In the DOS Room, a button for the
DOS prompt was the default entry. There was a utility for creating new buttons
for running other DOS applications, and there was a broad selection of icons
to choose from, including both generic and branded icons.
Promenade was a now-defunct independent on-line service from America Online.
A Geos-based client software was bundled by IBM in some of its earliest PS/1's.
It used the CUA UI.
America Online client
Released in late 1990. Also referred to as PCAO, to distinguish it from the
Windows-based client, WAOL. Version 1.0 was the very first client software
for AOL. This was a minimal installation of PC/GEOS. PCAO was updated quite
frequently, with versions 1.2, 1.3, 1.5 released across 1991 and 1992. Version
1.5a was released in late 1993, and was followed in 1994 by version 1.6.
Surprisingly, this occurred after the release of the 2.0 client for
Geos 2.0 (see below). PCAO required a Tymnet or
Sprint connection. AOL stopped supporting Tymnet around 1995, and then abandoned
Sprint, so PCAO is now officially unsupported completely.
GeoWorks Ensemble 1.2
Released in 1991. Version 1.2 featured bug fixes. GeoWrite was beefed-up
with a spell checker, thesaurus, and search-and-replace engine. More printers
were supported. Additional icons for the DOS Room were added, as were more
backgrounds. Significantly, network support was added. Network drives appeared
as additional icons in GeoManager. NetWare, PC-NFS, LAN Manager, and LANtastic
were the networks supported. Also notable were some other accessories in an
\EXTRAS folder under \WORLD, such as a font converter, Perf
(a system monitor), Screen Dumper (for capturing the screen), Tetris, and
the 3D Fonts Demo (displays a trail of letters bouncing across the screen).
The best news about this was that the upgrade was offered free to registered
users of Ensemble 1.0!
(Click here for a screenshot
of the Ensemble 1.2 welcome screen.)
Released in 1992. This used the 1.2.8 kernel. The major difference between
GeoWorks Pro and Ensemble 1.2 was the addition of Quattro Pro Viewer, an accessory
for opening and viewing Quattro Pro spreadsheet files. The viewer could only
read files, not edit them; the data can, however, be copied into the clipboard
and then pasted into another Geos application such as GeoWrite. As Geos still
lacked a native spreadsheet at this point, the DOS-based Quattro Pro SE was
bundled along and an icon for launching it was added to the \world
directory. A major feature was the support of task-switching between Geos
and DOS in conjunction with the TaskMax task-switcher of DR DOS 6.0 from
Digital Research (now owned by Caldera's Lineo
subsidiary). Some bugs were also fixed, and the number of systems supported
increased. The welcome screen now had four buttons (with new artwork): Beginner
(Appliances), Intermediate, Advanced (Professional), and DOS Programs. In
the Intermediate level, all the major Geos applications were available, but
could only be run one at a time, and in full-screen view. Instead of GeoManager,
a more limited file manager, namely File Cabinet, was used. It displayed
only the /document directory of the Geos folder and the files and
subdirectories therein. Only one directory can be displayed at once as a
single window occupying the entire screen. Large buttons for file management
ran above and below the window. A button for the hard drive was missing;
only buttons for the floppy drives A: and B: were available.
TeacherWorks was a bundle of Geoworks Pro distributed briefly by a company
somewhere in the midwest of the United States. The Quattro Pro SE spreadsheet
was not included, but was replaced with a DOS-based attendance and gradebook
database program. TeacherWorks also included templates and clip art designed
for teachers and students and a tutorial aimed at introducing teachers to
GeoWorks Personal Office Series
After the release of GeoWorks Pro, GeoWorks decided to release versions that
were subsets of the entire suite. These three versions had only the application
that were geared to a specific function: basic file management, graphics
design, and word processing. Another difference is that the welcome screen
sported a DOS button with huge C> prompt on the monitor, instead of the
small text button of GeoWorks Pro.
(Click here for a screenshot of the
Personal Office Series welcome screen.)
GeoWorks Desktop 1.2
This version included GeoManager and the accessories such as GeoDex, GeoPlanner,
GeoWorks Designer 1.2
Instead of having GeoManager, Designer had File Cabinet. The only other applications
available were GeoDraw, GeoBanner, Scrapbook, and Preferences.
GeoWorks Writer 1.2
As with Designer, Writer had the File Cabinet. The other applications available
were GeoWrite, Scrapbook, and Preferences.
GeoWorks CD Manager
Released December 1992. This was an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
version of Geos that Sony and NEC bundled with their respective CD-ROM players
that sold as retail box add-on peripherals for consumers. They apparently
sold for over $300 at the time for the single- or double-speed CD players
alone. NEC shipped first, perhaps a couple months before Sony. The package
included GeoManager, and some of the PIM's (Planner, Notepad, Calculator,
GeoDex, Solitaire, GeoComm, PCAO, Preferences, Tetris), but none of the major
apps. And for each of the two brands, a special custom made CD Player application
(true Geos 1.2 app), and an application called CD Integrator were bundled.
CD Integrator was a launcher maker and the same code basically became the
launcher maker in Ensemble 2.0. It was provided preloaded with configurations
for popular CD titles on the market at the time, plus a selection of generic
icons for titles that weren't preconfigured. In addition to the CD Player
itself and the Geos software, the packages included a small collection (maybe
6 or so) softwares on CD: a couple of DOS games, an encyclopedia, photo CD
software, etc. One of the Sony models also included a sound card and speakers.
The NEC version had the NEC CDR-25 1x CD-ROM, Trantor 130B SCSI card, and
Labtec CD-150 speakers. It came with 10 CD's.
(Click here for a screenshot of the
NEC CD Express welcome screen.)
GeoWorks Quick Start 1.2
Quick Start was basically GeoWorks Pro without Quattro Pro SE. Additional
templates and clip art were bundled. It was designed to appeal to the typical
family with a new computer, or about to buy a first computer; the ads said
"fifty things you can make in five minutes."
(Click here for a screenshot
of the welcome screen.)
Geoworks Ensemble 2.0
A major upgrade. It was the first release of the 2.0 kernel, which underwent
a complete rewrite.
File system: Geos 1.x documents were not automatically readable, but had
to be converted into the 2.x format with the supplied upgrader in GeoManager.
The 32-long Geos filenames and 100-character user notes was extended to directories.
A utility to create Launchers (similar to PIF's on Windows 3.x) for DOS applications
was added to GeoManager. The 2.0 kernel did not require SETVER.EXE
to be loaded in CONFIG.SYS for MS-DOS 6 and higher, PC DOS 6 and
higher, and Novell DOS 7 and higher.
The major apps have been vastly improved, and a spreadsheet and database
added. All four apps had multiple levels of user interface and features, customizable
toolbars, and came with new templates.
GeoWrite: a graphics layer for direct graphics manipulation in documents;
search and replace; 40,000+ word thesaurus; mail merge; undo; document control
with annotations and notes; up to 32 columns; smart quotes; insert special
dates and time; adjust weight and width of characters; auto hyphenation; style
sheets; master pages; multiple document sections; multiple views including
galley, draft, and condensed; import & export ASCII, Display Write, Hebrew
Write, Lotus 1-2-3, MS Word, MultiMate and MultiMate Advantage, Signature,
WordPerfect, WordPerfect for Windows, WordStar, and XyWrite
In Preferences, a Lights Out module was added that supported various screen
savers. A PIF and GRP file were added for creating a Program
Manager item for Ensemble under Windows 3.x.
GeoDraw: bitmap drawing tools; pixel editing; rulers and grids; smooth
curve splines; paste inside; gradient fills; automatic alignment and distribution
for graphic objects; skew, flip, rotate, move, and nudge objects; undo; design
templates; custom duplicate for special effects; create custom objects; import
& export PCX, TIFF, GIF, CLP, and BMP images
GeoCalc: graphical WYSIWYG spreadsheet; 8,192 rows by 256 columns; 99
functions; complete cell formatting; point and click references; absolute
and relative cell references; full on-screen charting with 7 chart types;
create formulas with a point and click formula builder; insert name, formula,
series; manually adjust column width and row height; graphics layer for direct
graphics manipulation in documents with bitmap drawing, object drawing, gradient
fills; automatic recalculation; import & export WK1, WKS, CSV, and dBase
GeoFile: graphical forms-based database; 8192 records per database; graphical
form design; 250 multiple layouts per database; multiple field types with
up to 511 characters; create calculated fields with a point and click expression
builder; set multiple field attributes; supports single or multiple record
layout; search on records and text strings; user defined tab ordering; sort
on any field and across multiple records; mark records; import & export
WK1, WKS, CSV, and dBase III, IV
(Click here for a screenshot of
the welcome screen.)
Geoworks Ensemble 2.01
Ensemble 2.01 was an incremental upgrade to Ensemble 2.0 which provided a
new version of PCAO and some performance enhancements. A patch to upgrade
Ensemble 2.0 to version 2.01 was distributed to Ensemble 2.0 customers for
free by download or on disk for a nominal media and shipping charge.
Bindery is an application that creates eletronic books that can be read with
the Book Reader. Books are read-only, hyperlinked documents that can contain
text and graphics, much like Adobe Acrobat and Corel Envoy, although the
Bindery format is proprietary. Aside from Bindery and Book Reader, the other
included apps are GeoManager, GeoDraw, Scrapbook, Preferences, and Screen
Dumper. Two versions were released; version 2 could be installed as a stand-alone
product, an upgrade to version 1, or added to Ensemble 2.01.
(Click here for a screenshot
of the welcome screen.)
PalmConnect was written by Palm Computing
to provide file transfer between the Zoomer and the PC. Geoworks provided
the system software and licensed Palm to make and distribute it. PalmConnect
used the same kernel as Ensemble 2.0, but lacked the Geoworks applications
like GeoDex, GeoWrite, etc. PalmConnect included GeoManager (renamed File
Manager), Preferences, and desktop versions of the Palm applications: PalmAddress,
PalmNotes, and PalmSchedule. These are basically the same apps as on the Zoomer,
but they've been recompiled in color for the desktop, instead of black-&-white
only as in the Zoomer itself. PalmConnect imported/exported only CSV (Comma
Separated Values, or comma-delimited files), and had only VGA video drivers.
On the plus side, it did have a pen driver.
Palm also separately sold the PalmUtilities set of accessories , which
enabled import & export of ASCII files. Palm sold PalmConnect directly,
or via Palm's retailers (the same ones that sold the Zoomer), and it included
a cable for connecting the Zoomer to the PC. It was sold for several years,
but when Windows 95 came out, Palm encountered the same problems running it
from Windows 95 that Geoworks observed running Ensemble 2.0 from Windows 95.
At first Palm claimed that running PalmConnect from Windows 95 was not possible,
but that was disproved shortly before Palm introduced the Pilot. When the
Pilot came out, Palm ceased production of PalmConnect and they stopped distribution
when the stock ran out.
Note: Palm also sold a similar suite of applications that were Windows
versions of the HP 100LX/200LX applications, also named PalmConnect. These
were PhoneBook, Appointment Book, and NoteTaker. For file transfer, it used
HotSync with a serial cable. This version of PalmConnect is unrelated to
the PC/GEOS version.
(Click here for a screenshot
of the welcome screen.)
I included SchoolView because while it is not considered part of the "mainstream"
development of Geos and was not marketed by Geoworks, it was based on PC/GEOS.
education-oriented subsidiary of IBM, contracted
Geoworks to develop a version of Geos catered for schools (from K-12) that
would run on Novell Netware networks. It was designed primarily as a graphical
interface for the ICLAS
(IBM Classroom LAN Administration System) network management and courseware
that IBM had been selling to schools for several years. A Plus version of
SchoolView was available which included the major Geoworks applications: GeoWrite,
GeoCalc, GeoFile, and GeoDraw. Instead of Motif and GeoManager for the user
interface and file manager, respectively, it used the Presentation Manager
and WorkPlace Shell (written especially for PC/GEOS), giving it an OS/2 look-and-feel.
Eduquest sold it only to schools; it was not available to the general public.
It has since been discontinued by IBM in favor of the Windows 95-based SchoolVista.
New Deal Office 2.5
This was the first release of the software under New Deal, the company to
which Geoworks turned over the license and ownership. It remained basically
the same as Ensemble 2.01, with minor changes including a fix for the fast-CPU
bug (that causes SETUP to hang on fast PC's), and word wrapping of
icon names in NewManager. All the apps were renamed from GeoSomething to
New Deal Publish 2.5
Just as Geoworks released a shareware version of Ensemble 2.0 to allow users
to try-out the software, New Deal released a shareware version of NDO 2.5
that included NewWrite, Scrapbook, Text File Editor, and Preferences. It
is available on FTP sites and has been distributed by NDO users elsewhere.
New Deal Office 97
This was the first time New Deal started naming Office based on a year. The
following changes also took place.
- A bug fix enabled NDO to work properly on PC's with over 32MB RAM.
- A beta driver for a 256-color display was added.
- The mail merge feature between NewDex and NewWrite was fixed.
- The NEWDEAL.PIF and NEWDEAL.GRP files for running
NDO from Windows 3.x were updated.
- A Character Map file was added to NewCalc for viewing the entire character
set of a font.
- Launchers for the DOS Prompt and New Deal's NEWHELP utility
were added to the \DOSROOM folder.
- The Connect feature is enabled by default.
- Handles default set to 3500.
- LPT (parallel port) setting defaults to BIOS for compatibility with
- Default video driver set to VGA: 640x480 16-color.
- Added Special Characters File (NewWrite file).
- New Deal Office Screen updated.
- Index added to User Guide.
New Deal Office 98
Eight new application were added (licensed from Breadbox except for Character
Map, Office clip art and templates, and color scheme):
- NewBanker - personal accounting program
- CD Player
- Configure - customize options, look-and-feel and much more
- Character Map
- File Finder
- Media Viewer
- Directory Lister
- Skipper - an Internet browser
- New import/export filters were added for RTF 0, RTF 1 (Rich Text Format,
a cross platform format), and HTML
- Video drivers for 256, 15-bit (32,768), 16-bit (65,536) and 24-bit
(16,777,216) color displays were added
- Office Clip Art images and Office Templates were included
- New default color scheme and look and feel (further customizable with
New Deal SchoolSuite 98
SchoolSuite is identical to Office, save for the splash screen (of course
:-) ) and the addition of school-oriented templates for the four major applications.
Released 1998. This is a PC version of the software integrated in the Brother
GeoBook series (NB-60, NB-80c, and SuperNote). All the major apps except NewFile,
and Internet software were included. It used the Yago UI, similar in appearance
to the Motif UI. The start-up screen is a full-screen menu with large buttons
for accessing the apps as well as an exit button. (It is very similar to
the menu found on the Brother Personal Desktop Publisher models 100J, 300CJ
and 350CJ, dedicated word-processors that also used Geos.) In behavior, the
title bar is at the bottom, apps are run full-screen, and the express menu
was disabled (hence no multitasking). Some accessories (calculator, clock
and planner) can be invoked with hotkeys. NumLock and CapsLock indicator
buttons appeared to the right of the title bar.
NewDeal Office Release 3
Released in January 1999. The first version to offer a choice of User Interfaces
(the traditional Motif UI or the new Industry Standard UI, which looks a lot like Windows
95), and an Internet suite (the Skipper Pro browser and Meeting Root IRC
client app, both licensed from Breadbox, and NewMail e-mail app). Other featured
(Click here for a screenshot of
the welcome screen.)
- Several modules are added to Preferences, including Change UI, Customize
UI, Internet (for the ISP dialer settings), and Fax.
- Time and Date module is redesigned; it is also accessible it by clicking
on the task bar clock).
- Left- and right-handed mouse configurations moved to Preferences Mouse
- Preferences Modem module lists 38400, 56k and 115k options and defaults
to RTS, CTS for hardware handshaking.
- A Sound Blaster driver is included.
- VESA drivers and CGA support is improved.
- More printers are supported.
- Compatibility with Windows NT 4.0.
- NewManager Connect feature now includes 56k and 115k.
- NewWrite has the following enhancements: Dynamic Ruler Marks, those
little lines in the rulers that follow the mouse pointer around the page.
Previously available only in NewDraw, these markers appear in new documents.
It now accepts pasting graphics beyond page 20. And, with the Help Edior
activated, the Index and Table of Contents are automatically updated.
- Support for sending faxes directly from NewWrite with most faxmodems,
including automatic generation of cover pages.
- NewCalc is enhanced with the following: locking titles, improved charting
of text data, and improved mail merge of computed data from NewCalc (and NewFile
- NewDraw Background Fill available for object coloring allows for 2-layer
coloring without having to go through the duplicative overlay.
- Stability improved when working with complex graphics.
- New color selector, choose among 216 colors, 6x6x6 and RGB formats,
and define custom colors.
- NewPlanner automatically displays the current date at startup.
- The hardware clock does not reset when running under a taskswitcher.
- Calculator Currency Converter added, defaults to Yen/Dollars and can
be used for other currencies.
NewDeal SchoolSuite Release 3
NewDeal Office 3.2
Released in January 2000. This is a consolidation of NDOr3, SchoolSuite,
and Websuite, with all the templates, clipart, and sample HTML documents of
the latter two. It is available either as a full product or an upgrade to
NewDeal Office 2000
Released in 2001. The 4.x core fixes some conflicts when run under the latest
versions of Windows, including XP.
Released in 2002. This has the latest Internet suite of applications, including
WebMagick (browser), IRC Chat, Email, FTP, Instant Messenger (compatible with
AIM) and NewsReader.
Note: For the latest on Breadbox Ensemble, visit Breadbox at www.breadbox.com.
Breadbox Ensemble Lite
A limited version of Breadbox Ensemble that, like GeoPublish 2.0, lacked
some system files to enable only the included apps like the Writer word processor
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[Main page] [Geos FAQ] [History] [Geos Links] [Disclaimer] [Trademarks]
Thanks to Steve Main of NewDeal
and Edward Di Geronimo Jr. for their
Updated February 25, 2005.
Copyright © 1999-2005, Raymond Thaddeus C. Ancog. Portions copyright
© 1999-2002, NewDeal Inc. All rights reserved.
E-mail me at rayancog at
pldtdsl dot for comments, updates and corrections.
Product name trademarks are acknowledged in this page.
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