Linked by Kroc on Thu 24th Aug 2006 20:26 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes GEOS managed to offer nearly all the functionality of the original Mac in a 1 MHz computer with 64 Kilobytes of RAM. It wasn't an OS written to run on a generic x86 chip on a moving hardware platform. It was written using immense knowledge of the hardware and the tricks one could use to maximise speed. Note: After a small break, here is another one of the articles for the Alternative OS contest.
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Hard to develop -> lack of apps
by kikan on Fri 25th Aug 2006 07:58 UTC
kikan
Member since:
2006-08-25

Great OS, I remember installing a copy everywhere I could, just to show what could be done with small hardware. I used it as my Primary OS for years, as I was comming from Atari ST and feeling disapointed by the PC.

In 1991 ou 1992, I bought the developer guide (only) for Geoworks Ensemble (which cost about 150 ). About 4 kilograms of very interesting reading, nice APIs, all object and C.
But, to make a "Hello, world !", you needed 2 PCs, one with Windows, and one with Geoworks, and a laplink cable linking them. I didn't have to many computers at this time.

I think that's a reason why there where so few apps : too difficult to develop, even if you could find some help on newsgroups (Internet was slowly appearing in France). And I was not skilled enough.

I still own a little compaq notebook, simply installed with a DOS 5 and Geoworks. Sometimes I boot it, just to remember how nice it was.

Edited 2006-08-25 08:10

Reply Score: 2

edwdig Member since:
2005-08-22

You needed 2 PCs and a standard $10 null modem. You didn't need Windows, although most people used it on the coding PC.

The need for two PCs was because of the debugging. Any time you hit a breakpoint in the debugger, it would stop the entire OS. Doing this made debugging multithreaded code MUCH easier. Also, putting the debugger on a seperate machine meant your code wasn't trashing the debugger as it ran. It was an expense, but, you didn't need anything fast for the 2nd machine. I just used my old 286 as the debugging machine.

GEOS wasn't hard to develop for at all. The APIs were VERY nice actually. The UI in particular was so much easier to develop for than any other UI toolkit. The myth of GEOS being hard to develop for was created by people who spent a lot of time learning MFC and didn't want to admit that it wasn't very good.

As for my basis of comparison there, I spent a summer trying to learn Windows coding with Visual C++ 1.0, not really making any progress. I then got the GEOS SDK, and within a few weeks impressed Geoworks enough to get an offer for an internship the following summer.

I'm still so spoiled by the ease of the GEOS APIs that I won't go near Win32/MFC.

Reply Parent Score: 2