GEOS (16-bit operating system)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Breadbox Ensemble (PC/GEOS)
A screenshot of Breadbox Ensemble 4.1.2
Company / developer Breadbox Computer Company
OS family GEOS
Working state Current
Source model Closed source
Latest release 4.1.3 / August 25, 2009
Default user interface Motif or "Win95 clone"
License Proprietary EULA
Official website

GEOS is a computer operating environment, graphical user interface, and suite of application software. Originally released as PC/GEOS, it runs on DOS-based, IBM PC compatible computers. The package later became GeoWorks Ensemble, then NewDeal Office, and is now Breadbox Ensemble. Versions for some handheld platforms were also released.

PC/GEOS was first created by Berkeley Softworks, who later became GeoWorks Corporation. Version 4.0 was developed in 2001 by Breadbox Computer Company, LLC, and named Breadbox Ensemble.

PC/GEOS should not be confused with the 8-bit GEOS product from the same company, which runs on the Commodore 64 and other computers using MOS 6502-compatible microprocessors.


GeoWorks Ensemble[edit]

In 1990, GeoWorks released GEOS for IBM PC compatible systems, PC/GEOS. Also called GeoWorks Ensemble, it was incompatible with the 8-bit versions of GEOS for Commodore and Apple II computers but provided numerous enhancements, including scalable fonts and multitasking even on XT and AT-class PC clones.

GEOS was packaged with a suite of productivity applications. Each had a name prefixed by "Geo": GeoWrite, GeoDraw; GeoManager; GeoPlanner; GeoDex, and GeoComm. It was also bundled with numerous PCs at the time, but like other GUI environments for the PC platform, such as GEM, it ultimately proved less successful in the marketplace than Windows. Former CEO of GeoWorks claims that GEOS faded away because Microsoft threatened to withdraw supply of MS-DOS to hardware manufacturers who bundled Geoworks with their machines.[1]

In December 1992 NEC and Sony bundled an OEM version of GeoWorks called the CD Manager with their respective CD-ROM players that sold as retail box add-on peripherals for consumers. The NEC Bundle retailed for around $500.00 with a 1x external CD Rom, SCSI Interface Controller, Labtec CD-150 amplified stereo speakers and 10 software titles.

A scaled down version of GeoWorks was used by America Online for their DOS-based AOL client software from the time of introduction on IBM compatible PCs until the late 1990s when America Online dropped development for graphical DOS in favor of Microsoft Windows. During that time, the popular single 3.5" disk that AOL was distributing on could be hacked to boot the GeoWorks graphical operating environment.

GeoWorks attempted to get third party developers but was unable to get much support due to expense of the developer kit — which ran $1,000 just for the manuals — and the difficult programming environment, which required a second PC networked via serial port in order to run the debugger.

Even though PC/GEOS is referred to as an "operating system", it still requires DOS software in order to load. GEOS and its applications were written in a mix of 8086 assembly and C, both with non-standard language extensions to support object-oriented design.[2][3]

When, under DR DOS 6.0, TASKMAX is loaded before PC/GEOS, PC/GEOS registered as graphical menu system for TASKMAX. This still worked under the pre-emptive multitasker (EMM386 /MULTI + TASKMGR) provided by Novell DOS 7, OpenDOS 7.01 and DR-DOS 7.02 (and higher), allowing for multiple GEOS and DOS applications to run concurrently.

After release of Ensemble 2.01, GeoWorks dropped support for the desktop version to focus on handhelds and smart devices.

Geoworks Ensemble won the 1991 Software Publishing Association Excellence in Software Award for Best Consumer Program.[4]

NewDeal Office[edit]

A newer version of PC/GEOS was marketed in the late 1990s as NewDeal Office from NewDeal Inc. in hopes of creating a market among owners of i386, i486 and Pentium PCs that could not run Windows 95 or Windows 98 effectively.

Breadbox Ensemble[edit]

The newest PC/GEOS, 4.x, comes from Breadbox. It is a full productivity and Internet suite, including Web Browser and Email. Other essential programs such as word processing, spreadsheet, flat file database and graphics applications are integrated into this package.

After "NewDeal Inc." went out of business, Breadbox[5] purchased the rights in the software from GeoWorks in 2003.


  • 1990: OS/90 (Beta Version)
  • 1990: GeoWorks 1.0
  • 1991: GeoWorks 1.2
  • 1992: GeoWorks 1.2 Pro (with Borland Quattro Pro for DOS with PC/GEOS "Look and Feel")
  • 1992: GeoWorks DTP
  • 1992: GeoWorks CD Manager
  • 1993: GeoWorks Ensemble 2.0 (new kernel PC/GEOS 2.0)
  • 1993: Geopublish 2.0
  • 1994: Geoworks Ensemble 2.01
  • 1996: NewDeal Office 2.2
  • 1996: NewDeal Office 2.5
  • 1996: NewDeal Publish 2.5 (Shareware version)
  • 1997: NewDeal Office 97
  • 1998: NewDeal Office 98
  • 1999: NewDeal Office Release 3
  • 1999: NewDeal Office Release 3 Evaluation
  • 1999: NewDeal Office 3.2
  • 2000: NewDeal Office 3.2d (German patch)
  • 2000: NewDeal Office 2000 (new kernel PC/GEOS 3.0)
  • 2000: NewDeal Office 2000 for GlobalPC (de) (for a Surf´n´Office PC from Ted Turner IV (MyTurn, Inc.) with help from CNN)
  • 2001: BreadBox Ensemble Beta Version
  • 2001: BreadBox Ensemble Beta Versions 4.0.1.x
  • 2002: Breadbox Ensemble Full Version
  • 2005, March: Breadbox Ensemble Version
  • 2005, November: Breadbox Ensemble Version
  • 2009, August: Breadbox Ensemble Version


GEOS was used in a low-end laptop from Brother Industries and in several of Nokia Communicator models (GEOS V3.0 in Nokia Communicator 9000 and 9110). In 1995, GEOS appeared (running on top of DOS) on the HP OmniGo 100, a flip-around clamshell handheld computer powered by a Vadem VG230, which is a highly integrated PC-on-a-chip that includes an Intel 80186-instruction set compatible NEC V30 core. It was soon followed by the HP OmniGo 120.

PEN/GEOS 2.0 was released in 1992, and 3.0 in 1995.


GEOS-SC was a 32-bit RISC-CPU smartphone OS & GUI for the Japanese cellphone-market. It was released in 1997. Originally built as Geoworks' planned future OS and codenamed 'Liberty' GEOS-SC became the basis for cellphones designed by Mitsubishi Electric Company of Japan (MELCO).


Alongside this, GEOS-SE which was an OS designed and developed by Eden Ltd. a UK-based company acquired in 1997 by Geoworks, was also a 32-bit RiSC OS[citation needed] and became the basis of several other devices, most notably the Seiko Epson Locatio which was a multifunction device incorporating browser, PIM software, phone, GPS and Camera. It was launched in Japan in 1998.


  1. ^ Brian Dougherty, ed. (June 24, 2010). "Comments by BrianDoc". Retrieved 2012-06-15. "What killed us was that Microsoft realized what we had before the rest of the industry, they went to all of their OEMs and signed them to 2 year exclusive deals to put Windows on every machine." 
  2. ^ James D. "Wiffleguy" Bearden, ed. (May 14, 1995). "PC/GEOS FAQ List". Section 2.1.1. Retrieved 2011-11-02. "either of two languages: one is called GOC(GEOS Object C), and the other is Esp (an object-oriented assembly language based on the 8086 assembly instruction set)" 
  3. ^ Eugenia Loli-Queru (3 October 2002). "Interview With Adam de Boor, ex-CTO of GeoWorks". OSNews. Retrieved 2011-11-02. "the OS was written entirely in 8088 assembly language" 
  4. ^ "Celebrating Software". Computer Gaming World. June 1991. p. 64. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Breadbox Pens GEOS Exclusive License and Ownership Rights Agreement with Geoworks, April 29, 2003, Breadbox Computer Company LLC / Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
  • GEOWORKS. (1990). "Product Packaging (a printed card box with corrugated card liner) Part number: 16-2001-0101 Bar Code: 0 14233 20010 6". GeoWorks, Berkeley, CA 94704

External links[edit]