1st Word/1st Word Plus

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1st Word and 1st Word Plus are word processors developed by GST Computer Systems in the 1980s. The original package, 1st Word, was given away free with all Atari STs. The later 1st Word Plus was sold by GST and was more advanced. Atari ST disk magazine ST News was written entirely and exclusively using 1st Word and, later, 1st Word Plus. The first Volume (1986) was distributed as a plain 1st Word .DOC file, after that a custom shell was produced that enabled the 1st Word documents to be displayed in a userfriendly disk magazine shell.

1st Word first began being bundled with the Atari ST in December 1985.[1] 1st Word Plus version 2.0 credits Mike Bees, Howard Chalkley, Phil Champ, Martin Dickens, Chris Scheybeler, and Alun Gladman.[2] [3]

Acorn Computers commissioned GST to make a version known as First Word Plus available for the Archimedes range of computers, this becoming available for the Arthur operating system in 1988, priced at £92.[4][5] After the release of RISC OS, a new version of the software was released to take advantage of the multi-tasking environment, although the application did not make use of the system's own printing architecture and accompanying drivers, instead retaining its own drivers to take advantage of printer features such as "near-letter quality" modes. Also priced at £92, with an upgrade from the earlier version costing £45, the software was regarded as not providing any "giant leap forward in capability" from similar products on Acorn's 8-bit computers, but nevertheless made the activities of such a "simple system" easier to accomplish on the more capable hardware, lending itself to efficient use of dot-matrix or daisywheel printers. It was also considered a useful companion to Acorn Desktop Publisher - a derivative of GST's Timeworks software - making a "neat system" for users with 2 MB of RAM.[6]

A PC version was produced that ran using Digital Research's GEM interface. Other versions were produced for the Torch XXX and for Digital Research's FlexOS.


  1. ^ Christopher Chabris. "ATARI'S FIRST-RATE "FREEWARE"". Archived from the original on 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  2. ^ "Digital Research's GEM (Intel 8086 version!)". Archived from the original on 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  3. ^ "GEM 1st Word Plus".
  4. ^ Bell, Graham (June 1988). "First Impressions". Acorn User. pp. 112–113, 115. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  5. ^ Whitmore, Ian (February 1989). "The very last Word?". Micro User. pp. 40–42. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  6. ^ Bell, Graham (May 1990). "First Up". Acorn User. p. 127. Retrieved 14 April 2021.

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