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OpenGEM showing hard disk and CD-ROM icons (to the right)
OpenGEM showing hard disk and CD-ROM icons (to the right)
Developer(s)Caldera Thin Clients
Initial release1999; 20 years ago (1999)
Operating systemDOS
Available inEnglish
TypeWindowing system
LicenseGNU General Public License

FreeGEM released in 1999 is a windowing system based on Digital Research's GEM which was first released in 1985.[1] GEM stands for "Graphics Environment Manager".


FreeGEM is the free software/open source version of GEM developed after Caldera Thin Clients released the GEM code under the terms of the GNU General Public License free software license in April 1999.[2] Caldera Thin Clients owned the source code to GEM through Caldera's purchase of the remaining Digital Research assets from Novell on 23 July 1996,[3] who had acquired Digital Research in June 1991.[4][5]

FreeGEM code works on almost every version of DOS, and runs on almost every IBM compatible PC. One can download all the FreeGEM binaries and source code in one package through the OpenGEM SDK. The OpenGEM SDK also contains language bindings, documentation, and compilers. There are additional FreeGEM resources available through John C. Elliott's GEM website.

OpenGEM is a popular FreeGEM distribution. Other distributions include Owen's FreeGEM Distribution.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roger (2003-09-25). "GEM OS: The Other Windows". PCMech. Today GEM continues to be developed as FreeGEM
  2. ^ Jemmett, Ben A. L. (April 1999). "Caldera releases GEM under the GPL". Deltasoft - GEM News. Archived from the original on 2016-11-07. Retrieved 2016-11-07. Caldera Thin Clients, Inc. released the source code for GEM and ViewMAX under the GNU Public License in mid April, following years of speculation over GEM's future. Caldera bought the GEM sources from Novell along with the DR-DOS in 1996, at the time noting that they may develop GEM into a platform for mobile computers and thin clients. However, these plans were dropped, and GEM was instead released into the open-source community.
  3. ^ Leon, Mark (1996-07-29). "Caldera reopens 'settled' suit, buys DR DOS". Computerworld. IDG. Archived from the original on 2018-08-22. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  4. ^ Scott, Karyl (1991-07-29). "Novell/DRI merger to reap better client management". InfoWorld: 33. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  5. ^ "Novell and Digital Research sign definitive merger agreement". Business Wire. 1991-07-17. Archived from the original on 2018-08-18. Retrieved 2017-01-24.

External links[edit]