Lotus Magellan

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Lotus Magellan
Lotus Magellan.png
Lotus Magellan 2.0
Original author(s) Bill Gross[1][2][3][4][5]
Larry Gross[6]
Developer(s) Lotus Development Corporation
Initial release April 1989; 27 years ago (1989-04)[7][8][9][10]
Stable release
2.0 / March 1990; 26 years ago (1990-03)[11][12][13]
Development status Discontinued
Operating system MS-DOS
Type desktop search

Lotus Magellan was a DOS-based desktop search package, conceived and developed by Bill Gross and released in the 1989[7] by Lotus Development Corporation, most famous for Lotus 1-2-3.

Despite its effectiveness, Magellan sold 500,000 copies[14] and was considered not particularly successful in the marketplace, likely due to the smallish hard drives of the era, and today is generally forgotten.[citation needed]

Operation[edit]

Running under DOS, Magellan would scan the directories and files on a drive or floppy diskettes and create a master index. It was aware of all the various current formats and provided the ability to view files without launching the original applications that created them. Its most powerful feature was fuzzy searching, that connected files by relative frequency of keywords, allowing the user to organize related data no matter where or in what format it existed on the user's computer.

Given this "semantic view" of the user's file system, Magellan not only exposed "hidden meaning" from disparate data, but also facilitated the actual movement of files and directories into a better physical organization. Advertisements that ran for Magellan at the time promised to "Get all your ducks in a row" and showed a picture of a line of obedient rubber ducks.

Fate[edit]

Magellan was one of several significant developments from Lotus Software (i.e. "1-2-3", "Notes" and office software for the Apple Macintosh) that, despite significant usefulness and market share, failed to keep the company from becoming another brilliant also-ran. Lotus was acquired by IBM in 1995. The old DOS Lotus software Magellan, Lotus Agenda, HAL, and Lotus Manuscript have since been released as freeware.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The New Math of Ownership, By Bill Gross, Harvard Business Review, November-December 1998 Issue, ...In 1986, my brother, Larry, and I sold our software company, GNP Development, to Lotus Development and spent the next seven years as Lotus employees. But we felt like owners because, unlike other Lotus employees, Larry and I earned royalties on the products we developed for the company. These included HAL, a software program that simplified Lotus 1-2-3, and Magellan, which allowed PC users to quickly scan the contents of disks...
  2. ^ Beta Testers Sing the Praises of Magellan 2.0 By Barbara Darraw and Peggy Watt, InfoWorld, 19 Mar 1990, Page 5, ..."We've added tons of options," said Bill Gross, a Magellan developer...
  3. ^ Idealab's Find, PC Mag, 8 Apr 2003, Page 119, ..."I was doing this back in the 1980s with Lotus Magellan."...But the idea behind Magellan was a sound one, and creator Bill Gross and his current company, ldealab,...
  4. ^ Notes From The Field: Magellan on the rocks?, By Robert X. Cringely, InfoWorld, 17 Feb 1992, Page 106, ...Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Lotus, which has a Windows version of Magellan — one of my favorite programs — but ... Fine, so they don't want the product, but what's worse is they won 't even sell it back to the developer, Bill Gross...
  5. ^ Lotus's Magellan: The Fast, Easy Way To Manage a Disk Full of Information, By Bill Howard, PC Mag, 13 Jun 1989, Page 33, ... Magellan is the brainchild of Bill Gross,...
  6. ^ A Successor to Magellan, R.I.P.?, By Jim Seymor, PC Mag, 3 Oct 2000, Page 107, ... Since then I've importuned Bill and Larry Gross, the brothers who wrote the program...
  7. ^ a b Magellan: Information Retrieval Software from Lotus, By Greg Scott, U-M Computing News, Volume 4, Page 10-12, ...Lotus. Magellan was announced in January 1989 with an April shipping date. With a list price of $195 (commonly discounted below $100), the program is not cheap, and it lacks some of GOfer's niceties. Yet Magellan works as it should...
  8. ^ Users Praise Lotus Magellan Upon Shipment, By Ed Scannell, InfoWorld, 24 Apr 1989, Page 21, ...Lotus Development Corp. shipped Magellan last week to users who are generally pleased with the program...
  9. ^ Reviews:Magellan Smoothly Links DOS Shell, Search Features, By John Walkenbach, InfoWorld, 15 May 1989, Page 73
  10. ^ HOT PROSPECT: Lotus's Magellan Sails Through Files and Displays Popular File Formats, PC Mag, 28 Feb 1989, Page 51, ...Called Magellan, the program reads the most popular file formats, ... Magellan, due out this winter, was written by Bill and Larry Gross,...
  11. ^ Improved: Lotus Magellan, Version 2.0, PC Mag, 27 Mar 1990, Page 54
  12. ^ Magellan: Strong text searcher, weak DOS shell, by Derek Slater, Computerworld, 3 Dec 1990, Page 55, ...With Release 2.0, Lotus Development Corp.'s Magellan...enhanced by support for 40 different file formats, up from 10 in Version 1.0...
  13. ^ Lotus upgrades Magellan, tunes up Symphony, By Sally Cusack, Computerworld, 26 Mar 1990, ...Lotus Development Corp. last week unveiled Version 2.0 of Lotus Magellan...
  14. ^ Zoot!, By James Fallows, August 1997 Issue, The Atlantic, ...Lotus sold roughly 200,000 copies of Agenda (at an average retail price of $195) and 500,000 copies of Magellan (around $50) before canceling each of them in the early 1990s...

External links[edit]