PC/GEOS OS FAQ, General Geos Information (part 1/6)
Last-modified: January 1, 2003
The most recent version of this file can be found at any news.answers
archive site. One such site is rtfm.mit.edu, in the
/pub/usenet/comp.os.geos.misc subdirectory. The most recent version of the
FAQ is also available from my home page at
[url]http://www.geocities.com/originalravinray/geos/faq/[/url] in both HTML and ASCII
I make no claims about the accuracy of this information. Use it at your own
risk. This file is compiled from various sources, including but not limited
to USENET, the Web, commercial networks, and electronic mail. The FAQ is
mostly targeted towards desktop Geos users, both Ensemble and NewDeal
Office. However, there are still many sections devoted to other topics and
This information may be freely distributed, in whole or in part, in any
form, provided that any distributor:
* Tells me, so that I can inform you of updates to the FAQ and tell the
USENET community (I will keep the information confidential, if you
* Makes every reasonable effort to keep this information current
* Releases myself and the rest of USENET from any liability.
If this file leaves the confines of USENET for any BBS's, web pages, user
groups, commercial networks, or other networks (FidoNet, GeoHolics Net,
etc.) or vendors, please let me know so that I can pass along the
information to others.
Please send submissions, comments, suggestions, or corrections to
I'd like to give the following folks my thanks:
* Steve Main (firstname.lastname@example.org) former Director of Technical Services,
* John Howard (email@example.com) of Breadbox Computers, for giving me
* Stephen Haffly (firstname.lastname@example.org) for reposting this FAQ to
* Lynn Montelauro (GSMLynn@aol.com) for making this FAQ a part of GSMN.
* Rose Walton PC Coaches (email@example.com,
[url]http://users.aol.com/rwcoaching/[/url]) for distributing copies of this FAQ
to its customers.
* Werni Grieder (BaselBasel@aol.com,
[url]http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/WerniGrieder[/url]) for being a
* Doug Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a lot of the PDA information.
* All the people who have written great Geos software.
* All the people who mail me information and follow comp.os.geos.misc.
* And of course, James Bearden, the original author of this FAQ.
Since the previous update (February 10, 2002), the following sections have
* Credits (John Howard's e-mail addresses)
* Section 1.1.1, What is Geos?
* Section 1.1.4 What's the difference between Geos, Geoworks, and
the desktop versions?
* Section 1.1.5 What is new in Geos v3.0?
* Section 1.2.1 Where can I get a demo version of the desktop
* Section 1.2.2 Does Geos exist in any other language versions than
* Section 1.2.3 What fonts are available for Geos?
* Section 2.1.1, What desktop products are available for Geos?
* Section 2.2.1, What development products are available for Geos?
* Section 2.2.2 How can I order development products?
* Section 2.2.3 What is IZL?
* Section 2.2.4 What is Geos programming like?
* Section 2.2.5 Are there any visual development tools for Geos?
* Section 2.3.1 What shareware available for Geos?
* Section 2.3.2 Are there any anonymous FTP sites for Geos
* Section 2.4.1 Are there any communications programs available for
* Section 3.1.1 Where can I find more information about running
Geos with my software and hardware?
* Section 3.2.1 What versions of DOS are compatible with Geos?
* Section 3.8.1 Is Geos compatible with Windows NT/2000?
* Section 4.4.1 What is the GeoInfo Database, and why should I
* Section 4.5.1 What are FOD files, and why should I care?
* Section 4.6.1 Are there any Geos related publications available?
* Section 4.7.1 What are some good Geos related URL's?
* Section 4.8.1 Is there an HP OmniGo FAQ? Where can I find it?
* Section 4.9.1, What Geos User Groups are out there?
* Section 4.10.1, Are there mailing lists for Geos?
* Section 5.1.2 Which character set does Geos use? Most European
languages need the special characters above CHR (127)...
* Section 5.2.1 What is the GEOS.INI file, and why would I want to
mess with it?
* Section 6.1.2 I installed Geos on my zippy new computer, but it
won't load up. What's the problem? It dies with a KR-01 error
(divide by zero).
* 1 General Geos Information
o 1.1 Version and Platform Information
+ 1.1.1 What is Geos?
+ 1.1.2 Is Geos a real operating system?
+ 1.1.3 Is Geos an alternative to Windows?
+ 1.1.4 What's the difference between Geos, Geoworks, and the
+ 1.1.5 What is new in Geos v3.0?
+ 1.1.6 When did Geos v3.0 debut?
+ 1.1.7 What features does the newer desktop versions include
that are not present in the older desktop version?
o 1.2 Miscellaneous Questions
+ 1.2.1 Where can I get a demo version of the desktop version?
+ 1.2.2 Does Geos exist in any other language versions than
+ 1.2.3 What fonts are available for Geos?
* 2 Geos Software Information
o 2.1 Desktop Software Products
+ 2.1.1 What desktop products are available for Geos?
o 2.2 Geos Development Products
+ 2.2.1 What development products are available for Geos?
+ 2.2.2 How can I order development products?
+ 2.2.3 What is IZL?
+ 2.2.4 What is Geos programming like?
+ 2.2.5 Are there any visual developement tools for Geos?
o 2.3 Shareware
+ 2.3.1 What shareware available for Geos?
+ 2.3.2 Are there any anonymous FTP sites for Geos software?
+ 2.3.3 Are there any Geos related BBS's?
+ 2.3.4 Are there any DOS programs written for Geos?
o 2.4 Communications Software
+ 2.4.1 Are there any communications programs available for
+ 2.4.2 Does Geos do TCP/IP?
* 3 Geos Compatibility Information
o 3.1 Where to find more compatibility information
+ 3.1.1 Where can I find more information about running Geos
with my software and hardware?
o 3.2 DOS Compatibility
+ 3.2.1 What versions of DOS are compatible with Geos?
o 3.3 DR-DOS
+ 3.3.1 I switched from MS-DOS/PC-DOS to DR-DOS and Geos won't
load, even after I run SETUP. What am I doing wrong?
+ 3.3.2 Does the desktop version support DR-DOS 6.0
+ 3.3.3 Can I run Windows 3.1 on DR-DOS?
+ 3.3.4 DR-DOS is kind of old. Are there any updates?
+ 3.3.5 Will ZIP drives work with DR-DOS 6.0?
o 3.4 Novell DOS
+ 3.4.1 What about the Task Switcher/Multitasker in Novell's
o 3.5 Linux
+ 3.5.1 How can I get Geos to run under Linux?
o 3.6 Macintosh
+ 3.6.1 How can I get Geos to run on my Macintosh?
+ 3.6.2 How can I exchange files between my Mac and my Geos
+ 3.6.3 Will Geos work with a DOS Compatibility Card?
o 3.7 Network
+ 3.7.1 How can I use one document directory for different
+ 3.7.2 Are there any versions of Geos made specifically for
o 3.8 Windows NT/2000
+ 3.7.1 Is Geos compatible with Windows NT/2000?
o 3.9 HP 200LX and OmniGo 700LX
+ 3.8.1 Will the desktop version run on my Hewlett Packard
200LX or OmniGo 700LX palmtop computer?
o 3.10 Iomega Zip Drives
+ 3.9.1 Does the Iomega Zip drive or removable drives work
o 3.11 Windows 95/98/Millennium Edition
+ 3.10.1 Can I run Ensemble/ NewDeal under Windows 95/98/ME?
o 3.12 Y2K Compliance
+ 3.11.1 Is Geos fully Y2K compliant?
* 4 Where to Get More Information
o 4.1 On-line Services
+ 4.1.1 What kind of support is there for Geos on CompuServe?
o 4.2 BBS Networks
+ 4.2.1 Is there much Geos activity on FidoNet?
o 4.3 USENET Newsgroups
+ 4.3.1 Is there a USENET newsgroup for Geos?
+ 4.3.2 Is it OK to post binaries to comp.os.geos.misc?
+ 4.3.3 I don't have access to comp.binaries.geos at my site.
How can I get the files posted there?
o 4.4 GeoInfo Database
+ 4.4.1 What is the GeoInfo Database, and why should I care?
o 4.5 FOD Files
+ 4.5.1 What are FOD files, and why should I care?
o 4.6 Publications
+ 4.6.1 Are there any Geos related publications available?
o 4.7 The World Wide Web
+ 4.7.1 What are some good Geos related URL's?
o 4.8 More Zoomer and HP OmniGo Information
+ 4.8.1 Is there an HP OmniGo FAQ? Where can I find it?
+ 4.8.2 Is there a Zoomer FAQ?
o 4.9 Geos User Groups
+ 4.9.1 What is the GSMN?
* 5 Customizing Geos
o 5.1 The Standard User Interface
+ 5.1.1 I don't like the interface. Can I customize it?
+ 5.1.2 Which character set does Geos use? Most European
languages need the special characters above CHR (127)...
+ 5.1.3 When I install other fonts, they are displayed in the
fonts menu in the order they were installed. Is there a way
to have them in alphabetical order?
+ 5.1.4 I want to make a graphics file into a Geos background.
How do I do that?
+ 5.1.5 How can I keep the splash screen from showing up?
o 5.2 The GEOS.INI File
+ 5.2.1 What is the GEOS.INI file, and why would I want to
mess with it?
+ 5.2.2 Is there an easy way to tweak the GEOS.INI?
+ 5.2.3 How do I associate DOS files with programs?
+ 5.2.4 How do I get rid of drives in GeoManager?
+ 5.2.5 How do I get rid of the link button?
+ 5.2.6 How do I enable the floating keyboard?
* 6 Common Problems
o 6.1 It's broke!
+ 6.1.1 When I try to start Geos, I get a message saying that
unable to find /userdata/fonts! What's the problem?
+ 6.1.2 I installed Geos on my zippy new computer, but it
won't load up. What's the problem? It dies with a KR-01
error (divide by zero).
+ 6.1.3 I keep getting SHARE or File Lock errors when I run
Geos. What's going on?
+ 6.1.4 I'm running the desktop version with Stacker
installed. Drive C is my Stacker volume. For some reason
GeoManager insists on looking at drive E for the
/geoworks/world directory, even though when I exit Geos I'm
on drive C. Any ideas?
+ 6.1.5 I keep having problems with Geos 2.0 and
DoubleSpace/SuperStor/Stacker. What can I do?
1 General Geos Information
1.1 Version and Platform Information
1.1.1 What is Geos?
Geos is a 16-bit, graphical operating system from Geoworks that is
generally platform independent. The most common version runs on top of
MS-DOS or compatible operating system such as PC DOS, DR-DOS, ROM-DOS,
OS/2, or Win95/98, and provides a preemptive multitasking, multithreaded,
object-oriented environment for almost any DOS-based computer. (Note
though, that other versions of DOS such as FreeDOS, and Multiuser DOS or
Concurrent DOS do not support Geos, though PTS-DOS apparently supports it.)
For more modern versions of Geos, an 80286-based computer with at least 2
Megabytes of memory is strongly recommended. All versions provide built-in
memory management, virtual (disk) memory, a single imaging model, outline
font technology, automatic scrolling and scaling, complex graphics
rendering, and a flexible, scaleable GUI. Version 4.0 is the current
version of Geos, found in Breadbox Ensemble and its sibling software. Prior
to this, version 3.x was one of the most widespread releases of Geos, with
3.0 in the Nokia 9000/9000i/9000il/9110/9110i Communicator, Brother
GeoBook, NewDeal Office/SchoolSuite/WebSuite Release 3, and 3.1 for the
GlobalPC (aka GPC) from MyTurn.com (a company that manufactured inexpensive
PC's), and the envisioned GreenPC from NewDeal. (Both companies are now
closed. For the rest of this document, I shall use "NewDeal" to refer to
Office, SchoolSuite, and WebSuite.)
Geos is also defined by the platform that it is running on. Currently it
runs on the Apple II, Commodore 64/128, IBM PC compatible, Hewlett Packard
OmniGo 100 and 120, several Brother desktop publishers, Canon StarWriter
Pro 5000, Nokia 9000 series and 9110 series Communicators, MyTurn.com's
GlobalPC and three other DOS-based PDA's collectively referred to as the
Zoomer. The OmniGo 700LX is not a native Geos platform, and for the rest of
the FAQ all references to just "OmniGo" refer to the OmniGo 100 or 120. The
operating system that runs on the Toshiba Genio, Dialo & Camesse Petit,
Seiko-Epson Locatio, and Mitsubishi Moem-D, is a Japanese version of
Geos-SC and not a RISC-based version of Geos as earlier reported. The IBM
PC version, also referred to as the desktop version, started as GeoWorks
Ensemble 1.0 in November 1990. A copy of Geos 1.2 was also bundled with
CD-ROM drives from NEC and Sony as part of a package that included a
Geos-based CD player and several DOS-based programs. The current retail
version is now a liquidated version of NewDeal Office 2000, available from
Breadbox. Breadbox also has Breadbox Ensemble 4.x which is even newer, but
this is available only in multiuser amounts. A detailed account of the
evolution of desktop Geos is available in my History page at
[url]http://www.geocities.com/originalravinray/geos/history.htm[/url]. The desktop
version contains more software than any other Geos package out of the box.
All other versions are still called Geos.
This FAQ does not contain any information on the Apple and Commodore
versions except for the following:
* Apple GEOS has been discontinued. Berkeley Softworks is no longer
selling, distributing, or supporting any Apple GEOS products. No other
information is currently available.
* Commodore GEOS is available from:
o Click Here Software
o Web: [url]http://www.ia4u.net/~maurice/index.htm[/url]
* Some support for Commodore GEOS is available on comp.sys.cbm, and
CompuServe's CBM Applications forum. James D. Hefner also maintains an
excellent Commodore GEOS homepage at
[url]http://www.pernet.net/~james1/cbm_geos/[/url]. Bo Zimmerman maintains a
Commodore GEOS FAQ at [url]http://www.zimmers.net/geos/GEOSFAQ.html[/url].
1.1.2 Is Geos a real operating system?
It depends on how you define operating system, but by most standards, it
certainly is a real operating system. DOS is only used for the file system
support. Many people consider Windows 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98 and ME to be a real
operating systems even though they also use DOS for the filing system. Geos
was the first object-oriented operating system (OOOS) for the PC.
1.1.3 Is Geos an alternative to Windows?
Hmm. It won't run Windows applications, but it will provide you with a lot
of functionality that Windows won't, especially if you have a low-end
machine (less than a '386, and/or less than 4 megabytes of RAM). You can
run the desktop version from most other operating systems like Win95/98/ME,
OS/2, or even Linux, in which case it acts like a sophisticated, integrated
application suite and environment.
1.1.4 What's the difference between Geos, Geoworks, and the desktop
Geoworks is the name of the company that created the Geos operating system.
The company was formerly called Berkeley Softworks, then GeoWorks until
1994 with the name style change. It is a public company, and Novell,
Hewlett Packard, Nokia, Ericsson, Toshiba and Amazon.com have made equity
investments in it. It has moved away from the desktop and refocused on
wireless communications and services. GlobalPC was purchased by Compu-DAWN,
which provides Internet and telecommunications services in North America.
(Compu-DAWN has since renamed itself MyTurn.com. It has now closed down.)
Geos doesn't stand for anything legally since you can't trademark an
acronym, but in earlier times it was said to be an acronym for "Graphical
Environment Operating System." Packaged with each different desktop version
is a suite of programs that were developed by Geoworks to run under the
Geos operating system, and has changed names almost every time a new
version has been released. The more notable names have been Ensemble (v1.0
- v1.2), GeoWorks Pro (v1.2.8), Quick Start (v1.2.9), Ensemble (v2.0 -
v2.0.1), NewDeal Office (v2.5+), and Breadbox Ensemble (4.x).
Quick Start is basically the same as GeoWorks Pro without the Pro (no
Quattro Pro bundled with it). Many folks run Quick Start on their XT and AT
compatible machines since it is even less resource intensive than more
modern versions. Quick Start can sometimes be found at Surplus Software (US
orders 1-800-753-7877, International 541-386-1375, Web:
[url]http://www.surplusdirect.com[/url] ), or at eBay ([url]http://www.ebay.com[/url]). It is no
longer available from NewDeal.
Ensemble (v2.01) contained a brand new operating system and applications
compared to Quick Start, plus a spreadsheet and a flat file database.
NewDeal is basically Ensemble with bug fixes, renamed applications, and
some additional new applications. NewDeal does not include Tetris, but some
users have copied it from earlier versions, or obtained it by installing
the Ensemble 2.01 upgrade patch and then reinstalling NewDeal.
1.1.5 What is new in Geos 3.0?
Currently three devices (Nokia 9000 series & 9110 series Communicator,
Brother GeoBook, and PC) have different flavors of Geos 3.0. The GlobalPC
and GreenPC had the newest 3.1 kernel. In general though, all Geos 2.x and
3.x applications will run on any Geos 3.x based machine. The most exciting
thing about v3.0 is that a TCP/IP stack has been added to the system, while
NewWrite has been augmented with fax support . Internet applications like a
browser, e-mail and chat client software are also bundled. Version 3.0 also
includes a new user interface called NewUI based on the current Industry
Standard look and feel.
The 9000 and 9110 series of Communnicators are no longer being produced by
Nokia, although support and accessories are still available at
[url]http://forum.nokia.com[/url]. The GlobalPC is likewise not being produced
All the different distributions of Geos 2000 (which is based on Geos 3.1)
have in common:
* a choice between an easy and advanced desktop
* right-click bubblehelp in NewUI for buttons
* 256-color icons
* a full-featured browser, e-mail client, and newsgroup reader
* security features for kid-friendly web browsing
* a Design Assistant for guided, step-by-step creation of documents
* consumer utilites such as an accounting application and simple
* a viewer for Adobe Acrobat PDF documents (not in the Nokia and Brother
In additional, the GlobalPC had the following features:
* support for TV output (PAL/NTSC)
* drivers for the Canon BJC-1000/2000 series printers
* tutorial for learning to use the keyboard, mouse, front panel, and
* system update wizard
* add/remove software wizard
1.1.6 When did Geos 3.0 debut?
Geos 3.0 has been available for some time. The initial version of v3.0 was
completed in July of 1995, and the Nokia 9000 Communicator was released in
September of 1996. The desktop upgrade from NewDeal arrived in January
1999, and forms the kernel of NewDeal Release 3. The Brother GeoBook came
with a CD-ROM called BrotherWorks 98, which includes a desktop version of
Geos v3.0 and many of the same new applications as NDO Release 3.2A. Geos
3.1 was released in September 2000 with the debut of the GlobalPC.
1.1.7 What features do the newer desktop versions include that are not
present in the older desktop version?
The main feature differences between 1.x and 2.x versions of the desktop
* GeoWrite: Text wrapping around pictures, a built-in thesaurus,
importing from and exporting to WordPerfect, WordStar, MultiMate,
MS-Word and Xywrite, search-and-replace, and built-in graphic
* GeoComm: Hasn't been substantially altered, but at least it doesn't
crash on the VT-100 change-scroll-region code like the old one did.
Third-party communications applications are now becoming available.
* GeoFile: New forms-based graphical database with import-export
functionality and built-in text, graphic, and spreadsheet
* GeoCalc: New graphical spreadsheet with import-export functionality
and built-in text, graphic, and database capabilities. The worksheets
have been debugged and are now usable.
* Calculator: New math functions and multiple memory registers.
Metric/Imperial conversion functions are also included.
* GeoDraw: Now has a whole range of import/export filters (PCX, TIFF,
GIF, MAC, PICT, and Windows clipboard formats). It allows conversion
between bitmaps and graphic object, editing of bitmaps, advanced
object manipulation, polycurves, skewing, and much more, and also has
full text capabilities.
* Spell Checker: Now operates across all text applications, and multiple
dictionaries are available for American English and British English. A
thesaurus has been added, which is also available system-wide.
* Text File Editor: New text file editor, allowing multiple documents to
be open simultaneously, plus spell-checking and thesaurus
NOTE: See section 1.1.5 for differences between 2.x and 3.x versions of
Geos. Basically, 2.x software will run on 3.x platforms, and 3.x platforms
have much better communications and Internet capability. Also, starting
with version 2.5 of the desktop, all GeoWhatever programs have been renamed
1.2 Miscellaneous Questions
1.2.1 Where can I get a demo version of the desktop version?
NewDeal had an evaluation version of NDO Release 3.2A available from its
website that has a 45-day time lock before expiring. Before, it also made
made a shareware version (v2.5) available, and a previous shareware version
(v2.0) called GeoPublish was created by Geoworks. The latter two are
available on major on-line services as well as FTP sites that have Geos
content. Both earlier versions include the bare minimum number of files
necessary to run GeoManager (aka NewManager, a file manager) and a slightly
crippled version of GeoWrite (aka NewWrite, a word processor). The most
notable side effects of this are that the shareware versions have no spell
checking, thesaurus, or import/export filters. Also, most Geos shareware
will not run on the shareware versions. However, some functionality and
programs like Tetris and the AOL client can installed by applying the 2.01
patch If this is applied to the NewDeal shareware version, you must then
reinstall it. The new evaluation version had all the applications but lacks
the import/export filters.
There was also a demo version of the GlobalPC software. This does not save
or print, and the tutorial is limited to basic mouse lessons.
Breadbox Ensemble Lite is available at
[url]http://www.breadbox.com/downloads.asp[/url]. This version is a limited version
of Breadbox Ensemble. Breadbox has removed
many applications and some functionality, but it will provide you with a
good feel for the full working version.
1.2.2 Does Geos exist in any other language versions than English?
NewDeal Office 98 is available in English and French versions. A German
version is almost done and a Spanish version is expected soon. Each of
these versions comes with drivers for other language keyboards, so if you
can speak one of these languages, you can probably use the software with
little difficulty. The Geos found in the Nokia 9000/9110 cellphones
supports more European languages.
1.2.3 What fonts are available for Geos?
All DOS-based versions of Geos can use the same fonts. A wide variety of
fonts are also available via FTP, networks, and supporting BBS's.
Terri Ferrier sells a collection of over 3400 Geos fonts, over 7500 clip
art images, and over 250 Geos programs. The CD along with a printed catalog
of font examples costs $35 for US orders, $45 for foreign orders and can be
* Terri Ferrier
P. O. Box 5516
Victoria, TX 77903
Other font CD's are also sold by:
* Fantazia Concepts, Inc.
PO Box 5142
Willowick, OH 44095
End of the PC/GEOS FAQ Part 1
Copyright =A9 199?-1999 James Bearden. All rights reserved.
Copyright =A9 1999-2003 Raymond Thaddeus C. Ancog. All rights reserved.=