This page documents the history of PC/GEOS as it evolved from version 1.0 (and even earlier) to the latest incarnation. The information was gathered from the Breadbox website, the now defunct NewDeal website and other sources.

Geos 0.x


Previewed in 1990. This was a pre-release (beta) version of PC/GEOS. Though it was never released to the general public, it was reviewed by computer magazine reporters and was featured in the August 1990 issue of BYTE. According to the article, written by Tom Yager, OS/90 touted four user interfaces with which to choose from: Motif, Open Look (both licensed), CUA (Common User Access, the UI used by Windows 2.x and OS/2 1.2), and DeskMate (developed but not licensed). The article shows a screenshot of the Geos File Manager sporting the Open Look UI.

By the time Peter Scisco wrote his article "Artful Appliance" in the October 1990 issue of COMPUTE, the beta was already known as GEOS. One screenshot shows the Motif and CUA UI's side-by-side.

Geos 1.x

GeoWorks Ensemble 1.0

Released in November 1990. The pioneering release of PC/GEOS. This was the very first version that was ever released to the general public. The welcome screen had three buttons, for the Appliances level, Professional level, and the DOS Room. In the first level, the user is greeted by large buttons for the calculator, Rolodex, planner, and notepad. These four apps run in full screen, and there is no multitasking or task-switching. In the Professional level, the user is exposed to all the applications, which can run in windows and multitask with one another. The screen could be filled with a background (wallpaper in Windows lingo) for some fancy decoration. The accessories included Clock, Calculator, GeoBanner, GeoComm, GeoDex, GeoPlanner, Notepad, and Scrapbook. The major applications were GeoManager, GeoDraw, GeoWrite, and Preferences. There was also an icon for the client software to America Online. (At that time, it was the only way to connect to AOL). The user interface was Motif, and a gray color scheme was used. In the DOS Room, a button for the DOS prompt was the default entry. There was a utility for creating new buttons for running other DOS applications, and there was a broad selection of icons to choose from, including both generic and branded icons.

Promenade client

Promenade was a now-defunct independent on-line service from America Online. A Geos-based client software was bundled by IBM in some of its earliest PS/1's. It used the CUA UI.

America Online client

Released in late 1990. Also referred to as PCAO, to distinguish it from the Windows-based client, WAOL. Version 1.0 was the very first client software for AOL. This was a minimal installation of PC/GEOS. PCAO was updated quite frequently, with versions 1.2, 1.3, 1.5 released across 1991 and 1992. Version 1.5a was released in late 1993, and was followed in 1994 by version 1.6. Surprisingly, this occurred after the release of the 2.0 client for Geos 2.0 (see below). PCAO required a Tymnet or Sprint connection. AOL stopped supporting Tymnet around 1995, and then abandoned Sprint, so PCAO is now officially unsupported completely.

GeoWorks Ensemble 1.2

Released in 1991. Version 1.2 featured bug fixes. GeoWrite was beefed-up with a spell checker, thesaurus, and search-and-replace engine. More printers were supported. Additional icons for the DOS Room were added, as were more backgrounds. Significantly, network support was added. Network drives appeared as additional icons in GeoManager. NetWare, PC-NFS, LAN Manager, and LANtastic were the networks supported. Also notable were some other accessories in an \EXTRAS folder under \WORLD, such as a font converter, Perf (a system monitor), Screen Dumper (for capturing the screen), Tetris, and the 3D Fonts Demo (displays a trail of letters bouncing across the screen). The best news about this was that the upgrade was offered free to registered users of Ensemble 1.0!

(Click here for a screenshot of the Ensemble 1.2 splashscreen.)

GeoWorks Pro

Released in 1992. This used the 1.2.8 kernel. The major difference between GeoWorks Pro and Ensemble 1.2 was the addition of Quattro Pro Viewer, an accessory for opening and viewing Quattro Pro spreadsheet files. The viewer could only read files, not edit them; the data can, however, be copied into the clipboard and then pasted into another Geos application such as GeoWrite. As Geos still lacked a native spreadsheet at this point, the DOS-based Quattro Pro SE was bundled along and an icon for launching it was added to the \world directory. A major feature was the support of task-switching between Geos and DOS in conjunction with the TaskMax task-switcher of DR DOS 6.0 from Digital Research (now owned by Caldera's Lineo subsidiary). Some bugs were also fixed, and the number of systems supported increased. The welcome screen now had four buttons (with new artwork): Beginner (Appliances), Intermediate, Advanced (Professional), and DOS Programs. In the Intermediate level, all the major Geos applications were available, but could only be run one at a time, and in full-screen view. Instead of GeoManager, a more limited file manager, namely File Cabinet, was used. It displayed only the /document directory of the Geos folder and the files and subdirectories therein. Only one directory can be displayed at once as a single window occupying the entire screen. Large buttons for file management ran above and below the window. A button for the hard drive was missing; only buttons for the floppy drives A: and B: were available.


TeacherWorks was a bundle of Geoworks Pro distributed briefly by a company somewhere in the midwest of the United States. The Quattro Pro SE spreadsheet was not included, but was replaced with a DOS-based attendance and gradebook database program. TeacherWorks also included templates and clip art designed for teachers and students and a tutorial aimed at introducing teachers to the software.

GeoWorks Personal Office Series

After the release of GeoWorks Pro, GeoWorks decided to release versions that were subsets of the entire suite. These three versions had only the application that were geared to a specific function: basic file management, graphics design, and word processing. Another difference is that the welcome screen sported a DOS button with huge C> prompt on the monitor, instead of the small text button of GeoWorks Pro. (Click here for a screenshot of the Personal Office Series splashscreen.)

GeoWorks CD Manager

Released December 1992. This was an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) version of Geos that Sony and NEC bundled with their respective CD-ROM players that sold as retail box add-on peripherals for consumers. They apparently sold for over $300 at the time for the single- or double-speed CD players alone. NEC shipped first, perhaps a couple months before Sony. The package included GeoManager, and some of the PIM's (Planner, Notepad, Calculator, GeoDex, Solitaire, GeoComm, PCAO, Preferences, Tetris), but none of the major apps. And for each of the two brands, a special custom made CD Player application (true Geos 1.2 app), and an application called CD Integrator were bundled. CD Integrator was a launcher maker and the same code basically became the launcher maker in Ensemble 2.0. It was provided preloaded with configurations for popular CD titles on the market at the time, plus a selection of generic icons for titles that weren't preconfigured. In addition to the CD Player itself and the Geos software, the packages included a small collection (maybe 6 or so) of software on CD: a couple of DOS games, an encyclopedia, photo CD software, etc. (including a run-time version of, believe it or not, Windows 2.x!). One of the Sony models also included a sound card and speakers. The NEC version had the NEC CDR-25 1x CD-ROM, Trantor 130B SCSI card, and Labtec CD-150 speakers. It came with 10 CD's.

(Click here for a screenshot of the NEC CD Express splashscreen.)

GeoWorks Quick Start 1.2

Quick Start was basically GeoWorks Pro without Quattro Pro SE. Additional templates and clip art were bundled. It was designed to appeal to the typical family with a new computer, or about to buy a first computer; the ads said "fifty things you can make in five minutes."

(Click here for a screenshot of the splashscreen.)

Geos 2.x

Geoworks Ensemble 2.0

A major upgrade. It was the first release of the 2.0 kernel, which underwent a complete rewrite. The major apps have been vastly improved, and a spreadsheet and database added. All four apps had multiple levels of user interface and features, customizable toolbars, and came with new templates. In Preferences, a Lights Out module was added that supported various screen savers. A PIF and GRP file were added for creating a Program Manager item for Ensemble under Windows 3.x.

(Click here for a screenshot of the splashscreen.)

Geoworks Ensemble 2.01

Ensemble 2.01 was an incremental upgrade to Ensemble 2.0 which provided a new version of PCAO and some performance enhancements. A patch to upgrade Ensemble 2.0 to version 2.01 was distributed to Ensemble 2.0 customers for free by download or on disk for a nominal media and shipping charge.

(Click here for a screenshot of the splashscreen.)

Geoworks Bindery

Bindery is an application that creates eletronic books that can be read with the Book Reader. Books are read-only, hyperlinked documents that can contain text and graphics, much like Adobe Acrobat and Corel Envoy, although the Bindery format is proprietary. Aside from Bindery and Book Reader, the other included apps are GeoManager, GeoDraw, Scrapbook, Preferences, and Screen Dumper. Two versions were released; version 2 could be installed as a stand-alone product, an upgrade to version 1, or added to Ensemble 2.01.

(Click here for a screenshot of the splashscreen.)


PalmConnect was written by Palm Computing to provide file transfer between the Zoomer and the PC. Geoworks provided the system software and licensed Palm to make and distribute it. PalmConnect used the same kernel as Ensemble 2.0, but lacked the Geoworks applications like GeoDex, GeoWrite, etc. PalmConnect included GeoManager (renamed File Manager), Preferences, and desktop versions of the Palm applications: PalmAddress, PalmNotes, and PalmSchedule. These are basically the same apps as on the Zoomer, but they've been recompiled in color for the desktop, instead of black-&-white only as in the Zoomer itself. PalmConnect imported/exported only CSV (Comma Separated Values, or comma-delimited files), and had only VGA video drivers. On the plus side, it did have a pen driver.

Palm also separately sold the PalmUtilities set of accessories , which enabled import & export of ASCII files. Palm sold PalmConnect directly, or via Palm's retailers (the same ones that sold the Zoomer), and it included a cable for connecting the Zoomer to the PC. It was sold for several years, but when Windows 95 came out, Palm encountered the same problems running it from Windows 95 that Geoworks observed running Ensemble 2.0 from Windows 95. At first Palm claimed that running PalmConnect from Windows 95 was not possible, but that was disproved shortly before Palm introduced the Pilot. When the Pilot came out, Palm ceased production of PalmConnect and they stopped distribution when the stock ran out.

Note: Palm also sold a similar suite of applications that were Windows versions of the HP 100LX/200LX applications, also named PalmConnect. These were PhoneBook, Appointment Book, and NoteTaker. For file transfer, it used HotSync with a serial cable. This version of PalmConnect is unrelated to the PC/GEOS version.

(Click here for a screenshot of the splashscreen.)


I included SchoolView because while it is not considered part of the "mainstream" development of Geos and was not marketed by Geoworks, it was based on PC/GEOS. Eduquest, an education-oriented subsidiary of IBM, contracted Geoworks to develop a version of Geos catered for schools (from K-12) that would run on Novell Netware networks. It was designed primarily as a graphical interface for the ICLAS (IBM Classroom LAN Administration System) network management and courseware that IBM had been selling to schools for several years. A Plus version of SchoolView was available which included the major Geoworks applications: GeoWrite, GeoCalc, GeoFile, and GeoDraw. Instead of Motif and GeoManager for the user interface and file manager, respectively, it used the Presentation Manager and WorkPlace Shell (written especially for PC/GEOS), giving it an OS/2 look-and-feel. Eduquest sold it only to schools; it was not available to the general public. It has since been discontinued by IBM in favor of the Windows 95-based SchoolVista.

New Deal Office 2.5

This was the first release of the software under New Deal, the company to which Geoworks turned over the license and ownership. It remained basically the same as Ensemble 2.01, with minor changes including a fix for the fast-CPU bug (that causes SETUP to hang on fast PC's), and word wrapping of icon names in NewManager. All the apps were renamed from GeoSomething to NewSomething.

New Deal Office 97

This was the first time New Deal started naming Office based on a year. The following changes also took place.

New Deal Office 98

Eight new application were added (licensed from Breadbox except for Character Map, Office clip art and templates, and color scheme):

Geos 3.x

BrotherWorks 98

Released 1998. This is a PC version of the software integrated in the Brother GeoBook series (NB-60, NB-80c, and SuperNote). All the major apps except NewFile, and Internet software were included. It used the Yago UI, similar in appearance to the Motif UI. The start-up screen is a full-screen menu with large buttons for accessing the apps as well as an exit button. (It is very similar to the menu found on the Brother Personal Desktop Publisher models 100J, 300CJ and 350CJ, dedicated word-processors that also used Geos.) In behavior, the title bar is at the bottom, apps are run full-screen, and the express menu was disabled (hence no multitasking). Some accessories (calculator, clock and planner) can be invoked with hotkeys. NumLock and CapsLock indicator buttons appeared to the right of the title bar.

NewDeal Office Release 3

Released in January 1999. The first version to offer a choice of User Interfaces (the traditional Motif UI or the new Industry Standard UI, which looks a lot like Windows 95), and an Internet suite (the Skipper Pro browser and Meeting Root IRC client app, both licensed from Breadbox, and NewMail e-mail app). Other featured include: (Click here for a screenshot of the splashscreen.)

NewDeal Office 3.2

Released in January 2000. This is a consolidation of NDOr3, SchoolSuite, and Websuite, with all the templates, clipart, and sample HTML documents of the latter two. It is available either as a full product or an upgrade to NDOr3.

Geos 4.x

NewDeal Office 2000

Released in 2001. The 4.x core fixes some conflicts when run under the latest versions of Windows, including XP.

Breadbox Ensemble

Released in 2002. This has the latest Internet suite of applications, including WebMagick (browser), IRC Chat, Email, FTP, Instant Messenger (compatible with AIM) and NewsReader.

Breadbox Ensemble Lite

A limited version of Breadbox Ensemble that, like GeoPublish 2.0, lacked some system files to enable only the included apps like the Writer word processor to function.

The GEOS/NewDeal WebRing
This GEOS/NewDeal WebRing site is owned by Raymond Thaddeus C. Ancog.
[ Previous 5 Sites | Skip Previous | Previous | Next | Skip Next | Next 5 Sites | Random Site | List Sites ]
This page hosted by file:///E:/ Get your own Free Home Page