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From the October 3, 1997 ComputorEdge (Issue 1540)

By Jim Trageser

Windows 98 is in serious beta testing and should be out in the spring or summer. But not everybody loves Bill Gates – and not everybody uses Windows. Amiga users are going strong, and it appears there may finally be new machines in production shortly. OS/2 Warp is still being supported and upgraded by IBM. And NeXTView will be reborn next summer as the new Macintosh operating system.

Here are two sites that offer even more alternatives to the Microsoft juggernaut:

New Deal

New Deal recently bought out the rights to Geos, the PC-based all-in-one GUI operating system. It was like having Windows and Office combined into a single package at a reasonable price.

New Deal's Web site supports both the older Geos operating system/suite, and their own upcoming beta-testing New Deal Office 97 operating system/suite.

The heart of the site can be found by clicking on the "Preview Software" icon (and the main menu is a gif graphic of a Geos/New Deal Window); from there, you can download a beta version of the New Deal OS. There are also contests for beta testers to enter, information about educational discounts, online product ordering, a developers area, a hot-tips area for getting the most of your New Deal software and more.

The links page is also pretty useful – it will take you to archives of old Geos shareware, hot link you to Geos newsgroups, and generally put you in touch with an entire community that still supports Geos, and in fact is still growing and changing.

System Solutions Inc.

Old-timers may remember GEM, the Graphic Environment Manager. Developed by Digital Research, the same folks who invented CP/M, GEM was an early competitor to Windows on the PC platform and was the built-in GUI that ran on top of Atari's 16-bit TOS operating system (much as Windows runs on top of DOS).

Like Geos, GEM is still around with a different name: MagiC. It's a fully pre-emptive multi-tasking operating system that can run on Pentiums, Macintoshes or even 680X0-based Ataris (a midi company in Germany is still making Falcons, and some Canadian and British companies are building 68060-based Atari clones – some folks just haven't gotten the word that Bill Gates is lord god king of the universe).

System Solutions is a British firm now supporting and upgrading MagiC. The Web site is informative and fairly easy to navigate, but sometimes it does get confusing. For instance, to get to the MagiC page from the welcome screen, don't click on the "MagiC PC" button – instead click on "software" in the bottom frame, and then "MagiC" from there.

And while this is the "home" page for MagiC, you won't find demos for downloading here. For those, you have to go to an American site, (go to subdirectories /magic/mac/ or /magic/pc/ to find the downloadable demos) – which I found not on the System Solutions site, but on a new search.

But if you're at all interested in visiting the fringe of the world of computing, finding a living community that exists without Windows, without Microsoft – and even without Stephen Jobs – then this is worth checking out.