View Full Version : GEM, GEOS, etc.

December 14th, 2009, 11:11 AM
A 256K REU for my C64 is on it's way, and soon I will have a mouse on it's way as well. With these developments I feel it's time for me to try out GEOS/GEM on the C64. From what I gather, GEM and GEOS are similar GUIs but GEM has the advantage that it became OSS and is still developed. On the unfortunate side, the new "OpenGEM/FreeGEM" seems to be targeted at the PC only (correct me if I'm wrong).

What one of these OSes do I want on my C64, if either of them? I want something as similar to Win3x as possible, movable windows preferred. What has the most software/games? Opinions?:confused:

Edit: through googling I've found that there are a number of other OSes, including a port of Contiki. Does Contiki make use of REUs? What's the best choice? :/

December 14th, 2009, 01:17 PM
Start off with GEOS, the C64 version is available from the author for free (D64 disk images, the original was copy protected but the doanload version is not).

I hope you have dual floppies, makes life easier. GEOS can emulate a floppy with a REU but it needs to be the 512K version. There is a CP/M version for the C64 that should use the REU also ( I think).

December 14th, 2009, 06:05 PM
Yep I have duals, one of the first things I did when I got my C64 setup was look for a second drive and then set it up for device 9 so I could copy disks, files, and just have the convenience.

I'm actually going to see about getting a third drive to sit on my PC longterm and also for use with my C64C (though I don't use it as often as the breadbox one). I know a friend with a 1541-II but he doesn't use his C64 much, so maybe I can get him to part with the drive.

Edit: The CP/M for C64 requires a Z80 cart, btw - which I don't have, and often people don't consider it to be a "C64 OS" since it doesn't run on the main proc.

Also, I tried GEOS on an emulator (WinVICE) and it was... erm... really annoying and useless. I know that there are programs that work with it, and perhaps it's faster on the actual C64, but it seemed quite clunky. I don't like that you can't move windows, and I don't like that you can't just click on items to start them (in my short experience anyway), you have to click once, then goto file, then goto open (or hit COMMODORE+Z)..

I also hope to code some apps for whatever GUI I settle on as my main one, btw, if this factors in at all.

December 14th, 2009, 07:45 PM
I forgot about the CP/M cart, probably because I use my C128 for geos and it has a Z80 for CP/M built in.

People liked using a 1581 3.5" with GEOS, I don't see the need (3.5" DD disks are getting hard to find anyway).

December 14th, 2009, 07:47 PM
I forgot about the CP/M cart, probably because I use my C128 for geos and it has a Z80 for CP/M built in.

People liked using a 1581 3.5" with GEOS, I don't see the need (3.5" DD disks are getting hard to find anyway).

Orly! I had no idea the C128 had a Z80. I have plenty of 720K floppies, just bought a new shrinkwrapped box.. anyway you can also cover the hole on a 1.44MB and reformat it, so no issue there.

I need me a C128 - lol.

December 14th, 2009, 09:28 PM
I'm not sure I ever heard about GEM for the C64. Personally I never saw the benefit from those GUIs, although for productivity there were a bunch of geoNNN applications.

Contiki is a great proof of concept and implements a basic web browser, but again the choice of applications is quite limited so apart from surfing the web, chatting on IRC and alike, you may find there is little to do.

Perhaps what you want is a floppy disk directory menu/browser to help you load and run programs. It would be much more simple than a fully graphical user interface, but actually make more sense in a C64 environment.

As for CP/M, the C128 clearly is the machine of choice. Not only does it have a built-in Z80 and 128K RAM, it also has a 80 column mode if you have the right kind of monitor. Still I am not sure how versatile and compatible it is, disk format wise and relating to other factors.

December 20th, 2009, 04:11 PM
The GUI on my "The Final Cartridge III" is much more useful and allows you to drag windows around.. It also boots instantly from the cart. I tried GEOS on my actual C64 today, and found that while you could more easily use it, and it ran faster than on the emulator (ofc I have a 256K REU.. maybe that makes a difference) it still was useless.

I've decided to write a shell for the C64/128/etc. called "CommoDOS", which will emulate the functionality of the DOS command interpreter in commodore BASIC.

As for GUIs, I'm staying away from GEOS for the most part. Contiki sounds fantastic (browsing the web, downloading files, and chatting would be great fun on my C64), but I don't have any networking hardware yet.

Anybody else have some suggestions?

If not, then other than coding my own programs (my DOS will be able to use the REU, and might implement very simple process swapping/multitasking), what can I use my new REU for?

AB Positive
December 22nd, 2009, 08:19 AM
I was about to suggest Contiki too, although from emulation testing, I thought that TFCIII was probably the best you'd get for a C64 GUI. It offers file loading from windows, dragable... pretty decent.

That scares me 'cause if I get a C64 setup I'd want one. I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what they go for on teh eBays.

December 22nd, 2009, 09:00 AM
My friend got a C64 and boxes of pirated software (lol...) from somebody, along with a fantastically broken PSU. I got a C64 for $130 w/ disk drive and some carts and disks, but nothing good software-wise except Popeye the game (which is surprisingly fun). I have since slowly acquired all of his C64 stuff except the unit and defective PSU, which breaks down to:

- Four average-sized 5.25" floppy cases of pirated and legal software from the 80s (almost all of which is freely downloadable now, but these disks come with multi-launching menus etc.)
- A 1541 drive, and a 1541-II drive
- TFCIII and at least one other cart (I can't remember which I got from him and which came with my system now)

So I lucked out, trading him other stuff and making a deal to give him a copy of any C64 stuff he gave me that he wanted a copy of at his request in exchange for giving it to me.

I got the TFCIII without knowing *at all* what it was. I had just got my C64 and barely knew how to use it (I hadn't used one since I was about 2-3 years old and little technical info was stored into my brain back then, lol...), so when I popped it in and started the C64 up I was excited to find a GUI and it's other features, but thought of it more as a bonus feature of the cart until more recently when I realized what the C64 had to offer in terms of a GUI, which is really pretty limited.

I am coding a shell in BASICv2 for it that will be similar to DOS known as "CommoDOS" - it's well under way, and I'll be posting a copy here when I get it to an acceptably-usable point, new C64 users will find it invaluable if they are familiar with DOS as the C64 is quite cryptic before you get a hang of it. I also just thought it'd be nice to make things more convenient for myself, being more familiar with DOS, even though I'm quite used to the C64 now.

I'd rip the TFCIII to a file and send it to you, I believe I can do that, if you have some way to write it to a new cart. It may be cheaper than buying one on eBay or what-have-you, but I don't know, since I haven't checked eBay for it.

The only thing I'm not happy with on my C64 atm is the fact that I can't use the TFCIII *and* my REU at the same time. Perhaps there's a multi-cart-at-once solution out there, then maybe I can even toss in the BASIC expanders I have.

Lord Moz
December 22nd, 2009, 11:09 AM
The Commodore 128 System Guide states that C128 CP/M+ (3.0) will read the following disk formats out of the box:

Epson QX10 (512 byte sectors, double sided, 10 sectors per track)
IBM-8 SS (CP/M 86) (512 byte sectors, single sided, 8 sectors per track)
IBM-8 DS (CP/M 86) (512 byte sectors, double sided, 8 sectors per track)
KayPro II (512 byte sectors, single sided, 10 sectors per track)
KayPro IV (512 byte sectors, double sided, 10 sectors per track)
Osborne DD (1024 byte sectors, single sided, 5 sectors per track)

The screen emulates an ADM/3 or ADM/3A, which happens to be the same as the KayPros use. Since it emulates the same screen, and reads the same floppies, it's excellent at Kaypro compatibility. The only thing different really would be the version of CP/M being 3.0 instead of the 2.2 usually run on Kaypros.

All of the above disk formats require a 1571, since they are all MFM coded disks.

If you're looking for a C128, I have a pretty heavily yellowed flat model as a spare. I just acquired a 128DCR, and already had the 2 flat models. So I don't really need 3 total 128s.

I want to try to get some the 128 HD mods working with CP/M. Most of the work seems to be aimed at getting them to work with GEOS though.

I need to get at least one of my 2 1351s working though. Neither seem to want to work. Need to trouble shoot 'em I guess.

The 128 was probably the last, or very close to the last CP/M machine made. It's really a very versatile machine.

December 22nd, 2009, 11:14 AM
I am quite interested in getting a C128, but don't have the money now. I'll shoot you a PM when I have the money to spare for it, ok?

Thanks for the info.