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allCAPPS
August 4th, 2017, 01:20 PM
Does anyone have suggestions for a graphical environment or GUI OS for an 8086 with 640K of RAM?

The GE/OS doesn't need to be useful; I'd just be installing it for kicks and the novelty of poking around in it. The only ones I can think of are Windows 1.0, 2.0, GEM (not sure what versions since I don't know the system requirements), and maybe OS/2 1.x (?).


>>>For those who are curious, I'm running a PS/2 Model 30 from 1989: 8086 @ 8MHz, 640K, 20MB ESDI HDD, 720K floppy, MCGA graphics.

Xacalite
August 4th, 2017, 11:07 PM
Forget OS/2 - it needs a 286.
You can try Windows 3.0, but it won't be fast.
There's also GEOS/GeoWorks.

eeguru
August 5th, 2017, 12:00 AM
Deskmate

pearce_jj
August 5th, 2017, 12:33 AM
Definitely Deskmate. Windows 2 should work well enough as well (probably better that Windows 10 does anyway)

Timo W.
August 5th, 2017, 01:43 AM
Gem 1.2 :)

1ST1
August 5th, 2017, 03:17 AM
Latest version of FreeGEM.

Or if you want to have lower ressources usage, then one of the norton commander clones, like DCC.

SomeGuy
August 5th, 2017, 03:28 AM
VisiCorp Visi On (http://toastytech.com/guis/vision.html):)
Requires a Mouse Systems compatible serial mouse, though.

mmruzek
August 5th, 2017, 04:20 AM
Here is GEM loaded from floppy on an IBM 5150 running Hercules Graphics and using a Mouse Systems PC Mouse. The biggest challenge of getting this working was finding the mouse AND special mouse pad. This legacy optical mouse needs a special pad to work, because of the pattern printed on it. (M. Brutman has a webpage describing making your own BTW)

40173 40174

SomeGuy
August 5th, 2017, 04:37 AM
Despite the needed the special mouse pad, Mouse Systems mice were nice because they were optical. GEM does support other mouse types. For those few that need Mouse Systems protocol compatible mice, many generic 3-button serial mice internally supported that, activated by a switch, holding down a button, or jumpering a wire on the chip.

mmruzek
August 5th, 2017, 05:15 AM
Here is a short snippet from a FAQ which describes how to use GEM without a mouse, by using keyboard shortucts. I am only posting this here because it took me a lot of searching to finally find this information! Michael

************************************************** *************************
2.4 Can I run OpenGEM without a mouse?
************************************************** *************************

Yes, although GEM is best experienced with a mouse, graphics tablet or
some kind of pointing device, it is sometimes necessary to run it without
such assistance; older laptops being one example.

To allow the cursor to be moved using the cursor (arrow) keys, first
press [CTRL] + [SHIFT]. This should return a beep on the PC speaker.
Mouse operations can now be emulated as follows:

Click: Press [HOME] key
Doubleclick: Press [HOME] key twice
Drag: Press & release [END] key
Use arrow keys to move
Press [HOME] key to finish

Shift-Click: Use arrow keys to select first icon
Press & release [HOME] key
Use arrow keys to select next icon
Press [SHIFT] & [HOME] to select
Repeat as required...

commodorejohn
August 5th, 2017, 06:10 AM
You could always run a Smalltalk - there were a couple for 8086-era PCs.

amouse
August 5th, 2017, 08:30 AM
The answer has to be IBM Topview. Come on, I dare you :-)

Chuck(G)
August 5th, 2017, 08:45 AM
Topview was text-only. The OP asked for a GUI.

On the other hand, no one's mentioned VisiOn.

pearce_jj
August 5th, 2017, 09:18 AM
On the other hand, no one's mentioned VisiOn.

Post 7 ;-)

Chuck(G)
August 5th, 2017, 09:24 AM
Missed it, thanks. :)

dieymir
August 6th, 2017, 11:53 AM
My vote for Deskmate. You have lot of resources in this page:

http://www.oldskool.org/guides/tvdog/deskmate.html

GEM is a good option too. You have some resources here:

http://www.oocities.org/siliconvalley/vista/6148/gem.html

Chuck(G)
August 6th, 2017, 11:56 AM
Anyone look at the SIMTEL20 archives? I'd be surprised if there wasn't something there.

Or is this request for commercial software only?

evildragon
August 6th, 2017, 12:06 PM
Please allow my video, taken on my 8086, to help give you a decision. ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsCcykSIU3c

Filmed on a Model 25 with a VGA card installed.

krebizfan
August 6th, 2017, 02:58 PM
I went looking through the online list of shareware/freeware GUIs. Except for GEM derivatives, all the ones I have found are for the 80286 or later CPUs.

Caluser2000
August 6th, 2017, 04:45 PM
GeoWorks is the best looking GUI for that class of system.

SGTSQUID
August 6th, 2017, 05:07 PM
Deskmate worked for me in high school. I still have the disks, and it was version 3. IIRC, I put the core of it on a ram drive so it would run a lot faster I wouldn't need to change floppies as much, if at all.

vwestlife
August 6th, 2017, 06:05 PM
DeskMate 3.04 on a Tandy 1000RL (AMD 8086 at 9.54 MHz):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ0o-TyFEWA

1ST1
August 6th, 2017, 07:09 PM
But you can also give Windows 1.0 and 2.0 a chance. Also quite nice but allmost useless... There is even not the GUI killer application "Solitaire".

Stone
August 7th, 2017, 02:01 AM
There is even not the GUI killer application "Solitaire".I prefer Spectrum HoloByte's Solitaire Royale. I think it's the best, old solitaire around.

Trixter
August 7th, 2017, 09:54 AM
There's also GEOS/GeoWorks.

Seconded. GeoWorks is not only usable on an 8086, it is surprisingly fast and usable on that platform, way more than GEM. If you have any hardware EMS to give it, it positively flies.

allCAPPS
August 8th, 2017, 05:25 AM
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Oh man, I forgot all about Visi On. I'll definitely have to give GeoWorks a try too. I'd heard the name but that's about it. Very useful video. Does it only run in grayscale? (Not that that's a problem. :p)

allCAPPS
August 8th, 2017, 05:28 AM
By the way, I haven't tried anything yet. The original CRT died last week. I'm picking it up from the shop later today, so I'll let you all know how it goes.

Casey
August 9th, 2017, 08:53 PM
But you can also give Windows 1.0 and 2.0 a chance. Also quite nice but allmost useless... There is even not the GUI killer application "Solitaire".

Ah, yes, the joy of Reversi! :sarcasm:

evildragon
August 10th, 2017, 04:59 AM
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Oh man, I forgot all about Visi On. I'll definitely have to give GeoWorks a try too. I'd heard the name but that's about it. Very useful video. Does it only run in grayscale? (Not that that's a problem. :p)

If you put in a VGA card in your model 30, then it'll be in color. Otherwise you're stuck with 1-bit monochrome video at 640x480.

Trixter
August 10th, 2017, 07:50 AM
Can you do that? I thought the PS/2 Model 30 was limited to built-in MCGA (my PS/2 Model 30-286 has built-in VGA). If you can add VGA to an 8086-based Model 30, will DIP switches disable the onboard MCGA?

PeterNC
August 10th, 2017, 09:59 AM
QuikMenu III.

bobba84
August 10th, 2017, 04:41 PM
QuikMenu III.

+1. I used this on my 286 and it was great!

Caluser2000
August 10th, 2017, 09:48 PM
QuikMenu III.Its not really classed a GUI as such tough.
But yeah it'll be nice to run. I've still got my original disks.

evildragon
August 11th, 2017, 04:10 AM
Can you do that? I thought the PS/2 Model 30 was limited to built-in MCGA (my PS/2 Model 30-286 has built-in VGA). If you can add VGA to an 8086-based Model 30, will DIP switches disable the onboard MCGA?

I have a model 25, which is extremely similar to the model 30, and I installed a VGA card in it without issue. Simply having the VGA card in it, disables the onboard MCGA right away. See this video where I did the mod to use the internal CRT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjnbSpuq90I

vwestlife
August 11th, 2017, 06:59 AM
IIRC the rare official IBM VGA card (8-bit ISA) mentioned in its documentation that it was compatible with the PS/2 Model 30.