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Thread: Recommendations for a GUI on an 8086

  1. #1

    Default Recommendations for a GUI on an 8086

    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.

  2. #2

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    Forget OS/2 - it needs a 286.
    You can try Windows 3.0, but it won't be fast.
    There's also GEOS/GeoWorks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Deskmate
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

  4. #4

    Default

    Definitely Deskmate. Windows 2 should work well enough as well (probably better that Windows 10 does anyway)

  5. #5

    Default

    Gem 1.2

  6. #6
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    Latest version of FreeGEM.

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

  7. #7
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    VisiCorp Visi On
    Requires a Mouse Systems compatible serial mouse, though.

  8. #8
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    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)

    gem1.jpg gem2.jpg

  9. #9
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    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    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...

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