An eyebrow or two has been raised at the news that Digital Research Inc, the perennial nearly company in Monterey, California that should have ruled the microcomputer operating system world after its 8-bit dominance with CP/M but lost out when Microsoft Corp snapped up the Q-DOS blatant copy of CP/M and IBM in turn decided […]
An eyebrow or two has been raised at the news that Digital Research Inc, the perennial nearly company in Monterey, California that should have ruled the microcomputer operating system world after its 8-bit dominance with CP/M but lost out when Microsoft Corp snapped up the Q-DOS blatant copy of CP/M and IBM in turn decided to make that the basis of PC-DOS, is confidently putting forward a development of its Gem Graphics Environment Manager as the basis of the Open Software Foundation’s graphical interface to Unix. Digital Research’s problems are underlined by the fact that although it received substantial injections of cash from both Motorola Inc and Northern Telecom Ltd some three years ago, it had to go back to its venture capital backers last backers, including the British Abingworth Plc, last year for yet more cash – and Abingworth still does not feel able to value its holding in the company at the aggregate of the cash it has injected over the years, and is currently showing a modest loss on the investment. But a closer look at the Digital Research offering, called X/Gem, shows that the dark horse contender has a chance of springing a substantial surprise. X/Gem derives both from Gem and from the company’s new FlexOS real-time multitasking operating system for 80286 and 80386 machines, which is initially being pitched at industrial markets. X/Gem is a series of toolkits for developing graphical interfaces and the company claims that applications development under X/Gem is both easier and quicker than it is under the leading rival products, Microsoft Windows – basis of Hewlett Packard Co’s NewWave contender, or Presentation Manager from Micosoft’s OS/2. Microbytes Daily quotes Digital Research staffer Dan Erickson claiming that tasks that need 200 lines of C code to accomplish in Microsoft Windows 2.03 require just a single function call in X/Gem. There are no portability problems because X/Gem includes device-independent resource and function libraries, and while it currently operates with the Monterey firm’s own windowing system, it can be adapted to the X Window system which is sweeping all before it in the Unix world.