Classic Computer Magazine Archive ST-Log ISSUE 27 / JANUARY 1989 / PAGE 8


The New GDOS is G+Plus

Charles Johnson and John Eidsvoog have produced their own version of GDOS, the missing part of your Atari ST's GEM operating system that allows programs to display and print graphic fonts and styles. Johnson and Eidsvoog began the project as curious hackers; they were interested in the inner workings of GDOS and the font system being used. What they found was unexpected.

GDOS was originally developed in C by Digital Research, the creators of the GEM operating system. During the development of the ST, Atari and DRI decided not to include GDOS in the ST's ROM operating system because of physical size limitations of the ROM and problems interfacing new device drivers to the ST version of GEM. Atari fell from grace with DRI shortly after the ST was released, which made hopes of GDOS being made available for the ST a distant chance. Through some delicate maneuverings, Atari eventually bought the rights to produce an ST version of GDOS. First tests of GDOS were embarrassing. The ST Desktop slowed down to a crawl, and most ST programs bombed when run.

Johnson and Eidsvoog originally intended to seek Atari's official approval of the new GDOS, before they realized the delay in releasing the product to the market such a move would cause. Instead, Johnson and Eidsvoog created a partnership, Codehead Software, which is marketing G+Plus directly to ST users.

G+Plus is a more technologically superior software product than GDOS. When using GEM compatible fonts, GDOS forces your ST to load all of the fonts into memory when you power up your computer. This causes long boot-up periods and severely reduces available memory for your applications—try running a spreadsheet while GDOS is resident, you will sometimes find less than half the worksheet size available. G+Plus solves this problem by allowing you to define which fonts will be loaded when an application is opened. When running your word processor, many fonts might be loaded. While running a graphics program, a different set of fonts could be loaded.

G+Plus offers many other advantages, which will be covered later in a full ST-Log review. The package comes with a large instruction manual, and has a list price of only $34.95 (add $2 for shipping and handling).

Codehead Software
P.O. Box 4336
North Hollywood, CA 91607