word processor history -- interesting article (Evan Koblentz)

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Fri Jul 8 13:00:44 CDT 2016

On 07/08/2016 10:27 AM, Liam Proven wrote:

> Only hardcore IBM customers used DisplayWrite. It had, naturally, 
> great support for IBM's (rather expensive but very solid) laser 
> printers, which were slightly competitive and popular around the end 
> of the 1980s/beginning of the 1990s. Odd spindly fonts, as I recall.
> My first employers sold a lot of copies of Ashton-Tate MultiMate, as 
> it was the only mainstream network-aware WP for DOS LANs -- it 
> supported both Netware and 3Com 3+Share, which was also popular
> around that time. It may have done file locking and network-drive
> shared templates, but as you say, proportionally-spaced fonts were a
> problem.

What I found surprising about the IBM Displaywriter was that much of the
"smarts" of the thing resided in the printer firmware itself (e.g.
underlining, bolding, etc.) and not the DW CPU unit--and, of course, the
printer used EBCDIC.

There were a mess of PC word processors, as well as CP/M ones.
WordPerfect, PerfectWriter, PC Write, Palantir, Electric Pencil...

I recall that the preferred one for the AVR Eagle systems was
Spellbinder and that it had a lot of adherents--I don't know if it was
ever offered for the PC platform.

On occasion, I still use an editor that I wrote for CP/M and later
ported to DOS.  11KB and it has lots of features that are peculiar to my
preferences.  I'd thought about porting it to Linux, but currently, it's
still in assembly and dealing with terminfo or curses is not something
that I look forward to.  So I use Joe.


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