Microsoft open sources GWBASIC

Liam Proven lproven at
Sat May 23 14:33:48 CDT 2020

On Sat, 23 May 2020 at 03:52, Richard Cini via cctalk
<cctalk at> wrote:
> You know, reading about this made me dig out the info I had on the Character Oriented Windows ("COW") library. I was reading some of the docs and it occurred to me that it operated much like Windows (probably Windows 1), but what I couldn't find were any "sample" programs or tools to build a program based on the COW library. Does anyone have/know of a sample program that used the library? Was there an SDK for it or was it used only for Microsoft's products?
> Just looking for something new/interesting to learn about. Thanks!

OS/2 1.0 used a character-oriented UI, because Presentation Manager
wasn't ready yet. It's one of the more complete I saw.

There are a handful of screenshots here:

Later DOS-era apps often used CUA-compliant COW interfaces.

E.g. WordPerfect 6 for DOS, and MS Word 5.5 and 6 for DOS, both so,
and are my favourite versions of both apps.

MS Word 5.5 is a free download from MS now if you have something that
can run MS or PC DOS and want to play.

3Com had a quite rich library for COW apps on Windows -- probably last
seen for most people in the setup routines for the very popular 3C589
ISA Ethernet card. 3Com's 3+Share DOS-based NOS used it extensively
and it was fast, consistent, had useful accelerator keystrokes and was
generally a pleasure to use. They published APIs for 3rd parties to
use it.

 Quarterdeck also published an API for DESQview, but it was mainly
meant to do simple multitasking-awareness for DOS apps rather than for
UI. It enabled copy/paste support and a few other things.

Novell also had a reasonably rich COW UI library for Netware not only
for its console admin/setup tools but also for 3rd party apps, on
Netware or on DOS. Some screenshots:

But probably the richest Text UI (TUI) I know of was Niklaus Wirth's Oberon OS.

I've put quite some work into its Wiki page:

I'm glad to see that others have too.

Oberon is alive and well. It runs under Windows, Linux and MacOS, as
well as natively on x86-32 as well as a modern FPGA version of its
original hardware.

There's a good quick rundown here:

This page goes into a lot of depth but mostly on the later A2 OS with
the Bluebottle zooming UI:

The official docs and things are here:

Here's what the Linux version looks like:

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