GEOS has been ported to the Atari 8-bit

It’s never too late to do cool stuff in the retro computing world. This time around, the Atari 8-bit computers get a new port of the GEOS, a graphic interface environment created for the Commodore (64, 128, and Plus/4) and Apple II by Berkeley Softworks.

GEOS was interesting at the time because it delivered a powerful environment while having extremely low hardware requirements:

  • a MOS 6502-compatible CPU (usually at 1 MHz or higher)
  • 64 KB of RAM (not for the A8!)
  • one disk drive (capacity application-dependent)
  • a 320×200 monochrome screen
  • a pointing device

The Atari version was ported to 8-bit Atari by Maciej Witkowiak, and is a  fork of GEOS 2.0 for the C64/128 reverse-engineered by Maciej Witkowiak and Michael Steil. GeoWrite was also ported, and accordingly to the authors, it works better on the Atari!

You will need an 8-bit Atari computer with at least 128K of RAM: 130XE or expanded 65XE as a minimum. Also, unfortunately, it still doesn’t support disk access, so there is only a RAM disk available now. The author asks for help to add support to real drives.

To try it, head over to the github page (link below) and download one of the XEX files from the Releases section. Such file contains RAM disk image, GEOS Kernal, disk driver, input driver and loader for the whole thing. Run an emulator and make sure to choose the PAL system with at least 128K/320K of RAM. Setup joystick in port 1. Load the XEX file into the emulator. GEOS will boot into DeskTop in just a few seconds. Use the OPTION key in place of C= for keyboard shortcuts.

Link: GEOS for Atari on GH

Author: Paulo Garcia

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