GEM 2.0u

This is GEM 2.0u, as released by Digital Research in the UK in 1986. The zip file contains six directories. Each directory corresponds to a 5.25" 1.2M floppy disk.


To quote the original blurb...

GEM XM Desktop allows you to run several applications at once. You can switch at will between them and even pass data from application to application. No longer need you finish one job before starting another.

No more errors in typing the output of one programme as input to the next. Even for DOS applications that were not specially written for GEM.

These new capabilities are in addition to the easy–to–use GEM Desktop functions of organising and displaying the contents of your discs. All commands use drop–down menus so need no memorizing. Discs and files are represented by icons which are unambiguous and easy to select, especially with a mouse.

GEM XM Desktop is delivered complete with the indispensable GEM Diary which has alarm clock, calendar, diary and card index functions constantly available.

Major features include:

  • Load up to ten applications simultaneously
  • Switch between applications at any time in any order
  • Cut and paste data between applications
  • Use RAM disc or expanded memory (if available)
  • Alarm clock, calendar, diary card index and calculator accessories

GEM XM Desktop system requirements:

  • IBM PC or 100% compatible
  • 512k RAM—some features require more
  • Expanded memory, used as RAM disk, for even higher performance
  • Hard Disc
  • CGA, EGA or Hercules graphics or compatible
  • Logimouse, Mouse Systems or Microsoft mouse or compatible or Summagraphics tablet (optional but highly recommended)”


GEMDOS is a Digital Research kit designed to assist the porting of GEM to 8086, 68K+ and VMS/10 systems. It contains everything necessary to get going, including, for the 68K, a compiler, an assembler, a linker, and lots of source code—all you need is an existing system :-).


These bindings, from a disk set called “Compuserve Source and Bindings”, include code released by Digital Research to enable programmers to write GEM applications in a variety of languages, and the source code to some important GEM applications.

Many files consist of collections of smaller files in something that looks quite like a TAR archive: but I’ve no idea what archive program was used to pack everything, so you’ll have to unpack it by hand. Ensure you check every source file.

The full listing of the disks are:

Disk 1: COMPS1 DOC 640 6-29-86 4:15p *** This document LRGCM BND 83465 1-01-80 12:01a *** Large Model C Bindings TURBO BND 75742 1-01-80 12:02a *** Turbo Pascal Bindings MEMORY DOC 5522 1-01-80 12:03a *** Useful tips on Memory Management TUTOR C 77934 1-01-80 12:04a *** Source of Tutorial Program INSTALL C 51910 1-01-80 12:04a *** Source of Install.App RECORD C 37679 1-01-80 12:05a *** Source of Tape Recorder Program SHELL C 2070 1-01-80 12:00a *** Useful routines Disk 2: COMPS2 DOC 315 6-29-86 4:36p *** This document GEMIMG C 70468 1-01-80 12:06a *** Collection od code to handle .IMG *** and .GEM files ODISPL C 12600 1-01-80 12:06a *** Code to read/write .GEM Metafiles SNAP C 71044 1-01-80 12:07a *** Source of SNAPSHOT.ACC accessory F77 BND 41088 6-29-86 4:49p *** IBM PROFORT Fortran 77 Bindings PROAES BND 64512 6-29-86 4:47p *** IBM PROFORT Fortran 77 Bindings

Disk 3:
Seems to be Microsoft C and some Pascal bindings.

Disk 4:
A disk I’ve labelled “Revised GEM from Compuserve”—you’ll need a copy of PKUNPAK, or equivalent, to process the archives.

programmers’ workbench

See this documentation.


These sample GEM applications were originally released by Digital Research in the UK.

  • Alarm shows a GEM application (I wrote it) talking to a DOS Plus background program;
  • Cube draws a rotating cube illustrating drawing techniques;
  • Display illustrates writing a desktop accessory, to display the contents of a file;
  • Terminal illustrates writing a desktop accessory, a terminal emulator;
  • Training samples used by Digital Research on their GEM Programmers’ course.


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