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Questions tagged [software]

For questions about the applications and programs that can be run on retro devices (computers, etc.)

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9 votes
2 answers
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What floating point libraries were written to meet the IEEE 754 standard before it was accepted in 1985?

The IEEE 754 floating point arithmetic working group began in 1977 and was formally accepted in 1985. One of the original driving factors of the standard itself was Intel who wanted a standard to go ...
Adam Hyland's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
216 views

What was the title of this IBM PC software compendium book circa mid 80s?

Sometime in the mid 90s I stopped by a library that used to sell off their old stock and bought a copy of an IBM PC software compendium that I am now struggling to remember the name of or find ...
Noel Whitemore's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
163 views

Commodore 64 software sales peak year

Sales of the Commodore 64 itself appear to have peaked (along with sales of 8-bit home computers in general) around 1984, though continued for another decade after that. I'm curious about sales of ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
12 votes
7 answers
4k views

Did any games or other programs combine disk formats on one side of a disk?

On a typical floppy-based system, the act of reading a sector consists of the following steps: Moving the head to the appropriate track. Waiting until a certain "start of sector header" ...
supercat's user avatar
  • 36.4k
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Did BBC Micro business software stick to 40 columns?

The iconic personal computer sponsored by the British Broadcasting Corporation, was most famous for its use in UK schools, so I was surprised to read in The Legacy of the BBC Micro: By October 1983, ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
28 votes
4 answers
3k views

What was the legal arrangement between author, publisher and end user for 'type-in programs' in old computer magazines?

Today we live in a world where the idea of open-source is well understood and protected by legal gobbledygook like the MIT, GPL, LGPL, Apache, and EI-EI-O licenses. (Ok, I made up that last one). It ...
Geo...'s user avatar
  • 10.2k
9 votes
1 answer
770 views

Which generations of PowerPC did Windows NT 4 run on?

In a blog entry at The Old New Thing, Raymond Chen states that Windows NT first started supporting the 603 and 604 series of PowerPC processors. Was there a specific firmware version which was needed ...
user1628056's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
364 views

Snack shipped with computer products [closed]

I remember that there was a company in the US that packed candy or snacks as a bonus in the shipping box with their products. They were well-known for this practice. I'm pretty sure the snack was ...
Dennis Williamson's user avatar
19 votes
0 answers
456 views

Is an X Window System older than release 10 available online?

I'm looking for any copy of the X Window System older than release 10. The oldest on x.org is X10R3. Bob Scheifler doesn't have anything. Jim Gettys may have something, but has yet to retrieve it ...
Lars Brinkhoff's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
739 views

VIP Technologies Professional for Amiga, a Lotus 1-2-3 clone

I accidentally stumbled upon a programme named Professional by a company named VIP Technologies for the Amiga computer. It seems to be a clone (a quite accurate one) of Lotus 1-2-3. I cannot locate ...
Krackout's user avatar
  • 1,518
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

What was the second platform supported by SAP?

SAP, the well-known ERP software company, started out in the 1970s, with the first version of their software running on IBM mainframes, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP_R/2 What was unique about R/2 ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

What was the first commercial route planning software for home computers?

Nowadays route planning applications are ubiquitous on smart phones, on embedded or dedicated devices, and on the web. With these applications, you input a destination and a starting point (or the ...
Psychonaut's user avatar
  • 7,551
2 votes
0 answers
206 views

How can software including drivers be moved from one windows (2000) installation to another?

I have a Windows 2000 system which no longer boots. We've narrowed it down to disk corruption of some Windows components, and a clean install of Windows should fix that. But there's some specialist ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 409
15 votes
6 answers
2k views

Video playback software/formats for a 386?

Wanting to have my 386DX @ 20MHz play a video (any video), just as a demo. I'd prefer it to be watchable (eg 10fps and not a tiny 10x10 pixel) as opposed to a slideshow. What player software could I ...
KERR's user avatar
  • 353
8 votes
1 answer
383 views

Are there any homebrew games (or demos) for the Timex/Sinclair 2068?

I know there has long been a thriving homebrew scene for games and demos for the original Sinclair Spectrum range and also for the Russian and Eastern Bloc Spectrum clones. But I expected some old ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 6,656
7 votes
1 answer
839 views

What is the oldest UNIX available for modern systems?

What is the oldest UNIX(-like) system that can be legally downloaded and run in a VM or emulator on a modern PC running Linux?
Someone's user avatar
  • 173
3 votes
1 answer
385 views

Which system had the first desk accessories?

Many early operating systems were single-tasking. However, sometimes small programs were developed that could share the system and user interface with a main program. Examples include Borland ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 16k
14 votes
2 answers
4k views

What was the first software company to go public?

I'm trying to determine which was the first purely software company to launch an IPO on a major stock exchange. By this I mean a company whose revenue comes directly from software unit sales, rather ...
Brian H's user avatar
  • 60.8k
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is a Hollerith file on a GE/Honeywell computer?

In his description of the QED editor, Dennis Ritchie writes READ9 and READ6 return the next character from the ASCII or Hollerith file currently being read (if any). I know about ASCII, of course, ...
Cecilia's user avatar
  • 223
11 votes
1 answer
531 views

Why was Paperback Writer renamed to Pocket Writer?

I was a big fan of Digital Solutions Inc.'s Paperback Software, a Commodore 64/128 productivity suite that featured an interoperable word processor (Paperback Writer), spreadsheet (Paperback Planner), ...
Psychonaut's user avatar
  • 7,551
2 votes
6 answers
1k views

Home-computers of early 80's, capable of saving Basic-programs, as machine-code, or assembly-code, with a little extra code or other modification? [closed]

Could many/most home-computers of early 80's, have been capable of saving BASIC-Language-Programs to cassette/disk, as machine-code, or possibly even as assembly-code, with a little extra code (or ...
dntknw's user avatar
  • 127
32 votes
7 answers
5k views

Did any PC software floating point use non-IEEE format?

During the 1980s, prior to the 486 (well, strictly speaking, prior to the discontinuing of the 486SX in the nineties), IBM PCs and compatibles had hardware floating point only in the form of an ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
17 votes
1 answer
481 views

Was any commercial end-user software written in PROMAL?

PROMAL is a procedural programming language from the 1980s. Its designer, Systems Management Associates, released compilers for the Commodore 64, Apple II, and IBM PC. The language and development ...
Psychonaut's user avatar
  • 7,551
5 votes
1 answer
674 views

Who were the market for those "speed up your computer" shareware applications back in the day? [closed]

In the Swedish computer magazine PC Hemma ("Home PC") from February 1997 (p. 68), they included a floppy disk with shareware programs related to "trimming your PC", as well as a ...
Tarlton's user avatar
  • 67
2 votes
1 answer
282 views

Were any form-based applications designed for more than 80 columns?

The traditional standard display for business computers was 80 column text (with either 24 or 25 rows). Business software, roughly speaking, falls into two categories: Horizontal applications like ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
10 votes
0 answers
232 views

Which versions of StuffIt introduced backwards-incompatible changes to the file format?

In order to help people who want to integration-test tools which shell out to The Unarchiver's lsar and unar utilities, I'm trying to build a legally clean repository of test archives in StuffIt SIT ...
ssokolow's user avatar
  • 7,065
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

What are the "other crontabs" that /etc/crontab refer to? [closed]

The /etc/crontab file on ubuntu has a header that reads: # /etc/crontab: system-wide crontab # Unlike any other crontab you don't have to run the `crontab' # command to install the new version when ...
GammaGames's user avatar
10 votes
0 answers
288 views

What happened to the Speakeasy computational environment?

After reading his interview with the Computer History Museum , Cleve Moler (creator of MATLAB), mentioned that the Speakeasy Computational Environment was a precursor to MATLAB, and served as some ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
219 views

Where can I find the software for "DESIGN: a program to create data entry programs" by J. Michael Wuerth?

I have a copy of the book, DESIGN: a program to create data entry programs by J. Michael Wuerth. Does anyone know where I can obtain a copy of the accompanying software for the book?
Wes Robinson's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
245 views

What was this early 2000s software subscription that had a billboard theme and was about music and bands? [closed]

I cannot remember the name of this music software CDs I used to have. We would get it in the mail every month and it had interviews and song samples in a game style UI with a city/billboard theme. ...
Heather's user avatar
  • 19
5 votes
1 answer
572 views

How can I run OpenSSH under AmigaDOS?

I want to use OpenSSH for Amiga, copied ssh and other files to OS:Utilities from extracted archive, but I'm unable to run the binary. Tried to set protection but it didn't help either. How to make it ...
Bartek Malysz's user avatar
39 votes
1 answer
4k views

How did voice dialing work in old Nokia phones?

For example on S40 or the 3310, users were able to set voice tags (also known as voice commands) for contacts. The phone could then recognize the command later and dial the right number. With neural ...
Luc's user avatar
  • 423
29 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why was IBM's Scientific Subroutine Package superseded?

It is a familiar fact that scientific software tends to do a lot of vector arithmetic and similar, that one does not want to keep rewriting the low-level code for such, so the usual practice is to use ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
7 votes
3 answers
628 views

New chess engines on retro hardware

Does anyone know of any efforts to write modern chess engines for old hardware? (e.g. C64, A2e?) I'd love to see how a pared-down Stockfish or Leela that could fit in RAM could do rating wise etc. ...
dashnick's user avatar
  • 1,258
4 votes
1 answer
327 views

Identifying and recovering programs from tapes

A couple of days ago, I was given some old tapes with programs written on them. However, I am having some trouble with them. I do not know what computer they were programed for. After recognising the ...
user3141592's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
247 views

How to get Terminate running in DOSEMU on recent machines? [duplicate]

When trying to run http://www.terminate.com/ under http://www.dosemu.org/, I get Runtime Error 200. I know that this is a well known issue with software compiled with Turbo / Borland Pascal and using ...
Torsten Knodt's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
191 views

Is there any way to obtain the abandonware 1994 original release of Klik & Play in non-English, non-"For Schools" versions?

In the mid-1990s, I purchased a Swedish boxed copy of v1.0 (I believe) of Klik & Play in a computer store. Since that, the floppies have died and I stupidly even threw away the entire big box and ...
D F's user avatar
  • 31
4 votes
3 answers
328 views

Was imported software for computers as common as it was for consoles?

In the 90s and in Western countries, you were able to buy import software for pretty much every video game system, for instance, Super Nintendo, Mega Drive, PC Engine, PlayStation and so on. To run ...
aybe's user avatar
  • 7,092
3 votes
1 answer
237 views

How did VisiCalc decide how many decimal places to display?

VisiCalc represented numbers in BCD to be able to handle decimals precisely. But how did it decide how many decimal places to display? In some screenshots like https://www.researchgate.net/figure/A-...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
3 votes
1 answer
754 views

What were the most common applications of the 8087?

The original IBM PC had a slot for the 8087 floating-point coprocessor. This was a somewhat esoteric feature at the time – previous microcomputers had done all their floating-point in software – but ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
5 votes
1 answer
405 views

What was the reason for AmiPro's limitation in displaying two pages together when scrolling?

I have fond memories of using Lotus AmiPro word processor. If it would run on 64-bit Windows, I'd probably still use it today. One of the most infamous bugs in the program was its inability to show ...
Armes Pueppilein's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
44 views

Where can I find EVOC20 package for Emagic Logic 2.5?

I know the vocoder was firstly developed by the company Emagic, which then bought by Apple. Now it is part of Logic Pro X and impossible to find the original version, that can work in Windows. Does ...
Elnur Hajiyev's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the point in interpreting an integer literal differently depending on the machine?

I was reading the user manual for an old program "UNRAVEL": http://www.ml1.org.uk/pdf/Unravel_User_Manual_1971.pdf. On page 9, it describes the syntax for integer constants: Unsigned ...
PhilipRoman's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
169 views

Are there any CHIP-8 games that break if `SAVE` / `RESTORE` *doesn't* change the pointer register?

The CHIP-8 instructions SAVE Vx (Fx55) and RESTORE Vx (Fx65) are originally specified to increment the pointer register I as each register is saved/loaded, so by the end of the instruction, the value ...
Cactus's user avatar
  • 2,698
2 votes
0 answers
197 views

Where can I find software for the Imlac computers?

There is an emulator for the Imlac PDS-1 and PDS-4 computers, but not a lot of software to run on it. I know about this collection: http://www.ubanproductions.com/imlac_sw.html Is there anything else ...
Lars Brinkhoff's user avatar
58 votes
16 answers
13k views

Did many programs really store years as two characters (Y2K bug)?

The claim that programs stored dates as two ASCII or similar characters because computers were limited in resources seems wrong to me because it takes more memory than one 8-bit integer would. Also in ...
Mr. Chem Question's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
634 views

How much time and how many people were required to develop Delphi version 1?

I would guess the compiler was primarily a modification of Borland's Turbo Pascal, while the Integrated Development Environment and Visual Component Library required a lot more development from ...
joe's user avatar
  • 111
21 votes
1 answer
2k views

Where did the lookup table in Entombed come from?

Entombed is an Atari 2600 game where you move through an infinite vertically-scrolling maze and try not to die. This maze is procedurally generated, with two bits from a PRNG (underlined) added each ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 18.6k
23 votes
6 answers
2k views

Does the "Amiga Client for Novell NetWare" exist?

On page 139 of Brian Bagnall's book "Commodore: The Final Years", there is the statement that at CeBIT Hannover in March 1989, Commodore announced (amongst other things) "Novell Netware for Amiga". I ...
Richard Downer's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
410 views

Understanding the meaning of the term "Modifying a software program" in a book

In his book The Silicon Jungle David Rothman mentions several times the term "modifying" or "customizing" a software program. e.g. Chapter 8: And then the consultant didn’t even supply instructions ...
Armes Pueppilein's user avatar