From: dmccunney <>

On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 9:46 PM, Gregg Eshelman <> wrote:
> On Monday, April 24, 2017, 9:29:48 AM MDT, dmccunney
> <> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 11:14 AM, Dale E Sterner <>
> wrote:
>> I think there must have been a 5.5 otherwise you wouldn't
>> have a 5.6.
>> The problem for both products was failure to keep up with the market.
>> Micropro took its eye off the WordStar ball and attempted to
>> diversify.  WordPerfect ate them for lunch.  Word Perfect waited too
>> long to develop a Windows version.  By the time they did, MS Word
>> owned the word processing market.

> The original WordStar for CP/M was written in Z-80 assembly language by Rob
> Barnaby , in about a month. He was the principle coder on it until the last
> release prior to 4.0.


> When he left the company is when thing started to go
> downhill for MicroPro. WordStar for DOS used slow DOS system functions for
> the keyboard and display and lagged way behind on supporting subdirectories.

I have a copy of WS7.  You have to use the install program to specify
where things live.  It apparently isn't capable of searching the PATH
or looking in sub-directories of the install directory to find its
components.  I shook my head in wonder.

Using BIOS functions for keyboard and video was a hangover from the
origin in CP/M.

> WordPerfect for DOS was written in 8088 assembly.

Lots of things were.  One of the word processors I used was XYWrite,
which I described as a programming language for manipulating test
wrapped in an editor disguise.  The lead developer coded in Assembler
on an original 4.77 mhz IBM PC well after 25mhz AT machines were
common.  He apparently felt that if he could get it to perform well on
an original PC, it would fly on anything later.

(XYWrite survives on Windows as Nota Bene, aimed at the scholarly
market.  Nota Bene was originally an OEM repackage of XYWrite.
XYWrite was a bit like Gnu Emacs - extraordinarily powerful, but you
had to customize it to really use it, and knowing how to do so imposed
a learning curve.  Nota Bene had a much friendlier and and more easily
learned default interface, which is a reason why it still exists.
XYWrite's own Windows version was a non-starter.)

A DOS product I still use here is Eric Meyer's VDE.  VDE also dates
from the CP/M days, and was written in Z-80 assembler as an
alternative to WordStar under CP/M, using the WordStar command set.
Unlike real WordStar, VDE did everything in one file without overlays.
Eric ported it to DOS and it was a popular shareware product for
years. These days, it's supported freeware.  Eric is still around, and
there's a sporadically active VDE mailing list.  See for info and downloads.

> Corel was a poor steward of WordPerfect. They dropped the Macintosh version
> at 3.5e. The last Windows version released by Corel was horrible. I tried
> doing an HTML document once. I had things all laid out and saved it. The
> document opened OK in a web browser. I reloaded it into WP, made some
> changes and saved it. Checked it again in a browser and it was all screwed
> up. Reloaded into WP and it was bad there too. If you could do 100% of
> everything in HTML in one go with that version of WP for Windows, it was
> fine, but it couldn't re-open and re-save HTML that it was used to create.

That's not really a surprise.  Corel didn't write most of what they
sell.  They acquired if from others, and are essentially supporting a
static market.

I wouldn't attempt to use *any* word processor to create HTML documents.

> Microsoft had Word for Mac before they came out with a Windows version, so
> were ahead of the competition when it came to a GUI word processor.

If they wanted to support the Mac, they had to.  Mac OS Classic didn't
*have* a command line.

But yes, being an early developer for a GUI environment gave MS a
considerable leg up.

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