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GEM/1 was the first GEM, and its similarity to the Mac OS caused a lot of trouble with Apple...

[GEM/1 about box]
The GEM/1.2 "about" box. An easter egg: double-clicking the icon plays a little tune.

[GEM/1 desktop]
The desktop program has resizable overlapping windows, drives on the desktop, a trashcan, and other features which could make a Mac user feel at home. However, folders do not open in a separate window (as they would on a Mac) - they open in the same window as the parent folder. The trashcan deletes files permanently, since it maps directly to the DOS 'delete' function.

Disc drives are not automatically detected. To put a drive on the desktop, you have to use the "Install disc drive" menu item.

The "Desk" menu corresponds to the "Apple" menu in that it contains the about box for the current program and any loaded desk accessories.

The icon shading style, shaded titlebar and full-width scrollbar slider are features that Apple demanded should be removed.

The colour scheme is fixed, unless you take a resource editor to GEM.RSC. This is true for all GEM versions until ViewMAX/2.

[GEM/1.1 Install Application screen]
In GEM/1.1, this screen is used to install an application. It can only be associated with at most one file extension, and the list of icon types is hardcoded.

[GEM/1.2 Install Application screen]
For GEM/1.2, the screen was redesigned to show a preview of the icons, and up to 8 file types can now be associated with the program. The icon names are now stored in the desktop icon file, making it possible to edit them with something like EDICON. In addition, there's an extra option: "Needs Full Memory". For DOS programs, this can be set to "Yes"; if it is, GEM will unload most of itself from memory before the program is launched, and reload afterwards.

[GEM/1 Output]
GEM uses a program called Output to produce graphical output to a printer or a plotter. Output prints .GEM files, which are metafiles (sequences of drawing instructions). In the example above, one .GEM file has been added to the output list.

In normal use, a program will produce a .GEM file of output to be printed, and then run Output on this file. Output then allows the user to set which printer was being used and any printer options.

[GEM/1 preferences screen]
The GEM/1.2 desktop preferences screen. All the controls are buttons; they can be made to behave as radio buttons, but the graphical appearance of radio buttons is no different from normal buttons. The default button on a form is drawn with a thicker border than the others.

The preferences screen is similar in GEM/1.1, but without the "Sound Effects" option. GEM/1.1 does not support any sound except error beeps, which it produces by writing Control-G characters to its standard output.

[GEM/1 item selector]
The item selector screen demonstrates GEM text controls - they appear as underlines, with a vertical cursor. The "close" control just below the "Directory:" caption moves to the parent directory. GEM has no 'listbox' or 'scrollbar' controls; the filename list is implemented using 9 text fields, and the scrollbar is done as two boxed-characters (for the buttons) and two rectangles (for the bar and the thumb).

In the GEM/1.1 selector, it isn't possible to change drives except by typing the new drive letter in the "Directory:" field. In GEM/1.2, clicking the close button on a root directory moves to a list of drives.

[GEM/1 cursors]
The GEM/1 cursors. The cursors are always 16x16 pixels, whatever the screen resolution; so (for example) the hourglass, which here looks square, would look extremely elongated on a CGA monitor. Note that unlike in Atari GEM, the 'busy' cursor is not a bee.

GEM/1 didn't include a VGA driver, and it needs to be patched to support screens with video planes bigger than 32k. If you do patch it and use a later VGA driver, it looks like this in VGA mode:

[GEM/1 in VGA mode]
John Elliott