Protext now free

Nearly two years ago now, back in December 2007, I blogged about Protext. Protext is a word processor that started out life on the Amstrad CPC range of 8 bit micro computers, but also found homes on the Amstrad PCW, Atari ST, Acorn Archimedes, Commodore Amiga and PC running DOS. It also appeared on the Amstrad NC series of portable computers.

Anyway, the primary reason for that post was to provide a link to the new home for the website as I’d had a little fun tracking it down since Google links hadn’t updated (likely due to the site not having been removed by the ISP!).

There are two reasons for this follow up. Firstly to provide a track back to the original post and a link to the new location, since it has moved once more. I’ve been in touch with Mark Tilley again (who provided the link for me) and the Wikipedia page has been updated, which should help Google find it.

The second one is to make note that it is now a free download. It isn’t open source, but as a nostalgia point, and for those that still enjoy using it, the last version for the PC, Atari and Amiga is available as a binary download.

Oh, and again, I guess I should put the link in:

Good old Protext

Protext served me well back in the days when I was using my Amstrad CPC464, CPC6128 or Commodore Amiga 1500, so I have a bit of a soft spot for this old word processor. I’ve also picked up a few copies over the years. I still have the ROM version in my Rombo ROM box for my Amstrad, along with the Promerge Plus and Prospell and my Amiga version, with Prodata (I’m sure I had that on my Amstrad too, but it is a long while ago now!). I’ve added to this the PC version and the Atari ST version, so just the Acorn Archimedes and Amstrad PCW / CP/M versions to go!

Anyway, a while ago I exchanged a couple of emails with Mark Tilley, ex Arnor, and found that the old BT Internet site that is found by Google was replaced quite some time ago. Then today on an Amiga mailing list I’m subscribed to the subject of Protext came up again. On checking Google again I found the BT Internet site still listed, but now the pages that were there have gone, and they never linked the new site anyway. Checking further down the search results I found the fourth entry on the second page (as of that search anyway) was an old blog post on this site!

So the main point of this post is to provide a link to the correct site, and with a little luck people will pop in here and find the right place 🙂 Not that I have, or ever have had, any link with Arnor, I’m just a very satisfied user (or I guess ex-user, since I’ve not used Protext for some years now) of their software. I guess my use of Protext stood me in good stead for editors like Vim 😉

Oh, I’d better actually put the link in… here you go…

Apple TAX / Microsoft TAX

Recently on the Ubuntu Users mailing list there has been a thread on the ‘Apple TAX’ which started as somebody posting about purchasing an Intel based Apple without OS X, but has developed on to a discussion that seems to be comparing the inclusion by Apple of OS X with their systems to the inclusion by Dell and other PC manufacturers of Windows with their computers. I started off putting together a reply to one of the posts in that thread, but having typed it out I decided not to add fuel to the flames on that thread but to post a blog entry instead.

I may well be about to upset the applecart here, but personally do not see Apple including an OS with their hardware as a TAX. Part of this may be historical in that their platform started out back in the days when the primary development model was to create both hardware and OS in tandem to create a new platform. I’m thinking here of platforms like the Amiga, Atari ST, Acorn Archimedes and even IBM’s original intent with the IBM PC (I suspect). The majority of it, though, is the fact that I do not see it as in my remit to demand of Apple the removal of their freedom to create a product to the
specification that they choose. I would see that as against that basic principles of freedom on which Ubuntu, Linux and other free software is based. Apple have a product, and they have defined that the market they are targeting it at is that of people that want a package deal of a computer built, installed and ready to use. That is completely up to them.

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Where has the fun gone in computing?

My first ever computer was a ZX81 bought for me on my 13th birthday. I never upgraded it in any form and only ever had the tapes that came with the computer (so none of the dreaded ‘RAM pack wobbles’ for me!). I had that machine for about a year before selling it and having a painful time without a computer whilst waiting for my Spectrum to arrive. The only thing my ZX81 ever got used for was writing my own programs or typing in listings from magazines. While I was waiting for my Spectrum I wrote a Pacman style game for it, and since I didn’t have any manuals for it yet I used the list of commands on the back of the brochure and listings in Your Computer magazine to work out what the commands did and their syntax (needless to say it didn’t work right away!). All that programming was great fun and probably most of what I used my computers for. I did have a good number of games for my Spectrum too (obviously!), but programming was always more fun.

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