Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

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Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:44 pm

This really tickled my fancy:
http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/wpdos/wpdosbox64.html

The author created a custom DOSBox environment/distribution for running MS-DOS WordPerfect 5.1/5.1+/6.x on modern Windows, including printing. Linked page is for 64-bit Windows and there's another for 32-bit.

edit: top-level page for even more info: http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/wpdos/index.html
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:01 pm

Did you buy a new Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer and find that you cannot run WordPerfect for DOS on it?

Enough said.
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:41 pm

From what I've heard, WP for DOS is still the gold standard for some writers. Kind of like how there are still a few diehards out there who insist on writing at a mechanical typewriter, there are also some who refuse to give up WP for DOS.
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:17 pm

Oh. My. That guy's build of DOSBox had some bits from this: http://dbdos.com/

This is an official(!) way to get dBASE for DOS to run on a modern PC, apparently a custom build of DOSBox. The open-source portions are here: http://www.dbase.com/downloads/dbDOS_Pr ... source.zip

A coworker has a department that's still running a dBASE IV app because they're too poor to get it rewritten. Unfortunately they're so skint that even $149 for the supported version of the above would be too much.
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:28 pm

bthylafh wrote:A coworker has a department that's still running a dBASE IV app because they're too poor to get it rewritten. Unfortunately they're so skint that even $149 for the supported version of the above would be too much.

I wonder how much time and productivity they've pissed down the drain trying to keep that decades-old app running and dealing with its inability to interface with more modern systems...
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:37 pm

Given what it's for, not all that much. It's used... 2-3 times a year for fundraising and contains names & addresses with a nice scripted interface.

They're largely OK with it, it's more that we don't like the idea of supporting a 25-year-old DOS app and by implication keeping them on a 32-bit OS for the foreseeable future.
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:55 pm

bthylafh wrote:Given what it's for, not all that much. It's used... 2-3 times a year for fundraising and contains names & addresses with a nice scripted interface.

Ahh, OK... I just assumed it was some sort of mission critical piece of business logic.

bthylafh wrote:They're largely OK with it, it's more that we don't like the idea of supporting a 25-year-old DOS app and by implication keeping them on a 32-bit OS for the foreseeable future.

That's what VMs are for... :wink:
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:34 pm

Ugh, no. These users are not only non-technical, they are easily frustrated. A VM would be unnecessarily aggravating for them.
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:59 pm

bthylafh wrote:Ugh, no. These users are not only non-technical, they are easily frustrated. A VM would be unnecessarily aggravating for them.

Give 'em an icon on their desktop that boots the VM full-screen, and configure the guest OS in the VM to automatically launch the dBase application on startup?
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:43 pm

So if one day dbase no longer works, are these the types who would cry and maybe quit their jobs?

It's a serious question; I've known people like that. Change is very hard for some people.
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:33 am

Why change something that works? In related news, they can have my Windows XP when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers. 8)
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:29 pm

BIF wrote:So if one day dbase no longer works, are these the types who would cry and maybe quit their jobs?

It's a serious question; I've known people like that. Change is very hard for some people.
For another example, see almost everybody here wrt Windows 8.
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:39 pm

just brew it! wrote:From what I've heard, WP for DOS is still the gold standard for some writers.

It still does legal pleadings and footnotes better than anything MS can come up with. I learned word processing on WP 5.1 and the function key sequences are as permanently burned in my brain as are the / commands in Lotus. Plus, I've never fully adjusted to the loss of Reveal Codes, especially since editing HTML or even PHP forum posts is like typing in WP 5.1 with Reveal Codes on.
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:52 pm

BIF wrote:So if one day dbase no longer works, are these the types who would cry and maybe quit their jobs?

It's a serious question; I've known people like that. Change is very hard for some people.


The boss would probably cry, yes, but only if they didn't have something else in place that was at least as easy to use. The rest I'm not sure of.
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Re: Running WordPerfect for DOS on 64-bit Windows

Postposted on Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:39 pm

WP for DOS does one thing that justifies its continued existence: the output file contains EXACTLY the text and formatting codes you asked for, and nothing else, every single time. For pre-press document transfer, that was gold. Older versions of Office tended to spit out garbled nightmare with floating tags and text strings that didn't get properly culled during a formatting change or text edit, and from what I understand, a publication created in Word basically had to be saved as plain text and then manually reformatted in another typesetter.

AFAIK that's not such a big deal anymore, especially now that Office saves into some semblance of a proper markup language, and the publications world is half overrun with digital distribution and print-on-demand. But it was still a big deal 10+ years ago and the holdouts haven't all retired or died yet.
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