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Computer software
Some programs written by the author of this web page, and some of his favourite things written by others (updated November 28, 1999)

If you do not have a program for de-archiving ZIP archives, you may need one after downloading some of the items listed below. One site where almost all (de)archivers are available is Garbo in Finland: click here to see their entire list for DOS. For un-ZIPping, you can use either the excellent freeware unz532x.exe (size 166 kbytes; a self-expanding archive. Available and usable free of cost), or get the latest version of the original, pkz204g.exe (size 197 kbytes; also self-expanding; also contains the archiver PKZIP. This is a commercial program with limited free rights for individual private users).

Index:

Linux software
PC-DOS / Windows software
Links to PC-DOS / Windows software sites
Links to interesting development software (Forth, Euphoria, Modula-2)
Text processing software
 

Linux software

Linux, the freely available Unix-style operating system, looks destined to be the operating system of the future. More stable and versatile than any Microsoft product, actively supported by many developers all over the world

There are of course many sites where one can obtain the system and the enormous quantities of excellent software, but one place to go to is that of the people who have brought out what in my opinion is the most user-friendly comprehensive edition of Linux (along with a wealth of excellent application software items), SuSE ( <- click there). Another interesting spot for information and for mail-order items is Linuxmall, which supplies a variety of Linux software. Redhat is another well-known edition of Linux, in my opinion not quite as easy to use as SuSE but still popular.
 

PC-DOS / Windows software

C2csx (version 2.11, for Windows 95 / 98)
Using a transliteration scheme based on the well-known Velthuis system, one can easily create a text source (either in RTF or plain ASCII format) with diacritical signs for Indian languages that can be converted by means of this program to CSX+ font coding. Use of the program can be learnt within a few minutes. Explanation and demonstration files included. (ZIP archive or self-expanding LHA archive: copy the file to the default directory, run C2211 and then follow the instructions in the text 'manual.rtf').Versions for Linux and in Java will become available soon. Freeware. Beautiful CSX+ fonts in TrueType and Postscript versions are available here.

Code2X (version 1.92; size 30862 bytes)
Using a transliteration scheme based on the well-known Velthuis system, one can easily create a text source (either in RTF or plain ASCII format) with diacritical signs for Indian languages that can be converted by means of this program to one of a few different font codings (CSX+, Norman, or TeX / LaTeX). Explanation and demonstration files included. (Self-expanding LHA archive: copy the file to the default directory and then run C2-19.) Freeware.

Stopwatch (version 0.1aD; size 7789 bytes)
Useful for measuring the speed of other programs. Freeware. (ZIP archive.)

StripFF (version 1.0; size 8243 bytes)
Strips all the form feed characters from an ASCII text file. Freeware. (ZIP archive.)

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Links to PC-DOS / Windows software sites

[link to a FreeDOS site] [link to another FreeDOS site]
If you want an implementation of the DOS operating system that is completely free of cost, yours to use and give away and do more or less whatever -- then have a look at the FreeDOS project. It comprises the operating system, several basic utilities and a variety of development software (assemblers, language compilers, linkers, etc.).

Simtel
A link to the site with one of the biggest collections of freeware and shareware software for DOS, Win3.x and Win9x.

Garbo
Another large FTP site with software for various OS platforms. If you can read Finnish, you can also go to their web site.

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Text processing software

Practically everything that is needed for text processing using the famous TeX system is available at the FTP site of Dante in Germany.

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Links to interesting development software (Euphoria; Forth; Modula-2)
 

The Euphoria programming language

This wonderful programming language, invented in Canada, is probably the most gentle introduction to programming for a newcomer to this field. At the same time, programming projects of a very serious level of complexity are possible in it (and have already been carried out). At first sight, it closely resembles languages like Pascal and C, but it is significantly easier to learn and use. The built-in DOS extender sees to it that the computer memory you use is practically unlimited. Programs in Euphoria run surprisingly fast. It is available in versions for PC/MS-DOS, for Linux and for Windows 95. It is available as freeware (free of cost: you may use it, give it away, develop programs and give them away too), but for a modest registration fee you receive the professional version, which includes a superior debugger. The compiler, development environment, utilities, documentation, tutorial and many programs written in the language are available at the official Euphoria web site. That web site has links to other Euphoria sites as well.

The Forth programming language

Forth is not anywhere nearly as easy to use as Euphoria, but, as one British author of programming textbooks has said, Forth is "the language that will help you learn more about your computer than any other," and I agree with him. It is one of the fastest languages in existence, both from the point of view of developing as that of running the software when you have finished developing it. It has been used for all sorts of purposes, but it shines particularly in robotics applications (which I have never written; but people say so) and programs that demand direct access of the programmer to the machine level of the computer. (It is an excellent tool for learning assembly language.) Its unique structure reduces the time needed in the editing-compiling-running-debugging cycle drastically and partly inspired other languages (like Logo) and improvements in development environments for other languages (like Turbo Pascal and QuickBasic).

For an interesting and inspiring text about this programming language-cum-philosophy from the Programmer's Journal (lifted from the F-PC home page), click here.

Forth is available for a huge variety of hardware platforms, and much Forth material is available as freeware.

the Taygeta Forth archives
The fantastic, huge FTP archive at Taygeta Scientific Industries with all kinds of materials for programming in the fascinating Forth programming language. Compilers / interpreters for a great variety of hardware platforms (OS/2, Linux, CP/M, DOS, various other varieties of Unix, etc. etc.), source code for the compilers as well as for many utilities, documentation and tutorials.

Some of the Forth compilers at Taygeta

One of the most complete and beautiful freeware programming development environments I have seen anywhere is F-PC. This is a complete Forth system for PC/MS-DOS: it comes with the complete source code (for hackers who want to learn about how Forth works, or who want to improve the system further) and a full-screen programming environment with editor, on-line help and debugger. Detailed documentation is included. The latest version of F-PC (size: 1082 kilobytes) (further development by Tom Zimmer has been stopped now) is 3.6. There is also a target compiler that produces executable .COM files, tcom25.zip (size: 1249 kilobytes). But I found that there are some limitations and odd problems in using the tcom compiler for larger programs, hence I have prepared some files for compiling my own .EXE executables. (Give me a little while to write some clear documentation, and I will add an archive with those files on the present web site). Click here to go to the ftp directory with various F-PC things. Also two older versions of the F-PC compiler are available there (versions 3.56 and 3.55).

Another interesting PC/MS-DOS Forth compiler with environment is the shareware L.O.V.E. (Lake Ontario Very Efficient) (size: 268 kilobytes) Forth from Canada, also available at the Taygeta site. Like F-PC, it is basically a form of Forth following the F83 standard, but it can also compile separately assembled object files into your Forth programs.

The Modula-2 programming language

This is Pascal's big brother, designed by the same maker, to overcome some of the limitations which Pascal had for developing large programs. This is what the C language should have been. If you already have learnt Pascal, you can master Modula in a day or two at the most. The structure of the language is such that it prevents you from making silly errors. A very fine Modula compiler for PC/MS-DOS, complete with development environment, is available for free: FST Modula-2 v4 (approx. 400 kilobytes). (The Stopwatch program, mentioned above, was written using this compiler.)

(After Modula-2 there came Modula-3, and the makers of Modula have now gone still further and are spending their efforts on Oberon.)

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Robert Zydenbos (e-mail)