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davidf215 
Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 14-Aug-2020 20:02:39
#1 ]
Member
Joined: 14-Feb-2010
Posts: 82
From: Texas

Recently I have been experimenting with word processing programs under AmigaOS 3. Years ago, back in the 90's, I used my A1200 with Final Writer to create term papers for college.

Before I bought my A1200; however, I was using a Gateway 2000 computer running Windows 3.1 on an Intel 386DX/33 processor. For my old Gateway computer, I had landed on a word processor called Breeze. It was a simple, DOS based word processor that was free (shareware), which is the right price for a college student, and did everything that I need. None of my term papers needed graphics or clip art, so a basic word processor was all that I required.

I still used Breeze on MSDOS even after I bought my A1200. A year or so after purchasing my A1200, I finally decided on buying Final Writer 5. It did word processing along with graphics, and it worked with my, at that time, high quality Epson dot-matrix printer.

Final Writer did quite well for me. Along with my A1200, I was able to create documents that were formatted with MLA and even Turabian styles.

For the past several months, even up to a year, I have been wanting to start working with Final Writer again. It's probably merely nostalgia, but I wanted to use my Amiga to write and to create. I tried to resurrect my A1200, but the hard drive failed, and I lost a lot of my Final Writer documents. I have the Final Writer 5 3.5" disks, but my A1200 wouldn't read them, so apparently my A1200 floppy disk is no longer working either.

So I searched the Interwebs and happened upon Final Writer 5. I found it in ClassicWB P96, at http://classicwb.abime.net/. So I downloaded the ClassicWB P96 pack and installed it into FSUAE on my Linux Mint desktop. I have a legal copy of AmigaForever 2016, so I used the Workbench 3.1 ADF files from AF and had ClassicWB P96 installed and running quickly.

Once setup and installed, the first program I ran in ClassicWB was Final Writer. And I discovered it was version 5, which was a bonus. The same version for which I have the disks.

As I was starting to type and experiment with Final Writer, I noticed something that bugged me and started driving me crazy. When I used my A1200, it was attached to a Commodore 1084 monitor. Something that I did not realize was how well the C1084 monitor hid the pixelation (my new word) of Final Writer and other programs as well.

It may have been a WYSIWYG word processor, but Final Writer was very blocky and pixelated on a modern flatscreen monitor! I tried all the fonts that were available in Final Writer, but I couldn't find one that was clear to read at 12 or 13 point sizes. The Quebec font at 13 points seemed to be the cleanest, but it was not always clean and easy to read. If anyone knows of a clean, clear font to use in Final Writer, please let me know.

I should mention here that I also have a copy of AmigaWriter 2.0 from an Amithlon CDROM that I had acquired back in the early 2000s. Although it too is blocky on a modern monitor, it has a font that is not as pixelated. I have used AmigaWriter to create several documents, and I may continue using it more regularly in the future. Also, AmigaWriter is still available for purchase by its current owner at https://www.alinea-computer.de/.

So I was a little disappointed in my modern experiment of Final Writer. I will keep trying to determine a way to make Final Writer less pixelated.

During my search for Final Writer, I had read an article on Amigalove.com (https://amigalove.com/viewtopic.php?t=117) that someone wrote about his recent use of WordPerfect 4.1 on AmigaOS. I didn't realize that WordPerfect had released an Amiga version of their word processor. So during the period of my disappointment and letdown of Final Writer, I decided to test drive WordPerfect on Amiga.

In my younger years, notably in high school, we used WordPerfect 4.3 for MSDOS in our Business Applications class. We used it for enhancing our typing skills and for modern (at that time) word processing on a computer.

After downloading and installing WordPerfect 4.1 for AmigaOS, which is available in the amigalove.com article as well as at https://winworldpc.com/product/wordperfect/41-amiga, I started experimenting with it. And I noticed straightaway that even though the font was pixelated, the font was not as blocky as Final Writer and it was, more importantly for me, easier to read.

So I typed a few short thoughts into WordPerfect to try it out, and then I decided to write an article with it.

This article, by the way, was written in WordPerfect 4.1 on my emulated Amiga. WordPerfect has an export to IBM WP format which allows me to copy it to a directory drive in the emulator. From the directory drive, I load the file into LibreOffice, which can open WordPerfect files. From LibreOffice it's a simple CopyPaste into a web form via Firefox. I could very well use AWeb on my emulated Amiga to get the article to a web form, but my current emulation instance does not have network setup.

Come to think about it, I can merely use another emulation instance, which does have network connectivity, and get the article into a web form via AWeb in that method. Whatever works.

So that is my most recent Amiga experiment: trying out various word processors on Amiga. There aren't many and they are dated, but it came be done. Although they are dated, I did find it easier to focus while I was writing in WordPerfect 4.1. I wasn't distracted as much since the only thing on the screen was the WordPerfect window. This is helpful to me as I am, unfortunately, easily distracted.

My next Amiga experiment will probably be doing some coding (programming) in the Amiga and perhaps in Aros using C/C++. I have a short 33 room adventure game written in PureBasic that I want to convert into C. And I might as well get it working on Amiga because, as I reason, if it works on Amiga it should work on Linux and the others, too. If there are still any Amiga artists out there who are interested in creating scenes for my project, then PM me, and I'll get the current iteration of the software to you and maybe some hand-drawn maps to aid your work.

Sorry for the long article, but I was wanting to give WordPerfect for Amiga a good test run.

A blog version on this article with images of the word processors is available at this location.

Cheers.

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pavlor 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 15-Aug-2020 6:56:52
#2 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Jul-2005
Posts: 9130
From: Unknown

@davidf215

Nice story! I wrote most of my master thesis in WordPad of Windows 3.1 on my 486SX notebook (that was cca 2010, final formatting was in MSWord on PC of my father of course). My roommate was schocked by my ultra-old hardware, but such an old technology has its advantages: starts quickly and runs silently (no fans, HDD shuts down after few minutes). Sadly floppy drive seems to be broken now (and some of the plastic was broken even back then...), so this good companion now rests in storage.

I´m not using classic hardware anymore (fearing continuous use would damage my computers), but emulation is never a perfect replacement. Sure, my current notebook is rather silent, but not that silent as my good old 486SX.

My latest experiment (under emulation) is learning AMOS. Sure not that much powerful language, but easy enough even for noob like me.

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OldAmigan 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 15-Aug-2020 12:08:06
#3 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 25-Dec-2003
Posts: 630
From: Dumfries, Scotland

@davidf215

Hi.

Enjoyed your post.

There's a facebook page for Final Writer where you might get answers or workarounds for the pixellation you're getting.

Fred

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========================================
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Hypex 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 16-Aug-2020 16:04:56
#4 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 10092
From: Greensborough, Australia

@davidf215

Thanks for your post. Nice story.

It seems strange buying an A1200 after using a 386/33. Since you had Doom covered. Unless your A1200 had an 040/50.

Then again it would have been strange using Windows 3.1 on such a "modern" PC. After buying the A1200 you did upgrade your OS. To Workbench 3.1!

I can't imagine using a 1084 for word processing. Then again I used a TV for a while on my A1200 before getting a VGA monitor. But without a proper monitor you are forced to use flickering modes for high res. And classics like MagicTV to compensate.

But back to your issue. I too use FS-UAE in Linux Mint. What you need to do is activate the UAE native screen modes. Install Picasso96 or possibly CyberGfx. And immediately set up a native RTG mode. If you want to use the Workbench on a modern monitor you will need to use the same resolution. But not with Topaz 8. Otherwise it will look blocky.

Once that is done you should be able to change the FW screen mode to match WB. Increase the font size. And be done.

If you were using 640x256, I can only imagine it being scaled to 1920x1080 for example, would block your bitch up.

I don't recall if anything special is needed on the UAE side in settings but this a small guide as to what you need to do for practical work on Workbench in the modern era.

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spudmiga 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 16-Aug-2020 23:42:46
#5 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 12-Dec-2002
Posts: 828
From: England, United Kingdom

@davidf215

Interesting, I have always found it is the games that suffer the most on LCD and in fact Workbench and productivity applications look much more crisp

Could the issue may be lack of anti-aliased fonts on the Amiga? We may have lived with it at the time because we knew no different, but the following decades we have gotten used to them with our systems and perhaps become accustomed to anti-aliasing, Cleartype and so on that when going back to the Amiga the aliasing is more obvious?

Spud

Last edited by spudmiga on 16-Aug-2020 at 11:43 PM.

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evilFrog 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 16-Aug-2020 23:55:58
#6 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Jan-2004
Posts: 368
From: UK

@spudmiga

I think the old-school CRT displays did a fair bit of antialiasing for us

My go-to word processing tool of choice was always Wordworth. I still have version 7 here on an Amithlon setup for when I want to 'just write stuff'.

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Trixie 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 17-Aug-2020 5:29:10
#7 ]
Amiga Developer Team
Joined: 1-Sep-2003
Posts: 1953
From: Czech Republic

@evilFrog

Quote:
My go-to word processing tool of choice was always Wordworth.

Wordworth was very cool! I started out with WW5 SE which came as part of my A1200 pack, and soon I upgraded to the full version. Back then it was very complicated to send money abroad from the Czech Republic, so I ended up putting a 20-pound note in an envelope with a message saying something along the lines of "Dear Sir or Madam, I hope this cash will reach you safely, and could you please take it as payment for Wordworth 5." The full version came back in a few weeks, together with a print manual and a newsletter. I was thrilled.

I used Wordworth 5 to write all my academic stuff at the university. The program supported footnotes, so it was just right for my essays and the final thesis. The guys at Digita did a splendid job, considering we're talking mid-90s.

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evilFrog 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 17-Aug-2020 18:58:08
#8 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Jan-2004
Posts: 368
From: UK

@Trixie

It really did have just about everything you could’ve ever needed or wanted. I went through secondary school, college and my first year of university before I had to touch anything else. Only then because the department went all digital with submissions. Both Office and Windows were free as a student, and a PeeCee was mandatory for the course (Comp Sci.) so I really had no 'get out' clauses!

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davidf215 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 17-Aug-2020 20:02:09
#9 ]
Member
Joined: 14-Feb-2010
Posts: 82
From: Texas

@pavlor

WordPad of Windows? Wow, that's something. I used WordPad to write a few things during academia but nothing even close to the length of a thesis.

I had a college acquaintance that had a 486SX. It played X-Wing a little better, though not much I didn't think, than my 386DX.

Ultra old hardware isn't always bad. Most would consider the Amiga ultra-old hardware but it still has functionality even today.

I wouldn't consider you a noob.


@OldAmigan

Thanks. I will check on that Facebook page.


@Hypex

This may sound odd, but I never was a big fan of Doom. I liked its predecessor, Wolfenstein 3D, more. On my old 386DX I typically played Civ2, Empire, and X-Wing Fighter after Wolfenstein. I bought the A1200 because of its multimedia abilities, specifically graphics and animation. I was going to create animation shorts, but in the process of determining what animation program to use, I found BlitzBasic. And I've been hooked on programming ever since.

My A1200 still only has WB 3.0. I'm waiting on a reply to a question that I emailed to AmigaKit before I can upgrade WB or my ROMS. My HDD is dead in the A1200. It finally croaked earlier this year when I was trying to see if it still worked. It died when I was rigging up something to copy the files over. Tough luck.

I'll experiment with some of the Video and Advanced Video settings in FSUAE as well as in Workbench to see if I can get the blockiness down. I do typically work in full screen mode. Thanks.


@spudmiga

It could be the fonts. Although I'll try some UAE/WB suggestions by Hypex to see if I can get the pixelization reduced. And as evilFrog mentioned, I do think the CRTs did hide some of the pixelization.


@evilFrog and Trixie
I always wanted to try Wordworth and see how it compared with FinalWriter especially with the datatypes it could Open and Save As. Do you remember which types of documents it could load and save to?

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klx300r 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 18-Aug-2020 0:42:46
#10 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 4-Mar-2008
Posts: 3572
From: Toronto, Canada

My first word processor for my Amiga 1000 was LPD Writer & then Excellence

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Hypex 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 19-Aug-2020 17:18:47
#11 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 10092
From: Greensborough, Australia

@evilFrog

Wordworth became my favourite as well. I started off with an early version bundled with my A500 called KindWords. I only had one floppy drive as storage and managed to cram three disks into one so I could make practical use of it with the dictionary. Later on I purchased cover disks with versions of Wordworth on the cover. As well as having V4SE from the A1200 Magic Pack IIRC. Later I would purchase WW7 office on CD.

The one thing that annoyed me is that the undo never worked! 7 versions and there was something wrong with it. It would never undo when I wanted to!

I used that for years and only now am migrating away from it. It's installed on my X1000. I used it for writing a document and emailing it off sometimes. But now this breaks. Because I'm using YAM and it can't be used to email the outside world anymore, with email security and only known clients accepted, my emails have been spammed and I have no idea about it. The other reason is that RTF, a perfectly fine ASCII format for cross platform sharing, has now been deemed to be unsafe and at risk of viruses. Ridiculous! Wordworth produced the smallest RTF around! Import a WW RTF into Word and when you export again it's ten times the size!

Also I found, like with a lot of Amiga formats, there is no import support. I Googled and cannot find any WW filter. So if you use graphics like I do the document is stuck on your Amiga. I don't consider saving a print dump a working solution. If indeed a HP print dump can be loaded into anything then OCR scanned and images cut out. I doubt software is that advanced yet.

I've been testing Libre Office on Linux but it's just not the same. Sure it's more modern and the dictionary is up to date. The WW context menu slightly clunky by comparison. But I just don't find it as easy to use. In WW I had a tool bar set up on the left and one button inserted the date. But in LO I can't get it in the format I want. I gave up trying to set and save it!

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Hypex 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 20-Aug-2020 17:28:16
#12 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 10092
From: Greensborough, Australia

@davidf215

Quote:
This may sound odd, but I never was a big fan of Doom.


Hooray. I think Doom is kinda funny on the Amiga. There's lots of Amiga Doom fanboys out there. I think it was because it was said it couldn't be done. We got Quake which is worse so it's a bit silly to say Doom can't be done. But it just can't be done well. It uses VGA acceleration. I thought it was rather lame at the time, because you go up close to a wall and it goes blocky, so I didn't know what the big deal was. Never saw any pixelation in 2d Amiga games. Or real 3d Amiga games for that matter.

Quote:
I liked its predecessor, Wolfenstein 3D, more. On my old 386DX I typically played Civ2, Empire, and X-Wing Fighter after Wolfenstein.


Those would have run well. By that stage the Amiga had lost it. In fact the Amiga lost it when the A500 was around while the PC got 256 colour games. It was all over by then. They needed AGA after VGA came out pronto. I never had a PC back in the day, just played on other peoples. I wasn't that impressed with Wolfenstein. To me it looked kinda boring and the graphics weren't that flash. I expected an Amiga port but didn't see one turn up even though it looked simple.

Quote:
My A1200 still only has WB 3.0. I'm waiting on a reply to a question that I emailed to AmigaKit before I can upgrade WB or my ROMS. My HDD is dead in the A1200. It finally croaked earlier this year when I was trying to see if it still worked. It died when I was rigging up something to copy the files over. Tough luck.


Might as well get OS3.1.4 if you do upgrade. IIRC OS3.1 can run on OS3.0 ROMS. But OS3.9 only works on 3.1 ROM. Don't know what OS3.1.4 needs. Ridiculous really since OS3.9 patched Kickstart and rebooted.

Bad timing I guess on the HDD. Is it totally dead? I had an IDE Quantum drive that went belly up. I think I got most of of my files off while I was still using it as a main drive before I went to SCSI. But a number of years later was backing it up again to make sure. It played up. I gave up for a while. Some years later I tried again. It couldn't spin up. I got a screwdriver and tapped it. Suddenly it spun up! I backed up ASAP after that. Guess I just got lucky.

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bison 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 20-Aug-2020 17:59:23
#13 ]
Super Member
Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 1712
From: N-Space

@Hypex

Quote:
In fact the Amiga lost it when the A500 was around while the PC got 256 colour games. It was all over by then. They needed AGA after VGA came out pronto.

This is where I interject my usual retrospection: If Amiga had added a simple 8-bit packed-pixel frame buffer mode by 1990, things may have turned out differently.

Quote:
I never had a PC back in the day, just played on other peoples. I wasn't that impressed with Wolfenstein. To me it looked kinda boring and the graphics weren't that flash.

I was amazed by Wolfenstein. The graphics were not great, as you say, but the complete freedom of movement and the speed of the game made it unique at the time.

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Zylesea 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 20-Aug-2020 22:22:29
#14 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 2183
From: Ostwestfalen, FRG

@davidf215

I kind of liked AmigaWriter. I used it for some papers during my study times. The program was rather nice to use IMHO, but had serious stability issues (to be fair: I had really demanding docs). Luckily the program usually misbehaved a little before freezing (the cursor jumped backwards a few characters IIRC) once used to that behaviour, you could just save and restart the program and continue working.
But fluent is different....
Funnily it ran a bit more stable on MorphOS 0.4 back in the days (at least on my setup).

I longly hoped for an AmigaWriter Update that increased stability), but it never happened.


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nikosidis 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 21-Aug-2020 5:34:57
#15 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 9-Dec-2008
Posts: 970
From: Norway, Oslo

1084 is a dammed good multi synch. monitor. Very clear with great contrast. CRT did not have any native res. like modern displays have.
Amiga outputs as standard 15kHz. Modern displays if they accept the signal at all convert the the signal as all digital displays are progressive and upconvert. It will give artifacts.

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_Steve_ 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 31-Aug-2020 20:36:55
#16 ]
Team Member
Joined: 17-Oct-2002
Posts: 6774
From: UK

@nikosidis

I am pretty sure the 1084 wasn't a multisync. I have one and it was just a 15KHz display. I do have a multisync monitor connected separately that I used with a VGA connection to my CSPPC (A Hansol monitor if I recall) which has served me well.

The 19xx series from Commodore were multisyncs as I recall.

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_Steve_ 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 31-Aug-2020 20:43:56
#17 ]
Team Member
Joined: 17-Oct-2002
Posts: 6774
From: UK

@Trixie

Quote:

Trixie wrote:
@evilFrog

Quote:
My go-to word processing tool of choice was always Wordworth.

Wordworth was very cool! I started out with WW5 SE which came as part of my A1200 pack, and soon I upgraded to the full version. Back then it was very complicated to send money abroad from the Czech Republic, so I ended up putting a 20-pound note in an envelope with a message saying something along the lines of "Dear Sir or Madam, I hope this cash will reach you safely, and could you please take it as payment for Wordworth 5." The full version came back in a few weeks, together with a print manual and a newsletter. I was thrilled.

I used Wordworth 5 to write all my academic stuff at the university. The program supported footnotes, so it was just right for my essays and the final thesis. The guys at Digita did a splendid job, considering we're talking mid-90s.


In my case I started with WordWorth 1.0 (even have the box next to me - although I checked and I have WW3 inside so I suspect we upgraded from 1.0 at some point). I did have 5.x from the Magic Pack and eventually bought WW7 (which I couldn't lay my hands on currently).

Also used FinalWriter 97 for a bit which was also a very competent word-processor on the classic machines.

Unfortunately due to the reliance on MS Word the only way of easily getting things from the Amiga into a PC at the time was to save the document in RTF format and import it. I had tried the other outputs for things like wordperfect, but none would really reliably work without a lot of faffing and reformatting on the PC side (even RTF suffered with that issue as any Wordworth specific layout imagery/drawing wouldn't export at all well (if at all).

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bison 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 31-Aug-2020 21:46:01
#18 ]
Super Member
Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 1712
From: N-Space

@_Steve_

My recollection is that there were several (many?) variations of the 1084, depending on when/where you bought it, some made by Phillips, and some by Daewoo (and maybe others as well). But, alas, none of them were multi-sync. There was (allegedly) a high-persistence version of the 1084, but I could never get my hands on one.

Last edited by bison on 31-Aug-2020 at 09:46 PM.

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Hammer 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 1-Sep-2020 5:33:17
#19 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4088
From: Australia

@davidf215

My 1st Amiga word processing program is the bundled Kindwords 2.0 with Amiga 500 (1989). The starter kit also includes Fusion Paint, Crazy Cars, Super Ski, and Hole-In-One.

My parents obtained ProWrite which I used during primary school. Star LC-10 color printer was used.


For experimental, I manage to obtain an Apple Mac ROM image from a classic Mac which enabled the Amiga 500 to fake as a classic Mac equivalent. The same method was used for my Amiga 3000 (early 1992). I recall a friendly debate between Amiga vs Mac fans at school and I shown them an Amiga running MacOS.

Last edited by Hammer on 01-Sep-2020 at 05:35 AM.

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Amiga 500 (Rev 6A, KS 3.1.4, 68K 50Mhz , 12MB RAM)

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Hypex 
Re: Recent AmigaOS 3.1 Word Processor Experiments
Posted on 1-Sep-2020 16:55:45
#20 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 10092
From: Greensborough, Australia

@bison

Quote:
This is where I interject my usual retrospection: If Amiga had added a simple 8-bit packed-pixel frame buffer mode by 1990, things may have turned out differently.


Yes, it really needed one, if only for productivity. I mean, an ECS A500 could technically display a 640x480 VGA screenmode in four colours. Sorry, I meant EGA, since I said four colours. And like the Amiga, EGA used planar bitmaps. Unlike the Amiga it had planar pixel acceleration. But the bitmaps weren't linear like on the Amiga.

I actually think the Amiga could have done this easily. Even the A1000. A simple low res 8-bit packed-pixel framebuffer. My reasoning? The copper. I think if the copper data was allowed to be re-purposed it could do this easily. Each copper instruction is one long word. Or four bytes. The Amiga executed one instruction every four pixels. Scaled down, it read one byte per pixel. Why didn't they use this to instead act as a direct CLUT value? Obviously the bandwidth is there. On AGA with double speed a 256 colour hires mode would have been easy. Like a real VGA:Productivity. But unlike chunky PC modes it could have been a direct linear byte map.

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I was amazed by Wolfenstein. The graphics were not great, as you say, but the complete freedom of movement and the speed of the game made it unique at the time.


I didn't have a "PC" at home so never really got to play it. But the Amiga spoiled me with colorful graphics. Still, had there been an Amga port, I'm sure I would have been more interested. But it was made for a PC, not an Amiga. The Amiga excelled at geometric looking 3d games.

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