[OFFER] IBM PC Graphical File System/Graphical Kernel System

edited December 2020 in Offers & Requests
SuperCard Pro dumps, and manual scans included. The manual scan isn't the greatest, but a write-up is on the way with it. This should also be dumped along with the Graphical Kernel System which I didn't archive, but managed to find someone who had it and saved it.



Write-up coming soon!


  • Thanks for sharing rare IBM program disk.
  • edited December 2020
    Very interesting. I've seen copies on eBay and I've wondered what applications, if any, were developed using these tools, or if these tools became part of some other programming tool at some point.

    If you have source image scans for each manual page, I could run them through some of my tools to clean them up a bit more.
  • They're on archive.org, the source scans should be marked. I sent the write-up to calvinb to post, its currently on my blog at https://casadevall.pro, w/ the youtube video is here:
  • There is a problem with the Graphical Kernel System floppy disk images posted. They are supposed to be 360k disks, but they are only 180k in size. It looks like they were dumped as single sided.
  • edited December 2020
    Ugh, I'll contact the dumper and see if I can get that sorted.

    EDIT: I should have checked when they first got posted but got sidetracked. If you're adding it to the library, might as well add the manuals for now and we'll see if we can get it saved.

    SON OF EDIT: Ok, got incontact, the GKS disks were dumped by accident on a single destiny drive. They're hoping to have it redumped by tomorrow. I'll bump this when I get an update.
  • edited December 2020
    BTW, I watched that video. About the scanner, what I use is an Epson DS-510 document scanner. Not a current product, but it has been very reliable, fairly no-nonsense, seems to have good OS support (although I still have it hooked to an XP machine), and does what I need. I usually do additional image processing after scanning using ImageMagic, and build PDFs with an old copy of OmniPage 12 (has a few quirks but unlike a lot of products it outputs PDFs that work well everywhere).

    Also, got to love that mind numbing corporate "IBM-speak". The other day I archived IBM Personal Computer Organizer https://winworldpc.com/product/ibm-personal-computer-organizer which has a similar feel. It is supposed to be just a menu shell but it is bloated up, requires an external runtime, has a built in installer shell for their corporate products, and their idea of "user friendliness" is to have a cryptic code in the upper right that uniquely identifies each screen so you always know where you are. (very useful for remote tech support, however).
  • I actually have a sealed copy of Project Organizer sitting on my bookshelf waiting for a rainy day. I utterly dread knowing what that's going to be like.
  • Have you compared this to Digital Research GSX? From what I have looked at, this seems quite similar in concept.

    Of course the interesting thing from all of that, is loadable graphics device drivers over DOS is how Microsoft's "Interface Manager" was sometimes described.
  • I did actually compare it to GEM, and they uses termonology and concepts from the Graphical Kernel System; the FreeGEM and GEM3 source code also use the term VDI, and appears to use the same concepts, but it's not implementation compatible w/ this version of the GKS.

    It looks like GSX was was indeed built like IBM's GKS/GFS, and I won't be surprised if they both started from the original ANSI specifications available at the time.

    It won't surprise me if Interface Manager/the concept of WIndows 1.0 was basically "Graphical Kernel System + UI widgets" ala QuickDraw. I always assumed Microsoft drew inspiration from QuickDraw but its possible they were closer to this. There are at least some superficial simulatorities between VDI/GKS and how GDI works within an application.
  • @NCommander nice find and thanks for sharing !
    I have scanned several similar IBM manuals, and I simply used a multifunction brother printer with automatic sheet feeder MFC L8650cdw and I guess any similar will work. It’s very convenient as you can automatically scan both side by putting 20-30 pages at a time and it will create PDF files that you can merge.
  • So an update on the GKS disk dumps: the finder is willing to redump, but their high destiny drive won't read the disks properly. They're waiting for a double-destiny drive to arrive, but due to the holidays, no idea when that may be.
  • Thanks for the update. Seems odd their high density drive would have problems, but one can never have too many floppy drives. :)
  • If for some reason the original finder is unable to dump the disks, I could try to get another copy from Computer Reset. When I was there over the weekend, I believe there were 4 sealed copies remaining. Just let me know.
  • @SomeGuy my HD drive tends to be unhappy with DD drives with flux dumps, so I can believe it. It seems to be drive specific; my Teac HD drive, even in double stepping mode tends to misread DD tracks.

    @elgibbons I'm extremely envious if your access to Computer Reset. If you do look, could you also see if you can find any of the other professional graphics series items? Beside my GFS, and the GKS, there's the Graphical Terminal Emulator, and the Plotting System Library. They should all have a green stripe on the box like the one I posted.
  • The IBM Graphical Kernel System disk images on archive.org have not been updated. Let me know if/when they they fix those.
  • So, this just popped up on eBay:

    1984 IBM Graphics Terminal Emulator Users Guide + (3) 5.25" Disks Software

    That is one of the three packages for the Graphical Kernel System.
  • Well, when it rains it pours:

    1984 IBM Plotting System Vol. 1 & 2, and (5) Software 5.25" Floppy Disks

    Graphics Kernel System, Graphics Terminal Emulator, Graphical File System, and Graphics Development Toolkit.
  • WOW, you ain't kidding
  • edited January 11
    So the video attached to this project blew up, who lead to someone seeing it, saying they wanted to see it archived and ... put it on eBay and linked it off my comments section. I'm not even making this up. I did try to contact them to try and arrange a dump, but no reply.

    I drove the bidding up to $200 USD, but that was well past the point which be considered sane. I can't justify what they wanted for the plotting system either.
  • Good news, I have acquired sealed copies of the Graphical Kernel System (from CR). The first three volumes are language bindings and the fourth volume is the programmer's guide. Each volume is expected to contain (4) 360k diskettes, so we are looking at (16) dumps in the end.
  • Ooooh, I didn't even know there was a fourth volume. I just got a document scanner as well.
  • I saw these sitting near the back of the warehouse but I just ignored them because I thought you had all them taken care of. It’s amazing how much NOS, sealed software is still there. Every time I go I grab some and I always see more stuff the next time.
  • @jafir we didn't know Vol 4 existed, and we didn't get good dumps of 1-3. Makes me wonder if there was more. I was talking with @elgibbons to see if he could find it and then ship it to me so I could flux dump the disks, and the manuals.

    I really need to get down to Computer Reset, and go through the stacks :/
  • edited January 19
    Upon unsealing the boxes, volumes 1-3 are documentation only; the programmers guide is the only box that contained diskettes. There are six in total. Four disks for the graphical kernel system and two for the device drivers. Dumps will be posted very soon.
  • Dumps are complete. The link below contains KF dumps & .IMA images (created with PCE tools).

    Graphical Kernel System - (6) x 5.25" DD (360kB)


    There appears to be unusual track on 22/1 of Driver 1 disk.

  • Doesn't look all that unusual. The red splotches suggest damage, and sometimes damage can make a decoded track look longer, shorter, or not aligned to the index.

    But... I'm not seeing that in the kryoflux images you just posted.
  • @elgibbons it's almost certain that the driver disks are 1:1 identical from my GFS dump and your GKS dump. I'm too dead to actually look, but if there is actual damage, it's probably fixable..
  • I got the graphics terminal emulator. The driver disks are the same so I didn't image them. I will also include my unprocessed scans of the manual since I don't really know what I'm doing in that regard.
    You can find it all here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!Amves088EccXuAD_djaHGjJHndMh?e=CZ0sUa
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