Reg readers exhume OmniView
'Dem bones, 'dem bones...
Many thanks to readers who responded to our request to shed light on OmniView.
The great lost task-switcher was mentioned in a brief bio of Michael Toutonghi, who received one of Microsoft's Distinguished Engineer awards last week.
However, a metaphorical flick of Vulture guano goes to various off-mark suggestions alluding to switches, HP's OpenView or in one case ... "CAERE or some similar name was the company name. It was an OCR program. Fairly good for it's time I believe."
We liked the picture unearthed by old Register friend John Wilson. Yerrsss... it is based in Seattle, but not what we had in mind.
One reader who wishes to remain nameless best sums it up: "OmniView was a TopView clone, but done right - fast and memory efficient. Microsoft was not at all concerned about TopView because it was so slow and fat, but OmniView could give the TopView idea new life - for instance IBM could purchase OmniView and use it instead of TopView. This was a threat to Windows or OS/2... so Microsoft bought the company to get the people and to kill their technology."
In view of this we can maybe allow ourselves a small sardonic smile, because OmniView actually gets a mention on microsoft.com. Not, as it happens, as part of a CV for Toutonghi, but in Dean Schmalensee's evidence for the antitrust trial - the context being thatin this part of his evidence Schmalensee is claiming that MS-DOS won on merit over tough competition from numerous potential rivals, including, er, OmniView.
And here in full, is ye olde autentick advertifemente for the product.
OMNIVIEW (formerly TASKVIEW) is a preemptive multitasker for DOS programs; this differentiates it from Microsoft Windows, Software Carousel and others which do not provide true multitasking. You CAN achieve true multitasking with Microsoft Windows by running multiple Windows '286 applications inside of OMNIVEW.
Unlike Quartedeck's DESQView, each OMNIVIEW process is a full screen application - this makes OMNIVIEW both smaller and faster; A very important consideration when running concurrent real time applications (such as high speed communication programs or industrial control systems) or when relying on memory hungry device drivers and TSRs. Any TopView/DESQView aware application will run as expected.
In contrast to VM/386, OMNIVIEW does not utilize (nor impose the overhead of) the '386 virtual 8086 mode. Each process operates in real mode.
The increasingly popular 'DOS extenders' may be fully utilized inside any OMNIVIEW partion, allowing multiple concurrent multi-megabyte applications. While OMNIVIEW is compatible with Quarterdeck's QEMM and other virtual control programs, we recommend Qualitas' 386^MAX ($49.95) to get the maximum benefit of OMNIVIEW on '386 systems; the professional version of this program ($100) will also load device drivers into high memory, maximizing the space available to run other programs.
SysOps quilify for a 35% discount off OMNIVIEW's $79.95 retail price.
OMNIVIEW's features include:
-- As many as ten concurrently operating programs on a single machine.
-- Runs on all PCs from 8088 to 80386 based systems.
-- True multitasking with user specifieable time slice duration (127 levels) and relative process priorities (15 levels).
-- Utilizes LIM 3.2, 4.0 and EEMS memory.
-- TSR's loaded before OMNIVIEW can be accessed by all processes.
-- TSR's loaded inside partitions act just as any other program, to remove them just kill the partition.
-- Supports all standard video adapters in all modes.
-- Loads in as little as 10K of conventional memory.
-- INCREASES memory available to run DOS applications by over 80K on some systems.
-- Keyboard macros and the ability to "cut and paste" among applications.
-- Easy to use menu interface.
-- Command line interface with a powerful collection of utility programs allows experienced users maximum flexibility.
-- Free technical support and much more.
The OMNIVIEW Application Programmer's Interface (OAPI), available for the asking, has supported C, ASM and Turbo Pascal programmers since 1986. All OAPI applications have the ability to:
-- Create and eliminate sibling processes.
-- Suspend, activate and control sibling processes.
-- Send keystrokes to programs running in other partitions.
-- Send and receive various message objects.
-- Perform time sequenced, background events.
-- Establish shared data areas.
-- Create "invisible" customized user interfaces to integrated
-- and much more.
Sunny Hill Software
Seattle, WA 98155-5278
In our piece on Microsoft's first 16 Distinguished Engineers we described Chuck Thacker as the Director of MSR's Cambridge Facility. This title of course really belongs to Professor Roger Needham, who lured Chuck to the Fens. ®