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Xerox GlobalView 2.1|
Xerox GlobalView 2.1
GlobalView 2.1, released in 1996, is the descendant of the Xerox Star
ViewPoint desktop software. The Xerox Star was the 1981 commercial successor
to the Xerox Alto. The Xerox Star and GlobalView were primarily sold
as a document processing system although they could do much more.
GlobalView runs on an IBM-PC compatible under Microsoft Windows (3.1,
95, 98, possibly ME but not NT, 2000, or XP due to the use of .386 VXDs).
For all practical purposes GlobalView is not a Windows application, it
is essentially the Xerox Star desktop and OS software running in an emulator.
Earlier versions of GlobalView required a hardware MESA CPU add-on board,
however this version uses a software emulator.
When starting GlobalView for the first time it may take a little while
to start up as it "boots". Eventually it will display the login screen.
It appears this login is supposed to authenticate with a network. Regrettably
I do not happen to have a Xerox 8000 series server laying around. GlobalView
is capable of talking to a Xerox network using the PC's ethernet adapter
if a DOS mode network card driver is installed.
Without a network present it creates a local workspace and allows the
login to proceed.
This is the default desktop appearance.
Ouch! A purple background? For the rest of these screen shots I will
set the background to gray so I don't burn out my eyes.
This screen shot shows GlobalView in action.
GlobalView is very similar in appearance and functionality to ViewPoint
that ran on Xerox Star workstations. There are, obviously, some GlobalView
specific additions such as color support and PC drive access.
GlobalView is really a very well designed GUI, especially considering
it was designed back before Windows, the Macintosh, or even the Apple Lisa.
However, if you are used to using more modern GUIs, then GlobalView may
feel kind of odd, clunky, or even backwards. There is nothing really wrong
with the design, but many of the ways things are done in GlobalView are
different from the way things are done today.
A few of the differences:
GV Write is the word processor included with GlobalView. Its more notable
features include resizable fonts, non-English fonts including Arabic and
Japanese, tables, drawing areas, insertable bitmaps, "redlining" document
change management, and colored objects.
Instead of having window borders that can be grabbed to resize, each window
has a "resize" box in each corner of the window.
Common options buttons such as "save", "apply", "done", or "close" are
placed on the title bar. .
Instead of using popup message boxes or alerts, GlobalView has a single
message box located at the top of the screen that is always present.
There seem to be no radio buttons or check boxes, although regular buttons
are made to serve the same purpose.
Documents open in "read-only" mode. An "edit" button must be clicked before
changes can be made to a document.
Context menus are brought up by clicking both the left and right mouse
buttons at the same time to simulate clicking a third middle mouse button
that was present on original Xerox Star mice.
Windows are minimized or set aside by middle clicking and selecting an
icon/button that appears. Clicking on the box in the upper left of the
screen will then display a list of all minimized windows.
There is no such thing here as a "grayed out" menu option. GlobalView will
let you try to pick any menu option even if is not applicable and will
then display an error message if it wasn't applicable.
Although it is graphical, GV Write is heavily keyboard based. Various
"special" key combinations must be used to access most of its features.
There are no graphical menus or tool bars that can be used in place of
using the keyboard commands.
This screen shot shows the various folders present. These can be accessed
by double clicking the "directory" icon (shown here in the lower right
of the screen).
The Directory folder contains the "Workstation", "Workspace", and "Network"
folders. The Network folder is reportedly somewhat similar the Windows
Network Neighborhood, however I have no Xerox network to test this
The Workspace folder contains files and settings that are specific to
the current user. This is similar to a user profile under Windows.
The Workstation folder contains files used by all users on the specific
computer. The most important folder in here is the "Basic Icons" folder
which contains document templates for all types of documents that can be
worked with on the system. You would middle-click on the icon, select "copy"
and then drag the cursor icon to location to create the new document.
This screen shot also shows the property sheet for an icon where the
text, background, and outline color can be specified.
This screen shots shows the spread sheet application, GV Calc, and the
drawing application, GV Draw.
GV Draw uses an interesting kind of "dock" for tool selection. This
reminds me of the Solaris / CDE menu toolbar.
This screen shot shows the menu that appears when you click on the message
box at the top of the screen. This contains many options that are applicable
to different applications. This is also where you go to log off, and empty
Some property sheets, such as this one, are interesting as they behave
like a tabbed dialog box.
Also interesting, the title bar of a folder or document is drawn the
same color as the background color of the icon. This behavior does not
seem to be consistent between all applications, however.
Help files and a quick tour program can be launched from the help icon
in the upper right of the screen.
Oddly, the help uses the Windows help system rather than being built
in to GlobalView. The quick tour demo is also a Windows application.
Other than this, when using GlobalView in full screen you can almost
forget you are running Windows.
Despite being a GUI, workspace preferences are stored in a text file.
You have to change certain settings like the background color here to
make them permanent.
It seems that GlobalView can read, write, and format Xerox formatted
floppy disks. Presumably this is the same format used on real Xerox Star
Logging out of GlobalView. This is a bit quirky as it tries to avoid
the long boot up by saving the state of the emulator to disk so it comes
up at the same point the next time you start GlobalView. This means it
doesn't actually get rebooted and apparently it needs it from time to time.
Finally, some actual Xerox Star / ViewPoint screen shots for comparison: