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Quark Catalyst 3.0|
Quark Catalyst 3.0
I finally came across an unprotected copy of Quark Catalyst 3.0 that
will let me run it in an emulator where I can get some screen shots.
Here is a copy of the unprotected images: quarkcatalyst3.zip
A Kryoflux dump of a full copy protected 3.5" image is located on WinWorldPC
: Quark Catalyst
Quark Catalyst 3.0 is a "Program Selector" intended to aid installing
and launching programs on Apple II computers equipped with 3.5" drives
or hard drives. Versions 1 and 2 were text-based, but version 3 includes
a Macintosh Finder like user interface. As far as I can tell, Version 1
and 2 were available on 5.25" floppy disks, and 3 was only available on
Catalyst 3 was produced around 1985 by Quark, inc which is more famous
for another product: Quark Express. Catalyst was bundled with early Apple
3.5" UniDisk floppy drives for the Apple IIe. At the time it competed with
MouseDesk (Apple II Desktop) and looks very similar, but the two are not
The real selling point of this software is that Quark Catalyst can install
some copy protected titles to a 3.5" disk or hard drive. At the time, Quark
was also selling hard disks for the the Apple II series, so such functionality
would have theoretically made their hard drives much more useful.
Obnoxiously, Quark Catalyst itself is copy protected. As far as I can
tell, except for this unprotected version, one must still boot directly
from the Quark Catalyst disk to access these protected titles, which makes
it rather useless. Reportedly, the copy "protection" may prevent it from
working in later 3.5" drives. I have, however, verified that a genuine
3.5" disk will boot on a Laser 128 with a Laser 3.5" floppy drive (electronically
a Macintosh style drive).
At a glance, Quark Catalyst 3.0 looks like the Macintosh Finder file
However, it is NOT a file manager. It is a program manger. Notice that
only "system" application appear and can be manipulated. It does not even
seem to have the ability to open sub directories.
It does have a "Trash" desktop icon, that can be used on program icons.
Although not specifically an Apple product, it uses an Apple logo for
the first menu item.
It does include some pretty desk accessories. It has a calculator,
puzzle, clock, and can select different background patterns.
Notably, these accessories can run at the same time as other accessories
or the desktop.
Here is the main gist of what Catalyst does. If you feed it a program
disk, and if that program is in its database, then you can either drag
and drop that program icon in to the 3.5"/hard disk window or use the "Copy
Program" dialog. Like an installer program, Catalyst itself will manage
copying the files, setting up locations on the destination drive, and prompting
for each program disk.
When completed, you have a single icon on the destination drive (you
are not actually supposed to copy programs to the Catalyst disk, but rather
to a different disk). In some cases it can use RAM disks to speed applications
This is all very nice when it works.
But a good chunk of the time you will instead get this message complaining
that you will have to copy and set up everything yourself.
Since Quark Catalyst is not actually a file manager, this means running
the included text-based Apple ProDOS System Utilities program instead.
There is one separate application that appears to share the same GUI,
a volume disk copier.
"Quitting" Quark Catalyst. It does not appear to actually exit to ProDOS.