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Location: GUIs > Apple > Quark Catalyst 3.0

Quark Catalyst 3.0
Screen Shots

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:
A Kryoflux dump of a full copy protected 3.5" image is located on WinWorldPC : Quark Catalyst 3.0.

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 3.5" disks.

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 related.

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 manager.

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 up.

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.