GEM 1.x

GEM is a graphical application environment that runs on top of MS/PC-DOS. It was built on the technology of Digital Research's GSX portable runtime (Used in DR Draw and DR Graph ) . Notably, a port of GEM and CP/M was used as the primary GUI on the M68k based Atari ST. GEM was also bundled with Amstrad computers.

It competed against the Apple Macintosh, but beat Microsoft Windows to market.

Apple sued Digital Research over their look and feel, which resulted in GEM 2.0 removing overlapping windows from its desktop file management.

There were numerous applications written for the GEM Environment. A few available here on WinWorld are: Ventura Publisher, Artline, Publish-It, and Key Publisher, GEM Desktop Publisher, GEM Draw, GEM Graph, GEM Programmer's Toolkit, GEM WordChart, GEM Paint, GEM Write and GEM 1st Word Plus.

The final official release was GEM 3.11. Enhanced versions were included with Artline, TimeWorks Publisher, and ViewMax but were only intended for use as runtimes.

In 1999 the source code was released as open source, that led to the continued development of OpenGem and FreeGem.

Wanted: GEM Desktop 1.0, and manual scans. (1.0 is reportedly somehow crippled to only run on genuine IBM hardware)


Installation instructions

Note: GEMPREP may ask you for a floppy disk that contains MOUSE.COM (your mouse distribution disk), FORMAT.COM and MODE.COM (Your MS-DOS distribution disk). It will ask for these even if they are already on your hard drive.

Product type
Digital Research
Release date
Minimum CPU
User interface
Download count
12 (8 for release)


Download name Version Language Architecture File size Downloads
Digital Research GEM Desktop 1.0 Manual 1.0 English 5.96MB 1
Digital Research GEM Desktop 1.1 (4-10-1985) (5.25-360k) 1.1 English 8.88MB 1
Digital Research GEM Desktop 1.1 (5.25-360k) 1.1 English 200.94KB 2
Digital Research GEM Desktop 1.2 (5.25-360k) 1.2 English 307.11KB 3
Digital Research GEM Desktop 1.2 for Tandy (5.25-360k) 1.2 for Tandy English 224.73KB 0
Digital Research GEM Desktop 1.2D (Siemens PC-D OEM) [German] (3.5-720k) 1.2D (Siemens PC-D OEM) German 807.8KB 1


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