Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Berkeley Softworks

Berkeley Softworks
Berkeley Softworks
2150 Shatluck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
USA
Year Founded:
Year Defunct:
1984
2004
View all items from this company in our collection...

Brian Dougherty formed Berkeley Softworks (later Geoworks), who in collaboration with a firm that made batteries, worked on a product for the airlines named "Sky Tray". The concept was a computer built into the backs of the seats, and Brian and his team would develop the OS for it.

GEOS was coded by Dougherty's elite team of programmers, who had cut their teeth on the very restricted Atari 2600 and Intellivision games consoles of the time (usually 4 KB RAM). However, after the OS had been written, airline deregulation mandated that all in-flight extras were to be trimmed down to save weight and fuel, culling the Sky Tray project.

With all that time put into an OS, Dougherty looked at the compatible (6502 Microprocessor-based) Commodore 64. A few changes were needed and the OS sprang to life on the affordable home computer, complimenting the powerful graphics capabilities of the machine with a GUI.

Eventually in the 90's Berkeley became GeoWorks as they moved from the Commodore 64 to the PC World but were never able to establish significant market share.