LCARS 24 / News: Recent posts

LCARS 24 v. 4.0.5 released!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then perhaps 93 screenshots can pack a lot of information into a very brief news item.

LCARS 24--Don't leave spacedock without it.

Posted by Bill Morris 2009-09-08

LCARS 24 v. 4.0.4 released

Star Trek 24/7: LCARS 24 is a general-purpose 32-bit, DOS-bootable alternative GUI with many bundled programs, reverse-engineered from the 24th-century Starfleet system. There are many games, simulations, a reference library, and utility programs (word processing, file manager, calculator, unit conversion, viewers, players, servers, etc.). There is a scrolling world map and a time-zone map with little clocks that directly show the current time everywhere in the world. Users can select various color schemes and other options to customize the system. An interactive 3-D animation shows a speed-up of planets orbiting the sun. A unique feature of the chess apps is a pair of halos to point out the computer's last move, in case you missed it. ... read more

Posted by Bill Morris 2008-09-13

LCARS 24 v.403 released!

LCARS 24 gives an old computer a new mission, like this:

In Standby mode, it's a full-screen, full-time clock and calendar with talking or musical alarm. But LCARS 24 is also an agile GUI with lots of LCARS programs and some bundled DOS apps. It starts up from DOS but immediately switches to 32-bit DPMI mode to run as a real LCARS system, like this: ... read more

Posted by Bill Morris 2007-08-25

LCARS 24 v. 4.0 Released

The interior of any Starfleet vessel is like a grand art gallery of bold, stylish LCARS displays large and small, based on a consistent set of graphics objects in coordinated colors. People don't have 15-foot computer screens of nearly infinite resolution built into walls, but we do have lots of old laptops being discarded. LCARS 24 gives such a machine a new mission: to turn one square foot of a home or office into a highlight of that Star Trek decor and put its graphics and sound to work to serve as an alarm clock plus an alternative GUI with many bundled LCARS programs, a file manager, viewers, players, and a graphical library that uses a small stylesheet with commands in SFML (Starfleet Markup Language) attached to each library page to define its LCARS display requirements in detail. If a library page is a schematic, labels outside an image will have pointers drawn from each textual label to the specified point within the image, just as with a Starfleet MSD (Master Systems Display), and the image can be zoomed, enhanced, and scrolled. Users can easily create and/or edit these SFML pages and access a language guide and color chart while editing with the system's program editor.
LCARS 24 is not a Windows program. It has its own font format (SFF) and graphics and sound facilities. It is designed to be the primary graphical system shell on the machine, typically a late-1990s laptop that might otherwise be thrown away (with Pentium, Vesa-standard graphics card, and Sound Blaster). LCARS 24 is a 32-bit DPMI program, requiring only MS-DOS or FreeDOS as the OS. It's open source and written in C (with DJGPP, the DOS-ported GCC compiler). ... read more

Posted by Bill Morris 2007-01-22

LCARS 24 v. 3.1.2 Released

LCARS 24 is an alternative GUI very different from mainstream, following the paradigm of the computers on the 24th-century Star Trek series, and includes LCARS versions of familiar software. In Standby mode, it serves as a full-screen alarm clock and calendar instead of an icon-strewn desktop but with useful utilities just a keypress away, plus games, simulations, and a reference library in LCARS style, as well as a file manager, text editors, viewers, players, etc. ... read more

Posted by Bill Morris 2006-10-09

LCARS 24 v. 3.1 Released

LCARS 24 is an alternative GUI very different from mainstream, following the paradigm of the computers on the 24th-century Star Trek series, but with LCARS versions of familiar software. In Standby mode, it serves as a clock and calendar but with useful utilities just a keypress away.

Version 3.1 has more options, more utilities, and more eye candy, now with image scrolling and zooming, as well as its own markup language to produce library files with text and graphics plus schematics in the style seen only on Star Trek.

Posted by Bill Morris 2006-05-28

LCARS 24 Version 3 Released

LCARS 24 started out as just a program to turn an old laptop into a high-quality digital clock in the style of the 24th-century LCARS computers on Star Trek. In retrospect, that could have been accomplished with manipulation of bitmaps instead of by creating specialized drivers for smooth scalable fonts. But once the program had the ability to generate LCARS graphic elements and fonts, it became easy to convert other programs to LCARS style and write new ones to add to the package, not worrying about quantity but just concentrating on quality. ... read more

Posted by Bill Morris 2005-10-24

LCARS 24 v.2.1 Released

It's understandable that people want to try LCARS 24 out under Windows XP before going to the trouble of installing it as recommended. I've eliminated the startup delay under Windows. Voice and panels beeps are normally muted under Windows, though.

Other than that, all that's new in this release is the panel beeps, dynamic spelling correction, and a few minor tweaks here and there. Some nice apps I wanted to add just aren't ready but will be released when I'm satisfied that they are perfect. ... read more

Posted by Bill Morris 2005-08-28

LCARS 24 v.2 released

Trekkers call it "cool" or say, "it rocks," but this fresh approach to software design has yielded an alternative GUI with scads of apps that start up instantly and exhibit extreme ease of use, high legibility, and the learning curve of a rental car, where all surprises are pleasant ones. You know that when you see a label "World Time F7" you can instantly see what time it is in any part of the world with one keypress--fast, relevant, useful.
With LCARS 24 on an old laptop sitting on the same desk as your primary computer, the difference between this and today's clunky software just might sink in. Better move away and just use it as a clock!
It's about strong design, engineered to extremes where necessary, to do the user's bidding with no excuses and no delays. This new version reinforces all of that.
Here are some screenshots of the previous release:... read more

Posted by Bill Morris 2005-04-21

LCARS 24 Released

LCARS 24 Released on Sourceforge, January 2005

LCARS refers to the fictional 24-century computers on Star
Trek. There have been various attempts to create working
LCARS systems, mainly with Visual Basic, which displayed
scroll bars, icons, and other Windows widgets wrapped in
LCARS brackets.

LCARS 24 is instead an alternative to Windows, programmed
from the ground up with DJGPP plus Allegro and gif and jpeg
libraries, to produce a purist LCARS GUI with LCARS apps,
none of which use a mouse or display Windows widgets. It is
meant to run under DOS but can run under Windows XP just to
see what it's like (preferably with Power Management off;
otherwise XP will break in and crash it if unattended).... read more

Posted by Bill Morris 2005-01-28