XyWrite V (based on Nota Bene) is now a real possibility.
I've been in informal discussions with Nota Bene's Steve Siebert about our financing their development of a 32-bit version of XyWrite, based on the 32-bit engine they developed for Nota Bene.
This, "XyWrite 5," would run on 64-bit systems, without any virtualization (as in vDos) needed. What they already have, for Nota Bene, is written in Assembler (as XyWrite has always been) and is adapted to sit on top of Windows. What Steve is talking about doing is streamlining what they have and getting it to work with the U2, then adding whatever features we are willing to pay for.
I have been using VDosPlus for some months, and I am very, very grateful to Wengier for developing it. This new program would, however, have advantages:
1. Windows screen fonts--all of them (yes, I mean fonts like Arial and Georgia, not just monospaced fonts).
2. Windows undo. Ctrl-z undo, of virtually unlimited depth.
3. Windows printer drivers, so that you can print from XyWrite just as you do from Notepad and Word.
4. Windows Clipboard.
5. Windows color palette (I think).
6. Running without virtualization (should be considerably faster).
7. More memory for programs and keyboard files, etc. As I understand it, a reasonably priced XyWrite 5 won't give us megabytes of memory, but it can definitely give us something like triple or quadruple the program and module memory we now have.
So, what we need now from the XyWrite collective is an indication of how many people want which features and would be willing to pay for it.
Running the U2 is a given; there's no viable project without that. And all the above Windows-based features are already there, though they may need tweaking. And having something a lot closer to the XyWrite interface is a given. It won't have the bells and whistles (and complexity) of the word-processing part of Nota Bene.
So what else would you like? For instance,
Ability to shell to DOS or otherwise run external programs, as now (I don't know if this is automatically included)
Ability to handle files larger than 2 MB (this probably is already included)
Then I need to find out how many of us would be willing to put up what kind of money. No commitments at this exploratory stage, but what is the approximate max you'd be comfortable in paying for each thing? As an example, here's my own list (don't let my large dollar amount scare you off from making much smaller estimates):
1. Basic features (listed above): $2000
2. Ability to shell to DOS or otherwise run external programs additional $500
3. Ability to handle files larger than 2 MB: additional $100
4. Portability: 0
Hopefully, there will be enough people who are willing to put in, say, $500 that this thing can be financed.
The ballpark figures that Steve was playing with (and he is forthright about not really knowing how much paid-programmer time this project would take) is $5000 -- $10,000.
Personally, I don't mind paying $2000 even if some others are paying only $100. But let's make $100 is the minimum.
The idea is to make this profitable for NB, to make them eager to do, and to do it well. So I proposed that they would be able to sell the resulting product as their own, and that our investment would not begin to get repaid until they had made a good profit.
Example: suppose it costs $6000, which a pool of us put in. Those in that pool get XyWrite 5 for no additional charge. After that it's sold at whatever price NB thinks is best. Then the first $6,000 of proceeds goes 100% to NB. After that (if there are any such sales--it's a long shot), the proceeds of sales are split 50-50 between NB and those in the pool, until we got our money back. If we ever get all our investment back, the proceeds of subsequent sales go 100% to NB.
Frankly, it is unlikely that we'd ever get our money back. I'm viewing the money I'll put in as paying for the product, XyWrite 5.
Again, this is just to feel out the possibilities. Absolutely no commitment at this early stage.
But the urgency mentioned in the header is real: their programmer has some free time NOW. (The programmer is a guy named Sam, not Dave Erickson, who's too expensive for us.) So please reply immediately.