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January 10, 1988

VALDOCS TO LIVE AGAIN, EVOLVE INTO DESK TOP PUBLISHING SYSTEM, INTERFACE HOPES

By CBR Staff Writer

Computer products, like King Charles II, are prone to spend an unconscionable time adying, witness the 32-bit Sigma mainframe architecture, which should have died with Xerox Data Systems in 1975, but no doubt will live on even after the on-going liquidation of its current champion, Telefile Computer Products Inc. Another such product is the Valdocs text management and operating system that ran on old Z80-based Epson QX-10 and QX16 micros. Rising Star Industries, the developer of Valdocs, went bankrupt some two years ago, leaving the product at Version 3 Plus. But now, reports Microbytes Daily, a new company, Interface Solutions Inc of Yuba City, California, has acquired the assets of Rising Star and is committed to releasing new products based on Valdocs. The first project will be to transfer Valdocs 3 Plus to a single-board computer using the Z280 16-bit version of the Z80. The new board is being designed to plug into the QX-10 or QX-16, and is claimed to take performance up into the realms of the Intel 80286. The Z280 board will have up to 3Mb of memory, an SCSI port, serial and parallel ports, and an internal bus to enable additional card-to-card interfaces for a floating-point processor or more memory. The Z280 version of Valdocs will initially be very similar to Version 3 Plus but will make use of the original Z80 in the Epsons to support electronic mail in background. But even 16-bit Z80 machines are never going to be a big market now, and the following step will be to translate Valdocs from its present Forth and Z80 assembler code into the portable C language, and to use the translation to do versions for MS-DOS and OS/2. There are ambitious plans to extend the rewritten version with a relational database, an expanded indexing system and a new editor, and turn it into a stand-alone desktop publishing system.

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