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Norton Commander for DOS is the original line of OFMs that exists in five major version: 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0. Currently this is Abandonware that is interesting mainly to historians and DOS enthusiasts.
The initial three versions of NC (NC 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0) were written by John Socha in 1984-1989. He was the first director of research and development for now defunct Peter Norton Computing. Peter Norton who wrote the initial version of Norton Utilities but AFAIK was not involved in writing Norton Commander was one of the pioneer entrepreneurs in PC software development; now he is known mainly due to his role as a photo model on the boxes of Norton Utilities and other Symantec products belonging to the so called "Norton line" ;-). The first version of Norton Commander was released in 1986 and it instantly became a dominant file manager for DOS. During the period of 1986-1991 more then a million copies were sold.
In 1990 Peter Norton sold his company to Symantec to pursue his interests outside programming. John Socha left the company after the merger and created his own company, which was latter acquired by Asymetrix. He continued cooperation with the Norton division of Symantec and wrote for them several good computer books including classic introductory assembler textbook Peter Norton's Assembly Language Book for the IBM PC . Symantec first displayed some lukewarm support for this cash cow, but with the introduction of Windows killed it and other DOS products (XtreeGold).
Later they understood the mistake they made and in 1997 there was a reincarnation attempt: Norton Commander for Windows 1.0 was reintroduced in the Symantec product line. But that was "too little, too late" and after version 2.0 it died again (still as of January 2003 you can buy Norton Commander for Windows 2.0 in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe).
Socha is also the man who coined the term screen saver and created the first one. Socha also created the Microsoft Plus utility pack for Windows 95, an add-on product that gave you all those backgrounds, screen savers and other utilities. Socha didn't work at Microsoft but made the program for them. The company that he created after leaving Peter Norton Computing was acquired by Asymetrix in August of 1997. (see Asymetrix adds simulation expert with Socha purchase - 1997-08-11 - Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)). Approximatly in 1998 Socha lost track in programming development and never created anything of value since that period (he was born in 1958 so at the time he was 40 years old).
I believe only the versions 1.0 and 2.0 was written by the NC original author John Socha, before he left the company. But it was NC 3 that was probably the peak of Norton Commander line. It was released in 1989 and was greatly influenced by Norton Utilities 4/5 and other file managers that were competing with Norton Commander such as XtreeGold and PC Tools. That was really impressive version that extended the functionality of NC2 in many non-trivial ways. A lot of programmers try to extend NC3 adding various viewers (for example archive viewer). It dominated the field until probably 1992 when Volkov Commander was released (Volkov Commander was first published in the Softpanorama Bulletin in the December 1992)
Version 4.0 that was released around this time was not very impressive and I personally consider it as a failure. It was unable to displace Volkov Commander and other clones of NC that started to make their appearance at this time (DN).
NC 5.0 was much better and has provided useful enhancements, but it was late to the market. Despite the fact that at this time several strong competitors existed, it still can be considered as a reference implementation for OFM. From the quality of implementation point of view both NC 4.0 and 5.0 look much like betas.
NC5 was released in 1994. The main enhancements introduced in NC5 are:
The archive VFS was probably the most important addition to the OFM paradigm in NC 5.0. Actually NC 4.0 also can show archive contents in panel, but unlike NC 5.0 it cannot view archived files. Initially the archive VFS was implemented by many OFM enthusiasts as add-ons to NC 3.0 (archive viewers of different flavor with NC-like panel structure and operations were very popular addition to NC 3.0, but the level of integration was limited). The archive VFS provides possibilities of working with archives in a completely transparent way by viewing archives as directories.
The search VFS was the second important addition to OFM paradigm. Serach panel provided the following possibilities:
Although NC-line lost its overall leadership after NC 3 (one need just to compare NC 4.0 or NC 5.0 and DN 1.35 to see the difference), the inertia preserved the importance of the line till NC 5.0 for DOS. NC 5.0 was probably the version that ended NC-line as such.
Symantec essentially discontinued its line of OFMs in favor of Windows-style file managers (Norton Navigator). BTW Symantec managed to kill another interesting file manager -- Xtree, which it also acquired to kill a competitor. But probably due to pressure from users in Europe a European-only Norton Commander for Windows was reanimated in 1997 (see below).
Currently there are two commercially available OFM products from Symantec - NC 5.0 for DOS (an old hat by today's standards) and NC for Windows 95 and NT (see the overview below).
The Norton Commander 1.01 Peter Norton 1986 360K 360K 1 The Norton Commander 3.0 Peter Norton Computing,Inc. 1989 1.2MB The Norton Utilities 3.0 Peter Norton 1984 360K 360K 1 The Norton Utilities 3.10 Peter Norton 1986 360K 360K 1 The Norton Utilities 4.0 Advanced Edition Symantec 1987 720K 720K 1 The Norton Utilities 4.01 Advanced Edition Symantec 1988 360K & 720K 1.40MB 1 The Norton Utilities 4.50 Advanced Edition Symantec 1988 360K 1.06MB 1 The Norton Utilities 4.50 Enhanced Edition Symantec 1988 360K 1.06MB 1 The Norton Utilities 4.50 Standard Edition Symantec 1988 720K 1.41MB 1 The Norton Utilities 5.0 Standard Edition Symantec 1990 360K & 720K
Norton Commander 1.0 Hi, I'm still using Norton Commander version 1.00 (1986) in Windows 98SE, even in Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP. I prefer it's small size and fast, and I can write with it small batch programs. Bye Alvaro Alonso From: Bogota, Colombia (South America)
;############################################################################# ; File INSTALL.CFG ; ; Main Setup file for Install ; ; Copyright (c) Symantec Ltd. ; All rights reserved. ; ;############################################################################# ; [Options] ForceInstall = ON FirstTime = OFF WarningMessage = OFF FullInstall = ON PartialInstall = OFF CustomInstall = ON GroupInstall = OFF BoxDefault = OFF DefaultPath = C:\NC Dos5Help = YES Description = ON VirusScan = OFF EnvVariable = NC LaunchName = NC LostClusters = ON DeleteWarning = ON AutoBuild = OFF ZipOverlayName = UZIP.OVL CheckDisk = OFF MultiTaskCheck = OFF [Targets] 4 = nczip.exe, SAME 4 = packer.exe, SAME 3 = nc.exe, SAME 3 = ncmain.exe, SAME [AlwaysDelete] \AUTOEXEC.$SV \CONFIG.$SV +AUTOEXEC.$SV +CONFIG.$SV \AUTOEXEC.TMP \CONFIG.TMP +AUTOEXEC.TMP +CONFIG.TMP +INSTALLD.EXE +INSTALL.EXE +INSTALL.CFG +NC.INI [PostDelete] \AUTOEXEC.$SV \CONFIG.$SV +AUTOEXEC.$SV +CONFIG.$SV +INSTALLD.EXE +INSTALL.CFG +UZIP.OVL [delete] ; 4.0 files ################################################################## ARCVIEW.EXE NCTERM.EXE NCTERM.HLP NCTERM.RES NORTON.INI TERM90.EXE TERM90.HLP TERM90.RES GENIE.SCX TESTMDM.SCX CMPSRV.SCX NORTON.INI NCEDIT.EXE NCZIP.EXE PACKER.EXE PACKER.SET PACKER.ERR NC.ICO NC.CFG 4372ANSI.SET 8502ANSI.SET ANSI2437.SET ANSI2850.SET 8632ANSI.SET ANSI2863.SET BITMAP.EXE VECTOR.EXE CLP2DIB.EXE DRAW2WMF.EXE DRW2WMF.EXE ICO2DIB.EXE MSP2DIB.EXE PCT2DIB.EXE Q&AVIEW.EXE README.TXT F&AVIEW.EXE TIF2DIB.EXE VECTOR.EXE WPB2DIB.EXE WPV2WMF.EXE DATEX.P ; Version 3.0 files ########################################################## NCMAIN.EXE nc.hlp WPVIEW.EXE PARAVIEW.EXE RBVIEW.EXE REFVIEW.EXE MCI.EXE MCIDRIVER.EXE MCI.HLP NC_HELP.HLP PCXVIEW.EXE SER-TEST.EXE SERIAL.TXT CHKMAIL.BAT ; Version 2.0 files ########################################################## NC.EXE NCSMALL.EXE 123VIEW.EXE DBVIEW.EXE NC.INI ; 3.5 Installation [DiskMedia] size=1.44M total=3 [Strings] Long= "The Norton Commander" FullName= "Norton Commander" Short= "Commander" Caption= " Install " Title= " Install " Program= " Install " Version= "5.51" HelpLine= " " SYMEvntVerMS= "30000" SYMEvntVerLS= "23" [GroupAlways] INSTALLD.EXE ,+, "Installer" NC.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander loader" NCMAIN.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander Program" NC.MSG ,+, "Norton Commander message file" NC.HLP ,+, "Norton Commander Help file" PACKER.SET ,+, "Norton Commander compression options" NC.CFG ,+, "Norton Commander configuration options" NC.PIF ,+, "Norton Commander Program Information File" NCFF.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander find file" NCFF.MSG ,+, "Norton Commander find file message file" NCFF.HLP ,+, "Norton Commander find file help file" NCEDIT.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander editor" NCEDIT.MSG ,+, "Norton Commander editor message file" 4372ANSI.SET ,+, "Conversion file (4372ANSI.SET)" 8502ANSI.SET ,+, "Conversion file (8502ANSI.SET)" 8652ANSI.SET ,+, "Conversion file (8652ANSI.SET)" 8662ANSI.SET ,+, "Conversion file (8662ANSI.SET)" 8632ANSI.SET ,+, "Conversion file (8632ANSI.SET)" 8522ANSI.SET ,+, "Conversion file (8522ANSI.SET)" ANSI2850.SET ,+, "Conversion file (ANSI2850.SET)" ANSI2437.SET ,+, "Conversion file (ANSI2437.SET)" ANSI2865.SET ,+, "Conversion file (ANSI2865.SET)" ANSI2866.SET ,+, "Conversion file (ANSI2866.SET)" ANSI2863.SET ,+, "Conversion file (ANSI2863.SET)" ANSI2852.SET ,+, "Conversion file (ANSI2852.SET)" NC.ICO ,+, "Icon file" NC.FIL ,+, "Filter file" SAVER.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander screen saver program" NORTON.INI ,+, "Norton Commander configuration file" BUG.NSS ,+, "Norton Commander screen saver (BUG.NSS)" BUNGEE.NSS ,+, "Norton Commander screen saver (BUNGEE.NSS)" EVILEYE.NSS ,+, "Norton Commander screen saver (EVILEYE.NSS)" FACES.NSS ,+, "Norton Commander screen saver (FACES.NSS)" FISH.NSS ,+, "Norton Commander screen saver (FISH.NSS)" FLIP.NSS ,+, "Norton Commander screen saver (FLIP.NSS)" MOUSE.NSS ,+, "Norton Commander screen saver (MOUSE.NSS)" TORNADO.NSS ,+, "Norton Commander screen saver (TORNADO.NSS)" NCPSCRIP.HDR ,+, "Postscript printer header" README.TXT ,+, "Readme file" WHATS.NEW ,+, "Latest information" [Group1] Name="Utilities" Description1="Format disks, copy disks, compression" Description2="system information, cleanup" NCLABEL.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander disk label utility" NCCLEAN.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander cleanup utility" NCCLEAN.INI ,+, "Norton Commander cleanup configuration" NCDD.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander duplicate diskette" NCSF.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander safe format" NCSI.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander system information" PACKER.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander external compression" PACKER.MSG ,+, "Norton Commander external compression messages" NCZIP.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander internal compression" NCDD.MSG ,+, "Norton Commander duplicate disk messages" NCSF.MSG ,+, "Norton Commander safe format messages" NCSI.MSG ,+, "Norton Commander system info messages" NCZIP.MSG ,+, "Norton Commander compression messages" TERM95.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander terminal emulator" TERM95.GTT ,+, "Generic translation table for CommPlus" TERM95.HLP ,+, "Terminal emulator help file" TERM95.INI ,+, "Terminal emulator configuration file" TERM95.RES ,+, "Terminal emulator resource file" DATEX.P ,+, "Terminal emulator phone book" CPMSRV.SCX ,+, "Terminal emulator script file (CPMSRV.SCX)" GENIE.SCX ,+, "Terminal emulator script file (GENIE.SCX)" TESTMDM.SCX ,+, "Terminal emulator script file (TESTMDM.SCX)" DIR2DIR.EXE ,+, "TERM90.DIR -> TERM95.DIR" NCNET.EXE ,+, "Norton Commander network utilities messages" NCNET.MSG ,+, "Norton Commander network utilities" NC_EXIT.COM ,+, "Utility for exiting NC" NC_EXIT.DOC ,+, "Documentation for NC_EXIT.COM" [Group2] Name="Viewers" Description1="Norton Commander Viewers" Description2=" " 123VIEW.EXE ,+, "Spreadsheet viewer" ARCVIEW.EXE ,+, "Compressed file viewer" PLAYWAVE.EXE ,+, "Wave file viewer" BITMAP.EXE ,+, "Bitmap viewer" DBVIEW.EXE ,+, "Database viewer" PARAVIEW.EXE ,+, "Paradox viewer" NCVIEW.MSG ,+, "Viewer messages" Q&AVIEW.EXE ,+, "Q & A viewer" RBVIEW.EXE ,+, "R:Base viewer" REFVIEW.EXE ,+, "Reflex viewer" VECTOR.EXE ,+, "Vector viewer" WPVIEW.EXE ,+, "Word processor viewer" DRAW2WMF.EXE ,+, "MICROGRAFX DRAW File -> Windows 3.0 Metafile" DRW2WMF.EXE ,+, "Charisma (GRF) File -> Windows 3.0 Metafile" CLP2DIB.EXE ,+, "Windows CLP bitmap -> DIB converter" ICO2DIB.EXE ,+, "Windows 3.0 ICON -> DIB converter" WPV2WMF.EXE ,+, "WordPerfect Clipart (WPG) -> Windows 3.0 WMF" WPB2DIB.EXE ,+, "WordPerfect bitmap file -> Windows 3.0 DIB" PCT2DIB.EXE ,+, "PICTOR/PC-Paint filr -> Windows 3.0 DIB" MSP2DIB.EXE ,+, "MSP -> Windows 3.0 DIB converter" TIF2DIB.EXE ,+, "Tag Image File Format (TIFF) -> Windows 3.0 DIB" [Commercials] Lines = 10 Delay = 500 ; Each message should stay on the screen for about 30 seconds. ; Each message is limited to 10 lines of 65 characters each. ; Message #1 " %3aWelcome to the Norton Commander 5.51%1a " " " " Norton Commander 5.51 for DOS adds a variety of new features " " including drag & drop, disk housekeeping, improved file " " search features and a suite of network utilities. Version 5.51 " " also includes directory/file synchronization for mobile users. " " " " The Norton Commander gives you a shell that cuts through the " "drudgery of DOS, making it faster and easier to deal with files " " and perform routine tasks. " ; Message #2 " %3aNorton Commander 5.51 : New Features%1a " "%3aNetwork Utilities%1a - Send messages, view server information, " " attach to or detach from server and map or unmap from " " drives. You can monitor network disk usage and set alarms " " to flag conditions such as reducing disk space. " " " "%3aDirectory Synchronization%1a - Specially for mobile users - " " Users can synchronize their files between two directories " " either on their desktop machine or between their desktop " " and portable using Commander's file transfer facility. " ; Message #3 " %3aNorton Commander 5.51 : New Features%1a " "%3aDisk Housekeeping%1a - Clean your hard disk of unwanted files " " created by other programs such as readme, install, " " temporary and system files. Commander Cleanup is completely " " configurable so you can create your own cleanup file sets. " " " "%3aFile Splitter%1a - Essential if your file won't compress onto " " a single disk. Split it up over a number of disks and " " remerge later onto another hard disk. " " " ; Message #4 " %3aNorton Commander 5.51 : New Features%1a " "%3aDisk Utilities%1a - Format disks easily without worrying about " " how to use the DOS format command. Create a disk image and " " make multiple copies of a disk. Simpler and faster than the " " DOS copy command. " " " "%3aFile Searching%1a - Search for files using regular expressions." " Control what files are excluded during the search and find " " specific text patterns in files. Find all your duplicate " " files and send the results back to a Commander panel. " ; Message #5 " %3aRegistration Card%1a " " " " Please take the time to complete the Registration Card included " " with this product. All registered users will receive important " " product information and details of special offers from Symantec. " " " " Take command of your computing, and take the drudgery out " " of your day - with the %3aNorton Commander%1a. " " " " " [Disks] 1 = "Installation Disk", "Disk1of3" 2 = "Disk 2", "Disk2of3" 3 = "Disk 3", "Disk3of3" [FILES1] NC.EXE , 3870, NORMAL NC.HLP , 68167, NORMAL NCCLEAN.EXE , 136216, NORMAL NCCLEAN.INI , 9926, NORMAL NCEDIT.EXE , 203080, NORMAL NCFF.EXE , 115760, NORMAL NCMAIN.EXE , 264602, NORMAL NC.FIL , 3440, NORMAL NC.CFG , 1253, NORMAL NC.MSG , 15929, NORMAL NCFF.MSG , 3518, NORMAL NCEDIT.MSG , 1987, NORMAL PACKER.SET , 4680, NORMAL NCZIP.EXE , 149354, NORMAL NCZIP.MSG , 1367, NORMAL INSTALL.EXE , 21280, NORMAL INSTALLD.EXE , 291778, NORMAL README.TXT , 17295, NORMAL WHATS.NEW , 7239, NORMAL INSTALL.CFG , 15813, NORMAL [FILES2] NCSF.MSG , 6800, COMPRESSED:MESSAGE.MS_ NCSI.MSG , 4451, COMPRESSED:MESSAGE.MS_ NCDD.MSG , 3795, COMPRESSED:MESSAGE.MS_ PACKER.MSG , 591, COMPRESSED:MESSAGE.MS_ NCNET.MSG , 4793, COMPRESSED:MESSAGE.MS_ NCVIEW.MSG , 8191, COMPRESSED:MESSAGE.MS_ NORTON.INI , 1761, COMPRESSED:NORTON.IN_ BUG.NSS , 16133, COMPRESSED:BUG.NS_ BUNGEE.NSS , 41914, COMPRESSED:BUNGEE.NS_ EVILEYE.NSS , 7221, COMPRESSED:EVILEYE.NS_ FACES.NSS , 13260, COMPRESSED:FACES.NS_ FLIP.NSS , 52385, COMPRESSED:FLIP.NS_ SAVER.EXE , 157273, COMPRESSED:SAVER.EX_ MOUSE.NSS , 37649, COMPRESSED:MOUSE.NS_ WPVIEW.EXE , 105834, COMPRESSED:WPVIEW.EX_ TORNADO.NSS , 9635, COMPRESSED:TORNADO.NS_ PACKER.EXE , 84164, COMPRESSED:PACKER.EX_ 123VIEW.EXE , 136738, COMPRESSED:123VIEW.EX_ ARCVIEW.EXE , 90326, COMPRESSED:ARCVIEW.EX_ DBVIEW.EXE , 110272, COMPRESSED:DBVIEW.EX_ Q&AVIEW.EXE , 108694, COMPRESSED:Q&AVIEW.EX_ REFVIEW.EXE , 126608, COMPRESSED:REFVIEW.EX_ BITMAP.EXE , 54805, COMPRESSED:BITMAP.EX_ VECTOR.EXE , 63845, COMPRESSED:VECTOR.EX_ DRAW2WMF.EXE , 49957, COMPRESSED:DRAW2WMF.EX_ DRW2WMF.EXE , 64085, COMPRESSED:DRW2WMF.EX_ CLP2DIB.EXE , 38501, COMPRESSED:CLP2DIB.EX_ ICO2DIB.EXE , 37925, COMPRESSED:ICO2DIB.EX_ WPV2WMF.EXE , 61349, COMPRESSED:WPV2WMF.EX_ WPB2DIB.EXE , 38069, COMPRESSED:WPB2DIB.EX_ PCT2DIB.EXE , 38085, COMPRESSED:PCT2DIB.EX_ MSP2DIB.EXE , 27269, COMPRESSED:MSP2DIB.EX_ TIF2DIB.EXE , 47061, COMPRESSED:TIF2DIB.EX_ NC.ICO , 766, COMPRESSED:NC.IC_ ANSI2437.SET , 255, NORMAL ANSI2850.SET , 255, NORMAL ANSI2852.SET , 255, NORMAL ANSI2863.SET , 255, NORMAL ANSI2865.SET , 255, NORMAL ANSI2866.SET , 255, NORMAL 4372ANSI.SET , 255, NORMAL 8502ANSI.SET , 255, NORMAL 8522ANSI.SET , 255, NORMAL 8632ANSI.SET , 255, NORMAL 8652ANSI.SET , 255, NORMAL 8662ANSI.SET , 255, NORMAL TERM95.GTT , 7332, COMPRESSED:TERM95.GT_ TERM95.HLP , 16508, COMPRESSED:TERM95.HL_ TERM95.INI , 1166, COMPRESSED:TERM95.IN_ TERM95.RES , 19510, COMPRESSED:TERM95.RE_ [FILES3] PLAYWAVE.EXE , 25974, COMPRESSED:PLAYWAVE.EX_ RBVIEW.EXE , 130240, COMPRESSED:RBVIEW.EX_ PARAVIEW.EXE , 124040, COMPRESSED:PARAVIEW.EX_ FISH.NSS , 54524, COMPRESSED:FISH.NS_ NCPSCRIP.HDR , 13779, COMPRESSED:NCPSCRIP.HD_ NCSI.EXE , 348328, COMPRESSED:NCSI.EX_ NCSF.EXE , 346142, COMPRESSED:NCSF.EX_ NCLABEL.EXE , 167892, COMPRESSED:NCLABEL.EX_ NCFF.HLP , 1172, COMPRESSED:NCFF.HL_ NCNET.EXE , 161530, COMPRESSED:NCNET.EX_ NCDD.EXE , 275762, COMPRESSED:NCDD.EX_ DIR2DIR.EXE , 12470, COMPRESSED:DIR2DIR.EX_ NC_EXIT.COM , 829, COMPRESSED:NC_EXIT.CO_ NC_EXIT.DOC , 2748, COMPRESSED:NC_EXIT.DO_ NC.PIF , 2829, COMPRESSED:NC.PI_ TESTMDM.SCX , 3327, COMPRESSED:TERM95.SC_ GENIE.SCX , 8036, COMPRESSED:TERM95.SC_ CMPSRV.SCX , 8073, COMPRESSED:TERM95.SC_ DATEX.P , 790, COMPRESSED:TERM95.SC_ TERM95.EXE , 398499, COMPRESSED:TERM95.EX_
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Major abandonware sites where you can find various versions of NC, althouth for DOS I would recommnend to use Volkov Commander instead...
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