Contents | < Browse | Browse >

%%  CSAReview: Greek Workbench              By: Georgios Tsoukalas        %%
%%                                 %%


        "Greek Workbench"
        (The actual product name is in Greek.)


        WorkBench 2.1 plus all extensions such that any Workbench supporting
locale is totally localized in Greek. A lot of supporting tools.


        Name:           AC Software Engineering
        Author:         Kostas Tsaousis
        Address:        Themistokleous 84B Nikaia 184 52 Athens GREECE
        Telephone:      4962494


        8.000 drx. (Greek currency)
        I bought it on Jan 84, so pricing might have changed.


                Kickstart 37.175+


                None (Other than WorkBench 2.04 or above that is expected to
                come with your machine.)


        Many tools have a popup window that closes automatically after any
action occurs in the Workbench.  The window includes the particulars of the
purchaser. The executables seem to be serialized (multiple serial numbers).
Legal action will be taken against anybody pirating!!

        The program installs on a hard drive.  To install you follow the
same process as installing any Amiga operating system (consult your original
OS manual)

        I rate the protection as annoying, although it's only for some tools.


        Amiga 3000/25, 6 MB Fast RAM, 2 MB Chip RAM.
        1 internal 1.76 HD floppy
        Quantum 240 meg, Maxtor 120 Meg, Quantum 52 Meg internal hard drives.
        Standard VGA monitor.
        AmigaDOS 2.04 (Upgraded to 2.1 with this product)
        AmigaDOS 3.1 (Which I switch to on startup. 3.1 being the default)

        Amiga 500, 4.5 MB Fast RAM, 0.5 MB Chip RAM.
        1 internal 880K floppy.
        Quantum 40 MB internal hard drive.
        GVP Series II controller
        AmigaDOS 2.05 (Upped to 2.1)


        As part of the program is the actual WorkBench 2.1, it installs
exactly as Commodore WorkBench 2.1 is installed.


        This product comes in two forms. One is Greek WorkBench 2.1, which
is an eight disk set, and the other a WB 3.0, which is a four disk set.
WorkBench 2.1 is a complete Workbench and is sold to those that want to
upgrade the Workbench to 2.1 as well as have the Greek extra tools. The
WorkBench 3.0 is a four disk set that appears to be only the extensions to
WB 3.0. It is expected that you have WorkBench 3.0 to start with. There is
no difference between the two products. It seems to be a subset of the 2.1
disks. (WB 3.0 specific files included in the 2.1 release.)

        The reason I wanted this product is that I wanted to find out how
the Greek character set was arranged on the Greek Workbench, as well as the
Greek versions of the standard Amiga fonts. I got much more than I bargained
for. Even though I mostly use 3.1, the 2.1 version works well under 3.1.

        Given there are two major components to this product I will
concentrate only on the Greek extension rather than Workbench 2.1.  All that
I will say about WorkBench 2.1 is that it introduces locale. It allows you
to make your Amiga environment use any language you wish (and is
supported).  The only other point to note is the inclusion of the narrator
device and the speak program in this version. It appears to be the latest,
and the last version included in any Workbench. It looks much nicer than the
one included in WB 2.04 having only one window to type in the spoken words.
It appears that normal WB 2.1 didn't even include a narrator device.

        The extra diskettes that have Greek names include updates to the
Workbench that can be installed in both WB 2.1 and 3.1. They are a variety
of tools. After the full installation, all menus appear in Greek. The error
command in the Shell, the requesters, and virtually everything on the
Workbench is totally in Greek. It appears to be a very detailed job.  It's
an unfamiliar environment as there is an argument among all non-English
speaking countries:  should technical terms be translated or transliterated?
A lot of terms tend to be very long, as it seems a direct translation ends up
being a long word compared to the familiar few letter words in English. To
me the locale was a novelty that wore off pretty quick. I was not
disappointed though as that's not what I wanted from the package, and
English is more natural to me when it comes to technical terms.

        There are many other tools that assist in using the Greek language
in conjunction with the English language. First, note the peculiarity of the
Greek language. The Greek character set is almost totally different from the
English one. As a result, the current solution for using Greek was to use a
Symbol font. The problem with that was that I wanted accents, as well as the
fact the font selection was limited.  I wanted to swap from English to Greek
the way the Macintosh achieves it. That is by pressing Command-Space you can
flick between Greek <-> English keyboard. In the Amigas case, with the use of
a commodity, Amiga-space-bar achieves the same result.  The Greek characters
are encoded in the high 128 positions of the ASCI set.  There are also other
commodities that configure the Amiga depending on what keyboard is active.
Menu keys are mapped such that while in Greek mode, all keyboard short-cuts
are still available. For example, typing Amiga-C would copy a selected item
to the clipboard. While the Greek keyboard is active, what you would actually
be pressing is Amiga-Psi, a Greek character.  It all works great though. It's
supported by all programs; i.e., PageStream and excellence!

        In my WBStartup I have:

        MenuMapSwapper, so that short-cut keys are swapped.
        KeyMapSwapper, so that the KeyMap is swapped.
        MenuKeySwapper, so that menu keys are swapped.
        MenumapAnalyser, a tool that shows the complete character set such
        that any character can be selected and the key combination to get to
        it is shown.

        In the package are many printer drivers. They are the same Amiga
printer drives but they include an Elot standard as that appears to be the
IBM standard character set for Greek printers. I am not sure if this is part
of the AmigaDOS 2.1 package in Greece or the Software Engineering package.

        Also included is a program that can convert documents from different
character arrangements that are written in Greek. Along with it are included
many different filters.  Another program converts file names written in
Greek by another standard to the current one.

        Looking into my L:filesystem_transl/ directory, I found the following
extra files among the standard Amiga files. I don't know how to use them
other than they are used by CrossDOS and are selectable by a configuration
screen in CrossDOS.


        The standard bitmap fonts like topazgr, perlgr, rubygr and the
others have Greek characters in the high ASCI 128 positions, otherwise they
are the standard Amiga fonts. With the use of the FF program the system is
patched such that all programs that insist on using topaz can use the Greek
font topazgr in them. Also included are the following fonts for popular
application programs:

                dpaint.font     (Deluxepaint 4)
                Scala.font      (Scala)
                SWScrFontA      (FinalCopy)
                SWScrFontB      (FinalCopy)

        Also included are two Compugraphic fonts, CSTimesGR and
CSTimesTrimvirateGR.  They are not as good quality as the original CSTimes
and CSTriumvirate.


        The documentation is neat, written in Greek from cover to cover. I
didn't get the WorkBench 2.1, manuals but the WorkBench 2.1 software is
included with the permission of Commodore Greece. There is no index but
there are only 29 pages I hardly read. I preferred to work my way through it
as I am familiar with Workbench.


        It's a great value for money. Considering the small market, a lot of
professional effort has gone into the design of the product. Tools conform
to the style guide. The labels and the manual are nice. There are many
different tools in it.


        The protection ... oh that protection. Upon start-up I get a small
window opening up noting my name and passport number. The reason being that
is they wanted my ID number to serialize my copy, I only had a passport
number. Well I needed it, I gave it to them :-) But the window vanishes
immediately. Greek locale and the keyboard should have been supplied by
Commodore Greece. As the equivalent is done so by Macintosh Greece for free.
I have no complaints though as it was good value for money.

        A little complaint is the box it comes in. It's just a VHS video
casing. It sort of loses some of the professional look it deserves.


        I have not used and I don't know of any other such product on the
Amiga.  Although there should be for other languages. On the Macintosh
computer I have used a patch that swaps the keyboard and works with Amax II
very well. I know of a Greek desktop for the Macintosh (I am comparing Greek
computer interfaces here) It should work just as well although I don't think
it has the power of local. There also exists a Greek Windows 3.1.


        None found. Only one not directly related with the product. The FF
program included (and available in PD) that patches the system to change the
original topaz font does not work in 3.1.


        I have had no reason to contact the vendor. It's a long distance
call to Greece which I don't think I will be doing.  I have had no need,


        30 days on the magnetic media.


        I am very impressed by this product. It does much more than I wanted
so I am pleased. I give it a rating to 4 out of 5. An extra 1/2 would be
given if it wasn't for the copy protection. I do understand it though as
Greece is quite notorious for piracy.


        This review is copyright such that Dan Barrett the Moderator can do
as he pleases. My guess is PD but he can make money out of it if he wishes.
:-) (Good luck Dan)

        [MODERATOR'S NOTE:  I designate this review as freely distributable
        under the distribution conditions found in the "Introduction to" article posted monthly in this newsgroup.
        - Dan]