Software Archives

PCjs has archived selected software for the following machines:

PCjs also includes a small collection of disk images in the Disk Libraries:

Software Application Manifests

In the PCjs Project, every complete software package is stored in its own folder, either as a set of individual files (under /apps) or as a set of disk images (under /disks), along with a manifest.xml file that describes the software. The manifest format is still being developed, but at a minimum, it should contain the following information about the software:

  • Title
  • Version
  • Type (eg, Application, Game, OS, Diagnostic, Utility, etc)
  • Category (eg, Productivity, Text Adventure, BASIC Compiler, etc)
  • Company (eg, IBM, Microsoft, etc)
  • Creation Date (of first version)
  • Release Date (of this version, if different from creation date)
  • Creator(s) (of first version)
  • Author(s) (of this version, if different from creator(s))
  • Contributors(s) (names of additional contributor(s) to this version)
  • Publisher (name of publisher, if different from company)
  • License (with link to current software license, if any)
  • Machine (reference to PCjs machine.xml file capable of loading/running the software)
  • Disk(s) (one or more entries describing sets of files and/or disk images)

The distinctions made by Type and Category are a bit arbitrary and likely to change. For now, Type is merely a reflection of how we initially filed the original disks, while Category provides more detail.

Example: VisiCalc

VisiCalc is stored in an /apps folder, and two relevant files are described by <file> entries in its manifest:

    <company>Software Arts</company>
        <releaseDate>December 16, 1981</releaseDate>
    <machine href="/devices/pcx86/machine/5150/mda/64kb/machine.xml" state="/apps/pcx86/1981/visicalc/state.json"/>
    <disk id="disk" dir="/apps/pcx86/1981/visicalc/bin/">
        <file dir="../"></file>
        <link href="">VisiCalc License</link>

Since this manifest also contains a <machine> entry, the default manifest stylesheet will automatically load and launch the associated PCjs machine. The machine will boot or resume according to its own <computer> settings, unless the manifest overrides the machine’s default state with its own state setting; eg:

<machine href="/devices/pcx86/machine/5150/mda/64kb/machine.xml" state="/apps/pcx86/1981/visicalc/state.json"/>

The machine.xml file, in turn, refers to a sample set of disk images, one of which is:

<manifest ref="/apps/pcx86/1981/visicalc/manifest.xml" disk="*"/>

which refers to the <disk> entry in the VisiCalc manifest – which brings us full circle.

Since that <disk> entry is just a reference to a folder, PCjs must first convert it to a disk image, using the following API request:


The PCjs DiskDump module processes the dump request and generates a JSON-encoded DOS 2.x-compatible disk image containing all the specified files.

However, to avoid the PCjs web server re-generating the same disk image for every user-initiated disk load, we have saved that JSON-encoded image as static file on the server, and then added an href attribute to the manifest’s <disk> entry:

    <disk id="disk01" dir="/apps/pcx86/1981/visicalc/archive/" href="/apps/pcx86/1981/visicalc/disk.json">

PCjs always prefers a resource specified by href. While the <file> entries are now superfluous, they still serve to document the contents of the disk image, and are still necessary if the disk image ever needs to be re-generated.

Example: CP/M-86

CPM-86 is stored as two disk images in a /disks folder. The disk images are described in that folder’s manifest:

    <category>Operating System</category>
    <company href="">Digital Research</company>
    <publisher href="">Eagle Computer</publisher>
    <releaseDate>May 20, 1983</releaseDate>
    <machine href="/disks/pcx86/cpm/1.1b/machine.xml"/>
    <disk id="disk01" href="/disks/pcx86/cpm/1.1b/cpm86-disk1.json">
        <name>CP/M-86 (Disk 1)</name>
    <disk id="disk02" href="/disks/pcx86/cpm/1.1b/cpm86-disk2.json">
        <name>CP/M-86 (Disk 2)</name>

In this case, the software was “born” as disk images (non-DOS disk images at that), so we don’t bother listing the contents of those images with <file> entries inside the <disk> entries.

We do, however, include optional <name> entries that help describe (or at least differentiate) the disk images.

If a machine file wanted to use only the first disk, then it would specify:

<manifest ref="/disks/pcx86/cpm/1.1b/manifest.xml" disk="disk01"/>

and if it wanted to use all the disks listed in the manifest, it would specify:

<manifest ref="/disks/pcx86/cpm/1.1b/manifest.xml" disk="*"/>

which is what our CP/M Machine Configuration does.