Original author(s)John Draper
Initial release1979; 45 years ago (1979)
Written inForth
Operating systemApple II, IBM PC
TypeWord processor

EasyWriter was the first word processor for the Apple II.[1] It was written by John Draper and released in 1979.


Published by Information Unlimited Software (IUS),[2] it was written by John Draper's Cap'n Software, which also produced a version of Forth, which EasyWriter was developed in.[3] Draper developed EasyWriter while serving nights in the Alameda County Jail under a work furlough program.[1][4]

It was later ported to the IBM PC and released with the new computer in August 1981[4][5][6] as a launch title. Many criticized EasyWriter 1.0, distributed by IBM, for being buggy and hard to use;[7] PC Magazine told the company as early as December 1981 that subscribers "wish IBM had provided better word processing".[8] The company quickly persuaded IUS to develop a new version. (When founder William Baker later sent "I Survived EasyWriter" T-shirts, IBM returned them stating that it did not accept gifts.)[9] IBM offered a free upgrade to version 1.10 to version 1.0 owners,[10] but EasyWriter's poor quality had caused others to quickly provide alternatives, such as Camilo Wilson's Volkswriter.[11]

IUS released a separate application, EasyWriter II. Completely rewritten by Basic Software Group,[7] IUS emphasized that II—developed with C instead of Forth—"is not an updated version of the original IBM selection or its upgrade".[2]


BYTE in 1981 reviewed EasyWriter and EasyWriter Professional for the Apple II, stating that "editing is a pleasure with either version", and approving of their features, user interface, and documentation.[12] In an early review of the IBM PC, however, the magazine in 1982 stated that EasyWriter for it or the Apple II "didn't seem to be of the same caliber as, say, VisiCalc or the Peachtree business packages", citing the lack of ease of use and slow scrolling as flaws, and advised those who planned to use the IBM PC primarily for word processing to buy another computer until alternative software became available.[13] Andrew Fluegelman wrote in PC Magazine that although EasyWriter 1.0 appeared to be an easy-to-use word processor for casual users, it "contains a few very annoying inconveniences and some very serious traps". He cited several bugs, slow performance, and user-interface issues,[14] and later called it "pretty much a lemon".[15]

IBM's Don Estridge admitted in 1983 that he "tried to use EasyWriter 1.0 and had the same experience everybody else had".[16] EasyWriter 1.10 resolved most of Fluegelman's complaints. He reported that it "performs smoothly, will handle most any routine writing and printing job, and is easy to learn and operate", and that if IBM had released 1.10 first EasyWriter would likely have become the standard PC word processor.[10]

BYTE criticized EasyWriter II for running as a booter instead of using DOS, requiring specially formatted disks for storage and a utility to convert to DOS-formatted disks, not being compatible with double-sided drives, and using a heavily modal editing interface.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b Chris Rhoads (January 13, 2007). "The Twilight Years of Cap'n Crunch". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on July 17, 2015. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  2. ^ a b Freiberger, Paul (1982-08-23). "Information Unlimited Software influenced by IBM". InfoWorld. p. 25. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  3. ^ John Markoff; Paul Freiberger; IW Staff (Oct 11, 1982). "Visit with Cap'n Software, forthright Forth enthusiast". InfoWorld. pp. 31–32.
  4. ^ a b John Markoff (January 29, 2001). "From Outlaw to Consultant". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  5. ^ "Byte". January 1982. p. 62.
  6. ^ Magid, Lawrence J. (2001-08-09). "The Start of a Love-Hate Affair With a Computer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Shuford, Richard S. (May 1983). "Word Tools for the IBM Personal Computer". BYTE. p. 176. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  8. ^ Bunnell, David (April–May 1982). "Boca Diary". PC Magazine. p. 22. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  9. ^ Rosenberg, Ronald (1984-04-24). "The Secret World of IBM". The Boston Globe.
  10. ^ a b Fluegelman, Andrew (August 1982). "EasyWriter Resurrected". PC Magazine. p. 180. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  11. ^ van Gelder, Lindsy (August 1983). "On The Road To Software Stardom". PC Magazine. p. 156. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  12. ^ Carlson, Keith; Haber, Steve (June 1981). "Four Word Processors for the Apple II". BYTE. p. 176.
  13. ^ Williams, Gregg (January 1982). "A Closer Look at the IBM Personal Computer". BYTE. p. 36. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  14. ^ Fluegelman, Andrew (February–March 1982). "Not-so-Easywriter". PC Magazine. p. 35. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  15. ^ Fluegelman, Andrew (November 1982). "Volkswriter 1.1: Camilo Wilson's Claim to Fame". PC Magazine. p. 73. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  16. ^ Curran, Lawrence J.; Shuford, Richard S. (November 1983). "IBM's Estridge". BYTE. pp. 88–97. Retrieved 19 March 2016.