Why No LocoScript For Windows?
We are publishing this page for the benefit of those (many) people, past and present, who have asked why a Windows version of LocoScript was never produced.
Even when we took over LocoScript a decade ago, the conversion to a Windows program was neither technically feasible nor financially viable. The retiring MD Howard Fisher estimated that such a project would cost a cool £250K and there was never a chance of such a sum being invested. The potential market was simply not big enough to take that sort of risk. And the only programmers capable of building such a beast would probably have been the original Locomotive team at their peak. We're not talking about a simple cut-down Word-clone here but an incredibly complex integrated text and data processing system incorporating Script/File/Mail and Spell. There is still nothing like it which is why so many still use this software.
If LocoScript was ever going to graduate to Windows then it would have happened in the early 1990s and for the full reasons why it didn't you'd need to read The LocoScript Story in back copies of our newsletters (available only on request to support scheme members). But essentially it was because Locomotive couldn't handle two huge projects simultaneously and the software engineers were too busy working on TurnPike, the first major Internet Service Provision software being written for Demon. By the time the problematic TurnPike was delivered, The Locomotive Group was in financial difficulties (the 90s recession was in full swing) and Demon ended up not just with the software but the whole company. Locomotive was no more and in 1995 Howard Fisher led a management buy-out and the result was LocoScript Software, a much smaller company. Although Howard later mused over whether not producing LS4W was an error, he shrewdly recognised that there was still a strong demand for a more advanced version for the niche Amstrad PCW market and thus LocoScript 4 was developed and released by 1996. And it sold incredibly well amongst the faithful with its support for columns, graphics and colour printing. Loco 3 had added scalable LX fonts and the printed output that the little PCW could now achieve was virtually equal to that of any PC and this stopped a lot of users moving to the latter. For a while at least. For those who wanted a PC version, the excellent Script Professional provided an upgrade path and LocoScript even sold modern machines with this software already installed under Windows 98. Yet by 1999 it was all over and operations in Dorking were wound down and then packed up for a move to rural Norfolk.
Script Professional, or LocoScript Professional 2/Plus to give its full title, continued to sell well following our takeover. So well that we had to have a couple of reprints of the user manual. And the program also ran well under Windows 95/98 and passably so under ME/2000 and even XP. But it remained an MSDOS application which needed the old standard parallel port and connection to a compatible printer. As the PC industry moved on, fewer and fewer new PCs and printers were built with these facilities, USB replacing PAR and GDI usurping older emulations such as PCL. To this day we supply brand new inkjet printers compatible with LSPro and we also sold a good number of "Loco PCs" for those who want to continue the LocoScript experience. But it became harder to cater for those who had purchased brand new PCs especially when Windows Vista appeared and soon proved incompatible with some quite recent software and hardware let alone an ancient MSDOS program! To them we could only really offer our conversion software Locolink for Windows.
Whether there would in any case have been a real market for a LocoScript For Windows we'll never know for sure. Almost all Script users emigrated from the PCW and winning new converts would have been difficult. After all, Microsoft has swept all before it and LSFW would had to have been a graphically-based word processor and similar in operation to - and compatible with - the Mighty Word. No doubt it could have done some things better and would certainly been a more intuitive program but this wouldn't have guaranteed a commercial success. After all, where are Word's main rivals now?
So we hope we have explained why there is - and will be - no LocoScript For Windows. For anyone who suggests it might still be possible, we suggest you go and have a good lie down in a dark room until you feel better. If you love LocoScript then acquire some suitable hardware to run this classic program from us or elsewhere. If you must use a Windows word processor but want something simpler and snappier than the awesomely frustrating Word then we can recommend a FREE alternative -