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A shareware programmers editor originally released for DOS in 1985 by James Powers as Blackbeard version 3.6. Its main claim to fame was at the time was the support for multiple windows and the ability to act as a TSR and it came with a separate formatter for printing purposes that also gave the editor some rudimentary word processing function, all this for the very reasonable price of USD 15.

The editor had a few problem though that kept it from becoming a major success, the handling of large files was rudimentary which could make it extremely slow to work with larger files, it was also painfully slow on an XT class system and the author kept switching compilers meaning that each new version came with a new set of bugs, not necessarily related to the new code.

Captain Blackbird

In 1988 Mr Powers introduced a much improved DOS version under the name Captain Blackbird that was mostly rewritten from scratch, this version was also made available in a native OS/2 version that was called BlackBeard/2. The original Blackbeard program continued to be sold for a few years afterward side by side with the Captain Blackbeard product.

OEM versions

While the editor became much less popular during the 90's than it had been in the 80's the programs author managed to get a number of OEM deals for the program so it might be more familiar to users as a bundled text editor. Lahey shipped an OEM version of Captain Blackbeard with all of their DOS compiler products from ca. 1989 onwards, while Meridian Systems shipped it with their Meridian Open Ada compilers but renamed it ACE and removed any references to Blackbeard. The LaTeX editing system LaCoD was also built on top of Blackbeard.


  • The last known OS/2 version is BlackBeard/2 1.20
  • The last shareware release of Captain Blackbeard for DOS is 3.0 while version 4.11 was for registered users only.
  • The last known DOS version of Blackbeard is 7.46
  • Last known Windows 32 bit version of Captain Blackbeard is 5.2 (AFAIK this is the only Windows release)

License and availability

  • Discontinued shareware, original list price for Blackbeard for DOS was USD 15, USD 20 after 1988, Captain Blackbeard and BlackBeard/2 had a 25 USD registration fee. It has not been possible to register the software since ca. 2001.


  • James K. Powers
  • Jim Dodgen (OS/2 version).