Ursa Software Ltd
Ursa Software really began in around 1990, a husband and wife partnership of Jeff and Debs Tullin.
The first cross stitch design software we wrote was for our own use, and ran on the Commodore Amiga 500
(Amiga Version, circa 1994)
Around that time, a licenceware scheme was set up in England by a woman called Sandra Sharkey, and we began to sell copies of the program through that scheme.
Lots of copies were sold, although the scheme went bust, leaving many contributors unpaid.
So we improved the program, ported it to the Atari ST computer, and took out a small advert in cross stitch magazines under the name ‘Ursa Software’
The name ‘Ursa’ is latin for ‘bear’. We had a fine collection of teddies at the time.
The magazine needed a logo for the advert, and the only bear-like picture we could lay our hands upon in time for the advert was one of a panda.
So we used that, and stuck with pandas since, even though as any self-respecting zoologist can tell you, a Panda is no bear!
Cross Stitch Master was launched.
Next, we converted the program to run on the new IBM compatible machines with color screens.
Further improvements led to a rename ‘Cross Stitch Master Elite’
Soon, Windows 3.1 appeared and gained a lot of friends.
Not having a Windows product, we began reselling an american product for a while.
But reselling didn’t give us much control over the product or fixing problems for people, so it wasn’t long until our own Cross Stitch Master for Windows appeared, at a much better price, and with some new features people hadn’t seen before.
When Windows 98 appeared, programs like X-Stitch Master Elite (as it became) simply wouldnt work any longer due to the changes made in Windows itself.
By that time, we had been working hard on a new 32 bit program, with print preview, more colors, point-to-point backstitch and more, and so launched X-Stitch Studio in around 1997
We had been attending cross stitch shows each year promoting and selling our software, meeting real stitchers and making friends. (Hi everybody!!)
But eventually the costs became too prohibitive and we set up as an internet based company.
We also produce a cut-down version of Studio, at a lower price, called Stitch Simplicity.
(An unscrupulous company who wanted to resell this program, produced several thousand unauthorised copies of a beta version and promptly went bust. Serves them right.
However, the unsold stock found its way onto eBay, where even now some discs show up. Sigh.)
The true release version of the program was later branded ‘Cross Stitch Made Simple’
Studio was improved year on year, until in 2003 we began work from scratch on a product for the Apple Mac
The first version was for OS8/9, but OSX was soon released, and we had a product ready to meet it, in MacStitch
In 2008, the features in MacStitch overtook the features in X-Stitch Studio for the first time, and so instead of porting features from Windows to Mac, work began in the other direction, leading to MacStitch2008 and Stitch2008 being released simultaneously from the same code.
And now (of course) our best-ever program: MacStitch2015, WinStitch2015
and in 2014, Ursa Software was registered as a Limited Company