Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 4th Mar 2007 22:10 UTC, submitted by martini
OS/2 and eComStation The fourth beta of eComStation 2.0 has been released. Some of the new features include better wireless support, the Lucide document viewer, the Psi/2 instant messenger, SAMBA, and much more. "This is the fourth beta release of the eComStation 2.0. This product is available for download to all registered eComStation customers with active Software Subscription Services."
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OS/2 Lives.
by systyrant on Sun 4th Mar 2007 22:52 UTC
systyrant
Member since:
2007-01-18

I actually thought OS/2 was dead. Once again I thought wrong. It's pretty cool that it isn't.

Reply Score: 2

RE: OS/2 Lives.
by Xaero_Vincent on Mon 5th Mar 2007 00:51 UTC in reply to "OS/2 Lives."
Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

For all practical purposes it is.

eComStation could be the missing link in the chain of revival but the company backing it seems to lack very important buisness sense.

eComStation might have been the interesting if it were totally free and open-source, or at the very least ten times cheaper.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: OS/2 Lives.
by rcsteiner on Mon 5th Mar 2007 06:44 UTC in reply to "RE: OS/2 Lives."
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

As has been mentioned several times before, eComStation is only a reseller of a value-added version of the OS/2 operating system -- IBM owns the rights to all of the key OS/2 code (WPS, kernel, filesystems, etc) as well as all of the rights to license and release it.

IBM is choosing to not release the code for the kernel and other key elements. Informed speculation over the years has been that the main reasons for them not releasing the code relate to third-party IP in said code, meaning IBM couldn't (legally) release it even if it wanted to, at least without getting permission from those other parties.

The cost of eCS as a product is directly related to the cost of an OS/2 client license that IBM still imposes on Serenity Systems for each copy of eCS sold. If SSI could negotiate a much less expensive license from IBM, they could charge far less, but so far that hasn't happened.

I agree with you that eCS is too expensive for most folks, and I also agree that it really hurts its viability compared to other alternatives and will probably be the single factor which ultimately kills it as a product, but that is really IBM's call, not SSI's.

Reply Score: 5

RE: OS/2 Lives.
by rcsteiner on Mon 5th Mar 2007 06:47 UTC in reply to "OS/2 Lives."
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

You must be new here. eComStation articles are posted on this site every few months. :-)

Reply Score: 2

Getting there
by Xaero_Vincent on Mon 5th Mar 2007 00:31 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

I looked at the features proposed for 2.0. Things are certainly improving but the OS is still light years behind the likes of Windows or *nix. Plus the price of $259 for a full copy of eCS 1.2 is ridiculous.

I mean the major features for 2.0 include basic ACPI support, Samba support, and better HDD partitioning tools. If I ever hope to print anything from my five year-old printer, I'll have to wait until v2.1 for mediocre CUPS support. Heh.

The people marketing this product arn't in the right frame of mind. Windows (except maybe Vista Ultimate)and Linux costs less and are 100x more capable with 10,000x more software in their current incarnation than eCS 2.0, let alone eCS 1.2.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Getting there
by Windows Sucks on Mon 5th Mar 2007 01:54 UTC in reply to "Getting there"
Windows Sucks Member since:
2005-11-10

The market they are aiming at are current users of OS2 that IBM left hanging. There are still tons of companies that use it.

These are people who don't want to deal with the complex nature of Linux (And don't want to pay for consultants) and who are tired of the MS drama (And Windows actually costs more if you factor in the price of a 3 year contract, CAL's, consultants etc)

They are trying to work within the frame work of OS2 to make sure it works like it always worked and also has newer and newer features.

Also they have to pay IBM high license fees to remarket, resell OS2. IBM never open sourced it or anything. (Why I don't know!)

I have it (Didn't pay full price for it) and I am impressed at how reliable it is. Only thing that I miss is that it is not multi user. :-(

Reply Score: 3

It is about licensing
by mbpark on Mon 5th Mar 2007 03:18 UTC
mbpark
Member since:
2005-11-17

IBM, from what I remember, cannot open source the product because Microsoft owns a large chunk of the code. OS/2 was a joint project between the two at one time.

Due to this, IBM has to still pay licensing fees to the usual third parties, esp. Microsoft. IBM has to pass the charges through to Serenity Systems. Serenity also has to pay their developers.

Remember how long it took to open source Solaris? That was because the SCO Group owned a chunk of the code in there, and that had to get cleaned up before it was released. You'll also never see HP/UX open sourced because Symantec/Veritas owns a chunk of the file system code.

There are still many applications which run on OS/2 which people are more than willing to pay money for. There are people still using DOS and XENIX. OS/2 is going to be around for a while in some apps.

IBM has open sourced a lot of ancillary technologies which OS/2 uses (JFS, etc.). However, the base OS is still encumbered by patents from other sources, namely MS.

This product meets its customers' needs, and they are more than willing to pay for it.

Reply Score: 5

Screenshots?
by The Lone OSer on Mon 5th Mar 2007 03:24 UTC
The Lone OSer
Member since:
2005-07-11

Can anyone post some screenhots as to what this incarnaton looks like?, I'm interested to see ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Screenshots?
by rx182 on Mon 5th Mar 2007 04:07 UTC in reply to "Screenshots?"
rx182 Member since:
2005-07-08

http://www.ecomstation.com/gallery/index.php

lazy boy ;-)

Edited 2007-03-05 04:08

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Screenshots?
by pandronic on Mon 5th Mar 2007 08:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Screenshots?"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Neah, those are for the old versions.

Here:
http://www.ecomstation.org/screenshots/

There are a few of the 2.0 betas.

I really don't understand how they can sell something that ugly. It pains me to look at those screenshots. Even Windows 3.1 was better looking. How hard is it to pay a designer to redo the icons and do some nice windows decorations. At 259$ a copy you think they could afford it ... or maybe no one is stupid enough to pay that much for an outdated OS! How do this guys stay in business? Do they get money from IBM, or what?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Screenshots?
by RISCOSMike on Mon 5th Mar 2007 09:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Screenshots?"
RISCOSMike Member since:
2006-09-03

Ahh short sightedness, vista or OSX user are you?

How can you compare that to Windows 3.1?

I myself have never used eComStation but I suppose I can relate the situation to RISC OS, I think RISC OS is an excelent OS even though the default look of the desktop is a stone texture. I never understand why people look at an OS and if it doesnt have plastic/crystal like buttons they think the it is crap. Its that old saying, its whats inside that counts, well with in reason.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Screenshots?
by pandronic on Mon 5th Mar 2007 11:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Screenshots?"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

http://www.guidebookgallery.org/pics/gui/desktop/full/win31.png (1994)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Am_windows95_desktop.png (1995)
http://www.guidebookgallery.org/pics/gui/desktop/firstrun/macos90-1... (1999)

vs.

http://www.ecomstation.org/screenshots/nsones.jpg (2007)

hmm ... tough one.

It's not the matter of crystal icons. It's not even about eye candy or effects. It's about something that is offensive to the eye. I happen to be a designer, and maybe I'm a little over sensitive to this matters, but let's face it people, it's downright ugly.

Maybe it's more functional and feature packed that Windows, Linux and OS X altogether, let's forget about that ... but it looks like something the cat dragged in from 1993.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Screenshots?
by DeadFishMan on Mon 5th Mar 2007 16:20 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Screenshots?"
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

I think that beauty is on the eye of the beholder... I never quite understood what was so wrong with the Win 3.X interface, for instance. Sure, a pig with a lipstick is still a pig as far as the underlying OS back then was concerned, but I always liked the simplicity, high contrast on the colors (nice use of white) and how the 3D concept was represented on the Win 3.X interface.

Windows 95 was too "flat" for my taste when I saw it for the first time, although one gets used to it after a while. I know that some people swear by the Windows 2000 look-n-feel (which is more or less a refinement of the original Windows 95 UI, I believe) and I used to be one of them.

MacOS Platinum style was also very beautiful and the highly intuitive interface with good choice of colors was what made so many people moan when OSX with the lickable widgets came out. I happen to like both with a slightly advantage to OSX.

Luna is hideous indeed but other than changing the color scheme or installing MS Royale theme, I donīt waste my time trying to dress Windows anymore. It was never meant to sit well with themes anyway.

The old motif style on Unix was hideous as well, but at least the UI was well thought and wouldnīt get into the way of the user. But it was terrible nonetheless. The only workstations vendors that somewhat addressed that issue in the old days were Sun and SGI. The others usually used a different color scheme on Motif to differentiate themselves (DEC with its orange UI, IBM, etc.). But even with the nice touches here and there that SGI and Sun put into their products, I couldnīt stand to look all day long to those widgets.

OTOH, both KDE and GNOME represent the state-of-the-art on the UI subject and sometimes can be made to look even better than OSX (highly subjective, I know).

BeOS, RISCOS, Amiga, GEM, MorphOS... All of them had (or have) beautiful interfaces if you ask me.

I too think that the default OS/2 UI feels a bit dated but not to the point that I couldnīt get used with it after a while. People had put up with a lot worse in the old days, IMHO. As long as the thing allows me to do what I need/want to do I am happy and OS/2īs WPS excels in this regard whereas GNOME which is regarded as the peak of usability by some... Well, letīs just say that it is not nearly as capable as the former. ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Screenshots?
by ronaldst on Mon 5th Mar 2007 11:16 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Screenshots?"
ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

@RISCOSMike

I never understand why people look at an OS and if it doesnt have plastic/crystal like buttons they think the it is crap.

Because the world has moved on? While a little offensive, the parent poster has a good point: OS/2's hideous looking. 256 colours icons, WarpSans font, fugly icons, Windows 3.1 featured in screenshots, lack of font smoothing, ugly wallpapers, WarpSans font, the abysmal colour selection, etc...

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Screenshots?
by rcsteiner on Mon 5th Mar 2007 16:26 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Screenshots?"
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

Strangely enough, WarpSans on the GUI and and OS/2's VIO font series in text windows are two of the reasons that I still prefer OS/2. I can actually READ those fonts for long periods of time without eyestrain. :-)

While the world has certainly "moved on" in terms of OS desktop aesthetics, and eye candy rules today, I still tend to wonder if any real progress has been made on the OS front over the past 10 years in terms of actual kernel and UI functionality.

There are so many little things in OS/2's WorkPlace Shell which you STILL can't find in KDE, GNOME, or Windows. Why not?

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Screenshots?
by ronaldst on Mon 5th Mar 2007 16:42 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Screenshots?"
ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

@rcsteiner

Strangely enough, WarpSans on the GUI and and OS/2's VIO font series in text windows are two of the reasons that I still prefer OS/2. I can actually READ those fonts for long periods of time without eyestrain. :-)

The system font from 3.0 was much better. IMO Warp 4 was such a step back, UI wise. As for VIO, I prefer the old DOS ISO.CPL.

While the world has certainly "moved on" in terms of OS desktop aesthetics, and eye candy rules today, I still tend to wonder if any real progress has been made on the OS front over the past 10 years in terms of actual kernel and UI functionality.

Then that would be no. Nothing has improved on the desktop in terms of something significant.

There are so many little things in OS/2's WorkPlace Shell which you STILL can't find in KDE, GNOME, or Windows. Why not?

I am curious. What would those be? I can't think of any. The only feature I can think of is Shadow.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Screenshots?
by rcsteiner on Mon 5th Mar 2007 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Screenshots?"
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

I am curious. What would those be? I can't think of any. The only feature I can think of is Shadow.

The fact that the WPS has discrete Shadow and Program Object icons is nice (the former simply points to the parent like a symbolic link does and uses the original program's settings, while the latter has its own set of object settings and acts as a customized clone of the original program).

Some other things that the WPS has which is missing in either Windows, Linux, or both:

* Object templates, allowing users to create a stack of tear-off icons from any other icon on the desktop. An easy way to create duplicates of a given icon complete with its environment.

* Decent visual queues for processes that are running, during desktop copy/move/create-shortcut operations, etc. I especially like the WPS rubber-banding effect between the source icon and mouse pointer when creating a shadow, and the cross-hatching the WPS uses to show any desktop icons associated with a running process.

* Workgroup folders (allows for the creation of logical execution groups by putting programs and documents in a folder marked as a workgroup) -- this is quite nice for starting/opening several programs/documents at the same time with a single click, and for closing them all as a unit with a single action. I use this frequently.

* The ability to lock individual icons in place on the desktop so they can't be moved.

* A decent built-in desktop backup facility which lets you save and restore past desktops in case you mess up.

* Different wallpapers in each folder. Maybe ROX Filer will add this feature. :-)

* Context menus for the desktop and folders which can be modified by drag-and drop (adding programs, etc.).

* Drag-and-drop font and color configuration in various applications (want a new font? Drag-and-drop it on the application from the system font template).

* An entry in the context menu of shortcuts that points directly back at the parent and which lets you open up the folder in which the parent resides. I use this all the time in the WPS. It's a reverse shortcut lookup.

* Animated window frames when opening/closing windows and dialogs. The WPS requires a third-party utility to do this, but I love the effects.

* Animated mouse pointers. Windows supports this, and Linux has some basic animation effects, but few Linux desktops provide customizable animated mouse pointers that allow me to change the text entry cursor, window resizing cursors, wait pointer, etc.

* A built-in icon editor. Windows seems to lack this.

That's a start off the top of my head...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Screenshots?
by Cris on Mon 5th Mar 2007 09:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Screenshots?"
Cris Member since:
2006-04-12

Anybody basing their expenses on the LOOK of things must be really dumb.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Screenshots?
by pandronic on Mon 5th Mar 2007 10:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Screenshots?"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Yes, thank you Einstein. Still, I'd hate to see your girlfriend.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Screenshots?
by Soulbender on Tue 6th Mar 2007 13:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Screenshots?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"I really don't understand how they can sell something that ugly."

You realize those are customized user desktops and not how it is shipped, right? Right?
Also, some people like the retro look and a quite lot of people don't like the current trendy and "flashy" fisher-price designs.
And even more people simply don't give a damn, they just want it to work and do what they need.
Average Joe isn't a "power user" or interface junkie.

Edited 2007-03-06 13:50

Reply Score: 2

Niche
by flanque on Mon 5th Mar 2007 06:32 UTC
flanque
Member since:
2005-12-15

It's a niche product for a niche market. In this instance, the price will be justifiable to the members of this select group, even if to outsiders it seems excessively over the top.

It's a product that is suffering a very slow death.

Reply Score: 3

I see
by Xaero_Vincent on Mon 5th Mar 2007 09:14 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

Thanks for giving me insight as to why the price is so high.

However, the fact that IBM and Microsoft charge hefty royalties makes no difference to the paying consumer.

I think if the cost cannot be reduced any further that eCS be massively renovated to justify the royalty tax passed on.

Edited 2007-03-05 09:15

Reply Score: 2

bah...
by schwarzy on Mon 5th Mar 2007 10:52 UTC
schwarzy
Member since:
2005-07-25

i STILL can't understand why they're not pulling the plug from this dead os which is really in a "life-supporting system" state... OS/2was dead a long time ago.

Reply Score: 1

RE: bah...
by kramii on Mon 5th Mar 2007 12:02 UTC in reply to "bah..."
kramii Member since:
2005-07-22

>i STILL can't understand why they're not pulling the plug from this dead os...

Because people still want to buy it?

Reply Score: 3

RE: bah...
by rcsteiner on Mon 5th Mar 2007 16:32 UTC in reply to "bah..."
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

If a piece of software is useful and still has a market, why not continue to develop and sell it?

I use it every day. I can do things with it that I still can't get Linux or Windows to do. And yet you single out OS/2 for termination? That makes no sense to me...

Reply Score: 2

OS/2
by brancod on Mon 5th Mar 2007 13:42 UTC
brancod
Member since:
2005-11-15

I've used OS/2 since version 2.00 and while it's not as asthetically appealing as Windows, the WorkPlaceShell is still pretty amazing. I wish someone would port that shell to Windows or Linux.
I no longer use OS/2 for day to day computing but still have Warp 4.0 running on an old Pentium for nostalgic purposes and for running old DOS games/apps.

Reply Score: 1

Home Users
by B. Janssen on Mon 5th Mar 2007 13:47 UTC
B. Janssen
Member since:
2006-10-11

*sigh* Many posters made good points on the reason why OS/2 is still there.

OS/2 is not for home users, not for new SOHOs, not even for new enterprises. It is there to maintain the HUGE installed base that completely relies on OS/2, such as found in financial institutes, insurances, stock markets, etc.

There is a simple rule of thumb: if you don't know what it is good for, then it is not for you.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Home Users
by rcsteiner on Mon 5th Mar 2007 16:34 UTC in reply to "Home Users"
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

While it isn't really targetted at home users, OS/2 still has a hobbyist community. WHere do you think most of the software is coming from these days? :-)

Reply Score: 2

Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

Here is some (OOOOOOOOLLLLLLLDDDDDDDD) news.

One of Serenity Systems projects is rewriting the WPS (Work Place Shell - a.k.a. "the desktop) from scratch. This is one of the main parts of OS/2 that IBM and Microsoft share the rights to. Having a replacement for the WPS would make it so that IBM and Serenity Systems don't have to pay MS for this anymore which should allow them to drop the price or have more money to work on more projects for eComStation (OS/2).

What is OS/2 good for? Remember the ads for FedEx saying, "When you absolutely, positively, HAVE, to have it overnight?". With OS/2 it is basically, "When you absolutely, positively, HAVE to have a system up 24 hours a day 365 days a year."

Reply Score: 2

rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

The WPS has no Microsoft IP in it. It might have OO IP from Next or from other companies, but Microsoft had no involvement in its development.

You may be thinking of HPFS, written by Gordon Letwin (a Microsoft employee).

Reply Score: 2

brancod
Member since:
2005-11-15

Serenity should create WorkPlaceShell for Windows XP. I hate the fact that when I create shortcuts in XP and move the file that it points to, it is unable to open that file and must search for it. Even the Mac had dynamic shortcuts or the ability for aliases to link to files that have been moved to different folders or volumes since 1984.

Reply Score: 1

Looks?
by Kancept on Mon 5th Mar 2007 17:55 UTC
Kancept
Member since:
2006-01-09

I find it funny that a lot of what you hear from linux fans is how much they like using the CLI. How good does a CLI really have to look?

Reply Score: 1

Still a great OS
by Sparrowhawk on Mon 5th Mar 2007 19:09 UTC
Sparrowhawk
Member since:
2005-07-11

I'm always surprised by the "why?" question with an OS like eCS. It's for corporate use, SSI are making money out of it. Of course they are going to continue supporting it. I don't think you'd get the same question if IBM charged for an upgrade to OS/400 for example. But somehow eCS gets knocked. Probably because some people on these forums have a mindset of "I don't use it/I think that it's ugly, ergo why should enyone else use it". Maybe this says something about their experience of the corporate world. Or lack thereof.

Unless you have actually used eCS or OS/2, it's also very hard to impart a sense of how elegant the WPS is as a desktop environment. It really is a pleasure to use. And I too happen to like the WarpSans font but I loathed the Warp 3 System font though: when I got Warp 4 I bought Dialog Enhancer to remove any last vestige of that atrocity from my desktop ;)

I'm currently at v1.2R of eCS - I'm not sure what the upgrade pricing is going to be in Europe. If it's somewhere around the $50 mark then I will certainly buy 2.0 when it goes gold. Especially as the Ģ is so strong against the $ at the moment.

Reply Score: 1

cssw
Member since:
2007-03-05

> subject: eComStation is cheaper than Microsoft OS

>"Plus the price of $259 for a full copy of eCS 1.2 is ridiculous."

Microsoft 'OSes' are not cheap
$ 239 Price of Microsoft Vista Home Premium
$ 399 Price of Windows Vista Ultimate

PLUS:
cost of constant anti-virus software
re-installs
Microsoft revoking activation
License prohibit use in virtual machine
users time and stress over being hacked and spywared
countless viruses, worms, tojans, spyware, ....
Instability (even by design "tilt bits", hardware change)
Need high-speed Internet just for all large patches constantly needed.

Just like with windows initial licenses, eComStation is cheaper on a preloaded computer
http://www.curtissystemssoftware.com/preloads.htm

Reply Score: 1

Demo
by RISCOSMike on Mon 5th Mar 2007 19:56 UTC
RISCOSMike
Member since:
2006-09-03

I do like that there is a demo to try out eCS.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Demo
by sXwamp on Wed 7th Mar 2007 09:08 UTC in reply to "Demo"
sXwamp Member since:
2007-03-07

Here's the link for a Demo CD:

http://www.ecomstation.com/democd/

What is the eComStation Demo CD ?

The eComStation Demo CD is a way to demonstrate the look and feel of the eComStation desktop. It will boot directly from CD and cannot be installed onto harddrive, it runs entirely in system memory.

Another popular name for this approach is "Live CD" (like Knoppix for example). The advantage is that your current system will remain untouched, the disadvantage is that the memory requirements are quite steep (at least 160 MB of system memory).

The normal version of eComStation can be installed on computers with at least 64 MB of memory. (see System Requirements). You can find a review of the eComStation Demo CD at ToastyTech

Reply Score: 1

Sigh
by flywheel on Tue 6th Mar 2007 15:43 UTC
flywheel
Member since:
2005-12-28

It might not look as fancy as the latest revolution from Redmond. But it is very intuitive and easy to use and the graphical shell is easy extendable, which the latest revolution from Redmond is not.

Not everybody lets the good looks of software dictate their choices.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Sigh
by Kancept on Tue 6th Mar 2007 16:10 UTC in reply to "Sigh"
Kancept Member since:
2006-01-09

Let's not forget we don't need a $400 graphics card to make the eye candy work. It's happy on my 4 MB Matrox card. :-)

Reply Score: 1