Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 29th Oct 2004 02:18 UTC
OS/2 and eComStation KeithMerrington has a first look at the new eCS 1.2, and includes some screenshots.
Order by: Score:
by helf on Fri 29th Oct 2004 03:08 UTC

I just got v1.1 installed on one of my PCs. I forgot how much I liked OS/2 ;)

Cool... :/
by bleyz on Fri 29th Oct 2004 03:14 UTC

Serenity are doing away with the clunkyness of OS/2. At this rate, by 1.5 it will be as user friendly as XP/OSX/BeOS [can be by then]. Gone ugly fonts, gone zillion different installers / configurators, gone assorted awkwardnesses.

Unfortunately, all this is being done so late and by a licensee instead of the owner. IBM keeps improving the kernel and drivers, so the latter is not a great concern. But it's so late, alas, so late!

Free Trial?
by X on Fri 29th Oct 2004 03:41 UTC

I have been wanting to try OS/2. Is there's a free trial version?

it WAS a very good OS.
by Software on Fri 29th Oct 2004 04:19 UTC

I was running OS/2 2.1 and Warp3. Since then, i've moved to Windows. Not because it was better, but Win3.1 support in OS/2 was not the answer anymore.

Now, with XP or Linux and even OS X, I wonder who would still want to use OS/2 on a desktop PC. I know that many banks are still using it and that's good. But for home user?

eCom 1.2 (OS/2) start to feel/look old. Only die hard or geek could still find some fun using it.

RE:it WAS a very good OS
by John Bijnens on Fri 29th Oct 2004 05:29 UTC

Ah, why use eCS instead of XP, Linux.
Let's say I want to run Linux :
- which distribution ?
- all those distributions are very compatible with respect
to configuration, aren't they ?
- I want a decent graphical environment to work in what
do I need ?
Gnome/KDE, possibly Enlightment on Gnome ?
How much memory does that consume ?
- ...

by CdBee on Fri 29th Oct 2004 08:17 UTC

Desperately needs an updated UI with font-smoothing - that looks reminiscent of MacOS 8 - chunky black fonts on plain grey panels.

Ugly.. and looks do count.

It's very nice!
by JY on Fri 29th Oct 2004 08:28 UTC

That font is the old system font. Most apps nowadays use the WarpSans or other more attractive alternative.

Also, this review shows the original text-based installer that was released with early download-only versions of 1.2. See the link to another review in one of the threads above for the installer that actually ships with the product on the CD version (and possibly with the downlaod version too). An absolute doddle to use.

Regarding why to use it:
It's not the prettiest, granted ;)
But I've been using it for over 10 years, without a single virus attack of any kind. Also, the Work Place Shell is a joy to use. Contrary to popular belief, there is plenty of s/w for the platform. It's very stable, and very fast.

Drivers are getting better and better, with a wider range than ever before. Although unfortunately *my* gfx card is not supported out of the box, I can get 1024x768 with the default generic driver, which is not too bad. I can buy a gfx driver that supports my card if I so wish. I'll probably upgrade the card though, at some later stage

There was talk of a "Live" CD at some stage, so that people could try it out for themselves. No idea what happened to that project.

eCS logo
by JY on Fri 29th Oct 2004 09:38 UTC

Eugenia, would it be possible to use the eCS "e-ball" logo instead of the OS/2 logo for eCS-related stories. After all, each main Linux distro gets its own icon.

Pretty please? ;)

by Marco Radossevich on Fri 29th Oct 2004 09:47 UTC

...check out (and help !):

Then, if you like, check out my petition to IBM:

Workplace Shell
by Rob on Fri 29th Oct 2004 10:20 UTC

The OS/2 Workplace Shell was streets ahead of other interfaces when it came out. One of the cool things was shadows which were like shortcuts but when you moved the target, the shadow would stay linked. Try doing that in Windows even today!

I remember they even made a Workplace Shell for Windows at one stage. That was pretty cool.

Why did IBM push Linux instead?
by ThreeHits on Fri 29th Oct 2004 12:13 UTC

(I'm not trying to start a flame war...this has always been something I wondered)

I wonder why IBM did not continue with OS/2 and even opensource it, as opposed to beginning to push Linux a few years ago. It seems that they would have been very successful if they adopted an opensource model with OS/2 and in some areas OS/2 would have been more mature than Linux was.

This is just one of those tech things that I've never fully understood. OS/2 was really a great product that could have become (maybe) what Linux is today.

Just wondering if anyone knows..

RE: Why did IBM push Linux instead?
by Anton on Fri 29th Oct 2004 12:50 UTC

From what I understand they cannot opensource it because IBM did not remove all of MS's code from it, and that MS still gets profit for each sale of OS/2 because of that code...please correct me if Im wrong...

Buying drivers
by Anonymous on Fri 29th Oct 2004 12:51 UTC

I think the notion of paying for device drivers is insane.

Re: Buying drivers
by JY on Fri 29th Oct 2004 12:59 UTC

Actually what I would be paying for is the "nucleus" (i think that's what it's called) technology within SNAP Graphics from Scitech Software. This allows the host OS to dynamically detect the gfx card installed, and configures the OS accordingly. So you can switch one card in for another and SNAP handles it all for you.

However the version that comes with eCS does not support as wide a range as the Pro version.

There is a Linux version too, plus others (QNX?)

OS/2 and 64 Bit
by jimmt on Fri 29th Oct 2004 13:27 UTC

What are they going to do when the industry moves completely to 64 bit? Since they are basing their product on IBM Warp 4.52 (the last official OS/2 Warp client release) they have no access to the source. Is IBM going to port the kernel over to 64bit?


week on...
by Kancept on Fri 29th Oct 2004 14:46 UTC

I've been using eCS 1.2 solid for a week now and am loving it. Still impressed by the abundant HW support, which is one of the things OS/2 keeps getting nagged about. So far, the only thing I haven't been able to do is video editing, but I'll be installing that in VPC with XP this weekend to test that out. I should also try it in Virtual Station.

Very nice, but...
by Daniel de Kok on Fri 29th Oct 2004 15:26 UTC

eComStation is a really nice operating system, and has good software for the hobbyist out there (, FreePascal, Virtual Pascal, Watcom C/C++, etc.). But if the future for it wasn't so bleak, I'd probably use it besides Linux and NetBSD. Oh well, you can run it with SVISTA, and I have licenses for SVISTA and eCS 1.1 ;) .

by Owen on Fri 29th Oct 2004 16:44 UTC

Am I the only one who really loves the fonts in those screenshots? I know I can get the vga fonts for X but has
anyone done replicas for the others? They are just sooo clean.

Re: Fonts
by helf on Fri 29th Oct 2004 16:46 UTC

I'm glad someone else likes them. I don't see why people want smoothed/antialiased fonts so badly. I dont like smoothed fonts.

RE: Fonts
by Daniel de Kok on Fri 29th Oct 2004 17:14 UTC

I used to be a fan of anti-aliased fonts, but these days I really prefer FireFox with GTK(1) and non-anti-aliased fonts. They're a bit more ugly, but much easier to read. BTW. WarpSans is a nice font.

RE: OS/2 and 64 Bit
by Ronald on Fri 29th Oct 2004 17:51 UTC


The upgrade path, in IBM's view, is OS/2 32-bit to Linux 32-bit (and 64-bit). The strategy plan documents doesn't say anything about porting the OS/2 kernel over to 64-bit.

IMO This is never gonna happen unless some big OS/2 customer asks and pays for it completely.

RE: Why did IBM push Linux instead?
by Ronald on Fri 29th Oct 2004 18:11 UTC


IBM owns 100% of the code for OS/2.


About open sourcing OS/2: it's never gonna happen. IBM isn't interested in OS/2 and want everybody off the platform ASAP. Their new champion is Linux, was Java before.

IIRC it was internal feuds and grossly wasted funds that killed this product.

Though I agree that OS/2 is great. There is a bit to do in that operating system. MMPM/2 needs to be extended to make it more modern. Add proper PnP (ACPI) support. Fix the single input queue to enhance the stability which is already rock solid in itself. Modify the Workplace shell and remove it's limitations. Port to the AMD64 platform. Add support for Hyper-Threading. ETC...

RE: Buying drivers
by Ronald on Fri 29th Oct 2004 18:15 UTC


When you buy eComStation you get all the current and future drivers free off the eCS web site. You pay only once just like when someone purchases Windows XP or 2000.


Actually, you're paying for the operating system. A custom build of SNAP is included with OS/2 thus it also comes with eCS when you purchase it.

Terrible Post!
by Tim Dunnington on Fri 29th Oct 2004 18:44 UTC

Okay guys, what the heck is it, where's the link to the official website or FAQ? What stage is it in, what can I use it for?

by Vesselin Peev on Fri 29th Oct 2004 19:48 UTC

I have used OS/2 Warp 3 as my exclusive operating system between 1994-1996 on a 386 DX. It was an amazing piece of work, and ran all my Windows 3.1 and DOS applications, including those running in protected mode.
Not to mention C++ system programming with real threads and preemptive multitasking. I switched to Windows 95 in late '96 because it featured video acceleration for my video card, something lacking from OS/2 at the time (not any longer, but now it's somewhat irrelevant).

The tremendous problems is not porting the kernel to 64-bit. It is porting the drivers to 64-bit, 32-bit cannot be used. Can you imagine them porting their own drivers and also finding a way to make companies port their own drivers? Unless there's new future for OS/2, it will never be done.

I still think that IBM have pushed OS/2 down the drain because of pure stupidity, nothing else. I hope that some people at IBM realize it. They were so ahead of the game in 1994 that with the right focus and increasing resources it could have become #1 desktop operating system.

I want to see OS/2 open-sourced. How do you know that IBM owns 100% the rights to the source code? I was under a different impression.

Ronald - MS does own part of OS/2.
by Sabon on Fri 29th Oct 2004 21:15 UTC

Ronald - I'm not going to argue about this. This will be only the post concerning this. But MS does own part of OS/2. That is THE reason why IBM wants to end OS/2. If lots of big banks weren't insisting otherwise IBM would have dropped OS/2 years ago.

My sources for this are people that worked on OS/2 at IBM and MS back in the 80s while they were still working on it. Meaning when the IBM/MS team was active.

While MS almost completely stopped contributing after the part way through the Alpha of OS/2 2.0, there are still quite a few core pieces that IBM and MS share ownership of that are core technologies of OS/2.

I wasn't a fan of OS/2 up through version 1.3 but used and supported it from version 1.1. I fell in love (as much as one can with an OS) when I got a copy of the OS/2 2.0 beta. WOW! That was back in 1992. I haven't had such a completely positive experience with any software (OS or APP) until Apple's Mac OS X 10.2 which came out 12 years later and literally 10s of OSs and thousands of apps later that I've used a lot as a Computer Systems and LAN Analyst.

At the time I got the OS/2 2.0 Beta I had FOUR Windows 3.1 computers that I needed to perform my LAN/WAN and desktop responsibilities. Within a couple of weeks I was able to roll all of that into one OS/2 2.0 beta box with the exact same model hardware as the four Windows 3.1 boxes with the same amount of RAM. And I was able to get my work done faster even though I was now only using one computer.

I could go on about OS/2. It's a very good OS. The only reason I switched to Macs (from OS/2 by the way, even though I had to use Windows at work), was the all in one everything that Mac OS X has been for me. I don't use any MS software on it but nobody realizes that until I tell them. That is, if I tell them at all.

Let's put together a FAQ
by Andrew Belov on Sat 30th Oct 2004 13:49 UTC

What is really boring is that we get surprisingly the same comments on any news item related to OS/2. Be it Slashdot, OSNews or [you name it], there is a predictable drift from (1) "Who would still use OS/2?" through (2) "ATMs", (3) "I recall using it in 1996 - the WPS was fantastic", (4) "... but IBM now embraces Linux", to (5) "what precludes OS/2 from going Open-Source?" and (6) "Microsoft royalties", then finally (7) "I USE IT!"... No flames, just observations. :-)

And the mission of eCS seems clear from the way it is advertised on the search engines - you don't get a pointer to eCS unless you ask for "OS/2". It is still about gaining foothold in legacy OS/2 installations, numbering in thousands. If the venture ever gathers some 500000 new licensees to pay off its refurbishment bills, we might start talking about a 64-bit OS/2 kernel.

My meta-review
by timo on Sun 31st Oct 2004 00:27 UTC

The 90's called -- they want their screenshots.

Seriously, this effort to keep os/2 going is pathetic. Perhaps valliant, but pathetic.

And what kind of a business are Serenity trying to run when they don't even offer decent documentation?

How about features? Like, say, NTFS support. Tossing in legacy FAT32 support is a joke.

I've heard the arguments. People say, "sure, the kernel is old, but it has brand new subsystems." Why bother, when hardware support is a shot in the dark, and any modern system could offer you the same subsystems, and a kernel that doesn't date to the earlier Clinton administration.

empty subject
by eg on Sun 31st Oct 2004 07:41 UTC

2 Andrew Belov: Your song doesn't change too ;) Sometimes 10 licensed copies of eComStation acquire more significance than 1000 of old licenses installed and forgotten. It's necessary compare the quantity of commercial software, user's activity, etc. IMHO, today the community is more powerful & happy than in the nineties.

2 timo: eComStation is equipped with NTFS.IFS driver (read only). Write and Boot should be implemented in the nearest time. The kernel of eComStation is updated continually (visit testcase ftp).

OS/2 eComStation 1.2 is real UPgrade.
by stVova on Sun 31st Oct 2004 21:09 UTC

One said "better one time to see, not 100 times to hear". I only said, I like OS/2, and eCS 1.2.

It's not serious to speek about open source OS/2. And this is not only because MicroSoft.
Let see, how many people can write good OS kernel in Open source community? Ha! Not so much. And OS is not only kernel. Not only.
May'be the best way for OS/2 - let IBM&Co do Kernel&Base (they know how do this best) and 3rd developers do they can and want - applications.

by JY on Mon 1st Nov 2004 14:32 UTC


Actually, you're paying for the operating system. A custom build of SNAP is included with OS/2 thus it also comes with eCS when you purchase it."

The version that ships with eCS is the Special Edition and does not include drivers for my particular gfx card. The Pro version, currently at level 3.0, does include these drivers. According to a technical engineer at Scitechsoft, IBM (who fund the SE version), are unlikely to ask for support for my card, so I would indeed have to purchase the Pro version, unless some big IBM client switches to PC's with the same card.