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Because there *are* no other alternatives if one wants a lightweight, high-performance single user OS that has a decent level of DOS and Win 3.1 support and a stable native API. BeOS, Windows, Linux, and the BSDs all fail to meet the above criteria -- only OS/2 and its eComStation offspring meet those requirements.
OK, I used OS/2 for a couple of days back in the day and quite enjoyed what I saw there but now youŽre way off base here with this assertion.
Linux CAN meet the requirements that you mentioned:
Windows 3.1 - I believe that WINE has partial support for the Win32 API but 100% support for Win16. Pretty much any app that doesnŽt depends on some obscure feature of Windows 3.x (youŽd be surprised on how many of them existed), chances are that it is going to work.
DOS - Dosbox and/or DOSEMU fits the bill here, including reliable emulation of a SoundBlaster 16 for multimedia apps. Even most of those "demanding" games (like those that used DOS4GW) works without hassle.
Small Footprint - Is there a point in arguing about this? One could perfectly setup one of those lightweight window managers and stay fully productive while on Linux, even more than with OS/2 since Linux tends to have more up to date software available. IŽd give BeOS a slightly advantage on this topic, since the whole shebang is damn fast with all the bells and whistles turned on.
The single user thing, from where IŽm standing, is a disadvantage. Not a good thing. IŽll concede for the API part. The API/ABI on Linux are moving targets and I donŽt see that changing anytime soon.