Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 19th Jul 2005 03:36 UTC, submitted by her friend Brad
OS/2 and eComStation In the dawn of the end of IBM's OS/2 Stardock's CEO Brad Wardell pays his respects to the venerable operating system by writing a long article about the history of the OS. Stardock was one of the major third party software houses for OS/2 back in the day and so Brad has lived OS/2 from up close.
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@jeffb
by deathshadow on Tue 19th Jul 2005 18:14 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

and how were my dates off?

So the fact is that when OS/2 2.0 came out the 486 was already a fairly common processor (though the 386 more heavily used).

That's like saying Xeons have been out for almost three years so it's a common enough processor... It is and it isn't. Having sold units at the time I can (to the best of my memory) say for a good degree of certanty 486's didn't start really going out the door until '93. Just because the chip came out in '89 doesn't mean anyone was making boards to support them... Even IBM wasn't shipping 486 based machines until November 1990... They were selling PS/2's as their entire product line until 1993 when they 'downscaled' to the PS/1's.

I mean hell, look at IBM's 1992 'new product' line... Their 'best' machine, the PS/2 Server 295 (aka IBM 8600) was a 486SX/50 with 8 megs of RAM stock. The big model they were pushing that year, the model 75 came in five flavors, all of them a 386-20 (either SX or DX depending on the model) and was pretty much a repack of the 1989 Model 70...

What was even funnier about that timeframe is they were making better portables than they did desktops (something that held right through Thinkpad history), again showing how the different divisions never really walked in step with each-other. The PS/2 Model 75 was a ratrap 386-20... the PS/2 Model P75 was a wonderful (if expensive) 486DX-33 lunchbox with a 16 shade orange plasma and a 160meg SCSI drive.

Of course in that timeframe IBM Model Numbers got worse than Tandy 1000's. (Pick two letters, that's the new model)

As to the Operating System side of things

6/92 -- OS/2 2.0
01 March 1992 - Windows 3.1

THREE MONTHS, Bravo Foxtrot Delta! I feel it's safe to call them contemporaries to each-other... In fact a head to head comparison is what this whole thing is REALLY about. Being able to run "The same applications" as a cheaper solution was no way to sell a more expensive product, and there was no software just for OS/2 that would wow enough of the target audience to justify buying it.

The two work together, before Windows 3.1 you could either spend a fortune on the hardware to support OS/2 to do what? Have pretty graphics and still run your DOS applications? The only software 90% of the customers who could AFFORD PC's at the time (That other 10% being hobbyists and gamers who like now will float their house to buy bleeding edge) consisted of Wordperfect, 123, Quattro and Harvard Graphics... All of which were single tasking DOS programs that ran just fine on a 386SX-16 with ONE meg of RAM. IT WAS A HARD SELL getting business buyers into the GUI market, something people seem to have forgotten...

And the applications that did it were Word and Excel under Windows 3.x and the introduction of the "Office Suite" concept... What did OS/2 offer for that 'killer app'? The same versions of the same software, but you had to drop more money than you'd spend on an engagement ring to run it half as well?

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