Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Dec 2005 15:48 UTC
OS/2 and eComStation Two articles on OS/2: "IBM's farewell to OS/2 next month shouldn't take anyone by surprise. Long before Big Blue announced its plans to pull the plug, industry watchers were drafting OS/2's obituary." And, "Yesterday saw IBM cease the sale of the OS/2 Operating system. Come the 31st of December, standard support for the OS will end also. However, a significant number of companies and people continue to use it, and they are finding ways for OS/2 to live on."
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Was OS/2 really that great?
by makfu on Tue 27th Dec 2005 19:09 UTC
makfu
Member since:
2005-12-18

OS/2 had some innovative features and was definitely a superior OS when compared to most of its contemporaries circa 90-94. It was not, however, without some serious flaws.

I remember the frustration of trying to recover my hung UI hitting ctrl+esc many times due to the serialized input queue’s issue (not substantially addressed until Warp FP16). There were also holes all over the system (you could overwrite the interrupt descriptor table from a dos vm, the shared usermode window manager code could be taken out by a stray pointer, etc.). And these are not just my assertions; the old DOSKiller and Andrew Schulman’s OS2Killer.exe were pretty good demonstrations of these serious architectural compromises, which are very similar to the memory protection holes present in Win9x (for compatibility and memory footprint optimization in both cases).

I would be willing to bet that if OS/2 garnered the same level of consumer, OEM and ISV support that Win9x had, it would not be remembered nearly so fondly as being a stable and reliable system. Windows 95 running a single application, or a small set of Microsoft applications, was pretty solid also. Throw a bunch of OGL and DirectX games, multimedia applications, modern browsers with flash plug-ins, media players and before you know it, Win9x is an unstable and unusable pile of crap. Granted, OS/2 didn’t suffer from such awfulness as shared User and GDI heaps, but it was still fundamentally a flawed system do to its early 90’s, PC-centric design.

While the WPS was a great GUI environment, OS/2 itself has long been surpassed as a server and client OS by Linux, NT-based Windows and MacOS X. OS/2 running a simple embedded system like an ATM machine is one thing, but if it was asked to run modern desktop and server loads, it wouldn’t fare well compared to what’s out there today. OS/2’s day has long since come and gone.

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