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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RE[4]: Was OS/2 really that great?
by makfu on Thu 29th Dec 2005 05:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Was OS/2 really that great?"
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A few quick responses...

I havenít run OS/2 in nearly a decade,

Thanks for admitting that.

Your welcome. I never made any representation to the contrary.

When exactly did OS/2 have 20% of the desktop market? I donít recall OS/2 EVER having anything remotely close to 20% of the desktop market. Most retail copies of Warp ended up as shelfware.

Actually, prior to NT 4 coming out, OS/2 was outselling NT. Even Microsoft admitted that. And since IBM considered NT to be the main "competition" for OS/2, this is significant.

I didnít ask if it was outselling NT. And no, NT was not OS/2ís primary competition when Warp 3 shipped. It was very clearly Windows 95 and the ramp-up to 95ís release. Furthermore, I would still very much like to know when OS/2 has 20% of the desktop market?

Looking at your list of stuff, OS/2 isn't as bad off as suggested. Perhaps taking a fresh look at the latest version might help.

2. Multi-user support

There are a few options for this. Muiltidesk is the one I use, which does offer multi-user support. There are a few other solutions for this, and I've read that multi-user support is also apparently being looked at for a future version of eComStation.

It still isnít an integrated component of the OS. Also, is this third-party product still resold and supported?

4. Large memory support

This has been fixed in kernels for several years. OS/2 can recognize as much memory as you put in your system.

4GB is not large memory support in 2005. Intel Physical Address Extensions (aka 36bit addressing) is. So no, you could not install OS/2 on one of my boxes with 32GB of ram and have it recognize all the memory in the box.

5. 64 bit support (in the case of Linux and NT based Windows)

While admittedly OS/2 doesn't take full advantage of 64-bit CPU's, the kernel has been updated and the system does run quite well on 64-bit CPU's.

I would love to know what ďupdatesĒ those would be. An AMD64 or Intel EMT64 x86 CPU running in 32bit mode is no different than any other 32bit x86 CPU. For access to the 8 additional GPRís and whatnot, the CPU has to be in 64bit mode. This is an entirely different mode than traditional 32bit protected mode.

6. Portable code base

I don't really see this as an issue. When you chose to run Linux, do you chose it because you can buy 4 or 5 different computers based on different architectures just so you can say you run Linux on multiple platforms?

So what youíre saying is that I shouldnít care because x86 is good enough? Thatís just silly. If I want to build a compute intensive IBM Power based Beowulf cluster for Linux, or want a 64-way Itanium HP Superdome for SQL 2005, I have those options, OS/2 doesnít.

7. Modern TCP/IP features like h.323, IPV6 stack, built-in firewall, etc

The latest TCP/IP for OS/2 is a fully 32 bit stack based on the same stack as found in AIX. While there are a few things which are out of date (IBM's sendmail for one) It includes modern features like a bulit-in firewall. Furthermore the few pieces which are out of date have up to date ports which have been done by users.

Sendmail is not part of the IP stack, itís an SMTP MTA daemon. I wasnít aware that OS/2 had a built-in firewall (Iíll take your word for it).

10. Integrated multi-monitor, multi-adapter support

I don't know about multi-adapter support, as I've never had a need for this. But from reading the documentation from Scitech SNAP, I believe multi-monitor is supported.

So no, itís not built in, I have to either rely on the OEM to provide a driver or buy SNAP (which you need for modern chipset support anyway).

The OS/2 SMP kernel scales up to 64 processors. I don't know what the limit for Linux (or Windows Server) is, but when was the last time you bought a 64-processor machine?

That it supports up to 64 CPUís does not mean it scales up to 64 CPUís. There are many obstacles to SMP scalability, not the least of which is optimizing the use of global data structures (locking) and synchronization of threads. Given that 32-way x86 based systems didnít even exist when Warp 4 was released, I doubt it scales past 4-8 CPUís.

As for Windows and Linux, both sport impressive vertical scalability with the Windows Server 2003 (NT 5.2) kernel having an advantage over the Linux 2.6 kernel (for the moment). Windows currently holds the number 3, 7 and 10 spot on the TPC-C non-cluster (single machine) benchmark running various version of MS SQL Server on 64-way Itanium2 HP Superdome hardware. Linux currently holds the number 11 spot running SUSE 9 on a 32-way Itanium2 NEC Express system.

Anyways, just a few points.

Your points did little to change the fact that OS/2 is a dead and obsolete platform better left in the past.

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