Username or EmailPassword
I originally posted (under Anonymous -- sorry, I didn't notice my auto-login didn't take until too late):
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.
and you responded:
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.
No, I'm really not (as you appear to agree at least in part below). :-)
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.
While I've heard that Wine is relatively decent at running some Win32 programs (as Odin is under OS/2), Wine simply isn't as easy to use under Linux as WinOS2 is under OS/2. Once I can get a newer distro to install satisfactorily on one of my boxes, I plan on running Wine through its paces again. I have lots of software I can test. :-)
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.
I've not personally succeeded in getting programs like Executor, New Deal Office, the SEA3 graphics viewer, or the QuickView AVI movie viewer to work under DOSEMU, but all of those run just fine in an OS/2 VDM.
DOSBOX is Yet Another Program that won't run under the slightly old Linux versions that I currently have installed, so I can't comment on it. :-(
Small Footprint - Is there a point in arguing about this?
Yes. Many newer desktop distros require well over a GB of disk space (sometimes two) for a base installation, while a full Warp 4 install plus WinOS2, MMOS2, etc, is roughly 300MB, and while many of the new Live CD distros like DSL don't need any, I've had real problems getting some of them to boot on my ProLiant while OS/2 doesn't have an issue.
The old "mem=exactmap mem=640k@0m mem=63m@1m" trick used to work, but that was before I added a new video card. Now most Linux versions just kernel panic or fail to detect enough memory. Mandrake 8.2 is fine, of course, with just a simple "mem=64m" directive.
For those saying "disk is cheap" -- for some of my older SCSI systems, a GB for a boot filesystem is unacceptable.
IŽd give BeOS a slightly advantage on this topic, since the whole shebang is damn fast with all the bells and whistles turned on.
BeOS is a very slick system, and I used all of the x86 official releases of BeOS through BeOS 5 Pro, but I finally set it aside because it simply didn't have enough software to compete with OS/2 or Linux. There were too many things I couldn't do. Maybe the BeOS version of DOSBOX would change some of that...
The single user thing, from where IŽm standing, is a disadvantage. Not a good thing.
In most respects it is. I was just clarifying its single-user nature so folks wouldn't play the "Linux is multi-user" card when I really don't care in my own well-protected single-user LAN context.
IŽll concede for the API part. The API/ABI on Linux are moving targets and I donŽt see that changing anytime soon.
Yes, and neither do I. I understood the need for the libc -> glibc change a few (several?) years ago, but the gtk+1.x -> gtk+2.x change has frankly pissed me off. It has resulted in bloat and some key compatibility issues for very little functional gain, at least that I can see as an end user. People need to THINK when designing their APIs in the first place and do it right the first time...