Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 14th Jul 2005 20:57 UTC, submitted by Kelly
OS/2 and eComStation IBM has hammered the final nails into OS/2's coffin. It said that all sales of OS/2 will end on the 23rd of December this year, and support for the pre-emptive multitasking operating system will end on the 31st December 2006.
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I knew the developer of 4DOS and 4OS2 at the time I was using OS/2 myself. Great programs, though they are superceeded by so many shells and shell extentions these days.

Are you talking about Rex or Tom? Rex I have a great deal of respect for, but Tom has done some things I don't really agree with (and he has a mindset I really don't understand at times).

His comment on OS/2? 'Supporting OS/2 was a big waste of time and I would not have done it if I had known.' He only had a handful of registrations and a boat load of complaints and whiners.

Even if true, at least he was kind enough to release the product WITH SOURCE to the OS/2 community, and for that folks like me (who registered 4OS2 1.0 when it was originally released and faithfully upgraded it over the years) are forever grateful.

Today? It's not impressive at all. Any emulator or a VM environment like VMWare or Xen trounce OS/2 DOS support easily.

Impractical. I can't run VMWare on my PPro box (not enough RAM), and Xen requires changes to existing OSes in order to juggle them effectively. Virtual PC and SVista might be better alternatives, anyway, but again they require a system with larger resources than mine, they require additional $$, additional licenses for the OSes you want to run in the emulated machine, etc.

OS/2 provides all that is needed, and it does what it does in far less space and with far less horsepower required.

That's one major problem with OS/2; source code. Little of it, and OS/2 isn't POSIX-compliant enough to make porting easy.

Are you simply unaware of EMX and friends, or are you simply dismissing them?

EMX (and its accompanying flavors of gcc) provides a POSIX subsystem for OS/2 similar in many ways to Cywgin for Windows, and it resulted in XFree86, GIMP, XV, slrn, and a nontrivial number of other POSIX applications being ported to OS/2 a number of years ago.

I've been told by some POSIX programmers that support for an OS/2 version of their programs is quite easy, usually requiring only a few conditional defines in key header files. Note that I know very little about porting POSIX code to OS/2 via EMX, but I've used a lot of programs ported via that process.

That's why I've been using Perl under Warp 4 recently in addition to Rexx, for example, and why I sometimes fall back to Midnight Commander and its FTP filesystem when NFTP doesn't do what I want.

At the point that you add X, why not run some full and modern version of unix?

I have. I simply don't like them as much as I do OS/2, and for a variety of reasons.

FWIW, I've installed and run several versions of Solaris/x86 (2.5, 2.6, and 7 so far) and FreeBSD (two versions each in the 3.x, and 4.x lines) at home, and I also currently run a number of Linux variants (mainly things like older Mandrake flavors and live CDs like DSL, INSERT, and the like). I really do like DSL as a start, but it isn't all that useful to me yet. Needs more packages. :-)

Not only does OS/2 have a lot more capable desktop software available for it than either Solaris or FreeBSD (try something as simple as creating a few GIF animations under Solaris, for example, something that the OS/2 freeware program Embellish makes a trivial task), but it also allows me to install its boot filesystem in an extended partition (something neither Solaris nor FreeBSD supports at all), and that makes it hard for me to shoehorn either one of those OSes on my existing boxes (which also have Windows and DOS boot partitions on them for various reasons).

Linux is a far better alternative, but OS/2 is a hell of a lot more stable (in terms of API) than Linux is, it uses a lot less disk space and a lot less RAM, and it's also noticably smoother on my hardware than most Linux versions released in the past 2-3 years.

Some newer distros are a lot better, and it obviously depends on the window manager in use (fluxbox and icewn fly on my boxes, while newer KDE variants tend to walk fairly slowly), but I've had so many issues getting Linux plus DOS support to work well on my hardware that I've almost decided to wait until I get a new machine or two before continuing. If I can't even match my old OS/2 setup, then what's the point?

FWIW, basic DOSEMU setup is trivial, but getting DOS multimedia to work is not. I've already addressed DOSBox -- if you can find a version that'll run under Mandrake 8.2, let me know.

All that aside, however, I simply like using OS/2 more than I do Linux. I like 4OS2 and 4DOS better than I do bash and zsh (mainly because I prefer visual picklists to more primitive filename display/completion techniques used by Linux shells), I prefer writing Rexx scripts or 4OS2 scripts to scripting using sh syntax, and I like being able to load a pile of stuff on my box including Firefox and not have any swapping even on my 192MB box (even an "obsolete" Linux distro like Mandrake 8.2 wants to swap quite a bit if I try something like that).

Consider it a difference in personal taste, in computer resources, and perhaps also in overall expectations.

In order to replace what I currently have, a new OS has to at least match my existing environment, and Linux simply doesn't cut it.

BeOS didn't either, BTW -- it couldn't share its own filesystems across the network via CIFS/SMB, it didn't have enough native software, and it didn't have much in the way of legacy software support (there's a lot more now, but Be Inc doesn't exist anymore).

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