Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 15th Nov 2005 00:39 UTC, submitted by Mikael Elf
OS/2 and eComStation Serenity Systems offers a promotional price for eComStation 1.2 until the last of November. This will include a one year software subscription. The subscription implies also that you can participate in the betaprogram for version 2.0 and includes the version 2.0 GA release after betatesting is done.
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Member since:

Linux is often available for free.
The BSDs are available for free.
BeOS was available for free.
QNX was (and is?) available for free.
Even Sun's Solaris is available for free.

OS/2 (aka eCS) is one of the few desktop OSes which does not have a usable free version of some type.

The eCS Live CD might be a step in the right direction if it works out well, and it *is* a free version even if it is functionally limited, but it doesn't come close to what is available from other vendors.

Reply Parent Score: 1

LewisR Member since:

None of the free distributions come with installation support (official, not user-to-user) from the manufacturer. We're comparing apples to oranges, anyway. We need to compare eComStation to Windows, as both are proprietary operating systems.

The only reason people don't "feel" the cost of Windows is that it's diluted in the cost of the bundled system just purchased. In fact, I read recently (The Register? eWeek?) that MS has been sadly disappointed by the lack of upgrade sales of XP on the corporate desktop. When you consider that people received bundled W2K Pro licenses with the last round of hardware they purchased, the thought of paying for an "upgrade" (their word, not mine) to XP became yet another unnecessary cost.

For those companies using whitebox workstations (vs. packaged systems), the OS cost is usually visible (at least it's visibility is under the control of the VAR, or in my case, the consultant). Retail for MS Windows XP Pro w/SP2 (part # E85-02665)(from CompUSA, who I do not consider to be a deep discounter) is $299.99 US (see That, of course, includes no upgrade protection to the next version. Next to that, eComStation 1.2, at $229 US retail, is a bargain. (BTW, Mensys lists XP Pro at $420.40.)

Often, the trade-off for the free OS licensing is the lack of phone or even email support (BTW, try calling Microsoft for a problem with an OEM version of XP on a Dell system; you can't, you have to call Dell, who may have nobody there with the resources or knowhow to resolve an issue). For some (hackers, like me), this makes very little difference. For others, this can be the difference between using the OS and just deleting the downloaded iso and giving up (or hiring a professional like me, at $140 per hour, to resolve the problem).

Hey, if you want to build your own house, knock yourself out; that's great. Most folks, however, don't have the skillset (or the time) to do that, so they need to buy one from someone else. If they pay a fair price for it, and they find a problem after they move in, they can (usually) call the builder to have it fixed - free of charge. That's a good feeling - for most people.

In my line of work, I get weary hearing the same, "can you guarantee that this won't happen again?" question. As my right hand tech says, "if you want a guaranty, buy a toaster." The question comes up more in the spirit of "will I have to pay you to fix this again," than "will I have to deal with the issue a second time." With product support from the manufacturer, my charges are less of an issue.

I can't speak to Sun's policy with regard to Solaris for x86. I know the distro is free, but I would doubt that Sun provides any kind of non-fee-based support for it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Sparrowhawk Member since:

You miss the point: eCS is not a free OS. It's a business OS. It's run commercially, to make money. Serenity Systems cannot make it free even if they wanted to, as IBM won't let them, and IBM can't make it free either as iirc there is some MS proprietary code in there too (drivers I think, but I forget).

Remember, eCS is not aimed at the OSNews crowd. It's not even aimed at the SOHO market. It is aimed at corporate users who want to keep their investment in OS/2 whilst having access to, for example, an up to date browser, up to date drivers, an up to date office suite (OOo 2 is about to be ported to the platform), etc.

Of course it would be nice to have a free version, but frankly I don't see this happening. Me, I'll be upgrading to 2.0 when this comes out.

Reply Parent Score: 1

LewisR Member since:

I couldn't have said that better. Thanks. ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 1

rcsteiner Member since:

Actually, I don't miss the point, at least completely.

As a long-time OS/2 user myself (13 years this past August) and eCS user since the 1.0 release, I'm very much aware of IBM's ownership of the core platform, and I'm also aware of the potentially complex IP issues involved with OS/2, Microsoft, etc.

Because of this, I understand (or at least appreciate) SSI's limitations, and I don't have a problem with Serenity's actions in any way -- if anything, SSI has exceeded my expections in several respects with their eCS offering. Bob might be an ex-IBMer, but he's also a magician. The current eCS LiveCD proves this! :-)

No -- I'm questioning IBM's apparent lack of business sense when it comes to marketing their own platforms.

Just because a platform is being actively deemphasized doesn't mean it can't make more money for the company on its way out.

As a desktop and server platform, Sun's Solaris has been as "business-oriented" as they come over the years, and yet Sun has provided a free download copy of their OS (both Sparc and x86 versions) for several years, with the specific target being hobbyists and software developers.

This is largely unrelated to their recent OpenSolaris initiative; the full commercial proprietary versions of Solaris 2.6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 were all made available in that manner, and that was one of the main reasons I became interested in Solaris back in the 2.6 days.

The fact that IBM has actually authorized SSI to create adn release a LiveCD version of eComStation indicates (to me) that there exists some element within IBM that realizes that there is still some value in exposing new customers to the platform.

I see this as a positive sign, but it's only a start.

Linux is penetrating the enterprise not through formal channels, but by percolating informally from the bottom up through the efforts and actions of individuals who have been exposed to the platform and who recognize the value it can provide to their organization.

IBM is now quite involved in the Linux space, and they have often been the direct beneficiaries of this type of covert introduction, so they should appreciate the value of bottom-up product penetration.

OS/2 days are numbered. I think we all know this. The simple fact that it's a proprietary platform available in binary-only form practically ensures its eventual demise.

However, at the current time it still has value. It still has capabities on the desktop which Linux lacks, it still has a large selection of software which it can easily support, and it still has the potential to be a money maker for IBM -- but only if IBM will let it.

Reply Parent Score: 1