Home > OS/2 > IBM Officially Kills OS/2, Suggests Switch To Linux IBM Officially Kills OS/2, Suggests Switch To Linux Submitted by Kelly 2005-07-14 OS/2 91 Comments 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. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 91 Comments 2005-07-14 9:04 pm Does any one still use it? Where would you get software for it? Open Source? 2005-07-14 9:24 pm I am replacing 3 OS/2 Lotus Notes servers for one of my clients starting in two weeks. 2005-07-14 9:24 pm rcsteiner Sure, some of us still use it. I’m coming up on the 13 year mark myself as a hobbyist user (first started using OS/2 2.0 back in August 1992). There are a number of software projects for OS/2 which are still active, believe it or not, including three or four native Mozilla and/or Firefox ports (there’s even a variant with the beginnings of WPS integration), the FM/2 filemanager (which is now open source), Odin (the Win32 API translator I use to run things like IrfanView and Palm Desktop under Warp), and Samba. A very good site for OS/2 News and Rumors is here: http://www.os2bbs.com/os2news/ Also, eComStation is stil being sold and still has a separate contract with IBM. As far as I know, it isn’t going anywhere… 2005-07-14 10:25 pm >Does anyone still use it? I’ve heard that Banks are big users of OS/2 for ATM machines. And, that this was the largest reason for IBM to continue offering/support it as long as they have. 2005-07-14 10:46 pm TD Bank (one of the major Canadian banks) still uses OS/2 in their branches. Will they go over to Linux as IBM suggests? I somehow doubt it. On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me if they continued to squeeze OS/2 support and licenses out of IBM. Banks don’t turn around on a dime because a bad decision could put a lot of their customers at risk. 2005-07-15 12:26 am I’d hardly call migrating away from a product that’s been dead for a decade “turning around on a dime”. 2005-07-14 11:23 pm Yes, some of the biggest banks here in our country still use it, as a server and as their workstation. 2005-07-14 9:07 pm zizban I still use it and yes you can tons of open source stuff for it. 2005-07-14 9:08 pm helf very funny IBM. stop joking around.. really, stop. its not funny.. :'( 2005-07-14 9:12 pm My my, stopping an os that was well working (but drivers and a good bit of software) 2005-07-14 9:15 pm Coral Snake It is high time to place ALL so called “obsolete” or “abandonware” software like this in the public domain BY LAW!!! including the source code. 2005-07-15 3:53 am Brad So if we do that, then why not other things, Such as “by law when coral snake stops doing very much stuff, he is to be put to work in the public domain for people to use him as he pleases” or “by law when coral snake is not doing anything with his wife, she is to be put in public domain for use by others” Seriously, by law forcing software to be open sourced is one of the stupidest things ever and will never happen. Its not even very ethical to force such a thing. 2005-07-15 4:09 am japail Is it me, or did you just suggest that someone’s wife was property? And before that compared his suggestion to slavery? He expressed a desire to alter the terms of a temporary monopoly bestowed upon a certain class of intellectual property by the State. It may or may not happen, and it may or may not be a good idea, but auctioning off someone’s wife’s vagina it isn’t. 2005-07-15 1:57 pm StephenBeDoper Seriously, by law forcing software to be open sourced is one of the stupidest things ever As opposed to use of the non-word “stupidest,” which is one of the most stupid things ever. 2005-07-17 3:48 am Stupidest IS a word. People use it, everyone knows what it means, it’s in most dictionaries now. Maybe you are one of those grammar nazis that think languages do not change over time, but then you would be wrong. Anyway that has nothing to do with OS/2 so just shut your yap and quit trolling. Back on topic, I’ve used OS/2 since Warp 3 and I’ve always preferred it to Windows (at least up until 98) and I still use it on my older computer. I think it would be great if IBM made it open source, but this is IBM after all and I doubt that will ever happen. 2005-07-16 6:00 am Coral Snake Actually the original Copyright Law framed by the framers of the Constitution DID JUST THAT (put things in the public domain BY LAW) by having copyrights EXPIRE within the lifetimes of those who applied for them. This notion of perminent “Intellectual Property” is of very recent origin and it will eventually kill off the computer, entertainment and information related industries if it persists. Micro$oft and what it has done to OS/2 and other operating systems is just a SYMPTOM of the general return of 19th century style monopolies to the computer, entertainment and publishing industries through perminent copyright. Thank GOD this didn’t happen with Patents YET!!!! 2005-07-14 9:15 pm zizban Ecomstation will continue to develop and support it’s flavor of OS/2: http://www.ecomstation.com/ 2005-07-14 9:20 pm Sabon So, since they won’t sell it anymore, and obviously won’t support it, it’s now offically free to copy and pass on to others? 2005-07-14 9:34 pm No! Any discontinued software (Atari, Amiga, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Zork, whatever) is still covered by copyright for about 50 years and probably a license too. Therefore, it is not legal to duplicate it or distribute it. There are two exceptions 1. About 50 years pass and the owner does not renew the copyright. 2. The owner makes it freely distributable (maybe open source or just free of charge). 2005-07-20 9:56 pm Go back and read the announcement again. It says that anyone who wants to get furthher support can apply to IBM to get further support on a fee basis. This means,of course,that one has to have deep pockets. Serenity Ststems International just signed a new contract a couple of months ago with IBM. They market Ecimstation,which runs on OS2. 2005-07-14 9:26 pm …finally. RIP. Don’t let the tombstone hit you on the head. Die! Die! Die! On a positive note, IBM should be commended for having such a long-term strategy for a product that was obsolete many many years ago. The level of basic support will be something that I will long remember. As a current advocate of OSS, I don’t see anything that needs to be open sourced from the old OS/2 code base. 2005-07-14 9:31 pm >As a current advocate of OSS, I don’t see anything >that needs to be open sourced from the old OS/2 code base. Ah, what about the WPS? Still way ahead of any so called desktop (KDE/Gnome) from OSS. 2005-07-14 9:37 pm So, since they won’t sell it anymore, and obviously won’t support it, it’s now offically free to copy and pass on to others? I don’t see any moral problem with that even with E-Commerce Station being sold as a seperate bundle of OS/2 and other parts, though officially you won’t find IBM supporting that move. At worst, wait till January 1st. (Note: I’m not from IBM…so what do I know?) Moral issues aside, why would you want to use OS/2 except as an oddity? It would be a better idea to grab Windows 98 and run that in an emulator under another OS. While you could learn something about operating systems by using OS/2, you’d be better off with one of the other main branches of operating systems. These days, there are really only two branches; * Unix/unix; OSX, Linux, *BSD, Solaris, … * Microsoft Windows; NT branch and WinCE branch Sure, there are others…but most of them are unix-like with some BeOS or Plan9 crunchy bits. OS/2 is an oddity. It is not more like an incompatable — though nice in its day — branch of Windows. (That day being about 8 years ago.) 2005-07-14 10:09 pm rcsteiner Moral issues aside, why would you want to use OS/2 except as an oddity? Isn’t that enough reason? 🙂 I can actually think of three reasons why it might still have some appeal from a hobbyist perspective: (1) Using OS/2 *will* a learning experience for someone who has only used Windows, Linux/BSD, or BeOS. The platform represents an approach to the “Desktop OS” problem that really isn’t *nix-like or Windows-like at all in most respects, and it has both a strong GUI plus a fairly strong command line and scripting environment with Rexx (and remember, both 4DOS and 4OS2 are legal freeware now so it has two very good shells aside from the bash and zsh ports). (2) OS/2 is the best DOS juggler in the world. 🙂 As an environment for running older DOS software multiple DOS versions concurrently, OS/2 is without parallel. Linux with DOSEMU/DOSBox might come close in some ways, but it’s really not the same. (3) If one is lucky and can find a good older software source, there are still enough older programs and such available (between native OS/2 retail/shareware stuff and older 16-bit Windows stuff) to actually turn OS/2 into an incredibly useful platform. I still do almost everything under OS/2 at home except gaming and MIDI stuff. Remember: it’s all about the applications. 🙂 2005-07-16 5:19 am Well considering most ATMS used/still use OS/2 as their OS, it’s something that you might want to implement in a runtime/production environment where you don’t want any downtime. Let’s say we use it as a security system, where you have to swipe a card, punch in a PIN, etc. Not likely to be invaded by a virus, since you would be running OS/2 without the windows manager. Not sure how this will affect my workplace, but we have/had some mainframes that were running OS/2 in microcode. Les 2005-07-14 9:42 pm Ah, what about the WPS? Still way ahead of any so called desktop (KDE/Gnome) from OSS. It’s not a good match. How would you map the WPS to KDE or Gnome let alone use it under X? It would be a better use of time to put WPS-style integration into either X or a window manager along with open desktop extentions that KDE/Gnome/… share. Keep in mind that I’ve seen nothing that matches what OS/2’s WPS tried to do. (Tried, because it was unstable at times and had a bad design that caused focus problems.) 2005-07-14 9:45 pm Microsoft is trying to kill of Windows 2000 and Apple is trying to kill off Mac OS 9, yet the successor to each product is less than half a decade old. Contrast that with IBM, which is supporting OS/2 for nearly a decade after it’s last major release. I really do miss IBM’s first rate support (well, it was first rate in the mid-1990s). They went out of their way to help to troubleshoot a conflict between OS/2 and my third party hardware, just because they wanted to improve OS/2. It didn’t really matter that I was an insignificant customer, they still did it. 2005-07-14 10:03 pm mini-me I would like to echo the call for abandonware to become legal. When a producer stops producing a good, that should be the end of their copyright on that specific product – from then on there they should be providing it for free, or giving consent for distribution (provided that the product is not misused – i.e. used for illegal purposes) 2005-07-14 10:54 pm eMagius So as soon as a book finishes its first print run, it should be made public domain? That’s absurd. It would be nice if IBM made OS/2 open-source or just made the binaries public domain, but neither would be good for IBM’s investment in GNU/Linux. 2005-07-15 12:38 am mini-me books are different – book publishers dont EOL their books, the same goes for video sellers. for books and videos/music there can be other stipulations such as 10 years after the end of the first printing. if a book is not profitable, the publisher will not print again. 2005-07-14 10:08 pm so when will anyone start on OS/3 thrid gen OS.. is it possible to create something new these days….. 2005-07-14 10:14 pm Maybe all OS/2 users will finally see a reason to migrate to Windows 95. 2005-07-14 10:26 pm rcsteiner Maybe all OS/2 users will finally see a reason to migrate to Windows 95. Sure, and all Porsche owners might start driving Fords someday, also. Or (as you suggest) Yugos. 🙂 2005-07-15 4:22 am Excuse me, but Ford makes great cars. The Mustang, and their trucks are some of the most reliable autos in the USA (customer reports, consumer guide, etc..etc.) do your research before you bash something that rednecks bash. 2005-07-14 10:16 pm my mom uses os2 and she likes it and has no trouble with it…. thought i would throw the “run of the mill” statement out there…. 2005-07-14 10:24 pm captainmellow i had a horrendous experience w/ warp3 back in the summer of 95. i wanted something non-ms (was already using pc-dos 7), and i thought os/2 would fit the bill. the problems i encountered scarred me to this day. now that i’m on linux, i’ve no reason to even give os/2 a second glance, whether it’s open sourced or not. 2005-07-14 10:54 pm ronaldst i had a horrendous experience w/ warp3 back in the summer of 95. i wanted something non-ms (was already using pc-dos 7), and i thought os/2 would fit the bill. the problems i encountered scarred me to this day. The same thing happened to me but instead of OS/2 it was with Linux distros. 😡 2005-07-14 10:59 pm morgoth Quote: “Banks don’t turn around on a dime because a bad decision could put a lot of their customers at risk.” Tough luck banks. IBM has the rights to abandon the OS2/Warp 4 project any time that they like. It’s most probably costing them more money than it’s making, so it’s a good business decision. Unless there’s a support contract there between IBM and the Banks, tough luck. I would *put* money on it that IBM had told these sorts of customers a fair while ago (before making it public) that OS/2 Warp 4 was going to *stop* at a particular given date. That said, then the banks have had ample time to search for alternatives, and it’s their own problem. That would reflect on very bad IT management being employed by the banks. I look at some of the new style ATM terminals and they’re exceptionally badly designed. Buttons too far apart making them awkward to use. Buttons have to be really *firmly* depressed to register. Large screens, with details placed in large fonts on the screen (easy for people to see your details). Very little “shielding” of the keypad, again making it easier for others to spy on you entering you pin details etc. Keyboard heights that are just plain uncomfortable. As a male of average height (6′) they are uncomfortable to use. They even feel slugglish to use these days, at least the old terminals were *snappy*. Of course I’m talking about the trend of Australian banks and their ATM terminals, I have no experience of non Australian ATMs. Dave 2005-07-15 4:36 am Has the ATM EVER given you the wrong amount of money? No. Seems UI takes a back seat to reliable cash dispensing and a solid backend. OS/2 is one of the most stable OS ever, and I mourn its death. Banks are right to stick with it, its well characterized and works. Sorry you want a fancy UI, but the only thing that sucks about new ATMs is those foolish talking advertisements while you wait for the cash. Complexity sucks. Want them to put LCDs in your seat in an airplane or keep the thing from crashing. 2005-07-15 5:47 am Of course IBM has the right to drop OS/2 support at anytime, provided that they fulfill their existing support contracts. But IBM does not do that very often. Corporate types tend to like stability and long term business plans. That’s why corporate types tend to go to companies like IBM and Microsoft, both of which have long term support plans for their products. Contrast that to a company like Apple, which has never been able to make much headway into the corporate world. Part of the reason is simple: they don’t let their clients know what their long term business plan is. When Apple turned around and said, “we are switching to the 80×86 next year; developers who still use CodeWarrior are screwed, because we didn’t tell Metrowerks about this transition; and any software built for Mac OS 9 or earlier will not work,” they slapped their customers and developers in the face. Now look at who feeds the corporate clients, and who doesn’t. 2005-07-14 11:01 pm I do phone switches for a living and the activevoice voice mail system used OS/2 as the OS. It is bullet proof. In all my years I NEVER had to deal with the OS. It will run for years. Granted, its just the voice mail app riding on top 8/16/32 port. It just runs. The newer system come with windows 200X. The interface sucks, its godawful slow, and is simply more difficult to work with. I guess thats progress. Sniff, sorry to see OS/2 go…. 2005-07-14 11:09 pm ppk1100sc As long as I can do the following; e-mail without the fear of contacting virus, Internet browse with out adware infections; Wordprocessing; Digatal photo processing & printing; Burn photo & data CD’s; CAD drawing; Web page design: etc, etc, etc, And it will multitask, I will use Seranity Systems successer to IBM’s os2 Ecomstation! 2005-07-14 11:16 pm Rune I was under the impression that many banks were still running OS/2 on the desktop as well as on the ATMs. I know that my bank did last time i snuck a glance at a monitor. Mostly for interfacing with a mainframe though, but I’m guessing that there are still a lot of support and maintenance contracts, which probably makes it difficult to open the source any time soon. 2005-07-14 11:34 pm Just a thought, but perhaps those interested in OS/2 could hold out a couple more years for ReactOS. Sure, it’s a Windows NT clone, but there are plans to implement an OS/2 subsystem. Sure, it’s far from ideal, but what in this world truely is? They’ve made some nice progress of late, and I would be seriously stunned and suprised if it weren’t usable for many things in the next year or two. Not a long time to wait, IMO. Lack of beer makes me think silly things like this 😛 2005-07-14 11:36 pm dtravis7 I used OS/2 since 2.1 through Warp 4. Loved it. The most stable OS I have ever ran on any computer. I had to go to Windows at one point due to lack of support for the things I had to do, but will always miss the stability, multitasking and reliability of OS/2. 2005-07-14 11:38 pm Sphinx And still the only OS I ever knew with the ability to fall off a novell network and jump right back on without a reset, just close the window and reopen it. A stable rock solid feature filled performer. I will miss it for it was truly one of the great all time OS’s. If you never got to know it intimately you really missed something. 2005-07-15 7:05 am evert Linux could connect to Novell Netware shares and disconnect many years ago. No need for OS/2 just to do that. 2005-07-15 12:16 am poundsmack what does this mean for ecomstation? 2005-07-15 12:19 am ronaldst Nothing much. eComStation continues to move on… Here’s a statement from Bob St-John: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eComStation/message/67293 2005-07-15 12:39 am Here’s something for all the “let’s open source it” people to think about. Since when do you need code to impliment an idea? 2005-07-15 12:49 am You don’t need a buildings blueprints to build a copy of it, but having them makes it much easier. Same thing here. 2005-07-15 1:28 am I’ve put many little details in this post. Hope you enjoy them. “”Moral issues aside, why would you want to use OS/2 except as an oddity?”” Isn’t that enough reason? 🙂 Touche! I can actually think of three reasons why it might still have some appeal from a hobbyist perspective: (1) Using OS/2 *will* a learning experience for someone who has only used Windows, Linux/BSD, or BeOS. I know quite a bit about OS/2. I’d like those parts of my brain back…along with most of the details covering DOS memory managers. If you want to learn about operating systems, strip both Windows (NT+) and one of the OSS unixes (*BSD, Linux, and now open Solaris) down to the bare bones and poke around in all the corners you can. What additional you can learn from OS/2 is minimal and will take just as much effort as either unix or Windows. (Yes, learning Windows is a real PITA — it’s only easy for the things Microsoft wants you to easily.) The platform represents an approach to the “Desktop OS” problem that really isn’t *nix-like or Windows-like at all in most respects, and it has both a strong GUI plus a fairly strong command line and scripting environment with Rexx (and remember, both 4DOS and 4OS2 are legal freeware now so it has two very good shells aside from the bash and zsh ports). 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. 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. On the other hand, selling parts of 4DOS to other tool makers plus some of the 4DOS shareware payments gave him enough money to take a n almost year-long world-wide sailing trip. You know what? He’s the kind of guy who deserves that kind of trip. While I did my duity and bought OS/2 software, did not raz developers or other material supporters of OS/2, StarDock’s Brad Wardell’s closing comments were correct and not flattering for many OS/2 fans even if the number of negitive people were low. (2) OS/2 is the best DOS juggler in the world. 🙂 As an environment for running older DOS software multiple DOS versions concurrently, OS/2 is without parallel. Linux with DOSEMU/DOSBox might come close in some ways, but it’s really not the same. Yes, it was impressive at the time (8 years ago). Today? It’s not impressive at all. Any emulator or a VM environment like VMWare or Xen trounce OS/2 DOS support easily. ((Did I mention that I know quite a bit about DOS memory and memory managers?)) (3) If one is lucky and can find a good older software source, there are still enough older programs and such available (between native OS/2 retail/shareware stuff and older 16-bit Windows stuff) to actually turn OS/2 into an incredibly useful platform. I still do almost everything under OS/2 at home except gaming and MIDI stuff. Remember: it’s all about the applications. 🙂 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. At the point that you add X, why not run some full and modern version of unix? 2005-07-15 9:15 pm rcsteiner 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). 2005-07-15 1:30 am OS/2 runs great under Virtual PC and is even supported by Microsoft. Many banks still use OS/2 on PCs today. 2005-07-15 1:31 am http://www.os2world.com/petition/ 2005-07-15 1:33 am Ronald Vos I failed, and I regret it to this day. Why did I fail? Because I hated Windows, while there was a valid alternative, and I didn’t switch. While I was continually cursing at Windows95 because it didn’t ran my DOS games right, it didn’t recognize the hardware, it was slow, buggy, crash-prone, and memory-leaking, I didn’t convince my dad to switch. And I didn’t convince my friends to switch either. Someone tried to convince me though: he told me that it was less of a resource-hog, stabler, and ran both Windows and DOS programs just fine. And I didn’t entirely believe him. And because people like me didn’t know or believe, Microsoft kept selling, while OS/2 had a tiny market. There was an alternative, and because I didn’t take it, it became less and less viable. Sniff. On a different note: I was cleaning up old university leaflets from the days back when I was still picking which university to go, and I found one from the Technical University in Delft, Holland. One bit was about how proud they were to *finally* switch their DOS servers to something more highly advanced: OS/2. This was back in 1992. 2005-07-15 1:40 am I failed, and I regret it to this day. Why did I fail? Because I hated Windows, while there was a valid alternative, and I didn’t switch. Back when I adopted OS/2, I didn’t hate Microsoft. I did lothe IBM, though. So, why did I switch to OS/2? Simple story; I was instructed to analyze OS/2 as a market threat to my company’s DOS memory manager program. Marketing wanted to know what the weaknesses were in OS/2 so they could answer questions as they came up. After laughing at IBM’s obviously failed OS, and making snide comments, I dug deep in to figure out what the weaknesses were. 2 months later, I was convinced and quite humbled; OS/2 was sweet. Having said all that, I gave away my copies of OS/2 and all the software I bought over the years in 1998. I still have many of the files from the last system that I ran OS/2 on a backup drive. OS/2 was good. It has many good features. It won me on merit, not as an alternative to Microsoft’s offerings. Linux did the same in the mid-90s. 2005-07-15 1:46 am “” rel=”nofollow”>http://www.os2world.com/petition/” Nope. Won’t happen. Not with my help. As a former OS/2 user and advocate, I’d sign a petition to have IBM not waste a single dime on anything OS/2. OS/2 was good. It’s dead. There’s nothing left on the bones worth taking. Stop picking at it. 2005-07-15 2:28 am Linux? More like Linshoehorn, the way they’re trying to cram all these new “features” into it. 2005-07-15 2:29 am because it has a substantial amount of code from AIX, including the IP stack. 2005-07-15 2:37 am lord-storm Even most users that are considering moving would have to port their programs over to a simmular os. What about all the VAX users out there with outdated DB and no more migration tools? Banks and the like will migrate when they are ready and I dont want no buggy ATM One that takes my money away and then crashes before i recive the money. IBM would still get these customers because abandonware or Unsupported Freeware will eventualy become plaged with security problems and need to be upgraded anyway by the banks so they have no real choice. Only the OSnewser type can realy benifit from this becomming a reality. 2005-07-15 3:18 am Sign the petition to open source OS/2 http://www.os2world.com/petition 2005-07-15 3:46 am I didn’t actually know that OS/2 was still in active development until I read this article. Considering IBM’s appparent trend away from the desktop markets I guess this isn’t too surprising: laptops, PowerPC 970, and now OS/2. 2005-07-15 3:57 am Brad thats suppose to be “as they please” at the end. 2005-07-15 4:11 am I started in the computer field supporting OS/2 at IBM. The hardware in 1992 was terribly underpowered to run this OS well…lots of waiting due to low memory for swapping. At that time, we had DOS, and Windows 3.1 and WFW (Windows 3.11). Compared to these, OS/2 was light years ahead. I read tons of IBM doco’s on how pre-emptive multi-tasking systems worked, and it was good reading. It’s amazing how advanced this OS was compared to the junk available at the time for PC’s. I ran two copies of Borland C++ (2 different versions, I believe) for DOS in 2 separate dos box windows. Both set to compile some dos programs. Worked like a charm. Remember how in Windows at this time, as soon as you formatted a floppy disk, the whole system was unusable? Well, no problem in OS/2. It could format that disk and still remaind perfectly usable. It was nice to have a workspace setup such that the main folder, when minimized or closed, would do the same to all other sub-folders that you opened up from within it. Made keeping track of a project very easy. How about that you could run NetBEUI, TCP/IP, and IPX/SPX, and DLC (for connectivity through “Communications Manager” back to the mainframe, all at the same time, and it was perfectly stable? Windows really had a hard time with networking protocols. Even though IBM at the time seemed to care about OS/2 becoming legit on user’s desktops, they were not as serious as Microsoft. After all, what else did MS have? IBM had tons of stuff they were making money on (although MF sales at the time were dismal). This is about the time (mid 90’s) where MS really kicked it into high gear, starte FUD (remember the junk about the single application queue for OS/2 which “could” hang your whole desktop? I don’t know how many times I heard that garbage repeated from MS drones and article writers. As if this were an achilles heel for OS/2 that was so bad that it was a piece of junk. Now think to how often this currently happens on Windows (pick any version), and it’s like what, 10 years later. What a joke. Well, I think the WPS was a nifty desktop and the drag and drop concept was really developed nicely. Yes, it took some getting used to, but it worked well. OK, enough nostalgia for now, for those who were in a position similar to me supporting os/2 since around version 2.0 – WARP3, hope this reminded you of the good old days. I enjoyed being the “OS/2 guru” at the time and I still have fond memories of that point in PC computing time… 2005-07-15 5:59 am About time OS/2 got terminated. Never liked this OS at all. So, no tears for from me. Long live BeOS / Haiku / Zeta 2005-07-15 6:51 am pravda OS/2 never had a chance. As we see with IBM selling their PC division to China/Lenovo, computers for people is not an IBM core competency. Overcharging people for “services” by “suits” is IBM’s core competency. And so IBM is supporting broken stuff like Linux and Java which require *immense* service and support. IBM does not support any technology that is not fundamentally broken and complex. For IBM, simplicity is bad for business. 2005-07-15 8:55 am worked for a bank here, in the caribbean, and a lot of the ATMs still rock OS/2,, up till last year, we still had a WSOD server ( workspace on demand ), and one standalone machine in the credit card section that ran a database in DB/2 that hadn’t been updated in years.. if it aint broke, don;t fix it.. sidenote.. i remember when i was in secondary school ( equiv to high school in the states) and i LUSTED after warp..lol… to me, it was innovative, extremely well put together, and not to mention cool… os/2 is dead.. long live os/2! with regards to open sourcing the OS… i highly doubt. i am sure ( but not 100%) that some of the patents for it are jointly held with MS ( the absentee parent)……or perhaps were licensed from elswhere.. or maybe are in portfolios IBM is not willing to shre right now.. it’s their right, anyway why open source it? i would have loved to see it living out here… just to give people a choice.. not everyone wants to run a flav of linux or bsd.. 2005-07-15 9:46 am frood I’ve used OS/2 in a few jobs, usually banks. Once was for some ancient training software they wanted me to go through, which was actually a windows 3.1 app funnily enough. The other was for varifying signitures when clearing cheques. 2005-07-16 12:25 am anand78 ” varifying signitures” WHAAT 2005-07-15 9:58 am … switched a few years ago to Linux. Found that most software I wanted to run were ports of Linux/OSS sw anyway (except WPS extensions), so why not use then as developed rather than ported? 2005-07-15 12:00 pm I was really excited about OS/2 Warp when it first came out. Even bought myself a copy (and several big programming tomes). Ran it for a year or so, then I switched to Linux. In any event, on every machine I ever installed it on, I found that dragging and dropping a reasonable sized directory tree (to copy it) would pile up the interface. Not very impressive. How did the QA guys manage to miss something like that? 2005-07-15 12:05 pm OS/2 may have been withdrawn by IBM, and IBM may no longer be providing updates, by OS/2 is far from dead. For a few years now it has also existed as eComStation, a fortified version of OS/2 with several enhancements, new installer and application suites with it. eComStation is from a company called Serenity Systems, and they have an exclusive agreement with IBM to continue selling and supporting eComStation despite IBM’s own withdrawal. I know what you’re thinking – how can eComStation continue without IBM’s involvement. Well OS/2 was always a modularly designed OS. Because of this, there are 3rd party versions of crucial device drivers and support services that eComStation already uses by default. These are functionally superior to their IBM equivalents and are usually open-source. For example, the universal SATA/IDE disk driver is no longer from IBM, a new single graphics driver runs over 4,500 graphics cards (supporting 100’s of chipsets) with hardware acceleration (see http://www.scitechsoft.com) and a WPS-addin called eWorkPlace re-invents parts of the WPS shell (www.xworkplace.org). WPS allows 3rd party modules to be written to “slot-in” to replace or enhance the in-built versions. So to add trash cans, different folder views, different templates etc is all very easy. Libraries also exist for unified single network card driver (again one driver runs many cards) see http://www.os2world.be Because OS/2 is entirely componentized, it is easy to add open-source or 3rd party versions. The kernel does belong to IBM and there is little chance of writing your own one of those easily ;-)) – but the kernel is stable and flexible. For example, an OS/2 kernel of 1993 (build 6.0xx) can be installed today on a multi-processor system – and with all the third party add-ons – an installation of this ancient kernel with run quite happily and fast today on modern hardware (the latest kernels from IBM are now the 14.xxx builds). eComStation also includes ODIN (an OS/2 version of the WINE Windows Emulator), JFS (now open-sourced by IBM to Linux) and in-built bullet-proof firewall and IP stack. Mozilla, Firefox and Openoffice are all available too… Yes, OS/2 may be dead, but it gave birth to eComStation first… 2005-07-16 2:16 am eComStation is a retarded name, whomever thought of it should never be allowed to work in corporate america ever again. That’s probably the #1 reason why people ignore the OS and it’s website. …”eComStation sounds like it was made by children, therefore this must be a crappy OS” 2005-07-16 4:27 pm eCS it’s nothing more than a version of Warp with lots of add on that make it difficult to install. It cost plenty of money and it doesn’t have any support. It depends on IBM for drivers updates etc., to install these there is a buggy installer eCS specific that needs to be worked on all the time. When IBM closes, eCS will be gone. 2005-07-15 12:12 pm >> OS/2 Was The King Baby >> A stable rock solid feature filled performer. I will miss it for it was truly one of the great all time OS’s. If you never got to know it intimately you really missed something. Here here! OS/2 WAS rock solid. I used it for a project at work once, just because of the file system, HPFS. We had THOUSANDS, 33 thousand little control files for some milling machines. HPFS was the only file system at that time that could handle the files without clustering problems…these little files would take up all of the hard drive space just because of the minimum allocation in the file system. We would need 3 hard drives under DOS, but just under one third of a drive (I forget the drive sizes back then) under HPFS. And what was even more clever was that OS/2 ran the real-time DOS control software for the milling machine in a multitasked environment FASTER and SMOOTHER than PC-DOS 7. I fell in love with OS/2 so much, I used it at home and then at College. In College, IBM was pitching us engineers to do development on it…but everyone became focused on Windows NT 4.0 by that time (which was not out when I did the OS/2 project) and the OS just kind of faded away. I used OS/2 more then 6 years on a regular basis, and it took me while to realize that I did not have to dual boot it with NT 4.0 for a long while…I just have never seen such a rock solid kernel…the only problem with OS/2 is that it was designed to really use just the Intel processors. Dano 2005-07-15 5:19 pm i doubt they can open source it. i think microsoft wouldn’t allow it, as i believe they worked on os/2 with ibm. 2005-07-15 5:51 pm “He’s dead, Jim !” What, AGAIN ?! But some of us (non-suckers, and more in the know, I like to think) just keep on happily using it, or in the form of the eCS successor. And will keep right on doing so. It runs plenty of competent, bread & butter business app.s, and handles your email and internet stuff just fine, all with as much reliability as you could ever ask for. If you’re a gamer, do video editing, or prize the “sizzle” aspect of your GUI over the steak, then Yeah, you should definitely stick with the Redmund product. If you primarily run PhotoShop, you should probably be using a Mac. (But, for light duty tasks with photos, PMVIEW/2 is quite adequate.) Meanwhile: I watch Win take its good sweet time booting up; the exploits and patches of the week; the lucrative cottage industries of antivirus and anti-spyware software (about which categories we just yawn and ignore); being able to inspect any piece of email with no fear of consequences; the fact that so much of our applications software and utilities are now FREE; the fact that our “defunct” OS is of a modular design, so you never have to worry about installing some recalcitrant piece of software that brings down the whole dang system, screws up the fiendishly labyrinthine Registry, and resists all efforts to remove it, even in “Safe Mode”. I could go on, but it’s to laugh. There are probably a lot more of us dead-enders than you think (SUN seems to believe the worldwide total runs to 8 figures, but that’s plain nuts), and we just keep on trucking. 2005-07-15 6:27 pm Rest in peace, OS/2… 2005-07-15 9:29 pm 4DOS I still fondly remember as quite possibly the best shell ever. Combine that with any other shell’s scripting engine (bash, OS/2’s cmd.exe’s REXX, amiga’s aRexx, csh, tcsh, anything else), and you’d have the most awesome thing ever. (4DOS/4OS2’s batch language was an extended DOS batch, which was in turn a greatly stripped down /bin/sh script.. so.. i didn’t like it one bit) Before I switched to OS/2 in 1994, all I ever used were : 4DOS, Q-Edit, games. After i switch to OS/2, all I ever used were: 4OS2, 4DOS, Q-Edit, games. heh. 2005-07-16 3:29 am Thanks for the long and thoughtful response. Up front: I’m an old OS/2 advocate and have fond memories of it…in the same way that I did about my 198? Ford Escort. It doesn’t mean that I want one now! As for me, I’ll try and keep my response short and to the point…otherwise we’d be writing novels soon. I’m talking about Rex. Good guy. He was visiting the company I worked for at the time when he made the comments. 4DOS was adapted to do parsing of config files as a part of a DOS memory manager (386Max & BlueMax). As for Impractical. I can’t run VMWare on my PPro box (not enough RAM), and Xen requires changes to existing OSes I have to disagree; 1. Pentium Pros were released about 10 years ago. They haven’t been sold in almost as many years. Most elementary schools won’t take them if you gave them away. 2. VM systems are useable now on current hardware. 3. Xen 3.x comming out shortly will not require changes to an OS with the proper hardware. EMX and posix subsystems. Nope. Haven’t heard or EMX. Did know about OS/2’s posix support. Doesn’t matter though, since if you compile posix compliant software from source, why not do it under some flavor of unix? (BSD, Linux, Solaris, …) Not only does OS/2 have a lot more capable desktop software available for it than either Solaris or … 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 … OS/2’s desktop was almost perfect…except for that one lockup problem. That bit me on a regular basis. Linux with either KDE (using it now) or Gnome (use it at work) don’t. “The only completely consistent people are the dead.” — Aldous Huxley Same goes for operating systems, toolkits, and APIs. The APIs layered on top of X are not specific to any one *nix are stable — though they aren’t static. They are messy and complex as a whole — because people are spending time developing them and improving them. Now, addressing your comment about size: OS/2 can’t be scaled down. Linux (and the BSDs) can and are; Linksys routers, cell phones, and the future Palm OS. OS/2 can’t be scaled up. Linux (and the BSDs) are; from servers, to clusters, grids, and mainframes including most of the top 500 supercomputers. OS/2 can’t be deployed on new hardware or any non-x86 hardware (and no, I don’t count the limited release PowerPC version as viable). Does OS/2 support serial ATA devices? I’d be stunned if it did. Linux (and the BSDs) are; available for just about any CPU in current production plus a few that are no longer being produced. All categories of devices are supported, if not any one specific device. 2005-07-16 8:14 am Yes it does support SATA drives… for more than a year or two now. And yes. It does support USB (even 2.0) for more than five years now. As well as PCI-E graphic cards.(and usb scanners are more and more usefull for warpers, as it will become with usb webcams this year Well actually I’ve put old hard drive (from p133) with warp 4.52 (with all new fixpacks) to new shiny box (cel 2.2 ghz) – switch power on… and voila. Only driver I need was sblive 5.1 driver (one can choose between uniaudio (alsa compliant) and sblive (older port from unix). Rest of junk worked out of box… cordless logitech mouseman on usb, 3com nic and rest…radeon 9500pro. So one can call it nostalgia, but another will find it fiting well into scalability definition. We’re not talking here about 500 processors or clusters, but when it comes to 2 or 4 cpus (real, not that fake ht) os/2 seems happy to run on smp (and yes there’s a chance a new multicore cpus will smp compliant… so smp version of warp or esc could use them, but this is not sure yet) So I’ve tried to fire up a winXP from first partition… Well as I’ve done with BSODs and so… I gave up, and spent another lovely hour reinstalling this modern well scalable product…. So It seems to me that your opinion on warp comes out from mid 90′. In fact, hardware support in OS/2 is a lot better now than in 1999… (btw. there is no problem to add support for usb 2.0 in os/2 2.1… try the same with win95…. ) 2005-07-18 4:34 pm rcsteiner Thanks for the response. 🙂 FWIW, I *do* largely agree that either Linux or *BSD or something fairly similar is probably the future (which is why I’ve been slowly trying to migrate my desktop in that direction since the RedHat 4.2 days, and why my file servers and firewall are already there). Most of my comments are made in my own desktop context at home on my existing hardware, and are being made as a long-time OS/2 user who has had over a decade to accumulate lots of very useful software that is no longer available to the public. 🙁 A new OS/2 user would probably find things a lot more difficult than I do. Because of this, I don’t advocate OS/2 anymore for general use, although I still think it has some value for reasons that I outlined previously. I agree that my PPro boxes are very old, but using OS/2 I can still surf the web with Firefox with no delays using a cablemodem connection, I can still burn CDs in the background while doing other stuff, I can still do the types of application work that I need to at home, and I can still play a number of the smaller games I like putzing around with. That’s all I ask of a desktop machine. In any case, I’d say I got a *lot* of value for my PC dollar (both in terms of hardware and software). 🙂 I agree with most of your architectural comparisons between OS/2 and Linux, but those features (while nice) won’t run the software I want to run in the way I want it to be run, and the X toolkit API thrashing is really bugging the heck out of me. Until that stuff is addressed, or unless my existing desktop stops doing what I want, it’s going to be hard for me to justify a move. It has to be a net positive, and right now it isn’t. Its’ getting a LOT closer as time goes on, though… 2005-07-16 7:10 am IBM switched to open source but prefer to kill his own OS… why not open source it ??? http://www.petitiononline.com/OS24FREE http://www.osfree.org Marco Radossevich 2005-07-16 11:30 am I didn’t see anything from IBM that it’s OK to copy OS/2. They just won’t be selling it. It may be ethical to do so, but not legal, unless they and other OS/2 copyright holders — including Microsoft — specifically allow it. Well considering most ATMS used/still use OS/2 as their OS, it’s something that you might want to implement in a runtime/production environment where you don’t want any downtime. I worked in the banking sector on deploying newly developed systems that interacted with ATMs; I didn’t see one. Ever. I talked with someone last year who designed ATM systems for banks and OS/2 was not used on any new system he knew of — from his company or competitors. OS/2 while in use at ATMs was never in use to the extent that advocates said it was…and I being a former advocate was looking. New ATMs aren’t being developed on OS/2. If you got the figures and a source for them, I’m willing to change my mind. Let’s say we use it as a security system, where you have to swipe a card, punch in a PIN, etc. Not likely to be invaded by a virus, since you would be running OS/2 without the windows manager. Same could be done with Linux…or one of the BSDs…or open Solaris. The bonus is that you can verify the code is secure yourself. This is something that you can’t do with OS/2. I’m not a fan of security through obscurity, though obscurity does have a place. Not sure how this will affect my workplace, but we have/had some mainframes that were running OS/2 in microcode. Never heard of that, so I’ll take you as the expert. With Linux, I think IBM has made it possible to run the mainframe with or without a hypervisor though I would think that with would be the preferable choice in nearly every instance. Full suite of Linux (and posix) apps one short compile away if not pre-compiled for you. 2005-07-16 11:45 am Yes it does support SATA drives… for more than a year or two now. Shocking. Too bad you won’t be getting driver updates now! And yes. It does support USB (even 2.0) for more than five years now. As well as PCI-E graphic cards.(and usb scanners are more and more usefull for warpers, as it will become with usb webcams this year Well actually I’ve put old hard drive (from p133) with warp 4.52 (with all new fixpacks) to new shiny box (cel 2.2 ghz) – switch power on… and voila. Only driver I need was sblive 5.1 driver (one can choose between uniaudio (alsa compliant) and sblive (older port from unix). Rest of junk worked out of box… cordless logitech mouseman on usb, 3com nic and rest…radeon 9500pro. I made no claims about USB or video drivers. Just SATA. You’re talking about other issues. That said, with a closed source and EOLed OS, you should buy more of the hardware that you know works. If you stay with OS/2, you’ll need it! So one can call it nostalgia, but another will find it fiting well into scalability definition. We’re not talking here about 500 processors or clusters, but when it comes to 2 or 4 cpus (real, not that fake ht) os/2 seems happy to run on smp (and yes there’s a chance a new multicore cpus will smp compliant… so smp version of warp or esc could use them, but this is not sure yet) Listen, I like OS/2. I bought OS/2 software. It was my primary desktop. In 1998 I gave up on it. A couple years later, IBM made it official and said start migrating and use Java for portability. Now, they have EOLed it completely. There’s no nostalga, it’s over. It was closed source and can not be completly open sourced without IBM pouring gobs of money into it just to remove the propriatory stuff from other vendors. If it were open source to begin with, the situation would be different. So I’ve tried to fire up a winXP from first partition… Well as I’ve done with BSODs and so… I gave up, and spent another lovely hour reinstalling this modern well scalable product…. WinXP is good if you configure it. It’s a royal PITA to configure so most people do not do it. That’s why I avoid it myself. So It seems to me that your opinion on warp comes out from mid 90′. Yep. In fact, hardware support in OS/2 is a lot better now than in 1999… I would expect it to have improved somewhat, though if your statements are accurate, it’s good that IBM and partners have supported you so for so long. * With Linux (and the BSDs) and now open Solaris, vendor support isn’t a requirement. It’s a bonus. * With OSX, Apple has a clear path and is strong enough to continue with OSX on two platforms. * With Windows, Microsoft is…well, they are a monopoly and aren’t going away. (btw. there is no problem to add support for usb 2.0 in os/2 2.1… try the same with win95…. ) 1. Outside of an emulator, why would anyone want to use Windows 95, 98, or ME? 2. They too are closed source, and EOLed. Like OS/2. 2005-07-16 12:46 pm OK Just to close thread… SATA support comes from independent developer… so it’s never been relying on IBM’s and Partners will.. ECS team is working hard on acpi for oes … and many others trying hard to bring bit of life into os2/ecs – none of them, I belive, never counted that much on IBM’s long-term help on that… So that’s I think, why so many of still-users still see some point and future in it. greetings/2 2005-07-16 1:04 pm Just to close thread… Good points. So that’s I think, why so many of still-users still see some point and future in it. At the end of the day, you won’t be able to buy OS/2 in 2006 from IBM and IBM isn’t (???) allowing anyone to copy it…except for one company that has a commercial and closed source product based on OS/2. The core of the product is not capable of adapting in the long term…no source! 2005-07-16 2:45 pm OK, I think a few things need clearing up here: 1) eComStation’s disk driver (SATA etc), Video driver (and some network driver libraries) are now all supported by 3rd party with constant updates. Newer filesystem (e.g. NTFS) drivers and USB drivers are also supplied by a 3rd party. 2) The way eComStation is designed allows fundamental changes to product because the whole of the architecture is 1) Layered 2) Module-replaceceable 3) 3-rd parties have already done so 3) eComStation *can* be slimmed down. Did no-one ever hear of BlueBird? IBM’s OS for slimmed down network-devices? It’s eComStation without secondary services and some bits of the shell 4) Serenity Systems have indicated that IBM EOL OS/2 does not affect them. 5) eComStation can run WINE and also several flavours of virtual PC – but it’s in-built DOS boxes are more than adequate for most DOS games/programs. 2005-07-16 10:54 pm joelito_pr I think that the best way to go for IBM is to release some specs that can be used to create a FOSS OS/2-like system. And personally, with some specs even I would be able to make it my first serious project… 2005-07-17 3:13 pm I see all these folks saying OS/2 is dead because of some announcement. What this announcment is equal to is M$ saying they stopped selling and supporting Win98. You can still buy the latest versions, XP. So, just as with OS/2 you can get the latest supported versions, eComStation. Don’t let the actual name of the products blind you, it’s still OS/2 inside. How many years later and we are still dealing with the “it’s dead” FUD?