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.
eComStation Promotional Price Cut
About The Author
Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.
Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli
2005-11-15 2:03 amRonald Vos
That future of course involving competing against a horde of rapidly maturing niche OSes..Syllable, Haiku, Zeta, SkyOS, Linux/KDE, Linux/Gnome, PC BSD etc.
2005-11-15 2:04 amzizban
eCom is still very far ahead of those OSes. Not that I am bashing them, it’s just eCom,via OS/2, had a huge head start.
2005-11-15 4:40 amMechaShiva
Having a head start doesn’t do you much good when development stagnated for a good many years before eCom was given the license to extend it. Put gently, eComstation is most certainly not ‘still very far ahead’. It is however an excellent, proven migration path for people/businesses with lots of legacy applications that they need to have working now. It is not a platform for people working on new deployments.
2005-11-15 5:53 pmrcsteiner
Stagnant? Only in the eyes of the public. 🙂
IBM has been continuously releasing new drivers (USB support, etc.) and other new features (JFS, LVM, etc.) for OS/2 even as recently as this year, as well as licensing things like Scitech’s SNAP drivers so they are available for all OS/2 users.
Even new OS/2 kernels have been available informally from IBM if you know where to look for them.
Yes, eCS is a very welcome addition, and it provides a public outlet for those fixes, but OS/2 as a platform has hardly been standing still, and on a low-resource box it beats almost anything out there…
2005-11-15 2:40 amjeremywc
Linux/KDE and Linux/GNOME can’t really be considered niche OSes anymore. Linux itself has gotten to a point where you can call it more or less mainstream and most distros feature KDE or GNOME as the default DE.
2005-11-15 6:03 pmrcsteiner
OS/2 was still considered a “niche OS” even when it had over 10% of the desktop market. In the eyes of the media and some of the major ISVs you just can’t win.
Of course, Linux has one huge advantage — it will likely never go away. 🙂
Witch would you take?
eCom will have to work extra hard to make 2.0 work good on new hardware, 64bits, good driver support.
The last big customer of OS/2 (Banks) are almost all moving to Windows (I know, it’s scary). But that’s life when you become the underdog. No new hardware are made to work with OS/2. New ATM machine works with embeded version of Windows.
So this leaves only hardcore users that still love desktop OS/2 to the bones. But 259$ (or 229$ with this promotion) is a step price to pay to live in the “past”. I would even say that a switch to a flavor of Linux would be a better upgrade path. Better support, 64bits, multi-platform, newer GUI, better multimedia… OH… and it’s FREE (Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, …).
I was a huge OS/2 fan when it was at 2.1 and everybody else where trying to use Windows 3.0/3.1 It was stable, fast and had real multi-tasking. At that time, it even had better multimedia support!
But since Windows 95, or now with 2000/XP, why would someone pay for eCom 1.2 (or even 2.0) for desktop use ??
2005-11-15 4:47 amMechaShiva
For desktop use, you wouldn’t.
Businesses with existing legacy code or hobbyists with money to throw around are really the primary target here. And if I’m not mistaken, it isn’t really eComstation who are dictating the price here. OS/2 had/has code from many different sources which needed to be sublicensed. Couple that with IBM’s licensing fees and then add whatever cost + profit eComstation hopes to make on this. It may be expensive to the casual user but for a business that has a lot of apps locked into the OS/2 platform, it’s probably much cheaper to pay for eComstation than for the army of developers needed to port the applications to a new platform.
2005-11-15 11:20 amtruckweb
For these business, I would say that the time has come for them to invest some money to recode their legacy code. Things change, someday you have to move along.
I don’t want to bitch about eComm, but I realy feel that it’s only a bandaid for a OS that should have died years ago.
Y2K forced many business to rewrite their code… Something should have changed at that time.
2005-11-15 8:36 pmLewisR
>I realy feel that it’s only a bandaid for a OS that should have died years ago
Huh? In favor of…what? Windows and all of its security flaws and inherent instability? Linux and package-dependency h-ll?
OS/2 is a solid, reliable operating platform. You might as well have made the above statement with regard to Irix, HP-UX, AIX, SCO, or NetWare. There are obvious applications for an operating system such as OS/2, and for a flexible desktop such as the Workplace Shell (vs the Windows GUI or the still relatively quirky Gnome or KDE desktops).
Legacy code? You make it sound as though no new code is being written for the OS/2 platform, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. On what do you base your opinions? I am a consultant in the trenches, earning a fairly good living supporting OS/2, Netware, and Linux systems (and yes, Windows desktops, which of all of the above, require the most attention). I see good apps and bad ones on all platforms. The fact that a piece of code dates back ten or fifteen years doesn’t automatically make it obsolete or inferior (Lotus 1-2-3 version 2 for DOS was Y2K compliant before anyone even cared about such things, and I still have clients using version 2.4 of that app – under OS/2, I might add – because it gets the job done).
2005-11-15 6:08 pmrcsteiner
Remember that the cost is far lower for those of us who are “living in the past” (and are following the upgrade path).
eCS 1.2 is only US$59 right now for those of us with eCS 1.1, and eCS 2.0 will be a free upgrade as part of the promotion.
eCom is still horribly expensive.
2005-11-15 8:49 pmLewisR
Compared to??? Linux? Okay, let’s look at that for a moment:
In a typical business environment, there are the following costs associated with software:
Let’s factor out the media costs, as we now live in a connected world. That leaves us with:
For licensing, some Linux distros are free. Of course, they provide no support from the distribution source whatsoever. Windows is bundled with new systems, as this is one of the ways in which Microsoft skews the “installed base” numbers. There’s no visible cost, however, the licensing fee is built into the system cost. With whitebox systems, the Windows OS license cost is tangible. To me (as a consultant), a Win32 license is typically around $100-$125.
Installation labor for Linux (and I mean to provide a fully patched, workable desktop system) is substantial. It is time-consuming, and requires attention to detail. For Windows, it is also time consuming, given the number of security patches which must be applied before deploying a workstation in the wilds of an office. For eComStation (not IBM OS/2!), the installation labor these days is really fairly trivial. There are few required updates to the packages on disc, and the Maintenance Tool does an admirable job of tightening up the installation.
Maintenance and upgrades, which I lump together for the sake of brevity, here, are considerable for Windows systems, less for Linux, and quite less for eComStation. At my rates ($140 per hour), the lesser time requirements of maintaining the OS make the larger initial cost of the system almost unimportant.
To put this in another perspective: An oar is cheaper than an outboard motor, but wouldn’t you like to get where you’re going with less sweat equity?
I have use OS/2 in the past. It did not impress me. From what I have read it has a number of features that are not visible to someone who just played around on it.
Without that ‘golly, gee, wow’ factor people like me are not interested in spending over $200 for an OS.
If it sells for $59 USD to some, then it needs to sell at thet price to all, and since I am in Canada that is a lot closer to $100 CND.
I think I will pass. Is there a stripped down personal version without all the licenced code like there is for BeOS? Not free, just so cheap I don’t care if I throw away the CD afterwards.
2005-11-15 8:43 pmrcsteiner
Which version of OS/2 did you use?
Hint: Generalizing the term “OS/2” is much like generalizing the term “Windows” ; the difference between the original 1.0 release and current incarnations is huge, and multiple generations of development have taken place between the two.
Most casual PC users won’t see all that much difference between OS/2’s desktop and Windows’ desktop in terms of functionalty (even though OS/2’s desktop does in fact do a lot more and does it in a way that some of us find to be more “consistant” than Windows), and most users won’t care about things like scripting desktop objects via Rexx or the ability to run legacy software.
Such is the nature of most alternative OSes — they tend to provide advantages which are appreciated only by a particular subset of users.
Windows has the greatest advantage — that of ubiquity.
The pricing is due to the fact that IBM still owns the kernel and most of the core tech, and they are refusing to lower their licensing fee for those portions of the product. Upgrade pricing exists because those folks already have that license from IBM and don’t have to pay for it again.
2005-11-15 9:02 pmLewisR
“Golly, gee, wow?” This is an operating system, for heaven’s sake, not a car stereo.
You want free? There’s a free demo CD you can get to see all that you’ve apparently missed between OS/2 1.0 (you didn’t say whcih version) and eComStation 1.2: http://www.ecomstation.com/democd/ . The CD is bootable and does indeed boot into eCS (it’s not a slideshow). It has some bundled apps, too. It will give you a good feel for the desktop and the responsiveness of the OS on your hardware (and yes, contrary to some of the comments I’ve seen here, eComStation does indeed install quite easily on NEW hardware).
Did you want free hardware to go with that, too? And, BTW, do you get free rent and free food, as well? Sorry to sound so caustic, but I get so tired of the “I might use it if it were for free” crowd. Do you think that everyone working hard to make this OS as tight as it is eats air, sleeps under the night sky, and walks to work naked? $59?? I spend more than $59 to fill the gas tank in my car, and I do that a couple times per week.
“Stripped down personal version without all the licensed code…”. Well, as IBM writes the kernel (yes, that’s right, while all the media seem to have latched onto the announcement from IBM that they will no longer be “selling” OS/2 (an exaggeration, by any stretch), the kernel is indeed 100% IBM-produced. And no, it’s not a free project at IBM, it’s a money-making proposition (how evil of them!!), so no, there is no “stripped down personal version without all the licensed code,” no.
2005-11-15 9:37 pmrcsteiner
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.
2005-11-15 10:24 pmLewisR
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 http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=31468…). 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.
2005-11-15 10:27 pmSparrowhawk
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.
2005-11-15 10:37 pmLewisR
I couldn’t have said that better. Thanks. 😉
2005-11-16 7:53 pmrcsteiner
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.
2005-11-17 10:53 amSparrowhawk
>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! 🙂
You’re not wrong there!
>No — I’m questioning IBM’s apparent lack of business
>sense when it comes to marketing their own platforms.
I’m with you on that too!
>Just because a platform is being actively deemphasized
>doesn’t mean it can’t make more money for the company
>on its way out.
>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.
One would hope so, but I’m not going to hold by breath!
>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
Yes, I agree with you again.
>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
Yep. And there’s the rub. I just don’t see IBM having the willingness to invest in OS/2 as they should have done all along.
Don’t get me wrong, if IBM did decide to offer a free version (all legal issues aside), I’d be the first to applaud.
My guess though is that IBM don’t want to offer customers a free option, since they probably make a very nice profit on the platform and application migrations that their large customers represent. IBM have one core responsibility, and that’s not to fans of its operating system. It’s to their shareholders.
I suppose that it’s just possible that in ten years or so, when no company of any notable size is runnig OS/2 any more, that IBM may relent and open the source. But it will be too late then.
However, let’s not forget that in the meantime, and for the next few years at least, we have that wondrous thing that is eCS to use and enjoy.
What does GA mean? What does the GA stand for? An Acronym?
2005-11-21 11:26 amSparrowhawk
At least I think so!
Finally! I like eCom a lot but it needed an update. Good to see things moving forward.
its nice knowing eCom has a future… and at this rate a pretty decent one…