Now this is one for the rumour pile. Yes, a rumour about a long-gone (mostly) operating system that lots of people have fond memories of. Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at SearchDataCenter.com, claims that IBM is mulling over a reintroduction of OS/2. Wait, what?
Since this is OSNews, I’m kind of assuming I won’t have to write an exposÃ© about what OS/2 is, where it came from, and how it died. On top of that, you can pretty much read up on OS/2’s history in my review of eComStation 2.0 RC1. OS/2 is still being sold today, except it’s being developed by Serenity Systems under the name eComStation.
According to the rumours, which, Darrow claims, come from within IBM itself, Big Blue’s plan is to re-purpose the OS/2 services on top of Linux. The article is remarkably short on details, making it hard to really say anything sane about this; it also doesn’t led any credence to the rumour’s validity.
OS/2 is still in use in some niches today, and there are still people that run it as eComStation. Back in the day, it was far more advanced than anything Microsoft or Apple had to offer, but as we sadly know, a good product is no guarantee for success (BeOS). NEXTSTEP was probably the only desktop-oriented operating system around back then that rivalled OS/2, but NEXTSTEP required incredibly expensive (but pretty… Oh the prettiness) machines.
Today, however, OS/2 has been overtaken left and right. Windows NT was developed and matured, NEXTSTEP turned into Mac OS X, and the open source world, too, passed the OS/2 station years and years ago. While I like eComStation in a oh-how-minxy kind of way, and while I’m sure it has its niche, I don’t see any solid reason why IBM should invest lots of money into “porting” aspects of it over to Linux.
…With a company as large as IBM backing a linux-OS/2 hybrid it could be an interesting product. Didn’t linux adopt some of the kernel design of OS/2 as well? Or am I way wrong about that? Anyway, it would seem like it could be a good fit and IBM does *seem* to support the open source community to some extent…