Skip to comments.OS/2 turns 25 years old ( anyone remeber this Operating System?)
Posted on 04/03/2012 9:41:31 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
TODAY MARKS the 25th birthday of OS/2, which IBM announced on 2 April, 1987.
Initially intended as a protected mode successor to PC-DOS, OS/2 became the first serious PC operating system rival to Microsoft Windows. For a while, IBM and Microsoft collaborated on it, until Microsoft withdrew its support for various reasons and focused its efforts on Windows NT instead. OS/2 has never fully recovered from Microsoft's abandonment of it, nor has Windows.
However, throughout most of the 1990s, OS/2 was a much more stable, secure and reliable PC operating system than Windows. It was capable of running Windows applications and did so better than Windows. The OS/2 Desktop Shell was a masterpiece of object oriented design and programming that has never been matched by Windows or even the heavyweight Linux desktops Gnome and KDE.
Unfortunately, IBM never really understood the great potential that OS/2 had or gave it the management commitment, software development resources and marketing support to make it the formidable PC desktop competitor to Windows, Mac OS X and Linux that it could have become.
IBM dropped support for OS/2 at the end of 2006, but Serenity Systems International still sells OS/2 under the name Ecomstation. It has had a very interesting and eventful first 25 years. µ
The lead designer of VAX/VMS, David Cutler, was hired by Microsoft as Chief Architect of Windows NT.
That's a misrepresentation of the quality of Gates' work (Windows is it was then). OS/2 was more reliable not because the folks in Boca Raton were better software people than the folks in Redmond.
It was better because it was designed at its inner core to run only on '286 and later processors that had the new "protected mode" that gave the OS the chance to manage virtual memory by process, and also had a robust memory management unit to catch (or "trap") exceptions when something wrote or read from memory that was unallowed.
Windows didn't even try to worry about that until Win 95, though the 3.1 release of windows did start to roll some of that stuff in there with their VXD (virtual device driver) architecture. Furthermore, Windows had to stay 100% DOS compatible, which shot any idea of using a lot of the 286 and 386 protection features.
All I know is that it had a little cat that chased the mouse pointer around.
Left in the great purge...1992.
The irony is that I’m seeing almost the same indifference and sclerosis in Microsoft’s management today that I saw in IBM’s back then.
No software developer is going to write apps for a Windows Phone that has 5% market share. Right now Microsoft ought be working on an Android VM and an iOS VM that can run Android and iPhone apps on Windows Phone and the desktop.
The clean-room reverse-engineering methodology is well established legally and Android may not even require it if the VM is hardware based. Microsoft should be using the desktop PC as the platform to embrace and extend the smartphone ecosystem.
Windows Phone? Microsoft is getting just as stupid as IBM was.
OS/2 turns 25 years old ( anyone remeber this Operating System?)
Yes, I remember OS/2. I ran it for about 5 years as my desktop OS.
The byzantine structure of IBM along with the decades earlier consent decree, harmed the operating system. They couldn't even require their own PC division to support it.
It had many features in the early/mid-90s including voice dictation, video chat and movie creation that are taken for granted now yet were pioneering then. In many ways it forecast what was to come.
Worked well but proprietary hardware bus; never a good thing. Ask Apple.
Actually Warp sold really really well when it first hit, #1 in sales for the first few months. The problem was that popularity didn’t sustain long enough to seem permanent, so nobody wrote apps for it, and it was primarily useful as a way to run Windows apps that wasn’t supported by the app maker. Then Warp 4 didn’t upgrade the Windows shell to include 32 bit, so then it was trapped as a way to run OLD Windows apps that wasn’t supported by the app maker and the doom was at hand. Good OS, well marketed to users, but didn’t have enough momentum for app developers to make the switch.
Helped design a Worldwide Marketing system I/O by I/O using OS2 in 1991-93 It was slow so many Bugs I inadvertently sat next to Indonesian IBM GM on Plane and he said Operating systems was a Hardware Hog never Use it.. I wanted LINUX .We were forced by HQ Corporate System to use it we had to train Programmers as none existed in ASIA IBM flew in from Dallas Once a Month. We were literally debugging their own System..later abandoned 5 yrs later. That was our 1st foray away from IBM Mainframes..
I recently threw away my OS/2 Warp installation discs, I think is was about 14 discs. Of course that was 3.5” high density.
Me and some friends, back in the late 80’s, used to use a Hex editor on copies of PC-DOS disks COMMAND.COM and change the copyright from “International Business Machines” to “Ignorant Business Men”.
Bill Gates used OS/2 to continue his game of rope-a-dope with IBM.
We were using a Banyan network(!), deploying Windows 3.1 onto PCs at the time... Surprisingly, OS/2 had good Banyan driver support; as an Admin I ran Win3.1 under Warp and it actually performed pretty well.
Then in the late 90’s, we went to Windows NT4 on the Desktop and Microsoft networking, and you know the rest of the story ;)
At the time I was living on a Dorado and later a Dandelion, coding in Mesa with the Pilot/Co-Pilot development environment. Its like does not exist today, sigh.
I actually liked OS/2 a lot. Rexx was a really powerful scripting language. These days I’m happy using Linux, but I do think that ultimately it would have been better for consumers had OS/2 succeeded. Unfortunately, at the time, IBM could not market themselves out of a paper bag.
Still have OS/2 LAN Manager umbrella from the roll-out,