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
I remember installing and configuring a phone voicemail system on an OS/2 system once back around 1993. That’s about it though, never had enough experience on it to rate it but it was fairly easy enough to navigate around in.
Problem with OS2 Warp IBM sales guys could not sell Ice to a man in Hell. Microsoft Sales guys could sell Ice in the Artic circle.
“... OS/2 was a much more stable, secure and reliable PC operating system than Windows....”
Gates was as much a computer guru as Obama is a constitutional guru.
And both are equally matched crooks.
The real tragedy of the era was VAX/VMS. It was the OS for DEC minicomputers and considered great. However, closed source. So it was eclipsed. DEC, the second largest computer company, withered and was sold to COMPAQ. I’m sure many DEC/VAX’s are still in operation, but DEC management never capitalized.
I wrote my first e-mail on a DEC/VAX in 1981.
I still have a copy that came on about 50 floppy disks.
Well, if you feel nostalgic, you can always run an OS/2 emulator.
I played around with OS/2 warp, but it was lacking for any driver support.
But, hey, it was nearly free (found the book and disks in a second hand store for $1)
I replaced Delta Airline’s OS/2 RPL servers and workstations with Windows NT.
As a young whipper snapper I stayed up late many nights rebuilding IBM OS/2 servers in the bowels of airport server rooms.
Best OS, ever.....and the most poorly marketed.
I used to work for IBM. The reason I think OS/2(half an operating system-old joke) failed was IBM, in their infinite wisdom, made the OS/2 application development suite super expensive to buy. There was about a 3 year window in the late 90’s where they had MS whipped in the market place and blew it totally. The should have made the dev suit totally free ware.
VAX/VMS and later Alpha/VMS was simply awesome. Tons of groundbreaking software like VAXnotes (the precursor to ALL forum software and Runoff (the precursor to HTML).
I worked at DEC from ‘84 to ‘92.
Much the way HP killed off OSF/1 in favor of HP-(S)UX.
A crying shame.
Yeah, I tried using OS/2, and OS/2 Warp, but got tired of no applications (None?, well, hardly any...and very expensive) for it. Had to keep buying Windows programs, and then run them in “emulation mode”, which wasn’t much better than using Windows in the first place.
Also, I wasn’t all that fond of having to partition off a huge chunk of the HD, and use dual booting, because there were some programs that refused to run in emulation mode.
Like Sony Beta-Max, it was MUCH better, but too much an orphan, thanks to rotten marketing & developer support...even Apple had more native aps & software than IBM could provide for OS/2.
That must have been fun ! /s
OS/2 was a true multitasking OS, vastly superior to Windows 3.1, which had no process protection. OS/2 had a Windows 3.1 compatibility mode that was more stable and reliable.
What killed OS/2 was IBM’s total indifference to developers and marketers. I wanted to write a device driver for OS/2, but IBM wanted something like $10,000 for the Device Driver Kit (DDK) and another $5K or so for the compiler.
In contrast, Microsoft gave away their Device Driver Kit (DDK) for free with a compiler thrown in. And they gave great marketing support including a hardware compatibility program that granted hardware vendors the right to use the Windows logo and artwork in ad copy to sell Windows compatible hardware.
So all the hardware vendors (including mine) turned their backs on OS/2 and embraced Windows. This despite the fact that by any technical measure OS/2 was the superior platform by far. OS/2 had a 100% compatible Win 3.1 subsystem (IBM cross-licensed their source code with Microsoft). So a device driver written for OS/2 would also support Win 3.1 apps.
If IBM’s management weren’t such idiots we would be running OS/8 today instead of Windows 8.
IBM was a mainframe...MVS sales organization....
Believe me....MVS was gonna be the snaswer to everything.
I got bloodied up because I was trying to support something called VM/370.
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,
Yep. My bad.
But you can run BeBochs for Windows and install OS2 in a virtual setup.
Never tried it though so don’t know how well it would work.
I used every version and loved them. It did very well despite IBM’s best attempts to make it unsuccessful.
Gates actually did early development work on good products. The operating system for the famed TRS-80 Model 100 (a laptop still used to this day) was the last software he personally contributed to.
Talk about predatory market practices. Go ahead and sue; By the time your case is heard we'll have 95% of the desktop market. My opinion, IBM was not nimble enough to deal with a marketplace which was revolutionized every 6 months. Full disclosure, I've worked for IBM for 34+ years.
When Gerstner took over IBM he asked the key question: IBM had decided the desktop O/S was non-strategic, so why was it spending hundreds of millions each year fighting for it. A company losing billions/year couldn't afford to subsidize such an effort. That was the end of the battle. Too bad Gerstner couldn't now apply that reasoning to the Federal Government's expenditures.
My younger daughter still has fond memories of sitting on my lap playing Reversi, one of the games that came with OS/2. I drove the cursor and she worked the mouse buttons.
Trivia fact: Shortly after Al Gore invented the internet , OS/2 Warp offered a free browser called Internet Explorer. Netscape cost real $ in comparison.
I use it everyday it’s now called ecs
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