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Thread: The future of OS/2 - Open source or not?

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    The future of OS/2 - Open source or not?

    Yesterday saw IBM cease the sale of the OS/2 Operating system. Come the 31st of December, standard support for the OS will end also. However, a significant number of companies and people continue to use it, and they are finding ways for OS/2 to live on.
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    Xcelsion... In Disguise. Xaneden's Avatar
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    Personally, I feel an open source OS/2 would have the potentinal to surpass both Linux and Windows. I have tried it once or twice, and it certainly 'feels' versatile; I'm sure if it were open source, this could be built on successfully.
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    The more alternatives out there, the better imo, as long as they all respect open standards and don't deliberately try to break each other's software
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    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    OS/2 is better than linux in some respects.... but as linux fans tend to be religous like in defending the linux and the open source format, i think there would be so much countraversy and termoil for another player to enter the feild. Even if it is better!

    The major thing OS/2 warp has done to piss me off was to crash unexpectedly on an HSBC cash point, just after i'd enter'd the first digit of my pin. Retaining my card as it rebooted Silly design imo!
    throw new ArgumentException (String, String, Exception)

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    OS/2? I thought that thing died aeons ago...

    /resolves to pay more attention in future


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    Doubt IBM will ever Open Source OS/2

    Its the end of an era. I still remember booting into OS/2 2.0 for the first time on a 486 with 8Mb RAM and being gobsmacked! Compared to DOS 6 / Win 3.1 it was a different world. Forwards to OS/2 Warp with its built in Internet functionality and the onto OS/2 4.0 with built in speech recognition... MS were years behind.
    Linux / Windows still has not caught up with the flexibility and power of the WorkPlaceShell in my opinion and their underlying OS has only been made more bulky and complicated. Just for a laugh I downloaded the Ecomstation (final version of OS/2 as we know it) demo disk and loaded it up on Virtual PC and setup an internet connection. A quick dial later and I was surfing away quite happily.
    I can see a reason for OS/2 to still exist even now. As a small, fast OS with Open Office and Mozilla it would cater for >70% of all pc users needs without the bulk and complexity of a modern Microsoft equivalent. IBM will never release OS/2 to the OpenSource community as there are legal issues with some of the code codeveloped with Microsoft which would prevent this happening. This, its current price + relative obsolesence will forever condemn what could have been a contender in the OS space to a brief footnote in the annals of PC history....

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    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    i thought MS developed OS2 for IBM? Or am i getting confused, was a few years ago now!
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    Short history lesson.... It was a joint effort originally. OS/2 was supposed to be the replacement for DOS.

    Microsoft, however, had found that Windows 3.0 - released in May 1990 - generated more revenue for them and therefore allotted increasingly more resource to Windows and correspondingly less to OS/2.

    By late 1990, Microsoft had intensified its disagreements with IBM to the point where IBM decided that it would have to take some overt action to ensure that OS/2 development continued at a reasonable pace. IBM, therefore, took over complete development responsibility for OS/2 1.x, even though it was in its dying days, and OS/2 2.00. Microsoft would continue development on Windows and OS/2 3.00. Shortly after this split, Microsoft renamed OS/2 V3 to Windows NT.

    OS/2 2.00 was released in the spring of 1992. The first true 32 bit operating system for personal computers (and for years the only one), it met IBM's stated goal of being a better DOS than DOS and a better Windows than Windows. It did this through the use of Virtual DOS Machines (VDMs) which allowed OS/2 to run many DOS (and Windows) programs at the same time as though they were on completely separate computers. As far as the DOS programs were concerned, they actually were in separate computers. Windows programs run on IBM's licensed version of Windows 3.1 called Win-OS/2.

    Because of this separation of DOS programs from each other, one Windows (remember - Windows is a DOS program) program which crashes can not crash any other Windows program. By placing Windows programs which do not play well together in Windows sessions in different VDMs, they can both run without interfering with each other. In addition the programs can still communicate through Dynamic Data Exchange and the clipboard. I can remember having different VDM's setup for different DOS games at the time, i.e Xwing and Privateer which performed better under OS/2.

    The Workplace Shell (WPS) was also introduced in OS/2 2.00. The Workplace Shell is an object oriented user interface (OOUI). The IBM WPS takes the GUI to the next generation by integrating it much more fully with the rest of the operating system, including the file system.

    OS/2 2.10 - 1993

    In May of 1993, IBM released OS/2 2.10. This version sported a new, faster, fully 32 bit graphics subsystem, TrueType fonts for Win-OS/2 sessions, and Multimedia Presentation Manager (MMPM/2) which provided sound and video multimedia capabilities.

    PCMCIA support for laptop computers also made its debut with OS/2 2.10, along with Advanced Power Management (APM). OS/2 could work with laptop computers with an APM BIOS to reduce power consumption and extend battery life. PCMCIA support was crude and supported only a very few computers and PCMCIA credit card adapters.

    To reduce the price of OS/2 for users who already had Windows on their computers, IBM released OS/2 2.11 for Windows in late 1993. This version of OS/2 did not have Win-OS/2 and, instead, relied upon the copy of Windows 3.1 already installed on the computer to allow OS/2 to run Windows programs. It did this by making some minor modifications to the Windows SYSTEM.INI and WIN.INI files, and hooking the Windows 3.1 code once it was loaded into memory so that OS/2 could control the Windows 3.1 code in the VDM.

    OS/2 Warp - 1994

    OS/2 Warp Version 3 made its debut in October 1994 as OS/2 Warp for Windows. Like OS/2 2.11 for Windows, it did not contain IBM's Win-OS/2 code and relied on Windows 3.1 to run Windows programs. OS/2 Warp 3 with full Win-OS/2 support became available a short time later.

    Warp 3 was designed to install and run on a computer with only 4MB of RAM and it did. Performance was tolerable, but adding more RAM improved performance considerably. Additional device drivers made Warp 3 capable of running with the vast majority of personal computers and peripherals on the market. The Workplace Shell was improved significantly in terms of both its functionality and performance. Print performance, PCMCIA support, and multimedia support were all enhanced significantly.

    TCP/IP and Internet communications were also added to Warp 3. The Internet Access Kit (IAK) provided a complete package to enable Warp users to log on and surf the net. The Web Explorer allowed users access to the World Wide Web, although it was neither as feature rich nor as flexible as the industry leader, NetScape.

    OS/2 Warp 4 - 1996

    Warp 4, code named Merlin, was released in September of 1996 with a significant facelift for the Workplace Shell. New features include Java, and VoiceType Navigation and Dictation.

    Warp 4 is called the "Universal Client" by IBM because of its unparalleled network connectivity.

    Connect to anything, anywhere with a universal network client which allows simultaneous connectivity to LAN Server, Warp Server, Windows NT Server, Novell Netware, Netware Directory Services, PCLAN Program, IPX-SPX, LANtastic for DOS or OS/2, Warp Connect, Windows NT Workstation, Windows 95, Windows for Workgroups, TCP/IP (including DHCP, DDNS, FTP, TFTP, Telnet, SLIP, PPP, SMTP, and SNMP), SNA, NetBIOS. Java is built into Warp 4 so you need no additional software to run powerful and easy Java applications locally or right from the World Wide Web.
    VoiceType speech recognition makes Warp 4 the only operating system in the world to allow voice navigation and dictation with no additional software.
    WarpGuides provide intelligent self-configurable guidance for common tasks. Ideal for new users or users new to OS/2.
    Internet aware desktop allows one-click access to your favorite web sites.

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    Xcelsion... In Disguise. Xaneden's Avatar
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    Well, it was a joint development, taken on solely by IBM in its latter years. Microsoft originally saw OS/2 as the sequel to Windows and DOS; I think Bill Gates has been quoted saying OS/2 is the OS of the future.

    #EDIT#
    Beaten to the post quite extensively!
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbiec
    OS/2 2.00 was released in the spring of 1992. The first true 32 bit operating system for personal computers (and for years the only one),
    AmigaOS went 32 bit Circa October 1992.
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    Re: The future of OS/2 - Open source or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by badass View Post
    AmigaOS went 32 bit Circa October 1992.
    I think he meant first 32-bit OS for X86. But anyway, for 'personal' computers surely System7 should precedes all of those. Okay there were lots problems with 24-bit 'dirty' code in old ROMs (the Mac IIci in 1989 was the first MAc with 32-bit clean ROMs) but by around 1991 when Apple bought and gave away Mode32 System7 was fully 32-bit.

    BTW, Apple's decision to use the unused eight bits of the address registers for flags must be one of the strangest ideas in the history of OS development.

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