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New OS/2 Warp client 90

Anonymous Coward wrote to tell us about a definite new version of Warp. This is a bit odd-no one really knows whether IBM or Stardock Systems will be developing it. Stardock has been pushing to "Linux-ize" it, but has encountered problems with the royalties setup.
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New OS/2 Warp client

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  • Does OS/2 have things like *real* OpenGL? If SGI teamed up with IBM like they teamed up with Apple... maybe IBM could see more mainstream support for things like games and high end graphics applications...

    I think Warp might be as close to a "java os" as we will get. I'd like to see IBM keep doing java based things also.
  • You're right. OS/2 would do much better as a desktop operating system. Linux really needs to get the act together and settle on a standard desktop environment such as GNOME or KDE (OPTIONAL standard). To do well in the desktop, there needs to be a consistent interface between applications, much like the KDE or GNOME applications. And, of course, vendors will have to start bundling Linux with some of their desktop models.

    One of the good things Linux has going on the desktop is the proliferation of applications that OS/2 might not necessarily have, such as the GIMP, Netscape 4.5, ApplixWare, and Corel WordPerfect.
  • Seems to me that it would be easier to OS/2-ize Linux, rather than go the other way around.. Probably could avoid some licensing troubles, too..
  • Copy'n'paste works fine here, Communicator 4.5 under Linux glibc2. What are you running?
  • OS/2's core is quite stable, assuming stable drivers. The Workplace Shell needs a major rewrite, though....
  • I've developed Kiosk Applications for OS/2, and it is rock solid. A nice environment to work in and fairly consistant throughout. I ran a BBS under OS/2 for half a decade...runing Maximus, Binkleyterm with a Fidonet and PODnet node. I only moved away from OS/2 when I took down my BBS. Now, you can run Max and Bink under DOSEMU, by the Gods! it is a FOSSIL driver!, and might just put my BBS, Solsbury Hill, back up. It was one of the first 500 or so Fidonet BBSs, and one of the first dozen PODNet BBSs...

    Yes, I admit, I am an early adopter...I mean, I started using Linux with version 0.12 kernel...

  • Sure, Linux has GUIs. However, OS/2's GUI is *far* superior to X. X is just plain pathetic when compared to OS/2.
  • Posted by The [not so] Little Hacker:

    Why would Linux need a "system wide clipboard"????
  • Posted by lamikr:

    OS/2 has OpenGL 1.0 and 1.1 support as software.
    OpenGL 1.1 should also support hardware OpenGL,
    unfortunately no one has not yet released
    drivers supporting that.
    IBM has released an OpenGL driver kit, but
    in order to get it, you need to prove you
    have a OpenGL licence from Silicon Graphics.
    (Read: Cost lot of money...)

    More info can be found from

  • Sometime last spring an Australian reseller magazine interviewed the VP in charge of software at IBM. One of the questions they asked was why IBM hadn't killed OS/2 since they didn't seem to want to promote it.

    He answered that their top 2000 OS/2 sites had generated $23,000,000,000 in the last fiscal year. Microsoft's total revenues were ~$12 billion...
  • OS/2 is potentially rock solid. If you use it as a desktop OS for everyday use you will eventually cause it to do something which could be equated with a crash unless you have superior self discipline and resist changing things.

    WPS has a few bugs, die hards will tell you that making WPS crash is different from making OS/2 crash. I would agree with that if there was any way to make your system come back without a reboot. Doing exotic object operations with WPS can cause crashes.

    I've caused the whole system to lockup hard programming the serial interface and doing lowlevel serial access in a DOS box. This would be a misbehaving application taking down the whole system.

    There are also ways to screw up your system .ini files and scramble your entire desktop, I couldn't tell you an easy way off the top of my head but I used OS/2 daily for about 4 years and I made it happen about every 6-9 months... I was usually taxing the system but sometimes this just happened when I was doing an everyday task, like installing an application. This isn't a crash but it sure as hell feels like one.

    Other than that, OS/2 is remarkably solid. If you have a job for it and you get it working, it will stay working until you change something. If you put it in to protectedmodeonly, it might not crash ever. Even the problems above aren't that bad, IBM could have fixed them (may have, but I doubt it with OS/2's funding) if they wanted to and had the money. OS/2 life and death (or near death if that idea offends you) can be summed up with only a few problems:

    1. Initial goals were way too high. Some upoer managment was expecting OS/2 2.x to take over a majority of the market. It failed to do this and its funding was cut. As early as OS/2 3.0, before win95 even came out, they were cutting support staff (OS/2's customer support was world class at this time) and they started reeling in projects. PenOS/2 never saw full completion, OS/2 for PPC, etc.. I'll ignore the beaurocratic problems that start cropping up when this happens and your development team becomes a divided group at war with the other half..
    2. Developers weren't embraced as partners until way too late in the process. Good cheap tools were hard to come by and IBM underestimated the value of cheesy 'visual development' and went ahead with visual development. (If you compare Visual Age to MS Visual, there is no comparison, Visual Age is 100x better as a visual development evironment. The thing is, people don't want to program visually so MS Visual sells and all it really is is an integrated resource editor. IBM spent tons of money and time building Visual Age when they could have made a product with half the effort that would have been good enough)
    3. IBM never grasped the legacy market and it's true importance. They bent over backwards to support legacy code but instead of supporting it as a way to move forward they crippled the product to support it. Single Message Queue is a legacy issue, 16bit fragilness is a legacy issue, win16 support with no migration path to PM, etc.. This is something that linux has mastered, a.out -> elf transition and libc -> glibc were done beautifully.
    4. I've only heard rumors, but I understand that OS/2 had an incredibly complex build process. Some components hadn't been compiled since v1.x years and might not be compilable any more. other components requiring different compilers and linkers to compile correctly. A really nasty process. Doesn't matter how good you are or how much the people love your product, if it is tough to compile then you will screw it up at some point, there is no excuse for this.

      A lot of it was stupidity. IBM paid Borland to port Borland C++ to OS/2, this was good because Borland dominated the market at that time but IBM never secured any kind of future development so Borland produced a product and ran with the money instead of upgrading it. It also jaded the competition because now they think that IBM is partners with Borland and so they will have a disadvantage or worse yet, they feel entitled to a pay check from IBM to port their product because IBM is paying other people to do it.

      I the sad thing is that there are a lot of devlopers who put in long hours and long weeks building OS/2 and fighting to get code added and OS/2 does have a loyal core set of users and the lessons never seem to be learned by IBM. OS/2 was really a labor of love for a lot of people and IBM just throws it away. It's only a matter of time before IBM dives into that market again, it is inevitable. Hopefully they will learn from those mistakes.

  • HTML does not provide for a mechanism to prevent cut/paste in documents. This is a browser bug and should be brought to the attention of the browser authors.

    I have no problems cutting/pasting slashdot or any ZDnet article (even the URL given in the comment above).
  • Now that IBM is Linux happy, it would be nice if they assisted the OSS community in making a decent read/write implementation for Linux. I wouldn't mind having my root filesystem as HPFS. Don't know if this would work or not, but it would help Linux get an "enterprise" file system a lot faster.
  • Here are a couple of tidbits that you might not know:

    1. Warp 3 was supposed to be a "performance update" only - no new features. That's where the name "Warp" came from - IBM used Star Trek terms as codenames for OS/2 products (the security component was called Odo, for instance). Warp 3 (aka OS/2 Version 3) was supposed to be just like OS/2 2.x, but run in 4MB on a 386. Well, along the way, they added tons of new features, including a much improved user interface.

    2. Six months before Warp 4 was released, it wasn't even on the planning board. Of course, a lot of the work was already done on OS/2 PPC, and much of easily transfered over, but it just goes to show how long IBM delays before making up its mind.

    And IBM has said that Warp 5 won't have that much new, besides what's in the server (SMP, Journalled File System, etc). Somehow, I think there may be some goodies snuck in.

    Timur "too sexy for my code" Tabi,,
  • A manufacturing line at work has been controlled by Warp for about 3 years and I have noticed that it has never crashed itself or the process program. It runs on an old dirt slow IBM "industrial" computer that controls a network of PLC's. It controls a machine that slowly makes a product that will be worth over a million dollars. I can imagine how long NT would last in that setting; however, what is remarkable, this setup has never crashed. Is OS/2 like this in all settings?
  • Not being able to copy and paste from Netscape sounds interesting. Are you using xfree? I am not aware of anything in a page's source that could trigger a bug like that. I say that is a bug, because if that feature does exist, it can be fixed! ;)
  • What I find interesting about the article is the implication near the end that IBM might very likely have released OS/2 as Open Source were it not for Microsoft's legal block. Is anyone else getting the feeling that IBM is pushing (or at least is going to be pushing) very hard for Open Source (see: Apache team help, etc.)? I think it would be great if IBM could release chunks of OS/2 that might prove useful to Linux. But, this becomes legally difficult for a large organization so I don't know how practically feasible this is.
    David E. Weekly (dew)
  • I've seen this happen often in Navigator when a
    site is coded with bad HTML and/or lots of
    useless align="left"'s about the place (don't
    people realize that in a table cell, that's the
    default behavior? *sigh*) It would be great if
    people would use something like weblint to
    validate the HTML coming out of their super-duper
    extra-fancy database.
  • Well, IBM isn't exactly the titan of industry it once was -- and as much as I love Open Source, it does seem that the corporations (with the exception of Intel) that are embracing Open Source at present are the once mighty that have fallen -- Corel, Netscape, IBM, etc.
  • what does "linux-ize" mean -

    • make it behave unixishly?
    • drop the cost massively?
    • increase the power of the CLI?
    • add a posix compatibility API?
    • OpenSource it?

    ... this has me confused.

  • The UI in Warp IMO, is very easy and quite flexible. Lightyears ahead of anything else on the planet. The workplace shell's biggest fault was the fact that OS/2 only had a Single Message Queue, thereby causing a lot of hangs in PM. I never have understood why IBM didnt fix that. The SMQ is OS/2's biggest fault IMO. It forced me to start using Linux which doesnt have that problem 8)

  • OS/2 has some flaws. The biggest flaw is it's single message queue (SMQ) which quite frequently can cause the Work Place Shell to hang, forcing a reboot. Additionally IBM needs to do some work on the Warp kernel. There is still not true kill -9 capability. While Os/2's memory management works well most of the time, *sometimes* it can commit pages to the swapfile but never release the memory back to the system correctly. Warp as a stand alone server is very very reliable. As a client, unless IBM incorporates multiple message queues, it can be quite frustrating to use depending upon your application mix. Using Netscape under Warp can be quite a nausating experience at times. The OS/2 SMQ problem is the primary reason I have migrated to Linux. Having to reboot the system in order to clear a clogged message queue in PM is simply unacceptable behavor period.
  • Warp 4.0 comes with OpenGL 1.0 in the base package.IBM has eluded that they are dropping support for it though. As for a gaming platform.
    Warp is probably the best DOS-based gaming platform made. OS/2 has so much going for it including native XFree86 support. If IBM just spend a quarter of the resources other competitors used there is no doubt in my mind what we all would be using right now.
  • I been using OS/2 since MS bailed out(around MS Windows386)time. I have to agree the base system is very stable and robust. Easily competes with Linux and may even out-pace it. Look at Norloffs BBS etc..To test this theory one has to only install XFree86 on OS/2. The stability is even greater thsn Linux's. The WPS is definitely the source of all maladies even though one of it's best features.
  • I think MS stills owns most of HPFS or at least the LAN server version of it HPFS.386
  • Well it depends what you mean. On the server side whether you're using LAN server or TCP applications only Warp & Warp server are rock solid & it's not unusual to boot them every 3 months or so. On the other hand the stability of WPS is well known. So while OS/2 as a desktop provides some great function - sometimes it doesn't work well. The other problem with OS/2 is that when it works it works great but when it breaks then things go disasterously and tragically bad. Mess up WPS and find yourself rebuilding the machine from scratch? Remember to backup all of your WPS customizations? Remember to reapply fixpacks and CSDs? remember the workarounds to patches that caused problems of their own?
  • Well, there seems to be a hierarchy of users in the computing world. This is how I have seen it over the years. Please understand that this is a broad generalization & not meant to be fodder for a flame war, just my observations:

    UNIX - (to include Linux, BSD etc.) Programming & Engineering types, they know the internals of the kernals, & have the programming expertise to fix any problems (real or perceived).

    OS/2 - Power users - Most of us don't have programming expertise (so we don't write all that much software & constantly whine about what software is available). Of course for END USERS we have the best OS, too bad we can't convince anyone to try it out.

    Windows (of any variety) Annoying & obnoxious - Convinced that personal computing began with the release of Windows 3.1. They spend most of their time on the upgrade mill, foolishly upgrading all of their products regardless of whether the new product answers a need or fixes a problem. They also tend to tell everyone that uses anything other than MS products that they are behind the times, yet can't give one technical reason as to why anyone should buy the product that they use (other than "it is made by MS"). Their ingnorance of computer history, the inner workings of their computers (both hardware & software) is legendary.

    Worst of all, they feel that their opinions matter.

    Mac - View the computer as a "black box". They don't care how the computer works. They just want to do what ever the task is at hand (play games, do incredible work in graphics, or DTP).

    Of course, this is just my opinion & I could be wrong.

  • M$ is famous for making royalties disappear; I understand that's what they did to Spyglass when they reduced the price of Exploder to 0 (Spyglass got a percentage of sales, not a per unit royalty). So maybe IBM should release as much of the OS/2 source as possible; at least enough that OS/2 users could migrate the desktop parts they want on top of Linux. Then M$ would get no royalties.

    Well, it's an idea. I don't know how the royalties are calculated. It would be lots of fun if it did happen :-)

  • Couple of thoughts.

    Firstly, I secured one of the bata copies of the new version of OS/2 Server for E-Commerce and was very dissappointed. The sooner they realise that all the wonderful technology and features in the world are useless when the PM (User interface) is almost as broken as it was in OS/2 2.0 back in 1992, the sooner they'll be able to make a useable product. The PM is incredibly buggy and there is still no task manager that I know of. At least when NT dies you can use a keypress to bring up a utilities screen. Not so with OS/2 - the only keys that work are c-alt-esc, and that just reboots the machine.

    Secondly - just think of the implications of OS/2 Open Source. You could apply Win32-OS/2 and just think... most native Win32 applications could run under Linux. That's one to dream about, huh :) :) :) I don't think they've got Office running yet - but it's only a matter of time. :) Check out []
  • Don't get me wrong - I'm a real old school OS/2 user (since 2.0 from memory) and even OS/2 User Group member, but I thought the interface was OS/2's biggest disadvantage: it sucked! Everything else was amazing: the multitasking, connectivity, speed, hardware (I had two tracker players streaming through two sound cards at the same time - I haven't even done that under linux yet) I've moved on to BeOS now - sick of waiting for IBM to fix up the PM which has never worked properly. But if this release is good - Stardock have done some amazingthings in the past - then I could set aside some apartition space again...
  • I know about the focus change, etc, and I haven't found it reliable enough to be happy with it. I *didn't* know about the task manager - thanks for that - I'll try to get hold of a demo. Nevertheless - this is bread and butter stuff that IBM has no good excuse for excluding.
  • OS/2 is dead. Move on folks.
  • My dream OS ....

    - Linux CORE (kernel/filesystem/drivers etc)
    - OS/2 interface

    The interface in Warp4 was slick and with the enhancements from Stardock it was deluxe. As a bonus the learning curve for interface programming in OS/2 is simple for Win32 programmers.

    IBM releasing OS/2's code start by releasing the Warp4 code ... there's no harm in dreaming :)
  • ext2fs is insanely fast, and linux is so stable that as long as you have clean power you will probably never have a crash that can hose the fs.
    However there are times when you have things that REALLY need to be reliable and it would be really nice to mount on a fully journaled fs. I am not sure if HPFS is a journaling fs but if it is it would be usefull. I would probably still have /usr ext2 and read-only and /tmp ext2 though.

  • by grib ( 10259 )
    Well, while a JFS is very cool, I have never been impressed with half-assed data recovery in a file-system. ext2 is built around SPEED it pays attention to safety whenever possible but mainly its SPEED. Non-journaling FS that take time out of every operation to support improved safety always kinda struck me as like using a cotton condom.

    Basically if your not going to commit() your going to get fsck'ed.

  • I know of nothing called "Win32s-OS/2". There is the original Win-OS2, aka Windows 3.1, which is included in Warp 4, optional with Warp 3. That may well have MS copyright issues. Win32-OS2 is Timur Tabi and company's effort to reproduce the Win32 API in Warp. Their page is at [], and they have a brief comparison of Win32 and Win32s. I believe that their project is the one people have been referring to.
  • Actually, OS/2's Workplace Shell is based on IBM's System Object Model (SOM) technology, which is a CORBA-compliant ORB. From what I read, GNOME is using CORBA too. A better fit, I think... I was an OS/2 user (Warp 3 and 4), and I really miss the Workplace shell. If anyone wants ports of any part of OS/2 to linux, workplace shell is the first thing that should be done. It would be the most useful thing. Perhaps next would be DAX (Developer's API eXtensions)...basically, it was parts of the Win32 API that were ported to OS/2 to make it easier for Win32 programmers to port programs. I suspect there would be a lot of work in that that would be useful to WINE.
  • If Presentation Manager has licencing issues, perhaps WPS itself might be unladen with those. The thing is, WPS is an application that runs on Presentation Manager, but it's combined into PMSHELL.EXE. I think IBM should separate WPS out if possible (in terms of licensing), and then release it as open source for OS/2 and also help port it to Linux as part of a window manager using a free CORBA-compliant ORB that runs on Linux. Also, IBM could try making an OS/2 personality for Linux that is also open-source (separately from the WPS-window manager)

    A lot of people have discussed how Linux and its community could benefit from opensourcing OS/2, but what would IBM be getting out of this?

    1) Development of WPS goes under the Open Source model, and I don't have to go over those benefits here.
    2) The IBM WPS environment comes to Linux, so IBM can start migrating clients to Linux with less training costs. Eventually, Linux could replace OS/2 as a desktop client and IBM could simply focus on supporting Linux.
    3) WPS as a window manager would be very portable to other environments, like AIX or X on windows. IBM could use the WPS window manager to create a standardized interface that they can support over all of their platforms. This was one of the original goals of the Workplace Shell, and it could become a reality for them, via open source.

    A lot of people are touting the benefits of WPS here, and there's a good reason why. At first, WPS can seem frustrating, especially if you're coming from an environment where you drag with the left mouse button. But give it time and get used to it, and you find WPS is very deep, and very powerful for users and programmers alike. After all, a lot of people have trouble using 'ls' instead of 'dir' at first too.

  • Warp 4 fixpack 3 may be "fixes only" but the later Warp 4 fixpacks start adding and enhancing many features such as Open32 (or whatever they called their subset of Win32 api thunking to ease porting) and a more and more 32-bit internals. Maybe with a new release, the main device drivers will no longer be 16-bit.. wow.

    As for Stardock, they're good. Well, better than IBM at intelligent marketing anyways. But who isn't? :)
  • I always wondered how ext2fs compared to HPFS. Also, what features are planned for the 2.3 version of ext2fs? I remember hearing that there were some neat toys in store.
  • I REALLY hate to encourage this kind of crap but... I feel the need to defend KDE. It is not in the slightest bit broken, I've been using it since last feb. with very few problems. It's not the greatest desktop, at the time I started using it, it seemed like the only one. It works however. It provides the end user with an easy to use desktop and many tools that all have the same "look and feel". Gnome is more broken only in the sense that it has less maturity than KDE. I feel Gnome is a very nice desktop, but I don't use it as much. It is far more aesthetically pleasing than kde is, however. If you don't mind mr. smith tell me one thing that's "broken" about kde (other than the QT license).
  • ZDnet is locking out cut and paste operations in the main browser window in Communicator 4.07 for the main text of the article. IE 4.72.3110 copies it just fine, though. (IE 4 has always been superior for quoting text, unfortunately).

    Try,4586,2185 230,00.html

    I don't know enough html to say from the source how they are doing it. Anyone else want to enlighten us?
  • Linux base with a Warp4 desktop. KDE is getting
    there. Sincerely wish that Stardock can join the
    KDE project and inject some of their ideas. The OS/2 SOM and consistency on the desktop is fantastic. They've taken drag and drop to new heights. I really hope to have the os2 voice recoqnition capabilities available on the kde desktop. In the beginning it feels a bit funny talking to your computer, after a while it is a natural extention to your keyboard and mouse...
  • If I remember correctly, HPFS is copyrighted by Microsoft, so it might be a bit complicated to accomplish that.
  • I don't think IBM will ever choose to Linux'ize OS/2. Comments coming out of IBM seem to indicate that its a upgrade to keep its current cliental happy, and not to compete on the desktop.

    After having seen the Beta, its got some new features that make it more like Novell 5. It's nice, but its still no Novell or NT killer.

    I've always loved OS/2 since I started using it in '93. The biggest mistake IBM ever made was not introducing true Win32 support.

    Linux'izing OS/2 would be wrong. OS/2 technically does everything better than Linux anyways, except, the multi-user stuff. If IBM added multi-user functionality to OS/2, I'd be a great OS. It just needs more 'real' applications.
  • The biggest problem when it comes to OS/2's stability is the WPS. And the cause of 99% of all WPS problems is the display drivers. Get a good display adapter with good OS/2 drivers, and you're safe.. I'm running the beta of the new Warp Server (Aurora), and I've NEVER had a WPS crash so far. Been running it since October....

    OS/2 - It works.

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.