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IBM

Death Knell for OS/2 Client 224

markhb writes "I hate to be the one to submit this story, but the end may finally have arrived for the OS/2 client. Stardock Systems announced today that IBM will not allow them to OEM a client package, and that IBM has no plans for, or strategic interest in, a new OS/2 client. Is anyone ready to get the source for SOMObjects and implement EA's and the Workplace Shell in Linux?"
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Death Knell for OS/2 Client

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  • You don't like OS/2, or give it up, that's your way. If IBM open-source it, those who love OS/2 can make it alive! OS/2 is a completely different to Linux.

    Open-source is not a rocket to a software, just to keep the software not dying. Tons of projects is running well without a lot of attention from public.

    IBM, can you hear me? If you want to give up something, replace it with a "recycle bin", why don't you donate it to someone who care and love it?
  • Do you think IBM might be led to release OS/2 source under GPL or similar license?

    If so,

    -Would anybody want to work with it?
    -Would it happen soon enough? (a la GEM desktop, Turbo Pascal, etc, although these aren't GPL)

    Hmmmm...

  • Not to mention being a better Windows than Windows.

    I've just installed OS/2 3.0 on a machine at home, and I'm disappointed with it. In particular, it doesn't run Windows applications! If you want to use Windows apps on it, you have to install a copy of Windows as well.

  • >ALL MICROSOFT SOFWARE DOES THIS. >Most windows applications (all i used) do this....those that don't prolly have old unix programmers Oh, that is just SO untrue! All Microsoft software does NOTHING (in common). I can think of no standard thing about Windows or any application running on it. Every app that I (am forced to) use on Win is a new learning experience. Sometimes the "Apply" is there, and sometimes it's not. Sometimes you have to press it first, and sometimes merely OK will suffice. Most times, they only crash in very similar fashion (entire system frozen). Ya no wot? It's as if MS is full of free-spirited programmers who have no prior knowledge of GUI's, and no documentation at all to go by. They just re-invent a GUI for their own app, like those Linux freeware guys; every new whiz-bang idea is thrown in to improve the experience, but in no standard way. I'm all for improvement, but PLEASE stick to standards/conventions where the user experience is concerned. S/W Development Rule #1: Minimize changes that affect what the user sees and how they act. The migration from Win3 to Win95 blew that rule out of the water! Gimme OS/2 and the WPS; with left hand on keyboard and right hand on mouse, I'll out-perform ANY user activity on any other user/platform! With my eyes closed!
  • As a matter of fact, try this:

    Two very experiended users; one OS/2 (any version) and one Windows (95 or later).

    Each has their mouse die, pointer frozen, click does nothing.

    Ask each to save data, close all apps, shutdown normally.

    Who wins! Now that's proper implementation of a GUI!
  • Actually, Brad Wardell OWNS the company. If you want to see some interesting flame wars going on, take a look at comp.os.os2.advocacy, where people have been flaming Brad for a while due to his choice of newsreaders.

    Brad, AFAIK, doesnt really care what OS he develops on/uses, as long as he can write some software that people will buy.
  • Oh c'mon!

    OS/2 by itself may not be a "business model", but have you ever tried to sell it to a friend?

    Would you start a company that sold OS/2 as its primary source of income?

    IBM does not consider the development of the OS/2 client to be a profitable undertaking.

    Would you disagree?

    Linux may not be a good car, but helps a good car to make!
  • Maybe the same people at IBM who decided that the PC would never sell in the "home-use" market are the same people that are making the big decisions about OS/2....

    Microsoft wants to be the end-all in every market. IBM however has major problems trying to get into markets that aren't its core business. It seems like IBM is able to "self-regulate" itself. Its managers may be so "focused" that they can't see other markets. This might be the best thing that could happen to IBM...

    -Brent
    --
  • Oh, that's too bad. This dual-speed PCMCIA CD-ROM drive that I have was a "throw away" around here, as is all "old" (> 1 year old) technology. My newer CD-ROM drive is hot-pluggable into the Ultrabay.

    $15-20 might just get you enough diskettes to copy from the Warp CD, as several other appends have suggested. Not to worry, many others have been there before you. I just hope that you get it right the first time (ALWAYS install plain-old VGA support, then upgrade afterward) so you don't have to do it again, and again, and again.

    If you can't boot the thing because of a video problem, remember; Alt+F1 at the "boot blob" (.... OS/2) to get your recovery menu, where anything can be fixed, given enough knowledge.
  • Wish we saw more testimonials like that.

    Yes, upgrading 2.x was painful.

    Wanna see something REALLY neat? I don't know what your Internet speed is like, but you just HAVE to check out RSU (service to Warp4) at this site;

    http://ps.boulder.ibm.com/pbin-usa-ps/getobj.pl? /pdocs-usa/softupd.html

    Apply service to all components, without a single diskette or CD. Live from the Internet, and a single (automatic) re-boot at the end!

    Would that Linux reaches this level of sophistication some day!
  • Yes, they do the same things, and one day, Linux/X may actually be half decent at it.

    But for now, it's the difference between driving someplace in a nice new Limo/Mercedes/BMW/Porsche/Car-of-your-choice, and an 30-year-old, unmaintained 2CV.

    Sure, they'll both get you to the same place, but one is actually enjoyable, whereas the other is barely more than a rusty bucket-of-bolts (nothing against the 2CV -- but they ain't the same as a BMW!)

    Get familiar with them. Hell, I use GNOME right now, and it gets the job done. But it's nowhere near as fun as the WPS ever was (even in it's old, clunky 2.0 days)!!!

    One's fun, the other's simply a utility.

    * - * - * - * - *

    I guess it's sorta like your first love... there's always a fondness that you'll never be able to quite recapture.

    OS/2 was my first love.
    --
    - Sean
  • Is Mr. Gerstner aware of the far reaching decisions of the managers in his company?

    I can't believe after all this time and all of the OS/2 following still around that IBM wouldn't continue to court a cash cow! I mean, come on, they continued with the RPG machines (AS400 now) long after everyone thought they'd never see and RPG program again; and now the AS400 line and 'strategy' is big winner.

    What's next IBM? Is the venerable and highly effective MVS, a.k.a. OS/390, going to be replaced with MS Win/390 because it would be cheaper to support?

    Oh, and give us a break on this 'strategy' thing; IBM is the world's biggest computer company and has many many irons in the fire, (read 'strategies'), at the same time. All good businesses do have multiple pots cooking on the stove.

    OS/2 may be a stuggle for you IBM, but even MVS had to be remarketed to the business community; it was and is good technology that is hard to pass up once the facts are presented.
    The same can be said of OS/2!

    Bill Pier
    Long Beach, CA, USA
  • Good point; OS/2 has "died" the same death as Netscape, because of pressure from M$. I'm still running it (both, in fact). The only application that I know of that won't run on it is Visio, and even that belongs to M$ now.

    So, powers-that-be, what does this tell you about antitrust activity?

    "Competition everywhere" indeed.

    Well, at least the internal helpdesk still supports it... for now.

  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @12:55PM (#1676066) Homepage Journal
    Don't be silly. You've been listening to the wrong FUD. The Macintosh is not more secure because it is more obscure. It is more secure because it is not multiuser, does not have an interactive command layer, is not remotely adminnable- in other words, it is utterly hobbled and limited as a server. That's what they wanted. There _are_ no secrets to getting root on a Mac because the concept doesn't even apply. If you can use it at all you're 'root', but you have to be sitting in front of the box mouseclicking- that's the way it was designed, and that's the way it is.
    MacOS as 'security through obscurity' is the stupidest concept I've ever heard. 'security through inability' is more like it- and that is exactly, exactly, what they want.
  • The font thing always annoyed the hell out of me. What's the point in having a 1024x768 monitor, if all the dialog boxes had 36 point fonts and took up the same third of the screen they would have under 640x480?

    From what I saw of Warp 4, it looks like IBM finally cleaned the PM up quite a bit. For those of us who were there in the 2.x era, Presentation Manager was one of the ugliest and confusing GUIs ever invented (and, yes, that does include Windows 3!).

    For example, OS/2 2.x shipped without icons for many PM programs. Which means you had to launch them from a command shell. OK, except the command shell icons were buried about 3 folders deep some place.

    And here's another for those who think that dragging a floppy to the trash is confusing: How about right-clicking on the desktop to shut down? In this context a 'Start' menu starts to make sense.

    Sorry to be ranting, but all of this talk of the "powerfullness" of PM is kinda moot because for many years the uglyness of it was getting in right in your face. (And yes, I know that there were some wonderful $50 shareware improvements. Tell that to the people who were paying the client licences.)

  • IBM marketed OS/2 heavily to IBM mainframe shops. One of the big sells of the "extended edition" (which only ran on authentic IBM PS/2s, IIRC) was that it included terminal emulation software.

    OS/2 always was (and probably still is) the mainframe gateway OS of choice. What they (and the PC hardware guys) never really caught onto was that there was a huge market out there for running network applications on PC server hardware. Enter Compaq and Windows NT.
  • The WPS is the biggest thing I miss about running OS/2. OS/2 rarely crashed, but had some occasional quirks with the Presentation Manager input queue that made rebooting necessary. I also never liked the way it changed font and icon sizes when you went above 800x600 resolution. But aside from that, OS/2 is great. I'd love to see something similar to the WPS for Linux though!
  • by SingleTracker ( 38396 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @06:30AM (#1676071) Homepage
    interface leaves much to be desired????

    Try any of this in windoze:

    1) Move the thing a shadow (shortcut) points to in OS/2, and the shadow (shortcut) still knows where it is...right down to config.sys entries.

    2) Do the above with a whole group of things

    3) Change the colors for every element of an application using OS/2's system color pallette and drag drop. No need for ANY code to be written to take advantage of this feature...it's all in the OS/2 core SOM/DSOM model.

    4) All containers from EVERY OS/2 PM application can be SHARED AMONGST THEMSELVES!!! For example, I could use the PMView file selector that does nice thumbnails (The thumbnails actually become a part of the actual image file through EA's) to drag a thumbnail to a folder's background image container...voila! I just changed that folder's background image! With an application that the OS didn't know anything about!

    5) TEMPLATES! I can create, say, an FTP Folder just by dragging an FTP Template to the place I want to make it. Yeah...I can see FTP servers as if they are a folder on my desktop...THAT is REAL internet integration, Microsoft!!! (And was done a year or two before you thought of it) Other templates exist for EVERY OBJECT you can use under OS/2.

    6) REXX Scripting. Unlike Linux, we only have one main scripting language...but it is used for everything and is consistent....Take for example ZOC, PhotoGraphics Pro, GTIRC.... If you prefer PERL...it can be embedded in REXX!

    7) Consistent context menus. OS/2 has had RMB context menus since long before Microsoft thought of them. You see...In OS/2's WPS, EVERYTHING is an OBJECT. ANYTHING you can do with an object will appear on it's context menu.

    8) An interface that MAKES SENSE! The right button to drag, left to select makes sense! You don't accidentally move things that way!

    I'm sure others can add much much more, but these are the things you are missing. You obviously didn't take the time to learn the WPS and how it works...assuming that the Windows interface is somehow 'right'
  • OK people, here's the deal. Banks don't roll their own ATMs. Several companies that make ATMs and the software that drives them use OS/2. Last I checked both Unisys and NCR did, I think their were some others too ...

    Fot those who have neve rdealt eith the financial market place, legacy hardware/software is more or less the rule. These machines will be running OS/2 for quite some time.

    Besides ATMs many popular credit card imprint machines run OS/2 as well.

    /dev
  • by Big Boss ( 7354 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @06:31AM (#1676073)
    I started using OS/2 at version 2.0. I first got it because I wanted to multitask on a 386/25. I had a BBS I ran, and needed to use the computer while it was going. A BBS doesn't use much in the way of system resources, so I figgured it would be easy.. it wasn't. DesqView was as close as I could get. Then I found OS/2.

    Keep in mind, this was about 1993, Win95 had not even been announced. There was talk about Ciaro, Chicago, or whatever, but it was all vapor.

    I still like it's GUI better then anything else I can find. Including KDE and GNOME. WPS is intuitive, fast, and can be very good-looking with help. IBM is a business company, so the defaults were a bit dry, but with a little config it can be really nice. And there are no config files you need to mess with to do it. You can improve performance by editing CONFIG.SYS, but it's not required. OS/2 can perform resonably well on my old 386/25. Linux/X is painfull.

    As for your comments, Yes, it has a command shell, with DOS-like commands. It was marketed as a DOS replacement, so they wanted it to be familiar. There were 2 command shells, the OS/2 shell, and the DOS emulator. It's DOS emulation is amazing, more so considering the time it was written. There were programs I couldn't run in real dos that worked great in OS/2's DOS box.

    The GUI is of thier own design. It's object oriented, and very feature rich. M$ only wishes they could write such a good GUI. The default configs sucked though, you really had to take a little time and edit the color scheme and maybe throw a background up. It is nothing at all like X, nor was it ever intended to be as far as I can tell. I found it much eaiser to learn WPS then most X window managers.

    It does not come with remote administration. That is one area I always thought they needed to work on. There are programs like PCAnywhere for it, but that's not nearly as good as a UNIX system's capabilities.

    I thought the interface was eaiser then anything else I've used before or since. It made a ton of sense once you remembered you have more then one mouse button. EVERYTHING could be right-clicked to get a context menu. And most programs included that support too. The Win-OS/2 program was a bit of a hack, but it was a pretty good emulator. It basicly ran Win3.1 under it's DOS emulator. The windowed version was a video driver hack. There is probably some stuff the WINE team could use in that area.

    It's great because at that time there was nothing that could touch it based on technology and usabilty. I think there are a few things they should have fixed early on, that they knew about and gave us kludges for. Like the SIQ problem. Now, I'd say Linux has gotten close to it's technology, but has a ways to go before usability can even come close. We had that in OS/2 in 1993! Win95 and NT have decent GUI's, but still lack when compared to OS/2. WPS and SOM still have no equal, IMO.

    Is it better then UNIX? That all depends. For UNIX users, probably not. For OS/2 users, certainly. For Windows users, well, anything is better! :) If you want an easy to use GUI, in a system you can get up and running very quickly without editing text files, it's great. If you want flexability and source code, UNIX is where it's at. It all depends on what you want in an OS. I use Linux a lot, and I really like it. I still load up OS/2 once in a while, but I've moved so much of my work to Linux now that I just don't need it as much anymore. I still miss the GUI though.

    I really wish IBM would just open the source under GPL or some other OSS license and let those of us who want it work on porting the parts we like to Linux. With Linux as the kernel and SOM/WPS as the UI it would really rock. But so far Big Blue has declined many efforts to get the code. In this latest situation Stardock even offered to pay for it, just to make a new version of OS/2 Client. *sigh*

    Of course, now there is little software available. So it's been going down for a while. There's some great stuff, but Linux is getting all the attention now. Hopefully IBM will see the light and help us get some of the great parts of OS/2 into Linux. Come on IBM! Follow the lead of SGI! They're giving us XFS, can't you give us WPS/SOM?
  • I hate to be a pessimist, but I doubt that any other company could have done any better. It has nothing to do with the quality of the software.

    Consider things like the Amiga, the Atari's, and even the Mac. All were better than the MS stuff of the day, yet they failed utterly in the face of the brick wall that Microsoft turned out to be.

    Yes, OS/2 was a better OS than Windows in every aspect when it came out. It may still be now (I haven't used it in several years), but the fact is that OS/2 is dead. As is the Amiga, the Atari ST, and all the other computers I held dear. Even Apple, which has always had a bigger maketshare than Amiga, OS/2, et all, has been struggling.

    It is the nature of the real world that for the most part only "new" things can have a significant impact. Linux (despite really being a 30 year old OS) is "new" enough that it might have an effect. We can only hope that the community will win where IBM has failed.
  • While I appreciate the ability to customize Slashdot to include the headings from OS/2 News and Rumours [os2ss.com] and Warpcast [os2ss.com], the lack of OS/2 coverage at Slashdot has always been a major disappointment. After all, the byline is News for Nerds, not News for Linux Users, and OS/2 users(like myself) tend to be rather nerdly :-)

    Anyway, I don't see this as a death knell for OS/2. IBM has a habit of saying NOTHING about what their plans are until it's just about to bear fruit. I suspect this is a result of their dealings with the DOJ, and can only hope that Microsoft will behave in a similiar fashion after the DOJ finishes with them(ie: no more vaporware announcements.) I consider the fact that IBM is still releasing fix packs, and other items for OS/2, to say a lot more about IBM's support of OS/2 than any lack of news from IBM. These items are things such as the just released Java 1.1.8 update and the beta of Netscape 4.6. It's rather hard to pronounce something dead if the vendor is actively updating it.

    I suggest waiting to see what comes out at Warpstock [warpstock.org] (one of those OS/2 related news items I would have expected to see grace Slashdot's front page). IBM plans to have representatives there and I'm sure the OS/2 users will be after them for information. Weither or not it's something us OS/2 users would care to hear remains to be seen.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well actually Commodore released a new version of
    the C64 long after the Amiga. Remeber the white C64 and the C64 based gaming console?

    The problem with Commodore was:

    1. Bad marketing, the marketing was usually
    targeted at a different crowd than the
    people who actually would benefit from
    buying the system.

    2. Premature entry into the information appliance
    market (CDTV).

    3. Production of a non-competetive gaming
    consoles (C64G and CD32).

    4. Loosing the blueprints of the new graphics
    chips.

    5. Overspending on retaining marketshare in the
    US, when Europe went well.

    6. Lousy CEO wich didn't use computers, didn't
    understand what drove the market and
    spent millions on a corporate Jet when the
    company was struggling. (I guess he also
    alienated loads of talent within the company).

    The fact that IBM drops further investments into
    OS/2 comes as no surprise, although the product
    has allways been superior to Windows it has also
    been a bit expensive for most people and again
    the marketing has been a bit off. I remember
    adverts in Dr. Dobbs where IBM tried to highlight
    the power of their GUI, only the screenshot looked
    totally incomprehensible, with tons of different
    icons -- this at a time where programmers where
    willing to loose performance (Windows 3) in
    exchange for a easy to understand GUI. The retail
    price of OS/2 has also been about
    twice that of Windows.

    My experience with IBM is that they DO support
    their technology for an extended period of time
    when their customers need it. One example is the
    continued support for Java 1.1 when Sun has pushed
    on to the Java 2 platform.

    It is sad that OS/2 didn't make it further, since
    it was (from a technological standpoint) a truly
    superior choice in comparision to Windows.

    Hail to all the systems consultants who decided
    on OS/2 instead of Windows. The decision is
    probably a pain in the butt today, but at least
    it was the right technical decision to make at
    the time.

  • OS/2 advocates have been bringing up this ATM thing more or less forever. I've never understood how that is supposed to have anything to do with me as a desktop PC user.

    I understand what that suggests about its reliability and stability, but that doesn't have anything to do with IBM's desire to get rid of it as a desktop operating system.

  • Here [ibm.com] is a a copy of link that's posted later in this thread. Hope it helps.

    I had to learn IBM SAA/CUA in order to create a text-based mainframe interface that emulated OS/2 1.3 back in '89. It was not only a learning experience, and fun, but a real eye opener! The CUA standard covers it all; text, GUI, mouse, keyboard. If adhered to during interface development, it makes it so easy to add voice, thought-control, whatever!

  • I never mentioned anything about my attitude towards IBM. I merely stated that I really liked OS/2 and was disappointed that Version 5 of the client was not going to be developed. My comments had nothing to do with the PS/2 or how much attention I pay to IBM.
  • Allow me to take a stab at this...

    IBM employs about 300,000 worldwide.
    They all need at least one computer.
    That computer requires an image.
    Most of the world uses Win95 and IBM communicates (shares files) a LOT with the rest of the world (customers).
    Most applications only run on Windows.
    Most corporations run Win95, which is (soon to be?) not supported.
    IBM is in negotiations to upgrade (purchase a 300,000-user license).
    Micro$oft hates (any) competition.
    Micro$oft will do anything in its power (including price fixing) to destroy competition.
    I don't think I need to go on.
  • No. The Mac is relatively secure because it has no command shell. OS/2 has a command shell, and any given web server program could theoretically spawn a command processor. In OS/2, any command prompt has the same security priviliges that a UNIX root prompt has.

    As an OS/2 fan, the lack of security in the product was always troubling

  • Does this mean there won't be any desktop version of OS/2? Will they keep the Server version? Is IBM going to produce a different product instead?Sorry if it's in the Usenet artical, but my news server really sucks.
  • OS/2 Warp Desktop Tour; Index

  • Right. It should be noted that the OS/2 kernel is riddled with so much i286 and i386 assembly code that it's apparently unportable. (IBM tried porting to the PPC but never got out of beta.)

    NT was designed to be the solution to that problem. See the /. article from a few weeks ago.

    (Note that NT has lots of OS/2 code in other places, specifically the file+print sharing LanMan code.)
  • Hmmm.....my link doesn't seem to be working. Any body else?

  • I'm curious why you think the MacOS 8.x UI is a rip-off from OS/2? Especially since, aside from some window dressing, the MacOS UI has been pretty static since 1984.

    Could it be the contextual menus? OS/2 didn't invent those - they were in the Xerox PARC GUI, and I think Apple Lisa and early Unix UIs might have had them as well.

  • Well, last year I saw a voice mail system running Microsoft OS/2 1.3 - The technician indicated that there was some problem with later versions so they buy it from Microsoft for $600 a box.

    I would imagine that ATM manufacturers have enough resources to engineer around the 16-bit to 32-bit OS/2 issues, especially because vendor support is probably critical in this area, so maybe the issue isn't as general as I made it out to be.
  • by brennanw ( 5761 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @05:40AM (#1676092) Homepage Journal
    IBM really just wants those of us who admire OS/2 to go away. We don't, and it pisses them off to no end. While Microsoft tries endlessly to bribe people into writing false testimony about their operating systems, IBM has to pretend they don't hear us. It must be embarrassing to be a multibillion dollar company who can't even KILL OFF an operating system properly.

    I doubt OS/2 is quite dead yet, but this is certainly a very, very disappointing event to those of us who still use it.

    On the other had, I guess this is the first time OS/2 has ever received the front-page Slashdot treatment. Too bad it had to be such bad news before Slashdot would recognize it...

  • I'm pretty sure System V/386 came out first. When did BSD 386 come out?

    There were LOTS of other 32-bit OSes for cheap Intel hardware, too, like Coherent and DesqView/386. (Those who deny that DesqView is an operating system should read Andrew Schulman's excellent work, Unauthorized Windows 95, although I'm sure OS purists won't like it :) I read it back when I thought Windows 95 was decent. [I was naive])

    Besides, OS/2 isn't a fully 32-bit OS: it has some 16-bit code, although most of it is for running legacy applications.

  • As a windows user, I can safly say that providing it was only applications I use (mostly MS software like Visual Studio, Office etc) I could save etc using just the keyboard - and then shutdown using just the keyboard.
  • by Otto ( 17870 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @05:42AM (#1676095) Homepage Journal
    Since people are having problem with the link:

    ---
    From: "Brad Wardell"
    Subject: Judgement Day results
    Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 13:46:45 -0400
    Lines: 50
    X-Priority: 3
    X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
    X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2314.1300
    X-Mimeole: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2314.1300
    Message-ID:
    Newsgroups: stardock.os2
    Path: prospero.stardock.com
    Xref: prospero.stardock.com stardock.os2:2342
    NNTP-Posting-Host: brad.stardock.com 209.69.142.81

    In 1998, Stardock took the position that if IBM had no current or projected
    plans for a new fat OS/2 client, that it was in the interests of OS/2 users
    and the computing community in general that a third-party should work with
    IBM to license OS/2 technology on an OEM basis and make a new client
    available.

    To that end, late last year, Stardock prepared a business plan and opened
    negotiations with IBM. The wheels of bureacracy grind slowly, but eventually
    it was up to "IBM" (executive level) to make the ultimate call on
    proceeding.

    For the past 6 months, Stardock and IBM have been working closely together
    in hammering out the details of an OS/2 client. Everything from potential
    names down to which minute components would or would not be included. These
    meetings included multiple in-person meetings with IBM staff and executives
    here at Stardock's office complex in Livonia Michigan.

    With an agreement in principle in place, the last major hurdle was this week
    in which the IBMers in favor of our proposal (mostly in Austin) presented
    their case to IBM as a whole.

    The call has been made -- there will be no new client from Stardock and IBM
    has indicated that they have no plans for an OS/2-based client of their own.

    Though IBM indicated Stardock had the strongest proposal, they have decided
    that it is currently not in IBM's or their customer's interests to license
    any current OS/2 technology on an OEM-basis.

    There was never any discord between IBM and Stardock over financials,
    technical viability, target market, or the like. IBM has simply finally
    made the decision that a new OS/2 client would be in conflict with their
    strategic directions.

    Stardock would like to extend a special thanks to all the IBMers (and in
    particular Ken Christopher and Timothy Sipples) who went above and beyond
    the call in working with us and going to bat inside IBM. Remember when you
    meet folks like them, who are and have been intimately involved with OS/2,
    that their hands may be just as tied as yours when the IBM Corporation as a
    whole sets policy.

    Everything that could be done was done.

    Brad

    ---
    Brad Wardell
    Product Manager: Object Desktop & The Corporate Machine
    http://www.stardock.com

    ---
    ---

  • Actually, it's a rule that the deader a system gets, the higher it's consultant rates go up.

    Look at the undercutting Windows NT consultants. The price of popularity is cheap labor.
  • That's probably just a troll anyway, but I'll say:

    a) Use OS/2 4.0 - It's MUCH neater, cleaner, etc.
    b) Don't make yourself look silly by trying Win95 software on OS/2...
  • *sadly waves zippo in air*

  • It should be noted that OS/2 1.x (1987?) was designed to run on the 286 and was 16-bit, and that 32-bit support didn't come in until 1990 with OS/2 2.0. By then, I'm sure someone (SCO?) was selling a i386 Unix.

    During the 2.x and 3.x era, there still was 16-bit code in OS/2. I don't know about today.
  • by emag ( 4640 ) <slashdot@@@gurski...org> on Friday September 17, 1999 @05:44AM (#1676100) Homepage
    I've been running an OS/2 machine since 1993 when OS/2 2.0 came out. Since then, I've upgraded to 2.1, 3.0, and 4.0. In fact, I'm STILL using it for my Quicken & TurboTax stuff. Three of my boxen are linux, but I'm still keeping that spunky little 486 with OS/2 around. This is really a depressing day.

    Presentation Manager still has (IMHO) the best OOUI out there. None of this foo.lnk B$ from Micros~1 that breaks every time you move the item you supposedly have a shortcut to. Instead, PM shadows were managed such that they *always* knew where the original was.

    Not to mention being a better Windows than Windows. I remember as an undergrad...running a WinDOS circuit design package that kept crashing on the Pentium Win3.1 machines in the labs. Running it under OS/2 on my 486 was a little slower, but it knew how to actually use a swap file and not run out of memory halfway through loading the final 32-bit RISC processor (designed from basic components) and crash.

    It's a real shame that OS/2 is/has died. IBM probably should have spun it off into its own entity a la Lexmark. Maybe then someone would have had an incentive to push it a little harder, market it a little better, and actually care if it succeeded.

    OS/2, you WILL be missed.
  • Actually, you don't really need a dreamcast :)

    OS/2 runs a lot of the older DOS games better than DOS ever did. And did you ever see OS/2 *native* Quake? WOW. Makes the windoze and linux versions look like they are running on half the machine!

    That's one thing I miss under linux...not being able to play stuff like Epic pinball, jazz jackrabbit, etc.

    ...but linux has quake III, if you have the hardware (which I don't) :(
  • Under VMWare???

    Does it work?? How well? I'm getting a new machine soon, and might try this.

  • Subject: Judgement Day results
    Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 13:46:45 -0400
    From: "Brad Wardell"

    In 1998, Stardock took the position that if IBM had no current or projected plans for a new fat OS/2 client, that it was in the interests of OS/2 users and the computing community in general that a third-party should work with IBM to license OS/2 technology on an OEM basis and make a new client available.

    To that end, late last year, Stardock prepared a business plan and opened negotiations with IBM. The wheels of bureacracy grind slowly, but eventually it was up to "IBM" (executive level) to make the ultimate call on proceeding.

    For the past 6 months, Stardock and IBM have been working closely together in hammering out the details of an OS/2 client. Everything from potential names down to which minute components would or would not be included. These meetings included multiple in-person meetings with IBM staff and executives here at Stardock's office complex in Livonia Michigan.

    With an agreement in principle in place, the last major hurdle was this week in which the IBMers in favor of our proposal (mostly in Austin) presented
    their case to IBM as a whole.

    The call has been made -- there will be no new client from Stardock and IBM has indicated that they have no plans for an OS/2-based client of their own.

    Though IBM indicated Stardock had the strongest proposal, they have decided that it is currently not in IBM's or their customer's interests to license any current OS/2 technology on an OEM-basis.

    There was never any discord between IBM and Stardock over financials, technical viability, target market, or the like. IBM has simply finally made the decision that a new OS/2 client would be in conflict with their strategic directions.

    Stardock would like to extend a special thanks to all the IBMers (and in particular Ken Christopher and Timothy Sipples) who went above and beyond
    the call in working with us and going to bat inside IBM. Remember when you meet folks like them, who are and have been intimately involved with OS/2, that their hands may be just as tied as yours when the IBM Corporation as a whole sets policy.

    Everything that could be done was done.

    Brad

    ---
    Brad Wardell
    Product Manager: Object Desktop & The Corporate Machine
    http://www.stardock.com

  • I'm proud to say that my second OS after DOS was OS/2. I did my first install (ver2.1 with MM/PM) on a 386SX/25 with 1MB of memory (want do you expect I was a sophmore in college, I had no money). It was the first time I have ever seen an OS actually blow out a microprocessor. A week of running it melted the poor thing. I upgraded to an AST 486 with 12mb of ram and ran the same install for two years with no software problems. The only time it crashed hard was when a hard drive failed and took out the swap file, the PM backups and a lot of games. Six minutes of changing the paths in the config.sys, had a working but limping system up and running.
    Most of my time was in Win/OS rather than straight OS/2, but I was the only one in the rez hall who could do that while still keeping Descent, NASCAR Racing and a terminal session running. I've got to say that OS/2 was the closest I ever got to actually having Big Iron in my computer. I defy anyone to name an OS that has 2 kernels running at the same time and can switch them when one of them fails. Yes, the single ended input queue blew chunks, but a good app was written to expect that. I've since moved to a Mac but I still kinda miss the OS/2 desktop and having 3 copies of needed files on hand when the whole deal bites the dust. Reboot, wait for the little box, hit alt-F1 and select the most recent desktop backup and !bang! there you were again. To bad the rest of the world went for bloatware and frills. By the way playing with the appearance manager and the thickness of the lines made for a much better looking desktop.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The sourcecode for some of the parts of OS/2 is on the loose. This includes the kernel source, the textmode applets, and the multimedia subsystem. Unfortunately not the PM/WPS sources. I have them myself, and they are quite interesting reading. At least someone taught IBM and MS how to comment their code...
  • It should be the first 16 bit, multi-tasking OS for x86 platform.
  • OS/2 was the first 32bit, multi-tasking, OS out there.

    True only if you further qualify "first 32-bit multi-tasking OS"; 32-bit machines supporting multitasking OSes existed long before the 80386 came out.

    It might have been the first 32-bit multi-tasking OS for "IBM-compatible PCs" - did it, in fact, come out before, say, System V/386? If not, then you might have to further qualify it as "the first 32-bit multi-tasking OS that might've become mass-market" (feel free to insert debate here about whether a PC UNIX, back then, was likely to become mass-market).

    There is the drawback that OS/2 is fragmented on the source-code level, as well as the binary level, just like Windows (ie, no POSIX.1 compatibility)

    In what way does that constitute "fragmentation"? I'd consider OS/2 "fragmented" only if there were multiple versions that weren't fully binary-compatible and weren't fully source-compatible (other than "not all applications built on/built for/written for release N run on Release N-1")

  • by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @06:40AM (#1676108)
    As a long-time OS/2 user, I want to make two points.

    First, this does NOT mean the death of OS/2, or of the client. You can STILL buy OS/2 Warp 4, and it STILL works great. I won't waste your time touting the benefits of OS/2 Warp 4, but they do exist. I'm perfectly happy with my three computers at home running OS/2 Warp, and I know of a lot of cool software that's being developed and will be relaesed over the next six months (and beyond). In fact, I'm not even sure I'd buy Warp 5 if it did come out. If I did, it'd be mostly to show my support.

    Second, even if Stardock did come out with a Warp 5 (or whatever they'd call it) client, it would be more for marketing than technology. Any Warp 5 client created would be based on the Warp 5 server, and the only thing that would be different between Warp 4 and Warp 5 is the addition of SMP support. Considering that only 1% (at most) of computers out there have SMP support, it wouldn't help much. There would be no real new technology in Warp 5. There won't be any support for Windows 95 apps or anything major like that. Anyone could take Warp 4 today and create a CD that installs XFree86, EMX, Gimp, Star Office, Object Desktop, and whatever else is currently available, and it would be identical to Stardock's Warp 5.

    Why? Stardock, since they won't have the OS/2 source code, can only do so much (i.e. nothing). And if IBM releeased a new client instead, they WOULDN'T add any new features that don't already exist in Warp 5 server.

    So in the end, 99% of everyone who uses Warp 4 and has downloaded the standard add-ons is already running Warp 5.

  • Good comments...but one point:

    OS/2's DOS support is *NOT* emulation. It is a true VDM (this is a HARDWARE feature of the Intel chips).

    You can have up to 254 VDM's (Virtual Dos Machines) running simultaneously under OS/2. The windows programs are the same.

    In addition, you can run several Windows programs under the same VDM to save resources (basically acting like another computer running windows just like windows does) *OR* run troublesome apps in their *OWN SEPARATE* VDM.
  • But you have to look at it from IBM's viewpoint: What would GPL'ing OS/2 do for them? There is also, IIRC, code from other vendors in OS/2. One of those vendors is Microsoft, and I doubt that they would agree to anything like GPLing the code.
  • IBM is very good for support, you can expect them to still release patches to OS/2 client for a while. If I'm not wrong the support cycle is 5 years or so for IBM, that's why you can still see some patches for OS/2 2.1. Sure they don't want to sell the client anymore, but they don't abandon the current users immediately (Remember an OS that was from 16bit to 32bit that stop to maintain the 16 bit quite fast?).

    Sure Worplace Shell was nice (even great for some things). However OS/2 itself had some annoying bugs (or behaviours). Hardware support was not very good, almost all recent sound cards don't work with it, many video cards don't either.

  • (Not In This Lifetime). The impression I have gotten is that IBM does not have full rights to release the source. Much of it is still co-copyrighted with Microsoft from the early days, and I would guess that some of it was purchased from third parties complete with a(n) NDA.
  • One reason some of us think OS/2 is (or was, anyway) so important is because OS/2 was the very first technically strong
    contender to Windows 3.1 for the desktop on Intel hardware, and was Windows NT's first strong (and superior, IMhO) opponent. It's a 32-bit operating
    system with an extremely flexible and consistent desktop, enough native software to be useful, and very good DOS/Win 3.1 support. Plus lots of ported Unix stuff.

    [1] Unlike Windows NT, the GUI in OS/2 is completely decoupled from the kernel, and the shell is actually useful. :-) Using the freeware TSHELL, you can bypass the need for PM and the WPS entirely and run OS/2 on fairly small/slow machines.
    [2] The default shell is a DOS derivative and superset. Other shells (4OS2, tsch, bash) are much better, IMhO.
    [3] The OS/2 WorkPlace Shell was first released in 1992, long before Microsoft designed their limited WPS knock-off GUI. It's also extensible - programmers can create new desktop objects which inherit the chacteristics of the base object class they're based on. Very slick.
    [4] I use it as a client, not a server, so I'm uncertain. But even the client version of OS/2 Warp 4 comes with a telnet server which is quite useful.
    [5] Again, much of the interface in OS/2 predates Windows, so I consider Windows an OS/2 hack rather than the reverse. Since I use Xit, I have LOTS more buttons than a normal OS/2 setup. :-)
    I still use OS/2 as my main desktop OS at home (even though I also have Windows 95 and NT, Linux, FreeBSD, and BeOS) because I'm more comfortable in the WPS than in KDE, GNOME, or AfterStep under Linux, and because (like Linux) OS/2 has a "real" command prompt, so I can use text-based console-mode tools like lynx, pine, slrn, Yarn, FTE, or whatever in comfort. And it lets me play Quake and C&C in the background. :-)
    --
    -Rich (OS/2, Linux, BeOS, Mac, NT, Win95, Solaris, FreeBSD, and OS2200 user in Bloomington MN)
  • SCO Unix beat it to that,

    SCO Unix (SV-based, I think), or SCO Xenix (originally V7-based, I think, with System N stuff added on)?

    as did Sequent

    Did Dynix run on PC's, or just on Sequent's machines (which were, as far as I know, not "IBM-compatible PCs", even if they did use 386's as processors)?

    and Burroughs (Unisys)

    If you're thinking of BTOS, wasn't that actually Convergent Technology's CTOS, or something based on CTOS?

    If so, did that run on PC's, or just on Convergent's x86 machine (which I also thought weren't PC-compatible, although they - or Burroughs or Unisys, depending on whether they bought Convergent before or after the merger - may later have made it run on PCs)?

  • ...and that 32-bit support didn't come in until 1990 with OS/2 2.0. By then, I'm sure someone (SCO?) was selling a i386 Unix.

    Heck, Sun had a port of SunOS 4.0 to the Compaq Deskpro 386, or whatever it was called - they didn't sell it, though, as they were just using the Compaq as a development mule for the Sun386i; the latter was definitely not a PC-compatible machine (Sun-style boot monitor rather than a BIOS, for one thing). I don't think the port included SunView, and I've no idea whether it would've run on anybody else's PC. (In any case, it doesn't count very much, as Sun never sold 4.0[.x] on PCs.)

    I'm not sure when the first Solaris 2.x release for x86 came out, but I think it might've been after 1990.

  • Actually, PM isn't very good. WPS is the best OOUI. You see, the Presentation Manager shell was Microsoft-written the 16-bit OS/2 1.3 GUI. You could later get it as an NT 3.x subsystem. The IBM-written Workplace Shell, which came with OS/2 2.0+, was an object-oriented successor that could run all of the old PM apps.

    Of course, since the WPS was built to be compatible with PM-16 and to replace Microsoft's PM-32 in OS/2 2.0, various documents refered to WPS features and programming as PM features and programming. And the difference made little practical difference since the WPS program provided PM services to things like mshell anyway, and nobody bothered writing PM apps for 16-bit OS/2 anymore anyway.

    But, it does make a major difference now, since the WPS is IBM code and thus could theoretically be released under an open-source license by IBM. Also, it (theoretically, at least) could be reengineered to work on top of X graphics services instead of PM graphics services, giving you an OOUI with all the features of both X and WPS...
  • And here's another for those who think that dragging a floppy to the trash is confusing: How about right-clicking on the

    desktop to shut down? In this context a 'Start' menu starts to make sense.


    I have to disagree with you here. I feel that right-clicking on the desktop is the correct thing to do. After all, for everything else, you right-click to pull up a menu of things to do to/with that object. When you have your desktop, IOW your "computer", the proper OO manner to select an action to perform on it (such as shutting down) is to right click, just like every other object in the system.

    I guess to me it just made sense to think of the desktop itself as "just another object" which behaved like everything else on the desktop. It's the consistent approach to everything (well, most things) that made PM & WPS such a joy to use.

    Granted, there were quirks in some of the performable actions, and the improvements between 2.x and 3.0 (and 3.0 and 4.0) are definitely nothing to sneeze at.
  • Er, both the /. and Stardock stories simply say that the OS/2 *client* is not going to be updated. You then yourself say OS/2 isn't dead on the server end, just the client isn't being developed.

    I find it amazing that a post made by someone who didn't read either the Slashdot write-up or the linked article got moderated up at all, much less so far (to a 4 as I reply), but I know how I'd M2 the moderation...
  • It seems an ok time for OS/2 to die, now that
    Linux is mature enough and X now has nice enough
    Window Managers to make it usable by ex-OS/2
    users. I made the switch a few years ago (a bit
    after 4.0's release)...
    OS/2, like any OS, had it's problems and it's
    strengths. Let's go down the line with
    NT, Linux, and OS/2...

    Unix compatibility
    OS/2 -- Pretty good. Could run X, and had the
    EMX libraries to make porting Unix apps
    fairly painless. Port of GCC available,
    lots of tools available
    NT -- Ok. No free X, but various libraries
    (Cgywin, etc) make porting Unix apps less
    painful. Lots of tools available
    Linux -- Duh.

    Windows Compatability
    OS/2 -- Ok. Win32s and Win16 done well, a binary
    converter that works well on some Win32
    apps is available for free on the net
    NT -- Duh.
    Linux -- Ok. WINE and DosEmu do ok here.

    Stability
    OS/2 -- Ok. Better than Win95, and if you don't
    consider the WPS hanging to be hanging
    the OS, then the OS is very stable. Of
    course, the WPS does hang sometimes, and
    occasinally when the WPS databases get
    corrupted, you need to do some fairly
    ugly and destructive things to recover.
    NT -- Good. Occasionally the OS hangs, but not
    very often, and when it does, you normally
    just need to reboot.
    Linux -- Excellent. Uptime is frequently
    measured in months.

    Interface
    OS/2 -- Highly customizable, very sophisticated,
    and sometimes slow. For the adventurous,
    it's possible to run other desktops apart
    from the WPS (Some of which use PM, or you
    can run X)
    NT -- Much less customizable, very standardized,
    and with the advent of IE4 integration,
    often slow. It's possible to run other
    desktops, but more difficult than under
    OS/2 or Linux, and reduces system
    functionality
    Linux -- Highly customizable, no standard
    interface. Networking functionality
    built-in.

    Overall, I'd have to say that the interface was
    the high point of OS/2, and I kind of miss it...



    Damn. My cat is sitting on my mouse and I can't
    click submit. :(

    *moves cat*
    There we go
  • This sort of Product Hell (we can't be bothered to improve our own product, and we don't want to anyone else improve it either) is one of the major bugaboos of proprietary software (think Amiga, think game emulators, think software from any defunct company) .. and one which OSS very nicely avoids.
  • I don't understand why IBM wouldn't be willing to license the OS to Stardock though. Unless it's because they either get enough profit from it supporting the remaining OS/2 user base, or don't want to have to keep the user base and license the code to a third party, or don't want to lose the user base in the licensing agreement.
    1. They're too busy providing NT support services to want to compete with Microsoft.
    2. The consumer launch of Warp 3 (remmber the Italian nuns?) was a support nightmare, as their help desk was flooded with "How do I get DOOM to run with sound?" calls (OS/2 controls hardware access, like any good OS. DOOM, of course, used its own, non-compatible DOS sound drivers.)
    3. PC Company gets a much better preload discount on Windows if they don't produce or preload a competing OS.
    IBM still supports OS/2 for existing, large customers in "vertical industries" like banking and insurance. This translates to things like JVM updates, Y2K and Euro fixes, and miscellaneous fixpacks. Significant updates for things a home user might want, like DIVE, USB (currently only on Intel and I believe VIA chipsets), and multimedia in general are probably not forthcoming.
  • IIRC, a number of ATM/MAC machines run OS/2. I don't remember why exactly, but there was something about needing a GUI OS that would also support X.25 protocols for interfacing with the mainframes at the bank HQ's over telco lines, and OS/2 was it.
  • At least in a straight VDM (not a VMB using a real boot image), the DOS kernel is actually a virtualized DOS interface lookalike which hooks into the OS/2 kernel.

    That's why DOS program in a VDM can use the OS/2 mouse and sound drivers instead of having to load their own.
    --
    -Rich (OS/2, Linux, BeOS, Mac, NT, Win95, Solaris, FreeBSD, and OS2200 user in Bloomington MN)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This has come up before (in OS/2 forums); there is no chance for open source OS/2.

    It would be difficult - much more difficult than, say, letting Stardock package a new client - to determine what source is IBM's to give away and what is not. Remember, Microsoft was a co-developer (through version 1.2). Microsoft recently said that they have been considering Open Source for the last two years, but that probably didn't include the OS/2 code. :-)

    Converting a large project to open source is difficult, particularly late in the game, even if you have management backing.
  • There are a few aspects of remote admin that OS/2 does, and AFAIK NT doesn't.

    1. The os/2 command shell talks to an ansi terminal (and likewise, shell windows are ansi terminals).

    2. telnetd is built-in with the tcp/ip package.

    3. DOS sessions were given the same ansi-terminal capability several years ago. I'm not sure how far this goes, but possibly full-screen text dos apps can run over telnet.

    (slashdot is really slow today, so I'm retrying - sorry for dupes)

  • In fact that is one of the reasons why I choose that particular bank. Just will not trust my money with a bank that uses any microsoft products.


    I use the Credit Union (also in Canada), they used to use Os/2 and recently spent alot of (my) money to switch over to an NT based system. Just this morning I went in and the tellers machine constantly kept freezing, and problem that they never had until they switched to NT.
    Not trying to be a troll here, but Os/2 is designed more towards the business side of things wich IMHO is why they never really tried to market it as a desktop OS.

    Chris
  • what's wrong with 3000 registry entries?
    I'm sure OS2 has many settings stored all over the place (just like linux).
    The more entries, the more you can change for customisation.
  • I am sad to see it go. OS/2 version 2.1 was my first graphical OS. It brings back memoeries :) I loved the fact that OS/2 had "folders" that looked like folders versions before windows. Anyone who has used OS/2 before know where microsoft got the ideas for 95. My only hope is that OS/2 will one day be open sourced for geeks like me how would still hack it!
  • at least we don't have to "Apply" before we "OK".

    eh? Who pushes apply before ok unless they want to see the applied settings in place without closing the dialog.
    OK does an apply then closes. Apply just does an apply.

    YEESH.
    ALL MICROSOFT SOFWARE DOES THIS.
    Most windows applications (all i used) do this....those that don't prolly have old unix programmers
  • I think SOMObjects is needed for open transport, but don't hold me to it. Disable the extension and see what breaks. I think you do need it though, it's a library and part of the mac os 8.5 extension package.
  • Except for Ask Slashdot and Your Rights Online(?), all Slashdot articles appear on the front page.

    http://slashdot.org/search.pl?query=os%2 F2 [slashdot.org]

    --
  • Did you notice that IBMs new NetStations are also able to run Workspace On Demand? IBM doesn't want to sell fat clients. Period. You don't see ATM's with the BSOD or German nuke power plants blowing up because OS/2 does the job of providing an advanced developement platform that is reliable. Remember the picture of the airline terminal with the GPF? I happen to agree with IBM on this though as a software developer I like a fat client. I'm going to set up Warp Server at home on a dual P6 and see if WSOD can still make a good dev env. I heard they are selling a good number of WSOD systems so a fat client just doesn't make $$ anymore.
    What might make $$$ in homes though is a fat PC acting as a server with IBM NetStations in many rooms. Not a NetStation for every family member because anyone can use any station. The 'server' could be managed by the ISP to some extent by providing applications delivers off hours and caced on the home server. Sure makes sense when compared to the cost of maintaining many PCs in a home and especially Windows PCs.

    my $1.02
  • OS/2 was the first 32bit, multi-tasking, OS out there.
    True only if you further qualify "first 32-bit multi-tasking OS"; 32-bit machines supporting multitasking OSes existed long before the 80386 came out.

    You're right. I wasn't specific enough. It was the first 32-bit OS written for the x86 "desktop" market. There were of course many other 32-bit OS's but none we'd see running Wordperfect.

    It might have been the first 32-bit multi-tasking OS for "IBM-compatible PCs" - did it, in fact, come out before, say, System V/386? If not, then you might have to further qualify it as "the first 32-bit multi-tasking OS that might've become mass-market" (feel free to insert debate here about whether a PC UNIX, back then, was likely to become mass-market).

    Again, that's true. There were, I'm guessing Unix ports, but they weren't in a position to be mass-market. I couldn't consider Unix at the time a contender to running Wordperfect either.

    There is the drawback that OS/2 is fragmented on the source-code level, as well as the binary level, just like Windows (ie, no POSIX.1 compatibility)
    In what way does that constitute "fragmentation"? I'd consider OS/2 "fragmented" only if there were multiple versions that weren't fully binary-compatible and weren't fully source-compatible (other than "not all applications built on/built for/written for release N run on Release N-1")

    I am refering fragmentation the same way the Microsoft does. Not the there isn't compatibility, either source or binary within multiple versions. MS would never claim that 98 and NT were fragmented. But MS claims that fragmentation is within a group of OS's that all seemingly exist for the same function. IE, the server market. According Microsoft, if I write a program and it doesn't compile under a different OS, then that OS is fragmented. I disagree, of course, but for MS's sake I acknowledge their logic. For in the desktop market, if I write an app, and try to compile it for another OS, if I can't compile it, it must be fragmented. So I can write an app for Linux and compile it under FreeBSD, Solaris, Unixware, BeOS, but it'll fail miserably under Windows. So Windows, according to the gospel of Microsoft, must be fragmented. Of course, according the the same logic OS/2 and MacOS are also fragmented. But, as I noted before, we can overlook that for the uses the OS/2 and Mac serve. Now, there are "libraries" to provide POSIX.1 compatibility to Windows and others, but that's not the Windows API, just a third party library.

    Anyways, FWIW, I don't think fragmentation is a problem. I think it's good to have a little fragmention, but not as much as Windows has. But MS has blown their fragmentation PR up so much to get people scared of "Unix" and started using their much worse OS, that I've felt I've needed to start pointing out the real fragmentation where ever I had the opportunity.

    -Brent
    --
  • Like others (or maybe not), I've used a number of GUI's over the years. Of everything I've used, IBM's Workplace Shell was the most intuitive and productive. What we really need right now is something similar to IBM's CUA guidelines to define user interaction across applications.

  • PC Company gets a much better preload discount on Windows if they don't produce or preload a competing OS.

    Ah, yes. The anti-trust trial.

    -Brent
    --
  • One day I was in our building's cafeteria sometime between breakfast and lunch, and the servicemen were there working on the teller machine. I stopped to watch for just a moment, and was rather surprised to see an OS/2 boot screen come up!

    I must have had quite an interesting look on my face because the repairman put his left hand over the screen, put his right index finger over his mouth and gave me an elaborate "Ssssssssh!"

    It was just nice to see that OS/2 had worked itself back onto campus. :-) I had to smile -- I ran OS/2 several years ago and still remember it fondly. In fact I keep thinking I ought to pull out the old CD and reinstall it onto one of the spare, older machines I have laying around, but then I think of what my wife would do to me if another computer invaded the computer lab, er, living room.
    --
  • I've thought about doing this for awhile. I have been lacking the time to learn the required skills. If there is interest in getting a team together to design a SOM/WPS system for Linux, I'm game. I'll even have some time to work on it soon. ;)

    This is the one thing I would want to make my Linux experience complete. KDE and GNOME are nice, but neither holds a candle to WPS.
  • Isn't GNOME intended, among other things, to
    define these guidelines?
  • Feasible? Yes.
    Will it run? Yes, but very slowly!
    Doable? Depends on your knowledge. I can trim OS/2 down to 90MB including a full WPS. Can you?
    Floppies? About 45 of them for Warp 4. Can you not procure a PCMCIA CD-ROM drive? I have a dual-speed sitting beside me. Does your laptop even have PCMCIA?

    Functional? Barely. Although I'm a HUGE OS/2 fan, I recommend you install Linux via FTP! Got an Enternet card and a cable modem?
  • Closed source OS's are not bad, per say.

    Hello? Not to be argumentative, but isn't what is happening to OS/2 precisely what makes closed-source software bad?

    BeOS is closed source, but it has a future.

    No. BeOS may have a future. Because it is closed-source, you can never be sure of its future.

    Only open-source software is assured of a future, as long as anyone is still interested in it.

    IBM, and others like them, are never going to sucker me into closed-source operating systems again.

    --
    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

  • It's been a long time since I used an OS/2 box.


    Microsoft was smart enough to realize that people were reluctant to change from DOS to OS/2 even though it was better. They also realized that people wanted the GUI stuff, but didn't care about the other advanced stuff of OS/2 (mostly because it also meant increased hardware requirements). So what did they do? Get rid of OS/2 to IBM, and develop Windows. 1.0 was a bad joke, 2.0 wasn't even funny, and to cut a long story short, by Windows 3.1 they had a project that people actually wanted to buy. Observe a strategy here?

    It's bells & whistles vs. os features again.

    Customers wanted the bells & whistles of a modern GUI, but didn't bother about a new solid OS, and really wanted DOS compatibility. So Microsoft gave them just that. In the meantime they hacked together NT, which was better, and slapped on a similar interface, and got the windows users to use it as a server (familiarity being a major selling point).

    Now that most software basically runs on both Windows and Windows NT, they can make the transition to a 'real' OS after all. Too bad that it took them so long and the damn OS got bloated along the way.

    So what about linux, xBSD and whatnot, you say?

    Consider the opposite: Power users. They want a rock solid server and they don't care if it doesn't have the bestest GUI -- or ANY GUI for that matter. After all, if someone wants to click-through system administration, he souldn't be doing it in the first place. Well, it kinda worked. The reduced hardware requirements of linux/freebsd to get full blown servers up did attract and continue to attract interest even from die hard MS fans. Heck, even Microsoft themselves are using unix for hotmail. It now even reached the point that many not-really-computer-literate persons are using it at home. That's the customers prefering features over bells and whistles buying it here.

    I can see the percentage of those sensible users increasing and the percentage of users that only care about bloat decreasing. Add a bit of bloat like gnome & kde, and halfpoint there needs of users & features of free OSs meet.

    All I'm waiting for now is for that moron-proof desktop environment to kill of Win2K as a desktop OS too.

    Win2K will be a biggest disaster than Y2K, as they say, and lets be frank, they made a 30 million lines of code monster which should be hard to maintain, and linux/bsd hackers are more than the whole population of the state of washington :)

    just my 0.02 EUR

    -W
  • My company still uses OS/2 on some servers. Why? Because it works. It does the job. It never (NEVER) crashes. And its DOS compatability is excellent (if you have any stupid DOS programs that you ever need to use, you should be using OS/2).

    I had the assignment of upgrading all of these servers for Y2K, and I was dreading downloading all of the fixpacks and doing the painful installs (I remember fixpacks from the 2.1 days, and they were often PAINFUL!). Then I found out about the Warp UP CD from Indelible Blue, Inc. This single disk contained all of the latest fixpacks for OS/2 and its components (like MPTN and TCP/IP), plus updates to runtime DLLs (like VX-Rexx and EMX 0.9d) and software like Netscape 4.6. All with a easy to use GUI interface.

    Sorry for the testimonial, here, but this product saved me days of works. If you use OS/2, get it! I want Warp 5 as much as the next guy, but I think that getting all of the updates in one place is as good as it gets (until IBM gets its head out of its ass).
  • by falconer16 ( 18752 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @05:49AM (#1676194)
    *sigh* I remember the first time I used OS/2. I was a big time Windoze fan at the time and my coworkers were begining to think I was evil. However, it was about two weeks into using OS/2 that I first uttered the phrase "I can't believe I ever used Windows, it sucks!". OS/2 was my OS of choice, but then I was introduced to Linux. Never the less, I still get all teary eyed when I think about my first OS/2 experience. I am really gonna miss it.
  • Not sure its entirely dead. Went to use the ATM/MAC/MoneyMachine/whatever ya call it, here at work yesterday. Sitting on the screen is ??? What is that? Wait that's OS2. The MAC is running OS2! And the machine is 6mos old. A First Union machine. So a big bank is still rolling ATMs with OS2 as its OS. So I don't think you should ring that death bell quite yet.
    -cpd
  • by Zurk ( 37028 ) <zurktech AT gmail DOT com> on Friday September 17, 1999 @05:50AM (#1676196) Journal
    Just wondering why everyone considers OS/2 to be so important....The last time i tried it i gathered the following impressions about it (OS/2 Warp ..thats ver.3 i think?) :
    [1] It seems to use the same type of shell as NT..i.e. a command shell.
    [2] It seems to have a DOS-like command set.
    [3] It has a windows like GUI..more Win95/NT like than 98 but nothing like X.
    [4] does it even have remote administration ? I saw no such thing.
    [5] Its interface leaves much to be desired (kludgy win/dos hack were the first impression i got..followed by...what the heck do these weird buttons do?)
    Im not trying to troll here..i'd like some informed opinion by poeple who've used it - why is it so great ? how is it better than UNIX ?
  • OS/2 is not a viable business model, we know that. I'm posting from Warp4 (merely because I happen to be here), and still recall buying (for CDN$200 of my own money), my copy of 2.0 to replace Win3.1 which came with my 486 and was crashing on the CanadaPhone CD because of memory mis-management.

    If they open-source it, do you think it would fly then? Probably not. Linux has taken up that target audience. Although, it sure would teach a lot of people about proper device and memory management! You just GOTTA see the page algorithms and task dispatcher! Right out of the Big Iron manuals!

    The "OS/2 client" is now Workspace On Demand, and works very nicely as a thin-client on an OS/2 Warp5 Server, thank you very much.

    Long Live Linux!
  • This sounds like the Commodore 64 crowd back when Commodore was making Amigas. There were a lot of Commodore 64's selling, especially into developing countries where an inexpensive computer was the perfect thing - but nobody at Commodore really had any interest in making them or selling them.

    No wonder they're dead.

    Maybe IBM could learn a lesson there...
  • I don't know if it is or was actually true, but the automated baggage handling systems at Denver International Airport were reported to be running under OS/2. Now, I know they had some problems when the airport first opened, but I've flown to and from Denver three times in the last six months, and my luggage has always come through properly and promptly. Try that with NT :-).

    In a previous job, I used to design cross-platform code that ran under OS/2 as well as 16-bit and 32-bit windows. OS/2's API was, overall, the best designed of the three, IMHO, and I spent a lot of time trying to work around the shortcomings in the other two. Oh well...

    Eric
    --
    "Free your code...and the rest will follow."

  • by SEE ( 7681 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @08:52AM (#1676222) Homepage
    Microsoft was the name developer through version 1.3, actually, and the early part of 2.0 development.

    OTOH, the WPS was almost entirely IBM-written. The original "Microsoft OS/2 2.0" specs did not include the WPS but just an updated Presentation Manager (remember the add-on 16 bit PM subsystem for WinNT?) OS/2 2.0 was delayed after the divorce in large part because IBM decided to add the WPS.

    Ideally, IBM would open-source the larger part of the WPS code, on which they have exclusive rights, and which is after all the best part of the OS anyway...
  • I've been using OS/2 at work now for several years, and while my overall impression of OS/2 is mixed, I have to say WorkPlace Shell (especially with Stardock's Object Desktop improvements) is just plain brilliant. I have used many OSes and desktop GUIs over the years, and none of them measure up to WPS+OD. When OS/2's GUI gets lost in the sands of time, it will be a step backwards for the computing world. What a shame. :(

    Oh well, at least they can't keep people from using OS/2 version 4. I keep waiting for the situation to arise at work where I'm forced to run some Win32-only program and finally have to do without OS/2. But even after all these years, it still hasn't happened. (There was a close call a few years ago, but the software in question turned out to be useless.) That leads me to believe it's going to take OS/2 a long time to completely fade away.


    ---
    Have a Sloppy day!
  • by Kostya ( 1146 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @06:00AM (#1676236) Homepage Journal

    Well, it's a shame that it has happened, but it was unfortunately inevitable. I used to use OS/2, but gave up after Merlin--such a new OS with so little hardware support. But I always missed the PM. And I would love a chance at implementing it.

    SOM is basically CORBA. If you know CORBA, then you know quite a bit already about the paradigm of SOMObjects and the PM. I know that GNOME uses an ORB (although a limited one). Perhaps some of us old OS/2ers could start putting our efforts into something like GNOME or something new entirely?

    Again, it is just a crying shame to have watched OS/2 die such a slow death over the past four years. It's almost a relief; now we can get on with our lives. Instead of hoping against all hope that IBM might see the light, we can get down to the business of simply doing it better.

    Farewell, OS/2.


    "Doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs."
  • Yes, it has a command shell. This is so that you can automate tasks rather than learning an application-specific scripting language ...

    It's command set is quite DOS-like. This is to reduce the learning curve.

    I wouldn't say that it's gui was windows-like exactly. I'd say that Windows had an OS/2 like interface (albeit a much shallower implementation). But it was *REALLY* object oriented. That's the important distinction.

    You can remotely admin the box. Since all tools can be command-line driven, you could telnet in and do most anything (well, at least I could do anything that I cared about).

    It's interface is old. (shrug) It all depends on what you're used to really. I still like it's consistent use of the right-click (properties). *EVERYTHING* on the desktop was an object and could be manipulated as such. Stuff on the deskbar (startbar) was directly manipulatable by right-clicking. Unlike Windows.

    Alas, it's all academic now. I still wish I could have Workplace Shell for Linux. That'd be the best thing that could happen for a consistent user experience. But, I digress ...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 1999 @06:09AM (#1676240)
    I work @ big blue(i even used to work on OS/2 TCP, no flames please!) OS/2 is not dead or close to it. There's not a whole lot of development going on the client side, but the server side is making lots of blue money. And lots of big customers are still using it. Just b/c your neighbor doesn't run it at his house, doesn't mean his it's not in his IS data center at work churnning away. My own team got paid a cool million to write a interface for os/2. Like I said not much new development, but if a customer is willing to fund it we'll do it! (about dos, check out PC DOS 2000, still alive thanks to some bucks or Y2k lawsuits i dunno) http://www.software.ibm.com/os/dos/
  • [1] It seems to use the same type of shell as NT..i.e. a command shell.

    [2] It seems to have a DOS-like command set.

    Correct. OS/2's command shell is nothing special (although with 4OS2 it's reasonably decent). This is not an aspect of OS/2 that will be missed.

    [3] It has a windows like GUI..more Win95/NT like than 98 but nothing like X.

    The Win9x/NT4 GUI is a cosmetic knock-off of OS/2's GUI, but the similarity ends there. You can't learn anything about WPS from looking at screenshots; you have to use it. Everything just works they way it should. Instead of trying to look object oriented, it is object oriented, and after you've used it for a month or two, everything else seems cheesy. It just gets under your skin and convinces you that it's right, all on its own merits. To give you some perspective, I'm an Amiga zealot, and even I have to admit that my Amiga's UI is humbled by WPS.

    As for not being like X, you make that sound like a bad thing...?

    [4] does it even have remote administration ? I saw no such thing.

    No idea, I haven't needed to do that so far. (You may have a good point there, I just don't know.)

    [5] Its interface leaves much to be desired (kludgy win/dos hack were the first impression i got..followed by...what the heck do these weird buttons do?)

    Kludgy win/dos hack?! It's about as far from a hack as you can get! Are we talking about the same interface?


    ---
    Have a Sloppy day!
  • It's not better than UNIX as a server, obviously.

    Some people feel that it is still a superior client (not me, anymore), because:

    • It has an easy-to-use, yet very powerful object-oriented GUI shell (the Wor kplace Shell).
    • It is compatible with older Windows programs (pre-Win32s 1.25).
    • It is great at multitasking DOS programs (not such a big deal anymore)
    • It has a nice multiple-inheriting object model (SOM)
    There are some rudimentary remote administration abilities (telnet and ftp daemo ns are included with the operating system).

    Sadly, IBM has neglected it for so long, that it has been basically dead for years. I still have it on one machine at home (my wife uses it for email--PMMail is a nice email client), but I switched to Linux full time (I had been dual-booting OS/2 and Linux for a while before that) a couple of years ago.

    This is why I will not use any proprietary software, unless I have no other choice; you are at the mercy of the company who holds the source. Never again! If it's not open source, I avoid it, to the extent possible/practical.

    Thanks, IBM, for teaching me the greatest benefit of open source.

    Although...they would redeem themselves in my mind somewhat if they would GPL SOM and the WPS.

    --
    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

  • by emag ( 4640 ) <slashdot@@@gurski...org> on Friday September 17, 1999 @06:19AM (#1676268) Homepage

    [1] It seems to use the same type of shell as NT..i.e. a command shell.


    OS/2 used a CMD.EXE shell, which was a little closer to a typical unix shell. True, it didn't have filename completion (though 4OS/2 did), but it had a nice history feature completely unlike DOS/WinDOS. And it had a nifty F1 help feature in its shells.



    [2] It seems to have a DOS-like command set.


    Its command set was similar, but not quite the same. And HPFS had true long filename support, and you could always use the long filenames (unlike 95, which half the time balks when I try to use the readable name). Plus it had an extensive help system that was fairly well crossreferenced.



    Of course, it had ReXX as its scripting language which, even though I still can't write a script without taking a lot of time to look up syntax and the like, really tied everything together. It could manipulate anything in the system (including the GUI) through built-in extensions to the language. Want something to do foo? You could write some code, compile it to a dll, and rexx could use it like it was built-in. Try doing that with daim-bramaged batchfiles. :-)



    [3] It has a windows like GUI..more Win95/NT like than 98 but nothing like X.

    ...

    [5] Its interface leaves much to be desired (kludgy win/dos hack were the first impression i got..followed
    by...what the heck do these weird buttons do?)


    If by "windows like" you mean "square windows, some borders, standardized buttons", then yes. Presentation Manager is still THE best OOUI that I've ever used. Everything I found about it was consistent.

    • Left-click to open something, right-click to drag it and pop up a menu.

    • The ability to specify multiple programs to open up an object.

    • Ever tried to click-open something in 95 with a program OTHER than the one associated with it? Just right-click, select the program from the open menu.

    • It kept track of original object locations, so its shadows (shortcuts done properly) always referenced what you thought they did instead of incorrect paths.

    • The LaunchPad was a nice feature, since you could arrange all of your programs into widely-used groups and have everything available 1 or 2 clicks away. The 4.0 um, dock? (don't remember the term), is what the Start bar should have been....allow you to have different categories of icons, arranged hierarchically, edittable via true Drag-n-Drop, instead of just filling up with icons of running programs.

    • Want to see everything that's running? Ctrl-Esc pops up a useful, non-blocking process list.

    • Everything was multithreaded (except for a certain queue that caused problems with nasty programs...), so things would slow down when running a lot of apps, but wouldn't often crash.

    • Drivers to print things were associated with the printers, not with programs. I remember being shocked when using 95 that I needed to specify a program so that I could print a .ps on a postscript printer...under OS/2, I installed a postscript printer object, and then just dragged the .ps onto it, no need to has a .ps reader.


    [4] does it even have remote administration ? I saw no such thing.


    It had some type of support, IIRC, but I was always the only OS/2 user around, so I never really found out. There WAS the ability to telnet and FTP to it (especially in 3.0 on, when they included TCP/IP), so you could do a lot that way.





    Sure, there were a lot of problems, namely hardware support, and available software apps. But the hobbes archives made a lot of the difficulty go away. And a lot of GNU stuff had been ported to OS/2.



    Comparing the PM with X is like comparing apples and oranges. PM was fairly well tied to the underlying OS, but in a good way (there were replacements, even text mode ones, which came out rather quickly). Under X, the WM mostly just handles window placements, iconifying, etc. The PM WAS your system. And everything about it was stored in a registry or in the filesystem. I don't quite know how to explain the difference, it's really something that you need to experience.

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie

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