back to article IBM insider: How I caught my wife while bug-hunting on OS/2

The unholy alliance of IBM and Microsoft unleashed OS/2 25 years ago with a mission to replace Windows, Unix and DOS. Back then, I was a foot-soldier in that war: a contract bug hunter at Big Blue. Here’s how I remember it. By cruel fate, an even crueller editor has decreed that a quarter of a century later I must write an …

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  1. Rick 17
    Pint

    Personally I loved OS/2

    And no doubt others will flame away, but I still remember using a series of 16 PS/2 boxes running 2.11 to beat an Oracle hierarchal database running on astoundingly expensive sun hardware.

    Yes, that was a purpose-written app, but Oracle were given the same parameters to start with, and we beat them - over 2,000 transactions per second for the OS/2, vs 31 for the Oracle/Sun.

    Beer me!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Personally I loved OS/2

      Me too. I have very fond memories of OS/2.and the support was second-to-none. One day an IBM product manager turned up a my place to help us out with a problem. He even left us with extra software to play with.

      The installation set of some 32ish floppies was a bit tedious though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Personally I loved OS/2

        -ditto-

        The installation set of some 32ish floppies was a bit tedious though.

        I think that made me make sure I had a CD drive (not quite a standard PC feature then!) before 2.1 (or was it 2.11) came out!

        Also, OS/2 was ahead in internet connectivity and can't remember which version it was but it was amazing at the time when they brought out a service pack that installed itself over the internet with no need to download to floppies

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Personally I loved OS/2

          I also loved OS/2, I reviewed the first command line only version when it came out for a large Pharma company (rejected because of the high cost of acquiring memory for all the PC's on the site, needed a couple of Mb if I remember correctly whereas a lot of our kit only had 640k RAM, apart from some "power users" with expensive expansion boards, that and the lack of a GUI which IBM kept dangling as a future "coming soon" feature of OS/2)

          Later worked with LAN server and Warp, blew me away first time I saw a developer multitasking like crazy on a project we were doing, I found it far better than Windows NT for ages in this respect, surprising considering a lot of similarities between the 2 (reading the authors comments about how Microsoft developed it's confirming long held suspicions), first time I saw NT's filesystem my immediate reaction was "this is OS/2" even the early error messages were the same

          Thing I remember most was it's fussiness with hardware, funny to think there was a time when juggling with interrupts and memory settings could consume a large part of a support persons day, and as for Terminate Stay Resident programs....thanks you almost gave me the nervous twitch back!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Personally I loved OS/2

          That would have been the tail end of Warp3 Connect, something like FixPak 42. It was in Warp4 from FP 6 or 7.

          The fact that IBM supplied fixpacks for free, many of which added extra features, was something that left MS for dead.

          1. Not That Andrew

            Re: Personally I loved OS/2

            I too loved OS/2, it just felt right, somehow. I had almost no opportunity to use it though, so it's likely prolonged exposure would have jaded me.

            1. Brian Morrison
              Thumb Up

              Re: Personally I loved OS/2

              No, I don't think it would.

              The WPS was a truly excellent thing on OS/2 2.x and later versions. It knocked every other desktop I've used into a cocked hat.

              Remember this was an OS that just worked back in the days when Linux was still in early development and Windows 3.1 was still falling over and requiring QEMM and heaven knows what else just to get PC-NFS to run in a DOS box.

              Loved it, still miss it!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Re: Re: Personally I loved OS/2 @Ivan 4

            Ahhhh, Warp 3 Connect. The memories. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now. :-)

          3. Ramazan
            Stop

            Re: IBM supplied fixpacks for free... something that left MS for dead

            You are completely wrong here: "someone at IBM decided that LAN based network should be a premium and people should pay twice the price for OS/2 Warp connect. This proved disastrous.

            Right about this time, Microsoft had released Windows for Workgroups, which was all about LAN / NetBEUI access, but they even did throw out a free TCP/IP protocol upgrade. Windows NT 3.1 had finally shipped, and it too included LAN TCP/IP support" (http://virtuallyfun.superglobalmegacorp.com/?p=739)

          4. midcapwarrior
            Holmes

            Re: Personally I loved OS/2

            Clearly not "for dead" as they still seem to be walking among the living.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Personally I loved OS/2

      Loved? What happened? We still run OS/2 and until a recent crash, Warp 3 Connect was the OS of the main servers. Now eCS2 is at the forefront but everything else is still the same. Still the same BBS with files and messages. Still all the same servers and services. Still everything like it was other than a few minor back end tools (ported GNU stuff) updated to slightly newer versions. Heck, it still does that which winwhatever systems can't do without spending a bunch of $$$. We love it and will keep on running it until there is no possible way for us to keep it running... ever ;) :)

      PS: that's not an AC mask, that's the mask of those fighting the tyranny and refusing to be sheeple or lemmings ;)

  2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    I thought Scott Adams cut his teeth at PacBell?

    Having only observed this from the outside, I have to say it is terrifyingly plausible and explains lots of things that are otherwise mysterious to anyone who naively assumes that *some* degree of common sense was applied on a day-to-day level.

    But could it really have been *that* dysfunctional?

  3. Sil
    Thumb Up

    Looking forward to part 2

    Very interesting article, looking forward to reading part 2.

    I loved OS/2's elegance and was deeply disappointed when it disappearded.

    To Microsoft's defense though I think most of its employees are brutally honest hard working guys.

    I remember interviewing for them and being asked which of OS/2 or Windows was the better OS.

    I bluntly answered OS/2 and explained why and still got the job at Microsoft.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Looking forward to part 2

      I agree, great article. OS/2 was/is fantastic - I think UPS handheld terminals are still running it as are numerous other embedded systems and ran in banks and airports for years - which was let down by the less than stellar performance of the PS/2 MCA systems (better than than ISA but in a "malaria is better than typhoid" way). Well, MCA was a major improvement over ISA but didn't bring enough performance and bandwidth to seem worthwhile. So we all got to suffer the abominations of EISA and, shudder, VESA, before MCA's heir PCI was able to triumph. But that was ten lost years. Had MCA succeeded IBM would subsequently have dropped the Neanderthal x86 chips… but they were too busy chasing the hardware monopoly.

      A key OS/2 innovation was hardware virtualisation so not only could DOS applications run in complete isolation from each other they also got more memory allocated than they could standalone. Oh, and resources like printers and serial ports could be shared effortlessly across machines. OS/2 also came with a damn good scripting language REXX in which one of the first http servers wasn't written, if memory serves me correctly.

      However, there were also downsides: while you couldn't kill the OS, the GUI called somewhat pompously "Presentation Manager" was single-threaded up until v3 service pack 17 (IIRC) which did mean that individual misbehaving apps could ruin everyone's fun. Still crashes came with detailed, numbered errors and stack dumps which I presume trained engineers understood. By far better than NT's BSOD.

      Back to Microsoft - I think the article makes a good job of suggesting that the technical wizardry of which IBM was justly proud was, in the 1980s and 1990s matched by a bureaucracy destined to stifle innovation at every turn. The same happened to Apple a few years later.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Looking forward to part 2

      Still around as eStation.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    "even if you simply turned on a Windows PC and didn’t do anything further, there was a good chance it would crash all by itself."

    Really? I figured the rest of the article would be like this and didn't read any further

    1. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Re: Really?

      Yes, Windows boxes did crash with no user input, some still do...

      You were correct that the rest of the article was like that.

      Dominic

    2. JeffinLondon

      Re: Really?

      Heck, my Win laptop just up and dies, reboots all on it's own. Am sure it's some driver / HW issue, but perhaps Windows could tell me in english what the problem was before it barfs!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        >perhaps Windows could tell me in english what the problem was

        I would have thought so to, but for some strange reason I have to turn on minidumps, download some piece of MS software, then download some 'symbols' whatever the hell they are, and interrogate the minidump file... Why Windows couldn't do that by itself and just tell me it was simply a dodgy driver for a card-reader in the first place, I don't know. The only mitigation for MS is that the laptop shouldn't have been shipped with a Bsodding driver.

        My only experiences with OS/2 Warp are: installing it on a 286 and as a nipper, and then as an adult an OS/2-driven ATM decided to reboot itself with my cash card inside, necessitating an extra night's stay on the shores of Lake Titicaca in order to reclaim in from the bank.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Really?

          >Why Windows couldn't do that by itself and just tell me it was simply a dodgy driver for a card-reader in the first place, I don't know.

          You are right that a "best guess" option would be pretty simple but some of us make a living out of the obfuscation so shhh!

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        Heck, my Win laptop just up and dies, reboots all on it's own. Am sure it's some driver / HW issue, but perhaps Windows could tell me in english what the problem was before it barfs!

        Both of my Win7 laptops have done that in the past couple of weeks. Event Log evidence points the finger at Microsoft Update - and I have updates set to download but not automatically install, so apparently it was the downloader that did it. (Firewall and virus-scanner software could also be involved, but the two machines run different products from different manufacturers in those categories.)

        Windows is irremediably stovepiped - so many features have been crammed in, and so many bugs patched, that it's inherently unstable. It suffers from several generations of Second System Effect. You can pull a bunch of the stuff you don't need out of it, with a combination of non-default installation and system configuration tweaks, but ultimately any Windows machine used for a broad spectrum of tasks is going to experience the occasional crash.

    3. Ocular Sinister
      Mushroom

      Re: Really?

      If recent reports are anything to go by, Windows Phone 8 - the same kernel as Windows 8 - does exactly that.

    4. Marshalltown
      FAIL

      Re: Really?

      Yes, really. Are you too young to remember? Turn it on, head off to get cup of coffee because the boot took so long, return, and BSOD stares back. OS/2 on the other hand was quite capable of reversing a problem configuration nearly automatically. You booted following an installation and something was haywire and required a reboot, the OS would stop and provide a list of prior configurations and you could step back through them until one worked. Even now Windoze doesn't not recover this easily.

    5. Nuke
      Holmes

      Re: Really?

      Wrote :- ""even if you simply turned on a Windows PC and didn’t do anything further, there was a good chance it would crash all by itself." Really?"

      Windows 9x would certainly crash by itself after 49 days, due I believe an overflow in a time counter. [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/216641]. Funny thing was that this fact was not discovered or publically known for several years (the referenced patch is dated 1999) - indicative that Windows back then usually crashed before 49 days for some other reason.

  5. jake Silver badge

    I still use ecomstation ...

    If I have the time, I'll shred Connor's article tomorrow.

    There is a complete lack of clues as to what was (is!) happening in the trenches ... Not certain how far I can get into it, given past non-disclosure agreement(s) ... Suffice to say that Microsoft was pushing PC/MS-DOS, re-selling raw AT&T UNIX[tm] source, was in bed with IBM, who then decided to try to have a cuddle with Apple (Talegent/Pink), right about the same time WinDOS 3.0 came out ...

    The entire cluster-fuck from a quarter century ago is why consumer computing is as appalling as it is today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I still use ecomstation ...

      Speaking of which - does any of the collective audience know:

      - when EDLIN was finally removed as a binary from Windows (I left the Windows platform after XP, so I cannot check)

      - why it was left in in the first place?

      To me, it represented the perverse height of achievable non-usability. I cannot find anyone who has ever touched it twice. Either they're already dead, or it's too embarrassing to talk about :)

      1. Geoff May

        EDLIN

        I'll fess up to using EDLIN more than once. It taught you how to use a keyboard and think about what you were doing.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: EDLIN

          If you've tried to write useful scripts in the DOS batch language, you may have used EDLIN as a scriptable editor.

          You may also have decided that it would be less painful, and almost as productive, to beat out your brains on the keyboard.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @AC: 10:49 (was: Re: I still use ecomstation ...)

        I'm pretty certain that edlin is still included with MS's current OS.

      3. Sam Liddicott

        Re: I still use ecomstation ...

        I used edlin lots of times. I even wrote a slashbar macro set for it.

      4. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

        Re: I still use ecomstation ...

        As I recall edlin was left in *because* it did not require the GUI to be functional, that being useful when the system has screwed up very badly.

        Edit needed Basic which was being removed as a standard part of the platform.

        BASIC was not supposed to be in OS/2 at all.

        One thing that I didn't have room for in the article was the saga of Mortgage.bas

        This was a demo app that came with the original IBM PC and the source code was truly horrible inside having the only real purpose of showing people that a PC could do "real" business calculations involving interest, paying off loans etc.

        BASIC was not to be part of OS/2, so Mortgage.bas was canned (it was always pronounced in full, including the extension, no one ever calls Excel, Excel.exe, go figure)

        Some banks threw a fit, they regarded it as a critical application apparently which came as a real shock to all of us, so the bloody thing had to be made functional in OS/2, no PM based GUI, no rewrite in C or or REXX, just get the fucker working came the edict which required various hokey kludges)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I still use ecomstation ...

          I used edlin for years due to the very simple fact that it was on any Windows PC (bit like vi with UNIX/Linux), and was quite powerful when you got to grips with it, later when Edit appeared I used to chuckle as new guys waited for Edit to come up whilst I'd got in under edlin made my changes and was walking off for a coffee, option I loved was T which could be used to import another file into the current file (which Edit didn't have), edlin saved me a lot of time in the days when you used to spend a lot of time editing autoexec.bat, config.sys and batch files.

        2. keithpeter
          Windows

          Re: I still use ecomstation ...

          "and the source code was truly horrible inside having the only real purpose of showing people that a PC could do "real" business calculations involving interest, paying off loans etc"

          http://www.retroarchive.org/cpm/cdrom/CPM/BASIC/MORTGAGE.BAS

          He's not lying...

      5. Munchausen's proxy
        Pint

        Re: I still use ecomstation ...

        ---

        I cannot find anyone who has ever touched it [edlin] twice. Either they're already dead, or it's too embarrassing to talk about :)

        ---

        I used and loved edlin right up to its bitter end. Eventually, it became a secondary, rather than my first choice for most tasks, but it was easy to use, fast, and did the job.

        But then, the first editor I used was TECO.

        1. keith_w
          Thumb Up

          Re: I still use ecomstation ...

          I used to program in Teco - PDP/11 / RSTS

      6. Hyper72
        Happy

        Re: I still use ecomstation ...

        EDLIN saved my arse once. I had configured a RAMDisk and rebooted. Unfortunately I'd forgotten the right option to put it in extended memory so it took up nearly everything below 640KB and as a result Edit didn't have enough memory to run so I could fix config.sys. As usual I'd neglected having a rescue floppy.

        EDLIN was the only thing that could run in a few KB.

        Oh the memories...

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I still use ecomstation ...

        RE: EDLIN

        Edlin is a simple line editor. That folks couldn't figure out its simplicity was and still is rather appalling. One of the best features of edlin was that you could script it to make changes to text files on the fly from inside other scripts. Feeding editing script into edlin using the input redirection was great. Edlin was a thing of beauty when view from the right perspective.

        One might even say that edlin is like a bikini. Short and to the point.

    2. Lord Voldemortgage

      If I have the time, I'll shred Connor's article tomorrow.

      If you can fit it in between delivering those panda cubs and cooking them for the king of Atlantis that would be tremendous.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I still use ecomstation ...

      Your timeline is off. Microsoft started doing the dirty on IBM re. OS/2 towards the end of the 1980s while they were contracted to work on OS/2 v2 & v2.1. Taligent was later and part of OS/2 v3 (Warp) and is the basis for most of our fully object-orientated, widget-based "homescreens". Taligent and OpenDoc promised real productivity ("let me add a spreadsheet to my document…") but most people are happy with widgets.

      Hearing you mention MS' version of Unix (Xenix for x86…) makes me feel physically ill. Though, to his credit, Bill Gates was listening to the market. He did employ some great people to work on NT and copied many of the great ideas from OS/2 such as, hardware abstraction, extensible attributes and virtual filesystems. It's just a pity they were doing this a sort of trojan horse while still under contract to work on OS/2. Windows 7 is alarmingly close in many ways to OS/2 3 > service pack 17. And that after only 15 years!

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Charlie Clark: Uh, no. Just no. (was: @Re: I still use ecomstation ...)

        They tried to recruit me into the Taligent/Pink thing in 1988. I have a T-shirt that has the IBM logo of the time superimposed on the Apple logo of the time on the front, and the words "Your brain, on drugs" on the back. We were informed that if wore them at work again, we'd be fired.

        Microsoft's version of UNIX[tm] was just that ... UNIX[tm]. Microsoft was making money licensing Bell source code to third parties (MaBell didn't want to get into that market). The "Xenix" name came about because MaBell didn't want anyone else to use the UNIX[TM]. Please note that MS itself never actually coded or marketed any actual running Xenix code.

        Hardware abstraction, extensible attributes, and virtual filesystems existed long before NT or OS/2.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: I still use ecomstation ...

        "He did employ some great people to work on NT and copied many of the great ideas from OS/2 such as, hardware abstraction, extensible attributes and virtual filesystems."

        That included Dave Cutler, the architect of DEC's VMS, another *serious* OS. I'm told NT internals matches VMS to a *surprising* degree, given the completely different architecture.

        Clever idea, hardware abstraction layers.

  6. AndrueC Silver badge
    Pint

    I loved OS/2 for a time. I first used 2.0 then moved onto Warp. The GUI could be ugly at times but I loved the OOP nature of the Workplace Shell. Once they sorted out the message queues so that a locked application couldn't kill everything it was sweet. I still hate what right clicking on a folder background in Windows Explorer is compared to what it was with the WPS. I don't want to talk to Explorer - I want to talk to the folder!

    But..it was a bit too ugly. Asked a bit too much of the hardware (a lot of clones didn't quite do everything they should have and/or didn't quite do it properly).

    So eventually I went back to Windows. But I have fond memories of playing one of Geoff Crammond's F1 simulators while Golden Compass downloaded from Compuserve in the background.

    I'll raise a glass to the old gal.

    1. Lord Voldemortgage

      Yes, it wasn't beautiful to look at but that could have been fixed easily enough.

      It somehow managed to acquire a reputation for being a joke product which was very unfair - a joke project maybe, but the results were good and it ought to have been taken seriously. Couldn't get anywhere I worked

      I might dig out the old Warp CDs and see how it goes on a modernish PC (something from the last ten years).

      I will then wibble away a weekend playing NetHack or something of course, completely wasting the capabilities of both the PC and the OS but there you go.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        I seem to remember that I installed a skin of some kind from a company called StarDock that improved it a bit. And anyway the beauty of WPS meant if you had the time you could just 'skin' your own folders. Basically the same concept used for windows on the desktop I imagine. Each 'folder' presumably had the equivalent of OnPaint etc. and subclassing.

        Oooh, I also remember DeScribe word processor. That had an excellent way of showing stylesheets. Actually showed them as a hierarchical tree. The default OS/2 web browser did the same for your browsing history.

        And the OS/2 help system was better than the MS one. I seem to recall it used tokenisation to reduce file size and provided an indexed search facility without having to index it first.

        Ah, happy days mostly. Unfortunately aside from Golden Compass and DeScribe I think I mostly used it to host DOS and Windows app. It did that very well though because it protected you from crashes. I was writing data recovery software at the time and the only thing it couldn't handle was me trying to control drives using the 'taskfile' registers. It seemed willing to try but kept spinning up the floppy for some reason.

      2. PhilipN Silver badge

        Work's fine

        I run it all day in the office but now mainly to access Word Perfect - for DOS. I kid not.

        I have still not found a setup with which you can scroll through hundreds of document previews to find something so damn fast.

        Course that's the 8.3 file name system but who wants to type long file names? Ok no need to answer that.

        This is on a Thinkpad T30 but OS/2 will run well on anything up to a T61.

        OS/2 also has its own brew of Firefox, T'bird etc

        I switched from Warp Server only recently. Thing ran so long without a hitch I don't even remember the last time I had powered down.

        Networking to XP was a doddle with an add-on from IBM.

        I could go on but you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find when you it around.

        Oh - I installed eComstation 2 in a Virtual Box on a Mac (Xserve) and the bloody sound even works!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Lord Voldemortgage

        It does run on modern hardware - I'm typing this from OS/2 running on a xox that has an AMD 4 core processor, 8 GB ram, a couple of 1 TB SATA disks and a 1 GB NIC, also using a 28" 1920x1200 monitor. You will need to update some of the drivers for the HDs and video but other than that it should work.

        BTW we are still an all OS/2 shop here from servers to workstations/desktops.

        1. Lord Voldemortgage

          Thanks, Ivan.

          I'm all for it but can't help wondering ... why are you all running OS/2 still?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Simple answer 'it just works'. We reboot the servers once a year and then only because we do a full physical check and clean on them. We have one workstation that has been up and running 24/7 for two years, most of the other workstations get rebooted when the servers do. Desktops only get switched off at weekends. We also work on a 'if it isn't broken then don't change it' policy, the fact it would cost over 12 million pounds to do so also concentrated the mind.

            1. Lord Voldemortgage

              Interesting; thanks.

  7. Alan Bourke

    Great read.

    More please. I could read stuff like this all day.

  8. Kevin Johnston

    Don't forget

    It was Year 2000 compliant from the very start

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Don't forget

      Not 100% - there were a few minor fixpacks. I remember running around a bunch of satellite sites with a couple of floppy disks. Happy times!

  9. El Bertle

    I recollect being on the other side at the time - banking IT and making buying decisions. I don't remember the exact numbers but it was something like: DOS/Windows licence - $50. OS/2 licence - $250. Right there it was clear that it was never going to fly. IBM was still in mainframe/mini pricing mode, and hadn't yet realised that that model had already died for the brave new PC world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mainframe/mini

      I think the mainframe/mini mentality stymied a lot of good IBM PC stuff, I badgered my suppliers account manager for ages for a decent server with a 386 chip being the best at the time, he finally confessed that IBM wasn't going to bring anything like that out as it would compete with the AS/400 business, ........so we ended up buying Compaq

    2. Lord Voldemortgage

      Price is a good point Bertie. Although on the total cost of ownership of a PC a couple of hundred dollars probably wouldn't end up as too significant, particularly if the less crash-prone OS reduced support cossts.

      At the back end of things how did it compare with NetWare pricing or even a commercial UNIX ?

    3. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      When it first came out, it was worse than that.

      OS/2 - Ka-ching!

      Ah, you want a GUI Operating System? You'll be wanting Presentation Manager as well sir - Ka-ching!

      Networking? Yes that is becoming popular and you'll want Comms Manager with that then - Ka-ching!

      1. AlanC

        Yes, for networking you needed to buy OS/2 Extended Edition, which included local area networking and mainframe comms stuff (3270 emulataion, LU6.2, etc..) and also a relational DB. But after V1.0, which didn't have a GUI at all, PM became an integral part of Standard Edition so was never an extra cost option.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Unhappy

      IBM also charged an arm and a leg for the SDK at a time when MS were giving away the Windows SDK for free. Unsurprisingly, no-one bothered to port their apps to OS/2.

  10. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    cow-orkers

    "Even ... the worst programmer in the world was easy to get on with. Shame that a few years later he died fighting for the Taliban." Worth reading the article just for that! New keyboard owed, etc.

    I liked OS/2. I hope there will be scope to include Lan Manager war stories in part 2.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "some guy called Ballmer questioned why I had this “obsession” with perfect code".

    Priceless.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Its worth noting that late 80s SteveB was running the OS division at Microsoft, championing OS/2 and the IBM line. My favourite quote from around '88 was something like "you can't do that, if Windows supports xxxx nobody will want OS/2".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      [quote]"some guy called Ballmer questioned why I had this “obsession” with perfect code".

      Priceless.[/quote]

      An already copied and quoted elsewhere numerous times. This is one that will be around for a long time ;)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to work at Hursley and knew a lot of guys who worked on OS/2 - sounds a lot like what they said. They all loved telling me the same joke from a MS guy(see below). HR were stunningly inept but HR at my current large bank are just as bad. And I remember the Hursley management obsession with metrics like KLOCs, how raising 100 separate defects for spelling errors in the help panels was seen as "better" than working for weeks on resolving serious defects affecting system stability etc.

    What's the difference between Hursley Park and Jurassic Park?

    One's a high-tech theme park dominated by dinosaurs and the other's a Spielberg movie.

  13. Arachnoid
    Thumb Up

    I guess nothing has changed in Marketing then where what they say about a product and when its going to reach the shelves seems so out of touch with the people in the engine room.

  14. JeffinLondon

    Another OS/2 luvver!

    I loved me some OS/2. While MS was faffing about with Win/DOS in the 2x / 3x days, I was rolling out tens of thousands of OS/2 workstations and servers across a global network running a home grown app written in C on top of some slick portable libraries we stole from Dr Dobbs. It was bullet proof let me tell you.

    Ran OS/2 at home as well, the WPS was brilliant and anyone reading this that was there at the time knows of which I speak.

    But then came Win 95, and MS finally built a half way decent OS, and the blue suits at IBM decided then and there they couldn't compete with the Rolling Stones so the writing was on the wall, and death slowly arrived to my beloved OS/2.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I loved OS/2

    There I said it :)

    I remember having WORKING voice recognition software when such a thing brought Windows machines to their knees and fucked up every sentence. I had an integrated TCP/IP stack which wasn't a non-compliant pile of shit tacked onto the OS (hello Windows 95); I had REXX which is still one of the best scripting languages I've ever seen; I had DOS virtual machines more than a decade before Windows; I had Fixpacks when the idea of Microsoft issuing a patch was ludicrous - the list goes on and on

    The only criticism I had of OS/2 (apart from IBM's total inability/unwillingness to market it) was the infamous SIQ bug. OS/2 had a single input queue for passing messages and on occasion it would refuse to accept any input from the user - everything on the machine was still running except the errant application so if you ran a headless system you'd never notice.

    1. clanger9
      Thumb Up

      Re: I loved OS/2

      In fairness, they *did* fix the SIQ problem eventually (v.2.2 or 3.0, I don't remember...)

      It was so frustrating knowing that your machine hadn't really crashed, but there was no way to kill the offending task. Anyway, once that was sorted, OS/2 was awesomely crash-free for me. I stuck with it for years; when I finally moved over to NT 3.51, Microsoft's primitive user interface and sluggish performance felt like a real backwards step...

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: I loved OS/2

        Wasn't NT 3.51 the last version that was actually a microkernel and, therefore, uncrashable? But it was slow - this was blamed on context-switching on x86 but OS/2 was managing it fine. NT 4 was was faster but achieved this by putting drivers into the kernel and hence all the BSODs.

        1. Rune Moberg

          To GDI or not to GDI (in the kernel)

          I have never seen an OS that cannot be crashed by a device driver. ("kernel panic" anyone?)

          NT 3.51 was very stable, yes, but you'll find many of the same bugcheck code there as with newer iterations of NT.

          In version 4.0, MS moved the GDI into the kernel. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc750820.aspx seems to explain why. Previous versions of NT would struggle on multi-processor hardware running advanced graphical applications. Photoshop was said to run _slower_ if you threw more CPUs into the mix. NT 4.0 solved that, but also increased the amount of code running in the kernel.

          The thinking was that since graphics drivers were already in the kernel, and the OS so tied in with the GUI (few users will enjoy working with an empty screen and few servers will push the GDI hard enough into unchartered waters to provoke a crash) there would be few downsides stabilitywise.

          I do not recall NT 3.1, 3.5 or 3.51 as being particulary more stable than NT 4 or its descendants. But, the newer versions supported much more hardware, scaled better, added many new APIs and features. More complexity too of course...

          Fast forward to today, and Windows 7 is an incredibly swift and nice OS. I remember the "GDI is bad, mmhok?" debate back in '96, but that particular move has never caused me any grief. Installing antivirus software OTOH has several times wreaked havoc on my system. Once I triggered a BSOD by inserting a diskette into drive A:. Norton (I think) did not like that and immediately threw a spanner into the works. I never did trust antivirus software after that and every time I am forced to install them it feels like my system is running with scissors. It certainly moots the whole question of GDI being put in the kernel or not.

    2. Ilgaz

      Re: I loved OS/2

      I heard USA navy required it,single input queue. An application which they developed in house or something.

  16. lee harvey osmond

    code metrics

    /*

    * CHAPTER I. Down the Rabbit-Hole

    *

    * Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the

    * bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the

    * book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in

    * it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or

    * conversation?'

    *

    * So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the

    * hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure

    * of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and

    * picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran

    * close by her.

    */

    1. Ian 55

      Re: code metrics

      Should have done comments in Postscript - "So they look professional on the print outs" - must try harder.

  17. Gav
    Thumb Up

    Nice article

    You do get the impression that you're only hearing one side of each story, but that's ok.

    We had a PS/2 with OS/2. We didn't buy it, god no. We won it in a competition from IBM on the understanding that we would write code for it. Problem was that it ran like a complete dog when booting OS/2. It was without doubt the most powerful computer we had, but was so bad at managing to cope with OS/2's overheads it was amusing. We used to fall about laughing as it struggled to update the screen if you made any sudden moves with the mouse. (You had to be there.) It may have been more robust than Windows, it may have been better designed, but it was impossible to use.

    The OS/2 documentation that came from it was certainly comprehensive, but impossible to find anything in the sheer mass of it. And half the time it didn't actually tell you what you needed to know. I find no difficulty in believing it was written by a bureaucratic committee to a standard no-one wanted.

    I installed Windows 2 on it and never used OS/2 again. I can still picture the row of manuals where they gathered dust on the shelf above my desk.

    1. clanger9

      Re: Nice article

      4MB RAM, perhaps? Unfortunately, most desktops at the time shipped with 4MB and OS/2 ran like an absolute dog in that.

      I was lucky enough to have 8MB, and OS/2 flew ahead of Windows on the same hardware - there was some weird thing at the time where Windows 3.1 didn't really know what to do with >4MB and merely used the spare as a disk cache (or something).

      I forget, it's all too long ago!

  18. drekka

    I was on the front lines

    Down here in Australia during the early 90's I was actively promoting OS/2. I helped to run a local user group, published a OS/2 magazine for users and developers nationwide and ran OS/2 stands at computer trade shows. I didn't know C++, but I was developing in REXX and Visual Basic. In my mind there was no comparison between OS/2 and Windows'95/NT. Compared to '95, OS/2 was everything MS had promised and failed to deliver. Compared to NT is was fast, hardware friendly and reliable. It even ran Windows programs better than MS Windows itself. So why didn't it take over the market like all the tech mags said it should?

    I think it basically came down to marketing. MS has the experience of marketing mediocre produces to consumers, and like what is happening now with Apple (all be it with far superior products), they new that the consumer is the key to the enterprise. IBM on the other hand still lived in the 70's where people who wanted computers came to them. OS/2 marketing ... non-existant. Frankly, IBM could not sell it's way out of a paper bag and I suspect they still can't. Working in an IBM dealer for a while I also saw the way IBM handled it's own supply chain. Was not pretty.

    Once I realised this I knew OS/2 would never win against Windows. I kept on with it for a while, but I could see the writing on the wall. Eventually I moved to linux and 3 years ago, to Mac. All I can say is that I love working with Macs. Mac OSX is the operating system that OS/2 could have become. It's not perfect, there's not such thing. But it's easy for the average person to use, reliable and has a UI that the Linux crew, despite valiant efforts, still cannot seem to get together. Windows ... well all I can say is that it's a great example of of a lack of clear vision.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some things never change

    Some things never change, even 25 years ago IBMs HR wouldn't spend the money on keeping their employees (aka resources) morale high.

    And Microsoft didn't see the benefit of quality assurance.

    I used OS/2 Warp for a while. Sadly it's most useful feature was being able to run Office 4.3 seamlessly from the Windows VM, and when Windows inevitably crashed it didn't bring down the whole show.

    Was there much of OS/2 that went into the NT kernel?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Some things never change

      "Was there much of OS/2 that went into the NT kernel?"

      The 16-bit bits were shared, not the 32 bit bits. IBM & MS had a lover's tiff when Apple came a'courting.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some things never change

      Some things never change, even 25 years ago IBMs HR wouldn't spend the money on keeping their employees (aka resources) morale high.

      Strange about not wanting to send a load of IBMers to a jolly on the Azores ... knew someone who worked in IBM as a systems engineer and they had an annual jolly to somewhere in the med for everyone from their sales/support office who met their targets ... perhaps its positive comment that IBM saw designers as important but sales/support as expendable!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some things never change

        "perhaps its positive comment that IBM saw designers as important but sales/support as expendable!"

        (As the first AC in this 'Some things never change' thread) When I worked there designers / dev and QA were expendable numbers, but sales and management were looked after.

    3. Ramazan
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Was there much of OS/2 that went into the NT kernel?

      Thanks DaveC, nothing at all.

  20. Martin-R
    Thumb Up

    Oh what memories this brought back - especially that random crash when exiting a subroutine. I was working on Person to Person for OS/2 as IBM were working on a point release (1.3 I think?). Fortnightly drops of the OS had to be installed from floppies - what fun! The desktop video conferencing element was probably a bit ahead of its time - 4Mbit token ring in the office was bearable, but ISDN down to Hursley was a tad painful Mind you, if you know where to look, you can still see some of that code running in today's descendants of P2P, so it can't have been too bad :-)

  21. AlanC

    Happy days

    Great article - brings back many memories from those days, when I was IBM's UK tech sales lead for OS/2 - playing with early drops of the code from about 1985, being part of the OS/2 and PS/2 launch event at Greenock on April 2nd 1987, working on the first Redbooks and meeting with the IBM and MS developers in the Hursley and Boca Raton labs - even contributing some feedback into the design at times.

    These were exciting times - going around showing that multi-tasking worked using a little program I wrote that called DosBeep and DosSleep in a loop to show it still carried on beeping in the background; demonstrating PM to customers and colleagues to whom GUIs were completely new (everyone used plain old DOS then); teaching people the basics of the OS/2 APIs, which were (as you say) so much more complete, consistent and well-documented than anything we'd had before.

    Then there was the excitement in 1992 when we launched the 32 bit version (OS/2 V2.0), which included the very sophisticated Workplace Shell, and resulted in another residency for me in Boca and some more redbooks, and lots more interesting and fun demos to develop and show (I claim that my "PM Musical Blackboard" program was the first PM app written by anyone outside Development). Of course, Windows 3.0 and then 3.1 were launched around this time - MS having decided IBM was a competitor - and were hugely successful but despite this OS/2 still achieved impressive market share in some markets in the mid-90's, until Windows 95 came out and OS/2's demise became inevitable.

    One of my treasured souvenirs from this era is a Microsoft OS-2 mug - a reminder of the brief time that IBM and MS worked together.

  22. DrXym Silver badge

    Hursley was a great place

    It was more like a university campus. Good food, Friday extended lunches and pints, free soft drinks outside work hours, manicured lawns and greenery, pheasants to run over in the car. What more could you ask for in a place?

    The bad thing about the place was IBM ate their own dogfood regardless of how godawful it was. Thus email was via some awful System/360 system running in a terminal on OS/2. I expect modern IBMers must suffer through Lotus Notes which is potentially even worse.

    1. Rob Morton

      Re: Hursley was a great place

      I remember talking to one of the developers of that email system and she told me they were ordered to deliver everything to the minimum spec screen - which was a 3277 24x80 monochrome - not just not support it but block all other features. The mail editor was actually the pretty powerful and customizable xedit editor with the worlds worst profile. Swap in your own profile and it was ... better.

      The Notes systems they switched to were actually quite good, especially in Hursley where we had some people who knew what they were doing working on them until the BGC decided it all had to be standardized. Didn't impact me as my email address was redirected to my aix box where I read it with elm - fastest email program I've ever used and could actually keep up with speed at which I went "bollocks" - delete - next - "bollocks" - etc.

      I kept OS/2 for years so I could keep playing Galactic Civilizations. Apparently the OS/2 product owner hated the idea of games on his OS. Stardock tried to get IBM to let them support a client version of OS/2 but IBM said they couldn't do it as they "couldn't generate a part number". Give how they could do that for PCs put together out of random stock at Greenock I find this a curious response.

      http://www.stardock.com/stardock/articles/article_sdos2.html

  23. Andyb@B5

    GDDM

    I remember that on the System/370 mainframes running TSO and using a 3279 terminal, I never realised it had been ported to OS/2!

    I was one of the lucky ones who on desktops had to deal with the Amiga/OS API calls which to this day still remains my favourite OS to have coded for.

    A nice read, thanks.

  24. SF
    Childcatcher

    What?! Did they let BOFH out of the asylum?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile there was this skunkworks project

    I recall getting a phone call from Redmond one evening about 25 years ago. Party time, Windows had just booted for the first time on 286 protected mode. Some had said it could not be done! There can't have been more than about 30 people working on Windows 3.0 back then, devs, program managers etc. Outnumbered about 100:1 by the OS/2 crowd IBM and MS. From that moment, OS/2 was irrelevant in my mind. Point being some of us were into the whole 'personal computer' concept making reasonably inexpensive computers capable of running Word etc. and Windows could now do that in 2Mb and avoid the need for a huge upgrade cycle. Shame about the vast resources put into the doomed OS/2 development while Windows was on a shoestring budget. Couple of years later the market had decided with consequences lasting many years as we all know. Interesting times.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. MtK
    Thumb Up

    Great read

    Looking forward to part 2.

  27. dssf

    File Renaming Magic that Windows Could not Do...

    Who remembers in Warp the ability for users to rename a file or folder and Warp or the concerned apps knowing or remembering how to find it? I miss that, even though some considered it a security risk.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: File Renaming Magic that Windows Could not Do...

      That sounds a bit like the NTFS feature where each file in a given volume has a unique object ID. The feature obviously doesn't get any exposure in Explorer because humans don't like the idea of a completely flat and numeric namespace for their hard discs, but various link-tracking facilities in Windows have used it since the dawn of whenever.

    2. david 12 Bronze badge

      Re: File Renaming Magic that Windows Could not Do...

      In Windows, most users consider it a pain in the neck when that happens. You rename items (and people) when you do NOT wish them to be known by their old name. Fortunately, most of it is turned off by default.

      Not to disagree with your historical statement. That was a feature that Warp could do, and that Win and Win9x could not do.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Then preemptive multitasking operating systems that could protect apps from each other became viable on Intel chips"

    Xenix: 1970s.

    Windows 1.0: 1985.

    Xenix may not have been the best Unix in the world, but it is the great big damning piece of evidence that Microsoft not knew about, but were intimately aware of multi-tasking, multi-user x86 operating systems --- because they sold one.

    The they gave the world Windows, which did not even allow one person to do two copy commands at the same time (until Windows what?). They knew what could be done, and dumped crap on us anyway, using the marketing machinery to make sure that we would pay for it for ever after.

    This, to me, is the "original sin" for which MS should never, ever be forgiven.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Not Really True

      Only the 80386 processor and later could do Proper Multiprocessing. If one program can sabotage other programs simply by writing into their address space or the kernel address space, then you will have a very hard time doing meaningful multiprocessing/multitasking. That implies you cannot have serious multi-user support.

      Short of a memory-safe programming language, you need a Proper MMU.

      Of course IBM could have "downsized" their S/360 hardware into a PC-class machine and simply use a stripped-down version of MVS instead of the x86/MSDOS combo. The S/360 had proper MMUs&Virtual Memory since 1972 (!) according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_System/360_Model_67.

      But that would (theoretically) have threatened their Big Fat Mainframe Revenue Stream. A stellar example of how "protecting your own product lines" is actually the same as "allowing competitors to eat your future".

      IBM had a whole array of impressive technologies in the 1980s and only their idiotic management decisions allowed Oracle and M$ to make hundreds of billions on these technologies since then. Just try to install the ODBC drivers from IBM and from M$ to spot the difference.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        More References On MMUs

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_mode#The_286

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          "Downsizing S360"

          But that I refer to a Proper S/360, not the P390 crapola. Anyway, with Linux and Pentium it's far too late for IBM to open up the enormous value of their S/360 architecture to the masses.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Errata

            must read "By that..."

    2. Ramazan
      Stop

      Re: Xenix: 1970s.

      XENIX: 1979

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: Xenix: 1970s.

        Oh, yeah Unix on 8086. "Sorry mate, my make instance just crashed your elm instance. I'll buy you a beer this evening".

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Xenix: 1970s.

          Xenix was actually licensed by Microsoft from AT&T in 1979. From what I remember it was the standard PDP11 Version 7 Unix. SCO ported it to the IBM PC's 8086/8088 in roughly 1983. Most of us yawned ... although looking back, it was a pretty good hack by SCO! (Not today's iteration of SCO, for those of you who weren't born yet.) Various other companies ported it to various other CPUs and architectures ... I seem to remember a version of

          Xenix ported by somebody to Apple's Lisa, can anyone back me up on that? I have just the box I'd like to put a copy on ...

          No, I don't have a running instance of SCO's variation. Nor do I want one. 'nough said.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Not quite true, Thad.

      MS bought the license to re-sell access to MaBell's UNIX[TM] source, renamed as Xenix, in late 1979, true. But it didn't actually get offered to the market until mid 1980 ... and then only as source-code. Microsoft never actually sold Xenix to the general public.

      In short, Xenix was UNIX[tm], as ported by various third parties, with MS as the middle-man.

      Microsoft has never really understood un*x. Hiring Cutler didn't help any ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not quite true, Thad.

        Ahh well... I know I encountered Xenix long before Windows came my way, and I know I was installing multi-user 386 (yes, true, it was 386 by then, but this was a year or three later) systems while Windows was still struggling hard, sometimes, to do just one thing at a time.

        But I'm not applying for any history-teaching jobs ;).

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Not quite true, Thad.

        Jake,

        UNIX® is a registered trademark of The Open Group

        It's not a ™

        1. jake Silver badge
          Pint

          @DAM & @Thad (was:Re: Not quite true, Thad.)

          You are quite correct, DAM. Today. I was discussing the past.

          Thad: The more we forget history ...

          Beers all 'round :-)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    IBM Is Still Like This

    These days they just think they can "save money" by Going India. So they get engineers which cost 1/10th, but deliver 1/50th of actual value (== programs which acutally work out of the box without a huge amout of fiddling, guessing and swearing).

    Others, such as Google, M$ and Apple still hire the best and most expensive. See who's successful. Going 3rd World is the surest way to destroy your own company.

    Some justice in this world, after all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IBM Is Still Like This

      "(== programs which acutally work out of the box without a huge amout of fiddling, guessing and swearing)"

      I see you fail to understand the concept of "If only we can get it to work, you are forced to buy support and any improvements from us unless you decide to throw the whole thing away"

      Works by cutting the costs on the product sale in order to shoehorn some poor post-sales guy into the deal to make it work like you say you want it.

      Then more money to make it work like you actually want it.

      The more to make it work like your users want it.

      and more money when you need to expand/contract/integrate/upgrade the "solution".

      etc.

      Whereas if you just sell an out of the box product anyone can set up, you just get money once.

      I'm pretty sure IBM product "usability" (consumability?) is a conscious design choice!

    2. Hyper72
      Thumb Down

      Re: IBM Is Still Like This

      I worked for a company doing this.

      Me calling India team leader during the first project I managed:

      Me: did you finish the module?

      Him: Yes, it is all done!

      Me: did you write the test code too?

      Him: yes all done.

      Me: did you test it?

      Him: yes, testing is complete! We are ready for the next project.

      Me: ok, very good, integrate it onto our production branch today and ill send you another work package.

      Conversation a few days later:

      Me: What happened? The main branch doesn't compile? Integration team is tearing me a new one!

      Him: yes there was some minor compilation errors.

      Me: but you said you'd run the test harness, what was the pass rate?

      Him: yes, we successfully ran the tests! Pass rate was 0%

      I learned so much working with Bangalore.

  30. AlexF

    ..."modern IBMers must suffer through Lotus Notes" ... or not.

    @DrXym ... "I expect modern IBMers must suffer through Lotus Notes which is potentially even worse."...

    As an IBMer based in Hursley, I find Notes is actually pretty good. I'm not sure how it is for Windows users (I pity the IBMer who uses our windows images!), but the Mac and Linux builds of Notes seems fine whenever I use them (i.e. daily). Also, if someone doesn't like Notes for whatever reason, they can always use the browser-based interface (iNotes) - or the mobile one (Traveler) - as most of us with tablets seem to.

    I'm not saying Notes is perfect, but having used Outlook/Exchange and Google Apps at a previous employers - I can't say Its any worse than the competition from my experience.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Notes/Linux

      Let me guess - you used an inofficial installer script to get Notes running on Linux. Because normally, that takes at least one day for a guy who knows how to use tools like strace. On Ubuntu.

      The whole "let's use Java for everything" approach of IBM does not work...

    2. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Re: ..."modern IBMers must suffer through Lotus Notes" ... or not.

      You bastard.

      Up until now I could write "in the last 25 years I had not heard from anyone who used Lotus Notes who did not regard it is a personal enemy"

      I now need to add some sort of disclaimer that IBM can get this pile of shit to work on their own systems.

      Genuinely, in a career that has spanned IBM's labs, banking in the City, Australia and Europe, government IT, tech journalism, telecoms and training I have never encountered any piece of software or hardware that was more despised by its users than Lotus Notes.

      ...but how much that is the fault of the product, might be variable.

      The correlation between spectacularly incompetent IT management and use of Notes is so high that it is hard to exactly work out cause and effect. It may be that an excellent IT setup like IBM Hursley can get the fucker to work properly, but when it is in the hands of average or worse still Capita-grade IT groups then it may be too much.

      One causal factor is where IBM's "relationship" with a major firm has caused a "business decision" to over-ride the IT group and install a product that makes me ashamed to call myself a software developer.

      In accounting or law firms that serve IBM, their infection with Notes seems to follow from a desire to keep the customer happy at the expense of abject user mystery.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: ..."modern IBMers must suffer through Lotus Notes" ... or not.

        You bastard.

        Up until now I could write "in the last 25 years I had not heard from anyone who used Lotus Notes who did not regard it is a personal enemy"

        Then our setup must have been done by someone who knew what they were doing.

        When we moved from Lotus Notes to Outlook a decade ago, I really really wanted Lotus Notes back.

        Maybe our Outlook folks were still going through a learning curve, but I regarded Outlook as my personal enemy for the couple of years before I moved on to pastures new.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Another Bastard

        Well, OK, I admit that I went for Noted because it wasn't Microsoft ...and I fought (successfully) to keep MS out of my server room.

        However, I did actually like the mail client, and used it on my own PC even for some time after the company left me. It threaded "conversations" properly, for one thing, while mail client designers seem convinced that people do all their talking in one room and all their listening in another. Never mind: Thunderbird now does a pale imitation. With an addon.

        We had some minor stuff developed for it as well as using it as a mail server. That I don't remember much about now, but I guess that should be a compliment. Technically, on AIX, it installed and ran with no problems at all. One of those servers I only ever had to reboot for upgrades and planned >UPS power outages.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ..."modern IBMers must suffer through Lotus Notes" ... or not.

        The original Ozzie/Gerstner axis of evil Notes was appallingly bad, some bits well designed, most not even up to Microsoft standards, and the coding stories from the people stuck fixing the mess would raise your hair. After spending hundreds of millions of development dollars, Notes (mostly) works decently. Well, except for Teamrooms which still don't have email notification (after 15-20 YEARS!?). It even has pretty usable help (as contrasted to helplessly useless MicroSoft help-- and most other program's help is likewise nearly useless).

        The real problem is that IBM Corporate insists on having bright ideas, races out and buys a dog in a poke (i.e., Notes, or more recently a mange infested cur like Rational), then proceeds to spends heaps of millions both directly (making the dog actually do more than emit a death rattle) and indirectly (lost productivity by the poor blokes at IBM who are forced to eat the dog food that the dog won't even eat (like most companies, IBM doesn't count lost productivity as an expense, so forcing a bad product on the employees doesn't have any cost. Heads you lose, tails we win mentality)).

        Sadly, when they do have a winner like OS/2, they snatch failure from the jaws of victory. OS/2 is the only PC based OS that I have run (including Linux, but I don't run BSD/Mac) that can run for literally years without something forcing a reboot/crash. Indeed, my PC (Win7) has a stupid management installed piece of ... software ... that advises me after a couple of days of NOT rebooting, that I really should reboot. That is confidence in your software supplier for you.

      4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: ..."modern IBMers must suffer through Lotus Notes" ... or not.

        "Up until now I could write "in the last 25 years I had not heard from anyone who used Lotus Notes who did not regard it is a personal enemy""

        Pacific (AS400 software house) had some good developers who like Notes as an application platform.

        It seemed to be very good when you wanted to synchronize distributed databases with low bandwidth link.

        Your colleague Tim Worstall may have encountered one of these applications.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jollies abroad.

    IBM management, of course, stayed in the same sort of accommodation that all Microsofties were put in regardless of level.

    I knew a bloke who used to be a senior CE at IBM many, many years ago. Every year there was an annual jolly and one year they were in the south of France for two weeks. The following fortnight the Management were coming over (to a better hotel) and a charter plane was dropping off the Big Boys and picking them up.

    They took the coach ot the airport and waited. Eventually news came in that the plane was delayed by several hours, so they went off for extensive drinkies while they waited.

    Behind the scenes, a charted aircraft had lifted off at Gatwick and promptly blown bag #2 in the tail. The charter company had been screwed on price, wouldn't dump the fuel and so couldn't get back in at LGW. Fortunately for them, the old Bristol Brabazon project had required a ludicrous runway length to get its underpowered self off the turf, so off to Filton they went while a spare engine pelted down the motorway on a truck after them. IBM's execs got to cool their heels in a Nissen hut outside Bristol for several hours while the plane was fixed and then get back onto a plane that's already nearly killed them all once.

    Back in Club Med, the now well-lubricated sales and customer types are delighted to see their lords and masters arrive, looking like collective death on a stick, at around 2am...........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: Jollies? Putting My Foot In It

      On hearing about a proposed works outing I commented that I preferred to spend my time off with my friends.

      Didn't go down well

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oops!

    "(I wish to make it clear that I’m not saying IBM had the worst HR of any firm in the world, merely that my 28 years in technology and banking have never exposed a worse one to me.)"

    Turns out that my sarcasm detector did not have overcurrent protection. Anybody know where I can get it repaired?

  33. W.O.Frobozz

    I miss the OS wars of the early 90's.

    I think there were die-hards going into 1997-1998 that were still trying to tell us that "OS/2 was making a comeback" and "Microsoft is running scared."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft is running scared

      Welcome to the latest edition. Happening right now!

      And this time, it might even be true.

  34. AlexF

    "Let me guess - you used an inofficial installer script to get Notes running on Linux"

    @frank the developer: "Let me guess - you used an inofficial installer script to get Notes running on Linux" ...

    I opened Synaptic, typed in "notes", right clicked on "ibm-lotus-notes", clicked "install", clicked "Apply" and waited for it to download/install. Once installed: "Applications -> Office -> IBM Lotus Notes 8.5" in Gnome, pointed it to my ID file, typed in my username and password, and ... well that was it. Its worked fine ever since.

    I'm not sure if the version in our repositories is modified from whatever customers get from Passport Advantage (I doubt it, but its possible I suppose). Was all pretty seamless for me though.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Testing was a concept Microsoft struggled with?

    "SteveB went on the road .. to give our systems strategy. The meetings included demos of .. OS/2 2.0 including .. a “bad app” that corrupted other applications and crashed the system", July 1991

    "The demos of OS/2 were excellent, crashing the system had the intended effect"

    link

    "The strains that show in our strategy now are temporary, and should not allow us to lose sight of the goal of making OS/2 the next generation operating system as quickly as possible", Aug 1988

    link

    1. yuhong

      Re: Testing was a concept Microsoft struggled with?

      I think OP was talking about the 1.x era, but yes I consider the entire MS OS/2 2.0 fiasco extremely bad.

    2. yuhong

      Re: Testing was a concept Microsoft struggled with?

      BTW, my favorite is PX00307. http://iowa.gotthefacts.org/011607/0000/PX00307.pdf

      It has plenty of red signs. It for example claims that "Windows 32-bit extenders" are a substitute for OS/2 2.0 ignoring their problems like no preemptive multitasking (some of which even persist in Win9x). Notice that neither Dave Cutler or Gordon Letwin were in the To or Cc lists!

  36. The FunkeyGibbon
    FAIL

    OS/2 stole my cash card...

    I never got to user OS/2 but I sure as hell remember it booting back up after the ATM swallowed and refused to give me back my card. Grrr.

    1. Ilgaz

      Now they run XP

      Would you trust your credit card to a. Machine running XP with adobe flash for fancy animations? ;-)

  37. tractor_saint

    Email address?

    Interesting to read about not being given an email address when you started? At that time I don't think email was widely used - didn't you have your OV/VM / NOSS account for internal 'email' ? Also surprised about your comment with HR and trying to get rid of you before you went on maternity leave.

    Think you've got a bit of a chip on your shoulder with TPTB.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Email address?

      NOSS/PROFS was an email system, it just wasn't anything like the other things that were around at the time, and until the middle of the '90s, it had limited connectivity to the non-IBM world. But then, neither did anybody else much unless you used UUCP mail.

      In fact, I'll go one stage further. It was an office productivity tool which would do email, calendar and meeting management, document indexing, organization chart and telephone directory, and also allowed you to escape to a document preparation system using Script.

      If you could put up with the 3270 interface (which was a challenge if you had used anything else beforehand), it was actually extremely functional.

      When I joined IBM in 1990 as an already experienced UNIX support specialist (this was when the RS/6000 and AIX 3.1 was launched), I hated NOSS, RETAIN and EHONE with a vengeance, but once I bothered to learn how to use them they all became perfectly usable. Although it is archaic, RETAIN is still one of the best problem tracking systems around. Knocks REMEDY into a cocked hat, once you get past the layers of GUI and HTML crap screen scrapers that modern IBMers prefer to use (note- I'm working for IBM as a contractor at the moment).

      I left IBM before Notes was deployed company wide, but now have to use it for all IBM related mail. I can't say that I like it, because I'm sure that there is a lot that it can do which I don't know how to use (here, take this Thinkpad and start using it - uh what was that? Training? Don't be stupid. Now get back to work!)

      I'm sure that it is usable, but I find that I end up banging my head against the desk all the time.

      Oh. OS/2? Yes, I did quite like that, especially the PMX X server that could turn it into a flawed but useful workstation in a UNIX environment. And that was a free download!

      I still wear my OS/2 Warp launch tee shirt once in a blue moon for nostalgia sake.

      1. Steve Lee

        Re: Email address?

        Profs/noss could always communicate with external email addresses via ibmmail exchange. I loved ehone too, I remember running a vm based web browser downloaded from ehone - interesting times. REXX was, and still is, the best scripting language ever. Python is a pale immitation!

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Email address?

          It depends how far back you go!

          I was responsible for the ibm.co.uk mail domain for some time, and when I first used it, it was about the only way of getting SMTP mail into IBM UK. IBM was very Internet and open network protocols averse in the early '90s, as they were actively pushing SNA.

          IIRC, we were only offered SMTP type addresses through ibmmail and NOSS in about 1992. It may have been there before, but we were told that the system that did the mapping could only cope with a limited number of users.

          1. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Email address?

            I kinda figured you were that Peter Gathercole. I think we have met face to face. I was a Field Engineer working on NET's IDNX line & peripherals for IBM. Seems to me I swapped out an aging pair of T1 back-cards that were giving you guys bit errors every couple minutes ... Capacitor issues, naturally. I think I upgraded the MMU while I was there, too. I was they guy ribbing the IBM engineers for using the Sun Workstation that NET's network management software ran on.

            A lot has changed in the last 25 years, no? Have a beer, compadre :-)

  38. davemcwish
    Thumb Up

    I miss REXX as well

    One of my first jobs on starting (paid) employment was to PM a rollout of OS/2 file servers and desktop clients. To make it easier I taught myself REXX and knocked up the scripts that setup the user accounts/shares etc. without having to use the proxy GUI.

    1. Ilgaz

      Re: I miss REXX as well

      IBM still includes it in mainframe operating systems. I remember seeing something like that.

    2. Iturbide
      Go

      Re: I miss REXX as well

      REXX is now open source. There is ReginaREXX an open source REXX interpreter. ObjectREXX and NETREXX was donated to REXXLA.

      http://www.rexxla.org/

  39. Peter Kay
    Thumb Up

    Ah.. OS/2 :)

    It was a lovely OS, despite its flaws. I used it both personally and professionally from 1993-1999 encompassing 2.0->4.5, plus forays into 1.3 (and bits of 1.1/1.2). The WPS was fantastic, the API lovely and clean, the documentation splendid, REXX very useful includings its infinite precision arithmetic and there was some unique and quirky software available for it, plus a welcoming and easy to access community.

    Unfortunately it also got a lot wrong. The chief flaw was IBM's pursuit of OS/2 PPC/Taligent - if they hadn't bothered with that and had re-engineered OS/2 x86 it might still be a viable force in the OS world. I have to give Microsoft credit here - NT managed to create a decent design whilst maintaining compatibility with the horror that was 16 bit Windows. Till the end OS/2 was not a 32 bit clean system - the kernel has a lot of 16 bit code, 2.0 had a 16 bit GDI (fixed in a servicepack), windowing was 16 bit until Warp 3 and 32 bit graphics (GRADD) came in a service pack for Warp 3. DASD drivers I can't remeber - 32 bit came around Warp 3 too I think. OS/2 never fixed the Synchronous (*not* 'single') input queue problem although it was largely mitigated by Warp 3 FP17. Most users of OS/2 never got to use the 32 bit networking stack, either, and IPV6 support doesn't exist.

    Still, let's talk more about what it got right - the generally splendid multimedia subsystem, the amazing X Server from Holger Veit, the sterling efforts of Stardock Systems with their productivity and games software (to this day I still play Galactic Civilisations 2 for OS/2 occasionally) and I must also give credit to Innotek who continued supporting OS/2 long beyond the point where they should have given up.. the pervasive multithreading, unparalleled V86 OS support (not just DOS - you could run other 16 bit OSes too..) but not by any means a) the progress bars that went backwards or b) the damned parrot video

    I still have a heavily upgraded OS/2 Warp 4 system here, although it doesn't get much use and runs on fast Pentium 1 era hardware. Perhaps I'll migrate it over to Xen though, should be able to get it running on that..

  40. Guus Leeuw

    You catching your wife or...

    Quote: The only way I can force myself to believe the idea that the richest corporation on the planet behaved that way is that the girl who took me is now a reassuringly expensive lawyer who was kind enough to marry me and so we have photographic evidence.

    Surely that explains how she caught you, not the other way around, as the article's title seems to suggest. Anyway, there's not enough funky details on the title's proposed partial subject of you catching the olde ball and chain (expensive a lawyer she may be). Oh, and having said that, I by no means mean to indicate that your wife is comparable to a ball and chain. Just to make it clear that you/she cannot sue me for using a paraphrase :) Or maybe you/she can, what the hell do I know about lawyers and how they extract money from people.

    Cheerio for the good article, though, as per usual standard.

    Guus

  41. Herby Silver badge

    Talk about editors...

    Yes, there was EDLIN, and yes it was a bit primitive. Some of the alternatives in the day were TECO and an early version of EMACS. If you really want to be "primitive", you can go back just a few years and use IBM punch cards and a keypunch, which I have done (yes it was a while ago). Doing it primitive style does yield some positive results, as one is very careful when doing edits, checking things before making commitments.

    As the saying goes: Nothing humbles you more than editing at 10 cps (an ASR 33 Teletype), or on a keypunch, although one can do "cut & paste" operations of full lines with punch cards quite quickly!

    1. Steve Lee

      Re: Talk about editors...

      Yes edlin existed for the same reason as vi on unix, teletype support!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: vi on unix, teletype support...

        No, that was ed.

        vi (visual) required a screen, and displayed (sorry, displays) the entire file being edited, not just one line.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: vi on unix, teletype support...

          ed was the primary editor on UNIX until ex and vi came in from BSD.

          When I got my BSD 2.3 software tape in 1982 (we wanted to run Ingres on UNIX V6 and V7), I found that I could not compile vi up on my PDP11/34E because it (vi) was too large for a non-separate I&D PDP11. Instead we used a screen editor that was written for small UNIX systems by the Newcastle University Computing Department.

          Later versions of VI used an overlay loader that may or may not have been related to the Keele Overlay modifications for UNIX, but Berkeley dropped support for such small PDP11s by about BSD 2.6 (after all, the PDP11/44 was a much better machine, and it and everything after it all had the separate I&D feature).

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NeXTSTEP 3.1 for i486

    Released March '93. With IB!

    Rumor I heard was that 3.3 was going to ship on IBM x86 hardware till Ross Perot killed the deal.

  43. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Flame

    Oi

    Dont slag off Southsea

    Its a perfectly charming seaside village thats been dropped inside a major industrial city.

    Boris

    PS ok ok ok its a dump

  44. Steve Lee

    Thanks for the memory

    The real irony with os/2 is it sold slowly due to needing 8Mb of RAM to breathe, so with warp ibm recoded a lot of it in assembler as well as enlisting the help of the mainframe boys to get the memory management and paging logic just right, it would now boot and run well in 4Mb - NT still struggled with less than 24Mb. However, as warp was released, the price of RAM tumbled making the issue irrelevent.

    1. Number6

      Re: Thanks for the memory

      I always remember it as needing the memory requirements of Win95 but with the stability and performance of NT, which at that point I think needed 16MB to do anything. When I managed to get my OS/2 machine upgraded from 8MB to 16MB it was really good. The real memory hog was running Win3.1 apps on it, that was on the edge for 8MB.

      The company at which I worked at the time originally switched to it because one of our applications was using a DOS extender (remember those) and was suffering serial port performance issues. A switch to OS/2 text mode (it would run happily in 4MB in text mode) and minimal tweaks to the application to turn it into a native OS/2 app, and it was great. This would have been around the time Win95 came out and we all know how good and stable first releases of anything can be. We couldn't wait for the stable version.

      I've still got my Presentation Manual Programming manual on the bookshelf.

      1. david 12 Bronze badge

        Re: Thanks for the memory

        >. A switch to OS/2 text mode (it would run happily in 4MB in text mode) and

        IBM would have got a LOT more traction with my friends if they had produced cheap tools and documentation.

        We were stuck in DOS with 640KB of memory. We considered Unix, OS/2, DOS extenders, and Windows. We would not have minded staying in text mode, but the path of least resistance was Windows.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great OS!

    It is only 3 years ago I stopped using OS/2 in the guise of eComStation. It was a tough decision but I was running a triple-boot system and my family did not care for it. OS/2 must be the most underrated OS of all time.

    The OOD and great multitasking made me an OS/2 fanboy for all time.

  46. fortyrunner

    OS/2 fixed my assembler and found ME a wife as well!

    In the autumn of 1988 I went to work for a small company who wanted to port their final accounts system to OS/2.

    Why they wanted to do this was unclear; most accountants would rather pluck their eyeballs out than spend enough on their ancient kit to get OS/2 running.

    The system was written in compiled MS Basic and 8086 assembler, this was a common combination at the time for small software houses. The assembler did the routine stuff such as file handling, modem handling, screen writing etc. It was a bit of a mess, crashed a lot and lost client data. I wasn't aware of the crashing bit - that had been glossed over in the interview.

    My task was to port everything to OS/2. Initially we were going to port the app to run in command line mode. The Basic was easy and that had been done in a few days.

    The assembler was trickier. I would compile it, test it, fix a protection violation bug, repeat and rinse. I made sure that the fixes went back into the normal build. After all - they were bugs in the original code

    After about 4 weeks of this I was a bit fed up. I seemed to be working on a project that couldn't go anywhere (I had twigged that our customers would never use OS/2). I started looking for another job.

    And then something magical happened.

    I bumped into one of the project managers and testers and they told me that whatever I was doing - keep on doing it. The stability of the latest builds (with my fixes) had removed a lot of the worse crashes. People were starting to notice, customers were happier, in fact - customers were REALLY happy.

    I decided to stay. I started doing other trouble shooting. I got a nice rise and a car!

    And then a few months later the woman who later became my wife joined the company.

    So OS/2 got me a wife as well.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Colorworks

    And Colorworks slagged anything (think early Photoshop) on a Winbox. And, was cheaper IIRC.

    I always felt sorry for the guys who did Colorworks, hitched their cart to the wrong horse. How were they supposed to know that the superior OS product was going to ignominiously fail by self inflicted wounds?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OS2 Fido Hub

    ran a few bbs.

    I tried a warp disc out, and it was a little too proprietary for me at the time I was mostly invested in DOS programs.

    OS2 got screwed by bad advertising, proprietary costs for 3rd party software (like a mac today), and a flooded market of this DOS / win 3.11 /95/ NT 3.11 cruft. Still thinking back I might believe 5 out of 50 bbs's not including my own, ran OS2. Which isn't all that bad. Of those 5 all were multi-line bbs's.

    Seems the only places I ever saw it being sold was comp usa, and frys, and now sadly the junk bins next to NT4. Very sad story for OS2. Sysops that ran it specifically dedicated to running it for specific problem solving, or for stability reasons like when running as a dedicated fidonet net hub.

    I guess the bottom line is you use the OS that is right for the job, it's amazing we had such dedicated people who donated their time, money, and hardware to keep such a network up with their modem banks and rollover lines, propriatary OS2 systems running hubs for all us apathetic clueless non (FREQ'ing) file requesting, non crashmailing dweebs. Since the web replacement of the bbs, I think most of that service, honor and integrity has been lost. People don't want to help for free now, they just want to take. How many of them would openly give free public access to crashmail I wonder? I've seen maybe 4 boards do it in my LIFE. Today, it's a bit like WAP's if you think about it.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Loved OS/2 Warp

    Back in the day, I remember when we got hold of a copy of OS/2 Warp to try out on our home machines. (I think it was on a cover disc). We loved trying it out and it was far superior to Windows 3.1 (and Windows ME *shudder*)

    I saw a financial system machine running it recently. I remarked on it at the time. The software was solid and worked so they felt the need to not upgrade it. Good testament to the code.

  50. David Barnes

    I remember the commercials

    I too was a lover of OS/2, and I remember the commercials featuring "real people" (I was the IBMer in those commercials). One of the U.S. commercials (we made them in several different countries) showed a guy saying "This blows Windows away!" There's a great story (folklore) about that particular commercia saying that, since the commercials never said what OS/2 was, it made people think OS/2 was a Windows uninstaller.

    Those were good times.

    Google search "os/2 metro card techland.time" to see an interesting story that was written in April of this year. Apparently, OS/2 is still being used to run the New York Subway Metro Card system. There are some inaccuracies in the article, but it's still a good read.

  51. mctouch
    Pirate

    The real reason OS/2 died

    MEMORY..... & ...... MONEY

    1993 wasn't a great year for IBM, they teamed with Microsoft on OS/2 to get to 32bit computing but marketed it terribly, remember the Olive Green UI? Sometimes using focus groups as the final decision maker are a failure, 'Style needs to be lead, not agreed!'.

    At this stage IBM had been split into the Hardware (PC Company, Mainframe & Midrange) and Software company, not as a result of the US government Antitrust campaign but more as a result of the gains made through the stock split (Think the Bell breakup). Microsoft had windows 3.1 already in the marketplace supporting lower cost clone PC's to IBM's expensive proprietary PS/2 Micro channel Architecture.

    Here is where it gets interesting, Windows 3.1 only required 2 mb of Memory to run on a PC, OS/2 needed 6 mb of memory to run. The IBM PC company was purchasing memory for $22 USD per megabyte for use in their PS/2's. The average clone PC maker could purchase memory at slightly higher prices however did not have the long term commodity pricing & hedging contracts that the IBM PC company had.

    !#%*----BOOM----&%$#!

    In 1993 a Sumitomo Epoxy Resin Factory in Niihama that provided the coating for %80 of the worlds memory chips, mysteriously explodes. Within a week global memory prices go from $25 USD to $120 USD however the IBM PC company is still getting a mb for $22. Now with the IBM PC company seeing that the cost of a clone PC has increased $200 for the additional cost of memory, it decides to do some profit taking by upping the cost of their PS/2 and Aptiva lines to match the rest of the worlds clone costs.

    So in 1993 your choices are, a PC costing $400 with 2mb of memory running windows 3.1 or a PC costing $800 running OS/2 with 6mb. Since the average punter in the street thought about their wallet more than the differences between pre-emptive and cooperative multitasking, Microsoft Windows 3.1 won the market share. As the IBM & Microsoft OS/2 contract agreement obviously didn't include a kill off Windows 3.1 clause, Microsoft now being cashed up figured it didn't need IBM anymore.

    The IBM PC company could have kept the global memory commodities market down with their fixed term pricing at $22 USD but as their executive bonuses were not pegged to the IBM parent they gleefully cannibalised the profits away from the IBM Software company, ala made OS/2 too expensive for the average consumer.

    Any other explanation for Microsofts success and OS/2's demise is well crafted Spin....

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: The real reason OS/2 died

      That may be _some_ kind of explanation, but sure isn't all the story. This being 1993, the train had already left the station.

      Additionally,

      - How did IBM manage to continue sourcing RAM at low prices?

      - What about the pricing differences of "OS/2 + PM + Networking Stack" vs. the Windows 3.1 package? It sure counts for something too.

      - And then: Applications, Applications, Applications.

  52. Dropper

    Ah yes.. OS part duex

    All I remember about OS2 was that Amiga owners used to laugh at it, smug in the knowledge that everything OS2 tried to be their OS already was. Then Commodore committed suicide and the smug looks turned into tears and painful nostalgia involving Babylon 5, the Video Toaster, Imagine and Anim Brushes..

  53. Rick Giles
    Facepalm

    "I wish to make it clear that I’m not saying IBM had the worst HR of any firm in the world, merely that my 28 years in technology and banking have never exposed a worse one to me."

    So far, banking was the worst for me, technology wise. They want everything to run on the latest OS (XP at the time) on a machine that would barely handle Windows 2.0. They also wanted you on call but would provide a laptop or a VPN connection if you had your own PC/Laptop. Then they would get pissed at you when it would take about an hour to get to where you could look at the problem.

    Good times.

  54. PAW
    Coat

    It wasn't all IBM's fault

    MS marketing was it's criminal best in the OS/2 days. U.S. antitrust was first attracted to the plans IBM and MS made to divy up the planned OS/2 market (IBM - business; MS -retail) and what they found led them to clear IBM but stick to MS for the remainder of the decade. Anyone remember when MS threatened to withhold Windows from IBM if IBM bundled OS/2 exclusively on any their PCs? IBM previously had a dual boot arrangement which required them to pay a Windows license twice. With other OEMs, MS demanded a Windows license for every box sold whether is shipped with Windows or not. Remember Win 3.11, which was 3.1 with a few line changes to break compatibility with OS/2? On and on.

    Anyway this was a wonderful unexpected article & comment section.

    1. yuhong

      Re: It wasn't all IBM's fault

      To be more precise, the *32-bit* OS/2 days. In fact it was *MS* that sent the original OS/2 2.0 SDK to developers in early 1990. Now you see why I have an extremely bad opinion about the entire MS OS/2 2.0 fiasco.

  55. yuhong

    MS OS/2 2.0

    Personally what I consider extremely bad is the MS OS/2 2.0 fiasco. I really should write an entire article about this one. In the meantime, look up "MS OS/2 2.0 SDK" and "Microsoft Munchkins" and you will see why.

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