back to article World finally ready for USB-bootable OS/2

eComStation, the Dutch-owned company that offers a PC operating system based on IBM's OS/2, has floated the idea of a USB-bootable version of the OS. The firm keeps the OS/2 torch burning by offering a PC OS that lets users run OS/2 apps. The outfit claims the likes of Boeing, Whirlpool Corporation and VMware use its software …

  1. PhilipN Silver badge

    Never say never

    OK I won't say OS/2 never choked but I ran it for years at a time without a reboot. Admittedly just for mainstream (non-accounting) office uses. For that, especially running Wordperfect for DOS 6.2 ("Hello 2015 this is the 1980's calling") it is still the most efficient and user-friendly OS I have ever used.

    I shan't go on - I'll go on - It also had the best Fax program and MP3 player.

    Lots of one's comrades will say the Lotus Smartsuite was crap. It wasn't. It was just different. Oh alright it was crap, but why use a package when you can pick and choose individual components which are better?

    P.S. Open/Libre Office began life as Star Office - for OS/2

    1. Purple-Stater

      Re: Never say never

      I would definitely be running Lotus SmartSuite today if it were reasonably feasible. Granted, I never had much use for the total package, but I'd be definitely still be using WordPro as my word processor of choice.

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    What problem will it solve ?

    So apart from the nostalgia factor what could we actually use it for ?

    I love the idea but I just don't see it's potential..

    I'm currently struggling to run Linux Mint as a VM under a Windows 10 host using Virtual Box ( the bridged networking is borked, r5.0.4) and I presume that this will not help with that problem.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: What problem will it solve ?

      The OS/2 subsystem does some things that many other OSes have been able to. It also comes with a slew of excellent terminal emulations.

      Admittedly, you probably won't need much of this but there are still a few companies with an extensive OS/2 landscape, who've saved tons of money by sticking with it.

      I think that if I wasn't using MacOS I'd probably have a machine that could boot into OS/2 as I don't know how long it would before I hosed whichever unix I installed. The WPS really is quite funky.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What problem will it solve ?

        ...but there are still a few companies with an extensive OS/2 landscape, who've saved tons of money by sticking with it.

        That is so true. One of the companies we support has saved having to completely change all their machine shop equipment by sticking with OS/2. We have other clients that are using OS/2 in their server rooms that run 24/7/364 - the missing day is when we shut them down for internal cleaning.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: What problem will it solve ?

          "but there are still a few companies with an extensive OS/2 landscape, who've saved tons of money by sticking with it."

          How are they obtaining support, OS2 was basically shutdown in 2006. Or are they managing to simply make do with what was available at the time. If this is the case then they are not saving money they are just avoiding spending any money, the same would have been true no matter which system they used or is there something that I am completely missing here.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: What problem will it solve ?

            It's normally just a matter of money. Like Windows XP, but also earlier versions of Windows NT, you'll find that companies have signed long term support contracts. I seem to recall that Deutsche Bank for one was more than happy to shove a couple of million a year to IBM for support. There was, and may still be, a huge market for OS/2 embedded (POS, cash machines, courier (UPS at least) terminals, etc.) because OS/2 was the only OS reliable enough that ran in constrained memory: get rid of the UI and it's memory use is very modest.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: What problem will it solve ?

            >How are they obtaining support, OS2 was basically shutdown in 2006. Or are they managing to simply make do with what was available at the time.

            XEU.com aren't totally clear just what is meant by the term "based on OS/2". But I suspect whilst the initial release (back in 2001) may have made extensive use of original IBM/Microsoft OS/2 executables, subsequent releases have become 'owned' by XEU.com either through original development or licencing.

            What is particularly interesting is seeing a potential return of 'OS/2' to the limelight!

            Going back to the 80's and many industrial systems used DEC PDP-8's, in the early 90's IBM's backing of OS/2 (and it's ability to run on commodity h/w) helped to get it into the finance sector eg. ATM and POS, and it thus become an OS of choice in some sectors. MS hit back hard with WinCE/Windows Embedded et al and hence why we now see many ATM's, industrial systems etc. running versions of XP; now unsupported...

            However, given the extent to which MS has struggled to have a coherent client OS with which to replace XP, questions must be asked about the advisability of using Windows Embedded in any user terminal that is likely to be part of a system that will have a serviceable life of 10+ years. Looking at the alternatives and OS/2 does have many plus points over Win8/8.1 embedded...

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What problem will it solve ?

            How are they obtaining support, OS2 was basically shutdown in 2006. Or are they managing to simply make do with what was available at the time. If this is the case then they are not saving money they are just avoiding spending any money, the same would have been true no matter which system they used or is there something that I am completely missing here.

            They're saving money by Getting Shit Done™. Yes, support is hard to come by, but either they have enough enough expertise inhouse to keep going, or the platform is so stable that little support is needed (and not having support also means not paying for support). From what I have experienced with OS/2, it could be a cantankerous sod to get working if you didn't have the right hardware, but once it was up the only way it would fail was through hardware problems. IMHO, IBM outdid itself with OS/2 which is probably why MS had to kill its market. Microsoft would have never sold another Windows upgrade because this stuff set expectations of how computing should be done.

            I'm now mostly using Linux and MacOS, but I recall exporting Linux xterms to my OS/2 desktop, it just all worked provided you followed the Law of the Erect Member (p*nis for those with a limited vocabulary)...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What problem will it solve ?

              "this stuff set expectations of how computing should be done"

              You're jesting I hope, from what I remember OS/2 was just as buggy as Windows and in such a case why didn't they simply use Linux.

              1. AndrueC Silver badge
                Meh

                Re: What problem will it solve ?

                You're jesting I hope, from what I remember OS/2 was just as buggy as Windows and in such a case why didn't they simply use Linux.

                A lot of OS crashes were caused by people running it on clones that didn't completely follow the PC standard. I seem to recall a conversation on the CompuServe support forums which ended with a comment something like: "If we ask a motherboard for 72ns RAM refresh and it tells us it's using 72ns RAM refresh we assume that's what it's doing because that's how we build our PCs. 74ns is not the same as 72ns!".

                There also use to be an issue with printers because OS/2 insisted on using the polling facility and a lot of cheap parallel cables were cheap because that pin wasn't wired up.

                Maybe also (stretching my memory a bit) a similar issue with joysticks because OS/2 expected to be able to talk to them before it started listening.

                To my mind that was part of why OS/2 failed (and also the relationship between MS and IBM). IBM seemed to be old-school, 'do the job properly' whereas MS (and clone PC industry) was 'knock something up and if it sort of works sell it'.

                1. bpfh Bronze badge

                  Re: What problem will it solve ?

                  Ahhhh, the printer problems. I remember getting hold of the Lexmark software engineering manager to run tests on why our fleet of Lexmark Zsomthings (Z12 ?) were printing properly, but with the print head only making one side-to-side trip every 10-15 seconds (so 1 minute to print out one line of text). Ended up being told to comment out a line in the config.sys (the OS/2 config.sys being massively larger than it's MS-DOS counterparts), and deactivating some active communication setting on the parallel port fixed the issue. Took us about 3 weeks to find out what the hell was going on with the drivers, with a developer debugging on the phone with us.

                  Excellent support and knowledgeable people. Probably the only reason I got that far up the support chain was that I was working for IBM, on an IBM site and we had about 500 of the damned things...

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: What problem will it solve ?

                    Probably the only reason I got that far up the support chain was that I was working for IBM, on an IBM site and we had about 500 of the damned things...

                    Nope. That simple was what OS/2 support was like. In my considerable years in IT I have yet to come across any other support which immediately gave you second level support when your support ID was flagged as being sufficiently clued up to skip first level altogether (which, I may add, were no slouches either). By the way, IBM is also the only organisation to offer the legally correct option of fully opting out of the customary "we will record your call for <fill in excuse of the day>".

                    If I could work out who developed that model I'd give him a lifelong achievement award. I was not affiliated with OS/2, the only possible variant could be that I was one of the rogues they used to beta test their software (I had a 5 year old's ability to break thing in places you'd never expect them to be vulnerable).

                2. AndrueC Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: What problem will it solve ?

                  OS/2 insisted on using the polling facility

                  Oops, that came out completely wrong. OS/2 didn't like using the polling facility. The missing wire was so that the printer could signal the computer for more data which is what OS/2 expected. I suppose that up to then most PC OSes didn't need that option because they had nothing better to do anyway than sit around asking the printer "Are you done yet?".

              2. Gartal

                Re: What problem will it solve ?

                Because LINUX, when I had a play with it in 1993 was at about version .8 and only just worked and was written by a lot of PFY's. LINUX was supplied by download through a 9800 BAUD modem to 10 1.44 MB diskettes. OS2 was supplied by a dirty great big company in a box with 27 (I think) diskettes.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What problem will it solve ?

                You're jesting I hope, from what I remember OS/2 was just as buggy as Windows and in such a case why didn't they simply use Linux.

                AFAIK, Linux was at the time of OS/2 Warp just about to become an interesting Slackware distro on an Internet that had not yet been introduced by one Tim Berners-Lee to the concept of a URL. It certainly not had the statue of a trustworthy platform for business - that came later when sysops started to use Linux instead of Windows for SMB file serving because it actually kept on working and took fewer resources.

                With the right hardware, OS/2 simply soldiered on. It was an OS that didn't need rebooting every day, and it was *far* more capable of multitasking than Windows ever was. No, it wasn't buggy.

    2. trog-oz

      Re: What problem will it solve ?

      "I'm currently struggling to run Linux Mint as a VM under a Windows 10 host using Virtual Box"

      Is there any reason that you're not running Mint natively?

      I feel a bit left out, as I have never actually seen a computer running OS/2. I was working on Pick systems back then. I think I'll have a look at the demo and see what the fuss was all about.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: What problem will it solve ?

        "Is there any reason that you're not running Mint natively?"

        Yes, and these are constraints not options.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What problem will it solve ?

        I think I'll have a look at the demo and see what the fuss was all about.

        Sorry but the demo is butchered and not very good. We thought we could use it to show new clients OS/2 but it was useless for that because you can't do anything useful with it.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: What problem will it solve ?

      "I'm currently struggling to run Linux Mint as a VM under a Windows 10 host"

      Try doing it the other way around....

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: What problem will it solve ?

        "I'm currently struggling to run Linux Mint as a VM under a Windows 10 host"

        See reply above. It's not a choice !

        1. phil dude
          Thumb Up

          Re: What problem will it solve ?

          In my "under the hood work", you might find it easier to optimise Mint over Win10, by getting a minimal kernel to boot - just what it needs to run.

          This may mean you have a non-mint kernel, but I have found this the most expeditious way of finding "what breaks".

          Just FYI, I am trying to run Linux within Linux, but get the GPU's to work properly..

          P.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          VirtualBox is a dumpster fire

          >I'm currently struggling to run Linux Mint as a VM under a Windows 10 host using Virtual Box

          Assuming if its for work then your employer is cheap if you are using Virtual Box. Linux Mint also is not an ideal choice for say a server VM. As for your problem I have seen that same thing before and it was a VirtualBox issue not OS. Going to get down voted but VirtualBox is garbage and should only be used if you have no other choice (like us BSDers). It's buggy and its performance sucks in general but its windows guest performance is especially abysmal. If you need to get real work done you are much better off with VMware even if its just the player.

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: VirtualBox is a dumpster fire

            The Office environment is VmWare + Netapp, but I don't get to bring that home.!!!!

            I have a work test rig at home for W10. I don't believe in VMs for everything, I want to see an OS on metal, with real spinning rust, low memory and shitty drivers, VM's tend to hide some of the problems that can occur etc etc ..

            So far W10 won't run the Cisco VPN Client, so that puts an end to a lot of discussions... and from what I understand Cisco will not be continuing the client in it's current form and our MotherShip is not ready to upgrade technology....status quo.

            VirtualBox and Mint are just involved in order that I can directly VPN into the office on the test rig.. ( since Cisco don't work), downloaded the v5.0.5 tonight which at least has helped with the Bridged Networking problems....

            1. asdf Silver badge

              Re: VirtualBox is a dumpster fire

              Hmm being as you sound like more of a windows user make sure you at least use Linux Mint xfce, as it is noticeably leaner. Ideally you would use something even more minimal like puppy Linux or smaller to reduce the amount of memory (you have to allocate) and cpu cyles your vm will steal while you leaving it running. Of course that route is not as user friendly and requires more fuss.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: What problem will it solve ?

      A very real problem: ATM and POS terminal upgrade!

      As many have posted, many ATM's are running some version of Windows XP.

      Whilst XP desktop and Windows XP Professional for Embedded Systems reached end of normal support life on 8-Apr-2014, other variants are still in support, thus depending on which variant is being used, end of normal support could be 2016 or 2019.

      We also know that ATM's generally have a USB port, that is typically used for service purposes.

      So an obvious market would be to enable the rapid field replacement of XP in these systems: the engineer simply inserts a USB stick and (optionally) removes the XP HDD and reboots back to full working state. Given the frequency of field service visits, no additional visits would be required to effect an OS upgrade - neither is a hardware refresh.

      I suspect a similar case can be made for POS terminals.

      Given the list of customers eComStation gives on their website, I suspect eComStation are doing their part in making this scenario a real possibility.

  3. Thomas Gray

    Russian? Shurely Shome mishtake:

    eComStation is owned by XEU.com, a Dutch company, and presumably the successor to Mensys BV who co-owned it with Serenity Systems, an American company set up by a former IBM-er. It has never been a Russian owned venture, as far as I know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Russian? Shurely Shome mishtake:

      No comment. That is a sore point to many in the OS/2 world.

  4. Lee D Silver badge

    And there was I thinking that the rest of the world was desperately trying to STOP people booting from USB sticks, especially those that are in embedded devices that are running obsolete operating systems?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In the field, given a choice of compromising a stick or compromising a laptop, which would you pick? A very fast (about one half speed of my SSD's) 64 GB SanDisk cost me $39.02 including tax. Decisions, decisions.

  5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Softeach

    Ah, takes me back to those heady days of Softeach at the Penta Hotel in Heathrow. Hundreds of techies spending the whole weekend queuing to see the latest software - funny that the biggest queues were where product worth $$$ was being given away. With IBM the queues were long, not because the product was being given away (it wasn't), but because the demonstration was so impressive. Nobody seemed brave enough to be the guinea pig to try it on their own kit though. I think the reason was, in those days hardware was still comparatively expensive to tie up a pc for testing and demonstration purposes, so the tendency was to wait and see what happened in the marketplace. Sadly it never happened at that time.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Ahhh OS/2 Warp

    the joys of watching the install fail at disk 237 (well it seemed that way).

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

      I seem to remember that is how far I got,, back when I was a spotty teenager. A hardware / media fail, not the fault of OS/2 (though as I mostly played games on my PC, I might not have had too much for it really).

      In 2008, an ATM in Peru rebooted on me, and I saw an OS/2 boot screen.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

        The ATM at the top of my road ( in England ) did that last year - showing OS2 boot screen.

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

          The ATM at the top of my road ( in England ) did that last year - showing OS2 boot screen.

          May have been a Barclays one. Barclays had a *massive* OS/2 based setup.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

      That would have been Warp 3 that was available as a pack of 3.5" disks. Warp 4 came as a CD but it did give the option to make floppies if you felt that you must do it that way.

      Installing an OS from floppies (19 for Warp 3, 56 for Warp 4) gave the floppy drive a good workout and I have seen many such drives fail in that type of situation.

      1. lorisarvendu

        Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

        I remember being very impressed by the fact that I could open a second Dos prompt while formatting a floppy in the first...and the floppy kept formatting! At that time the latest Windows was 3.11, and this was the first time I'd seen true multitasking in action.

        Not so impressed by that fact that after installing Warp from a CD, it was common for it to no longer recognise the CD drive upon reboot. And as for SYS errors, involving trawling through the largest Config.sys file known to man....

    3. Montreal Sean

      Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

      I actually got OS/2 Warp 3 to install after a couple of tries and a floppy drive replacement.

      I kept it for a couple of days and then went back to Windows because I was a teenager and wanted to play games.

      It was a nice OS though.

    4. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

      IBM used to use a weird format on their OS/2 install disks to pack more information on the disk. Very impressive technically but a pain in the arse when you had to make duplicates. Even today getting OS/2 to work on a VM is hassle.

      1. esven

        Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

        Yeah, it was some strange non-standard format that allowed an incredible 1.8 Mb on each disk instead of the standard 1.44 Mb, but which also made them much more likely to fail, and required a custom backup program that nobody bothered to use until it was too late.

      2. esven

        Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

        Yes, they used some non-standard format that allowed an incredible 1.8 Mb on each disk, instead of the standard 1.44 Mb, but which made them much more likely to fail, and required a custom backup program that nobody bothered to use until it was too late.

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

          xdfcopy - also ran in DOS if I remember correctly, so you didn't need an OS/2 box to write it. Not actually an IBM developed technology, but a clever extension of the 3.5" DSHD format that worked on practically every drive.

    5. Dunhill
      Happy

      Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

      Still have the box with the CD's on the shelf

      AND

      a VM running it,

      still there are some things that goes easier/quicker than with linux

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Remember running it on a PS/2 - no young 'uns that was an IBM computer not a Sony games console (unfortuneately).

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      1 out of many

      When I was at college in the early 90's there was one IBM PS/2 with OS/2 on it.

      Few ever went near it. Even the lecturers ignored it.

      Personally I think the new owners should have gone for a 'free for non commercial licence', the amount of interest and warm fuzzy feelings for this platform among It people might have led to a little growth to it rather than stagnating or merely frozen in time.

      Just my five and half pence.

  8. MaxHertz

    Networking

    Only bad memories. Trying to setup networking on OS/2 was a royal PITA.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Networking

      I have to admit that it's nearly 15 years since I needed to do this, but I don't remember it being any more difficult than on current operating systems. Mostly point, click and type, just like any other OS, and you can bet that there was a CLI accessible to do it from a command prompt.

      Of course, in those days it was all static IP addresses. Maybe the DHCP support is a bit lame.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Networking

        you can bet that there was a CLI accessible to do it from a command prompt

        Ah, the main cause of swearing at AIX, at least for people that came from other Unix variants. If you didn't do stuff with the menu, nothing would work as expected. Setting an IP address, configuring a default gateway - the commands executed without error message, but nothing changed unless you use the menu. On the plus side, once you used the menu it was all easy.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Networking

          Oh ho! someone who knows me (even though they're too cowardly to post in their own name).

          But when it comes to configuring anything on proprietary UNIXs, there is/was no commonality. Sun users used to think that their way was the only way, ignoring the fact that all the other vendors, such as HP, Digital, Data General and IBM (and Sequent, Pyramid, Altos, Siemens, Nixdorf, NCR, Silicon Graphics, Intergraph...) all did it differently! People tend to forget this.

          Unfortunately, the split between the major proprietary UNIX variants occurred before the general adoption of TCP/IP (and yes, I know about the relationship between TCP/IP, DARPA and BSD), but all vendors had their own source trees, and implemented support particularly for networking in different ways. As such, there were no real 'standard' ways of doing things. Especially when some TCP/IP support was 'bolted on' to another vendor's UNIX system.

          The main difference with AIX was the fact that the ODM was decoupled from the so-called standard commands, so running ifconfig, route et. al. would (within the bounds of different implementations) configure the interfaces, but it would not persist across a reboot.

          I think that if you wanted commonality, you would have to have settled on sysadm from the AT&T base code to really have something 'standard'. And I don't think that would have suited anybody.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Networking

            even though they're too cowardly to post in their own name

            Maybe you ought to keep in mind that some people on this site may have a few things to protect, like clearances, customers or maybe the odd business or two. In today's world of shamists (Monica Lewinsky) and outragists (Scott Adams) it takes but one wrong word or bad joke to be publicly sacrificed on the altar of other people in search of more advertising, page hits or their daily fix of rage, irrespective of who gets hurt in the process.

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Re: Networking

              I was a bit strong in my "cowardly" comment, but sometimes I like to know at least the handle of the commenter. It's obviously someone who knows me, because I made no reference to AIX in my original post.

              I'm not suggesting that everybody is as naked as me on these forums, and I do post anonymously when talking about anything I feel is sensitive/employer-related (and only the Register knows whether I have another handle!), but unless you make it known, a handle that can identify your posts without revealing your name is what most people do.

              IMHO, AC should really be reserved for people making contentious statements for whatever reason.

              I could see nothing in the AC reply to my original post that looked even remotely contentious, unless it was their criticism of AIX, and everybody who has used AIX knows about what was said (and I've criticised the ODM myself in the past, it being neither a flat editable set of files like UNIX purists want, nor a proper database).

              I doubt that there is even anybody in IBM who gives a damn about such comments. All the people who made the decision about the ODM will have now left IBM (AIX 3.1 was released a staggering quarter of a century ago), and I know for certain that Robert A. Fabbio, credited as the "lead architect for the System Management Architecture" of AIX 3.1 on the RISC System/6000, and lead author of the article "System Management: An Architecture" from the IBM journal of Technology no longer works for IBM.

              I'm sure that if I went through all of the authors of the articles in the original IBM RISC System/6000 Technology (SA23-2619) that was published in 1990, I would find less than a handful still employed by IBM.

              Everybody gets old!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Networking

                Ah, the error lies in your assumption that someone adding AIX to your list must know you personally :).

                Those were simply the leading variants of Unix at the time. Xenix and *curse* SCO *curse* never amounted to much, if you wanted a small box you'd use a PC with a BSD variant or Linux, or a pizza box (Sun server with SunOS or later Solaris) where the first job was to ditch the compiler and get gcc on it and replace stuff with Open Source variants (I'll probably get sendmail.cf nightmares now, but that too will pass).

                If you wanted big and fat you'd use IBM, HP or - since you were used to is - a Sun 10k or something, and if you wanted hardcore resilience you'd use PowerPC virtualisation on a bunch of IBMs (still do, actually). You pay a lot, but you can hotplug a complete chassis in a chain if needed.

                Anyone involved in building stuff that had to actually work (I know, that definitely shows my age) and needed to interoperate with an existing setup simply HAD to get conversant with all Unix variants. Was I planning to interact with AIX? No, the closest I got to AIX beforehand was using a dead RS chassis as a doorstop (for irony value) but at some point a client needed help, which is when I had to go back to reading manuals to see why simple ifconfigs got a stiff ignoring :). Once I worked that out it was back to getting things done.

                El Reg knows who I am, that's enough for me. IMHO, their journalists rank amongst the few people you can trust.

                1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                  Re: Networking

                  OK, without knowing who you are, I am in the dark (is this a new incarnation of Eadon?) But neither my original post, nor (AFICT) any previous post mentioned AIX.

                  It is a very tenuous link saying that because OS/2 probably had a CLI for configuring networks, that AIX was a suitable comparison, merely because IBM wrote both of them. Whereas, I do comment about AIX, which makes it much less tenuous. Maybe I should have said someone who knows of me - possibly in these forums.

                  As far as I am aware, ifconfig does not, on any UNIX, make persistent changes to the system. What you may actually have fallen over is the fact that AIX does not even enable the interfaces by default until they are configured (they default to a down state, but can be brought up by a suitable command - cfgmgr in this case). I assure you that it is possible to bring the interfaces up to a state where you can use the standard ifconfig type tools quite easily. In fact, IBM provide a sample RC script to do it, not that anybody really uses it.

                  You get used to a particular system, but in my experience, moving on to a new platform has always required you to actually learn about the foibles of that platform. If you expected AIX, Tru64/Digital UNIX or HP/UX to work exactly like SunOS (showing my age), then you would be disappointed. And before I became mainly focused on AIX, I used a significant proportion of the UNIX systems out there, so I am pretty certain of this.

                  It was always the case that moving onto a new platform, the first thing you found was the management tool, whether it was SAM for HP/UX, sysadm for DG/UX, admintool on Solaris (before they removed it) or SMIT for AIX. Relying on ifconfig as the primary configuration tool is not wise, as different UNIXs use the arguments differently (and have significantly different syntax).

                  My Solaris knowledge is very rusty (havn't logged on to a Solaris box for over 10 years), but from googling a bit, to persistently configure a network interface, you need to use the oh so standard dladm command! Or edit a bunch of files.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Networking

                    (is this a new incarnation of Eadon?)

                    Hey, no need to get insulting - I actually have credible knowledge. There's just a fairly brutal accident between me and my memory, so sometimes it takes a while to load the right tape in my memory bank :).

                    I must admit it's been ages so I can't quite remember what fight I had with AIX but I do remember the aha moment of "Menus. They have menus. No editing of files, just menus. Argh!". The "ifconfig" came from an attempt to get at least something behaving whilst someone was mining for the manuals, and it did indeed absolutely nothing. Once the manuals arrived it was easy.

                    Indeed, each Unix had its own special way of making your life miserable but despite colouring the levers differently, it was still the same principle to get an IP network up which was really what I was into (making things talk to each other, sometimes by hook and by crook). You have one or more interfaces, routes (usually only a default route, only in government and military settings this got a bit more complicated), either a hosts file or a DNS and later also either a couple of good NTP sources if time wasn't that critical or a local GPS time sources if it was.

                    By the sound of it you had at least the time to learn about the OS. My job was to get something online and remote controllable in the shortest possible time in what were probably different circumstances to what you were doing.

                  2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                    Re: Networking

                    You get used to a particular system, but in my experience, moving on to a new platform has always required you to actually learn about the foibles of that platform.

                    Certainly that was true up into the mid-1990s (modulo the fact that BSD and SysV were "platforms" that ran on multiple hardware configurations, with relatively little difference). In the early '90s I was maintaining a software package on AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, and SCO OpenDesktop, and by the middle of the decade had added Linux and SCO Unixware. They were all running on developer workstations that I also installed and administered, because it was a small shop and later a small satellite campus of a larger company. I also had prior experience with SunOS and BSD, and some with more-obscure vendor variants like PyramidOS and pre-3 AIX (for the RT PC, PS/2, and S/390).

                    There were lots of differences among them. AIX's ODM was a relative oddball, as were its XCOFF object format (and the resulting differences with shared-object processing), the LPP software installation format, and so on. On the whole I generally found it amenable, though, as I did Solaris and OpenDesktop. HP-UX and Unixware gave me more trouble, and in the early days Linux was the Wild West.

                    X/Open's XPG4 and POSIX made things better. Unix98 made them better yet, and SUSv3 papered over even more differences.

  9. corcoran

    I'm not saying that OS/2 is just hipster rubbish, but the only time I've seen it out in the wild is in Shoreditch when an ATM machine crashed mid-transaction and it rebooted..

    1. Doctor_Wibble
      Angel

      > when an ATM machine crashed

      Before or after typing your PIN number twice? The redundant redundancy of the system should normally prevent any repetition.

      1. FIA

        I don't think it's a problem any more, newer ones are built on NT technology.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      That's almost certainly hardware failure. At a rough guess the machine would be around 20 years old, maybe slightly newer if it had a colour screen.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      OS/2 was around when Shoreditch was just another London shithole. Whereas now it's a trendy London shithole.

    4. DrXym Silver badge

      OS/2 was a very good OS back in the day. While Microsoft was trying to foist Windows NT 3.5 onto people (complete with terrible Windows 3.1 experience), OS/2 2.1 delivered a fully interactive desktop called the workplace shell.

      But as was typical for IBM they managed to screw things up right off the bat. OS/2 2.1 inherited a truly awful message processing queue from 1.3 that let a single rogue app take out the entire desktop. And workplace shell extensions were almost guaranteed to be riddled with bugs. And no OS/2 software looked like any other because IBM neglected to provide modern UI elements like toolbars, tooltips etc.

      OS/2 Warp 3.0 cleaned up the desktop somewhat and came with a "bonus pak" but was plagued by bugs that it required umpteen CSDs to fix.

      But the time they got around to making OS/2 functional, Microsoft by fair means and foul had basically rendered it irrelevant. It was confined to running print servers, ATMs and the odd airport baggage terminal.

    5. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      @corcoran

      Who is to say that an OS is "hipster rubbish". Whilst it is true in hindsight that OS/2 was only really a niche OS run only where IBM has significant sway over their customers, Microsoft did not have the same dominant position of either the OS or office application market that they do now.

      I saw OS/2 deployed in anger as a desktop OS in IBM (of course), and in banks, utility and insurance companies, so it was used. And of course, it lingered in POS and ATM systems for many years after it left the desktop.

      There were other OSs that were available at the time (both larger and smaller), and you have to admit that OS/2 was a capable OS. It just did not gain the market penetration that would have been required to merit it's onward development.

      I would have been much happier if there had been more than one creditable and accepted OS in the years after OS/2 fell from favour, and before Linux was developed to a sufficient extent that it could be deployed on the desktop. It would have prevented Microsoft from dominating in the way that they have over the last 20 years. But history and the markets are fickle, as the developers of Betamax, HD-DVD, and many other technologies have found out.

  10. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Nice marketing pitch, but not too useful technically.

    OS/2 already boots off CD - either natively with eComstation or Warp 4 MCP2(4.51). It's also possible to get standard Warp 4 to boot off CD, and be patched with the latest service packs, using updcd (which can supposedly be run under NT - not tried that, though). Additionally, the Alt F1 option on bootup allows selection of booting using specific config.sys files. It's rare OS/2 is so hosed it won't boot at all.

    I ran OS/2 as my main OS until 1999, and can't see the point running it natively these days. I have Warp 4 installed on my old pentium ii retro gaming box, to play my selection of DOS and OS/2 games. Otherwise I'll run it in a VM for some of the apps I'd still like to use. It was a decent OS at the time, but Windows/Unix are much better now.

  11. Locky Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Memories

    My first job was looking after a twinax network which ran on Novell 3.12 and a OS/2 server with Notes 3. Most days were spent walking around the site working out who had kicked out their network cable.

    Admins today, they don't know they're born

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Memories

      My first job was looking after a twinax network which ran on Novell 3.12 and a OS/2 server with Notes 3. Most days were spent walking around the site working out who had kicked out their network cable.

      ARCnet on coax here, and it was as if I was managing a pirate radio station where everyone could get their hands on the antenna jack and cause reflection. In the end we resorted to superglueing the coax terminators - we'd already switched to soldering our own because pre-fab 50 ohm terminators were stupidly overpriced.

      I may still have some sculptures somewhere, entirely composed of coax T-pieces :)

      1. eswan

        Re: Memories

        "pre-fab 50 ohm terminators were stupidly overpriced"

        Ahhh, there's your problem then. Using 10base-2 terminators on

        arcnet.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahh, OS/2.

    Half an operating system for the PS/2.

    Half a computer.

    (last used OS/2 in 2009 on a specialised printing press. The PC needed to be replaced, but I had to scrounge another 486 to run it on)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      > The PC needed to be replaced, but I had to scrounge another 486 to run it on

      Generic 486 or a PS/2 style motherboard with MCA etc. I assume you keep in contact and have a small stock of similar PC's to draw on...

      1. Morten Bjoernsvik

        vmware and OS/2

        >> The PC needed to be replaced, but I had to scrounge another 486 to run it on

        >Generic 486 or a PS/2 style motherboard with MCA etc. I assume you keep in contact and have a >small stock of similar PC's to draw on...

        Had the same issue a few years back with a printing shop. some legacy silk printing equipment was controlled using an old pentium90 in OS/2.

        Backed up the diskimage and copied all the apps to a vmware OS/2 image. Actually it managed to use the intel pro1000 in 10MBit mode all thanks to vmware host driver management.

        It booted in 5sec :-). OS/2 is not official guest OS but it worked in this case on workstation7.

        But it could only use one core :-).

    2. Mephistro Silver badge

      "The PC needed to be replaced, but I had to scrounge another 486 to run it on"

      That's strange. In 1995 I was using OS/2 WARP in a Pentium computer, no problem.

      On a side note, the fate OS/2 is the best example I know of of "The Market" choosing an inferior product (Win95) over a better one.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Except nobody chose Win95 over OS/2. Os/2 lost the battle, big time, in the Win 3 / 3.1 / 3.11 days.

        The reason Windows one was simple:

        1) OS/2 was expensive. I mean ludicrously expensive. Typical IBM charged a fortune for the CLI, another fortune for the GUI and yet another bloody fortune for the networking.

        2) Windows let you run DOS applications in real DOS by booting into it. OS/2's DOS mode had severe compatibility issues. You have to remember that, back then, there had been no graphics, memory and such APIs, so everyone had their paws in the hardware.

        By the time the '95 / Warp "contest" happened, OS/2 was already dead. It was just still twitching a bit......

        1. captain veg

          Windows one

          If you are talking about OS/2 version 1, that was a joint effort with Microsoft. IBM didn't set the price or the licensing terms alone.

          As for DOS compatibility, it was utter shit in Windows unless you were running in Enhanced mode (on a 386). OS/2 version 2 was much better.

          The reason Windows won had rather a lot to do with the fact that OS/2 required at least four megabytes (gasp!) of RAM at precisely the time that DRAM price density was greater than that of gold.

          -A.

        2. Mephistro Silver badge

          @ TeeCee

          Circa 1995 I was using several MS-DOS programs in my (company provided) Compaq PC. Those DOS programs included a ~3 years old program for billing several thousands of clients, CAD software, Open access, and Fractint among many others. Zero issues full stop.

          My OS/2 rig could run circles in terms of performance and stability around the rest of PCs in the company, some of them running Windows 3.11 and others running Windows 95.

          And regarding the memory, W95 running with 2 MB of RAM was a fracking comatose snail. We had to upgrade all our W95 machines to 4 MB.

          Having said that, I still have a soft spot for Windows 3.x, that run perfectly well in 1 MB of RAM and had -almost- no compatibility issues with DOS software.

        3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Utter rubbish.

          What on earth are you talking about - this article is talking about 32 bit OS/2, not the 1.x 16 bit releases.

          OS/2 has never had a separately sold CLI and GUI. OS/2 1.0 had no GUI. Technically you can boot OS/2 without PM if you want a text only boot, but that's usually only used in embedded systems.

          OS/2 up to 2.11 didn't include networking by default. v3 had 'connect' options with networking included. v4 had only one edition, with networking included. The Netware client was free.

          The price was not ludicrously expensive. I bought the releases, as a student.

          OS/2's DOS mode was exceptionally good - in the 32 bit release, that this article is talking about. The 16 bit versions of OS/2 had issues with DOS compatibility, because they ran in 80286 protected mode.

          At the time OS/2 2.x onwards was around, there absolutely were graphics/memory/etc APIs. It's only for DOS games it was an issue.

          There are several reasons OS/2 failed :

          Between 92-95 (OS/2 2.0 to Warp v3) it was a much better OS. However, It's All About The Apps, Stupid. OS/2 never got the app coverage, and the compatibility with DOS/Windows was superb.

          So, you have a choice between a relatively expensive OS/2 app, which fewer people have used, with a different file format. Alternatively, buy the Windows app and run it under OS/2. If the app dies, it doesn't take down OS/2.

          Describe was technically an excellent word processor, and the output quality was fantastic. Unfortunately it was simply much less usable than Ami Pro under Windows, and Ami Pro for OS/2 was a deeply shitty port.

          Mesa was an awesome spreadsheet, but it wasn't Lotus 1-2-3, or Excel - the de facto standards. Still, if you wanted to throw 300,000 rows in your spreadsheet it'd work fine - unlike Excel which took into the millennium to fix that.

          Generally you paid more for higher quality functionality, but less of it. That just wasn't what the user base would accept, but is the reality of a smaller user base. IBM was not good at funding companies to develop software.

          Second, the install routine sucked. Microsoft spent a lot more time ensuring the install worked. OS/2's install has always been sub-par, and the hardware support meant that to run it successfully you selected the machine based on OS/2 support, not bunging it on a random PC.

          Third, Microsoft played dirty, and for the non 'for Windows' (fullpack) versions of OS/2, IBM was paying MS a Windows license cost for each copy of OS/2 sold. This also heavily affected bundling with machines (it wasn't, except by IBM) so the install quality became more critical.

          Fourth, IBM lost the plot with Workplace OS, thinking they could regain the market with a PowerPC infrastructure. That's the point at which OS/2 decisively lost - the emphasis on what to develop was wrong.

          I was a big OS/2 fan, but must accept that NT was simply a better OS. It was designed well from the start, from scratch. OS/2 wasn't - for 2.x onwards, it still had 1.x code (the 32 bit GDI came in a 2.x service pack, 32 bit windowing only came in v3), was relentlessly single user and never addressed some extremely irritating long term issues such as the synchronous input queue.

          None of the above mattered for a while. If IBM had junked Workplace OS and re-architected the necessary parts OS/2 might have survived longer. However, It's Still All About The Apps. Apple were suffering at the time, and one of the critical reasons they returned to success was an agreement to release a new version of MS Office for OS X.

          Seeing as WordPerfect and Wordstar royally fucked up their Windows releases, and Lotus never gained traction (pity, I greatly preferred their products) the market shifted to Microsoft apps. That needed an MS OS, and relying on running a compatibility layer for your competitor's products is a losing strategy.

          1. Vic

            Re: Utter rubbish.

            WordPerfect and Wordstar royally fucked up their Windows releases

            I don't remember what happened to Wordstar[1], but in WordPerfect's situation, ITFY it was fucked up for them...

            Vic.

            I used to like Wordstar. But I might have been the only one...

            1. captain veg

              Re: Utter rubbish.

              I liked Wordstar too. I still forlornly expect Ctrl+Y to delete the whole line in code editors now. And I have yet to encounter a better electronic thesaurus than the one shipped by MicroPro.

              -A.

          2. Gartal

            Re: Utter rubbish.

            "Third, Microsoft played dirty, and for the non 'for Windows' (fullpack) versions of OS/2, IBM was paying MS a Windows license cost for each copy of OS/2 sold."

            That wasn't MS playing dirty, it was IBM lawyers not doing their job properly. They also didn't do their job properly when they signed the contract for MS to supply them with DOS.

            MS put in a clause which said that IBM had to pay MS a license fee for every processor sold. Not every processor sold which was capable of running DOS, but every processor that IBM sold. Mainframes, RISC machines, the while lot.

            1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

              Re: Utter rubbish.

              I should have clarified. Correct, the license fee clause wasn't MS playing dirty. It was the /other/ stuff they did that was dirty

        4. AndrueC Silver badge
          Boffin

          2) Windows let you run DOS applications in real DOS by booting into it. OS/2's DOS mode had severe compatibility issues.

          That's not my recollection. OS/2's VDMs were very compatible. I played games in them - I remember playing Geoff Crammond's F1GP while downloading messages from CompuServe. IBM put a lot of effort into their VDM technology.

          OS/2 MVDM.

        5. billdehaan

          I guess I'm nobody, because I certainly chose Win95 over OS/2.

          After being forced to use Win3.1, I jumped to OS/2 as soon as was possible. I ran it for three years, hoping in vain for IBM to fix the bugs (specifically the input queue), and waiting for various vendors to start releasing things other than bare-bones, feature starved applications. And waited, and waited, and waited.

          When I got a new PC in March 1995, I spent seven weeks struggling with drivers, trying to pry support from IBM and various vendors (I'm looking at you, ATI). Then I got a peek at the Win95 beta. In comparison, it slid in like butter - my printer worked, my video card was now showing 1024x768 rather than 640x480, and even my tape drive worked. I figured I'd switch back OS/2 once IBM caught up and achieved feature parity. I guess I'm still waiting.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            When I got a new PC in March 1995, I spent seven weeks struggling with drivers, trying to pry support from IBM and various vendors (I'm looking at you, ATI).

            A lack of drivers drove me from OS/2 as well. I was last running it on a Thinkpad (don't recall which model) in the mid-1990s. There was something dreadfully wrong with the video and the networking was unreliable. Finally I gave up and put Win95 on instead.

            I needed Windows compatibility to run certain packages for work, so I couldn't just switch to Linux - though I had a separate Linux boot drive that I'd swap in when I wanted to do Linux/UNIX development. (It was one of those Thinkpad models that made drive swapping easy.) And I kept an OS/2 boot drive for OS/2 development. I just didn't use it that often, and not for daily office tasks. And when that machine was retired, I no longer had an OS/2 system.

  13. PhilipN Silver badge

    Trying the demo now

    Blimey - runs like greased lightning.

    From bootup to Firefox around 2 minutes.

    Posting with it now.

  14. Steve Graham
    Unhappy

    ancient

    Some time in the last century, I was a project manager running several software development teams. One of the team leaders delegated ME to write the OS/2 to mainframe comms code for his project, because he said he didn't trust anyone else to get it right. I think that was the last production code I ever wrote. (Which shows how old I am.)

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: ancient

      OS/2 Communications Manager was a pretty good SNA stack.

  15. GeezaGaz

    solution to a non-existent problem....

    other OSes ...other choices.

    It died a death for a reason....

    I can remember working for a large British Insurer in the 90s that decided to adopt OS/2 across hundreds of desktops....just as the press was heralding its death

    Of course it had nothing to do with the then head of IT being paid by IBM to go off to the Bahamas for a couple of weeks.

  16. Anonymous C0ward

    It's not dead

    It's just resting.

  17. jason 7

    Hmmm no real fond memories

    We had a business system that we used back in the mid 90's running OS2.

    The system ran using huge Compaq 22" CRT monitors that defaulted to flickery 60Hz and induced migraines to many. The tech department at the time didn't get that stuff.

    As I was the 'guy with a PC at home" I was asked to try to sort it out. I dug around and found the 75Hz setting. Odd to find Windows 3.1 tucked away inside. Anyway super! Problem solved...for a couple of weeks and then the monitors started failing like crazy as they couldn't maintain 75Hz at the high res required for a document scanning system.

    We were losing 2-3 a week. Ah well.

  18. AndrueC Silver badge
    Happy

    I ran OS/2 warp for a couple of years. I used it a crash-proof DOS/Windows host for software development. In effect it was a primitive form of Virtual Server. The Windows hosting in Workplace Shell was a particularly neat bit of integration. The only time OS/2 used to let us down was the first version of Warp which only had one message queue. That could lead to the WPS becoming locked while the OS trogged along happily out of reach. Our solution to that was Telnet - we'd get someone else to log in and kill the WPS process. It then spawned a new one and you were away again.

    We were writing data recovery software and we could even issue BIOS calls to talk to drives. Not sure if they were emulated or pass-through. The only time the it let us down was when we tried to develop ATA/Taskfile based stuff. I think there was a bug there because when we tried to send a command to the HDD the floppy drive span up and they aren't even controlled the same way :-/

    I still have happy memories of OS/2. One of the biggest favours it did for me was that it meant I skipped past Win95 without ever using it.

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      I ran OS/2 warp for a couple of years. I used it a crash-proof DOS/Windows host for software development.

      That's precisely what I ended up doing. Windows was running like a dog and not reliable. Installed warp and ended up with 100% reliable system that just did not crash. Whenever the dev environment (Delphi at the time) crashed, unlike on native Windows, it did not take the whole system down with it.

      And running Windows software on it ran faster than on Wfwg 3.11. And it had REXX.

  19. k2reefa
    Go

    original IBM PC

    I had an IBM Aptiva many years ago(nice looking bit of kit even by todays standards) and that had a copy of OS2/Warp think I might have to have a dig around the attic and try find the original installation :)

  20. k2reefa

    original IBM PC

    I had an IBM Aptiva many years ago(nice looking bit of kit even by todays standards) and that had a copy of OS2/Warp think I might have to have a dig around the attic and try find the original installation :)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You're going to hate me

    but I threw out two boxed sets (used) of Warp 3 recently because I figured they wouldn't be worth eBaying.

  22. billdehaan
    Meh

    You didn't actually have a PS/2, did you

    I was on contract at IBM during the OS/2 2.0 rollout.

    Trust me, actual IBM machines had just as many (and in some cases more) issues with OS/2 as clones.

    When OS/2 2.0 was released, its' stability and performance in 4MB was so pitiful that rumours about new IBM PCs having 4MB were dismissed as "Microsoft FUD". Of course, IBM subsequently released machines with 4MB of memory, which ran OS/2 abysmally, earning it the pejorative "Slow Es Two".

    OS/2 did *not* low memory situations; that's one of the reasons why, when Warp (OS/2 3.0) was released a few years later, it was rejiggered significantly to fit in 4MB of memory more comfortably.

    As for "get it done right" versus "knock something up", I saw both mindsets at both IBM and Microsoft concurrently. MS had the benefit of *not* having a definitive reference platform, so Windows had to work on *all* machines. In contrast, IBM very often responded to issues with "if it works on the PS/2 Model 80, it works, your machine is just shite", which meant if you had a Dell/Gateway/Compaq you were out of luck, and usually just fled into Microsoft's arms rather than buy a $10,000 IBM computer to run OS/2.

    Video was a particular bugaboo because IBM stood fast with their 8514/A graphics standard, while everyone else was using nonstandard "SVGA", that IBM couldn't be bothered to support.

    1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: You didn't actually have a PS/2, did you

      Can't really argue with any of that. OS/2 needed at least 8MB. My first 'proper PC' deliberately had 8MB, because I bought it to run OS/2 2.1 and knew from a bit of research that less was a bad idea. 16MB was sadly out of budget, but it ran ok.

      OS/2 2.0 was pushed out the door. The first (huge) service pack, brought in 32 bit GDI, either an improvement to/the first instance of multimedia (MMPM/2) - can't remember which, and basically made it usable.

      It was a decent OS, but like NT, it was very apparent this was not targeted at consumers (at least until v3.0).

      Video was a pain. The driver model was appalling, and IBM didn't develop enough drivers themselves. There is some speculation online that internal IBM politics meant a half decent driver model (finally delivered in v3, although most initial GRADD drivers sucked) was axed in favour of an architecture that had to make special consideration for Windows under OS/2 seamless window support, and full screen Winos/2 was basically a separate driver.

      Additionally it used the DOS support to set refresh rates and resolution, which needed a reboot to activate. I later spent an obscene amount of money on an Elsa card, only a few weeks before the Matrox Millennium came out and blew everything else away.. On the bright side, the cheap and plentiful Cirrus Logic chipsets were well supported, if not super speedy.

      My main work OS/2 PC was a 486DX2-50, which could have been better. 20MB RAM, Cirrus Logic graphics. It was utterly stable, however and took an incredible amount of punishment.

      I was perhaps a little unusual in putting my lot in with OS/2 at the time, but it did get me a job, so it wasn't a waste. It wasn't until Windows 2000, however, that I felt it had really surpassed OS/2. NT4, which I moved to from OS/2, lacked many conveniences that OS/2 and Windows 9x had at that time.

      By the time I moved, I'd wasted far too much time arguing about OS/2 vs NT. For the most part, the advantage of NT when I moved wasn't architectural, but software support. NT's interface wasn't as good, even if I did buy Object Desktop NT, but the ability to run Python is what I remember most.

      OS/2 *still* can't run up to date Python, and this has knock on effects such as the build process for Firefox.

      1. CRConrad

        Re: "OS/2 needed at least 8MB"

        Just to recap: That's not a typo. It really was 8 MB -- not 8 GB.

        (WTF happened?)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grudging admiration

    Had to support a network of Warp PCs back in the early 90s. At a library ('cos the head librarian was swoony over the sales woman and lapped up her client/server..and their app needed OS/2 for the client). Ran horribly, horribly on the cheapo Viglen crap they used to buy. Ran beautifully on the nice Dells (there was a time when Dell gear was known for its build quality). I still miss it.

    I have tried and failed miserably to get Warp to run on VirtualBox on Windows 7. It never gets past booting from the first floppy image. I think it must be karma.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My first IT job

    Worked as an intern @IBM Norway supporting the salesteam with dualboot win311 and OS/2 thinkpads. I wrote the the config and tanking scripts in REXX. REXX was my first scripting love. Far easier than winbat and bash. I also did some Amiga AREXX for shops running SCALA. A powerpoint engine long before powerpoint existed.

  25. Edgar Scrutton

    Well here goes: OS/2 user since 1993 from V2.0 onward and still running it. Currently eComStation V2.2 beta on three machines. Main application is Mesa2 from Sundial Systems for my company's accounting which is contained in two .M2 files with tons of Mesa2 / Rexx scripts. If you didn't use Rexx on OS/2 you didn't ever get to the real payoff. Currently, also using Lotus Smartesuite for OS/2 and Windows (WordPro, 123, Freelance), along with OpenOffice, SeaMonkey. The hardware is only a couple of years old including my Lenovo T400.. Just to close, my Mesa2 sheet runs 30 times faster in OS/2 than when I try to port it to either OO or M$Office running on Windows. It may be old but it's stable and the best. BTW no worms, viruses, or trojan horses ... security by obscurity. Recommended.

  26. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Punch cards next?

    Let's remember Herman Hollerith - go full retro and use punch cards :)

  27. s2bu

    ATMs

    Man I miss the old OS/2 ATMs. The new XP Embedded ones are so slow and buggy (you can hear the "device disconnected" and "device connected" tones when it resets hardware on it). They're so slow I swear that they purposely add more prompts to the damn things just to make them "feel" like they're responsive!

  28. Number6

    Still Running

    I still have an OS/2 VM running. It's limping a bit now, I can't seem to get the LAN manager to accept the password and I can't remember how to expunge config files and start from scratch, but it's doing the job I need it for (front-end mailserver and spam filter - anyone remember Weasel?) so I don't worry about that. It's been doing the job for over ten years, although the underlying hardware has changed from a bare metal install to being a VM on a succession of machines.

  29. Lewis R

    OS/2 Support is still alive and well

    It's good to read a favorable article about OS/2 these days. Too often, we see a dismissal of the platform due to its maturity (if it's more than a month old, it must be abandoned...LOL).

    There are a number of larger enterprises with installed bases of OS/2 or eComStation. For newer - read: modern - hardware (ACPI, etc.), there is the Arca Noae Drivers & Software subscription package, which is an affordable annual subscription to the latest ACPI, Panorama VESA driver, NIC drivers, and other necessities, and these all come with support.

    Compared to the cost of replacement in such implementations, maintaining OS/2 is a viable option.

    Full disclosure: I am a principal in Arca Noae, LLC, and an OS/2 professional. I won't post a direct link to the Arca Noae website, but it's easily found. I would invite all OS/2 developers here (or one-time developers) to contact us, as we're always looking for more OS/2 talent.

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