back to article What is dead may never die: a new version of OS/2 just arrived

An outfit called Arca Noae has released a new version of IBM's venerable OS/2 operating system, named ArcaOS 5.0. The Register understands that Arca Noae has a licence from IBM to do a distribution of OS/2, the OS that Big Blue pitched against Windows 95 back in the day. OS/2's fourth release was widely regarded as technically …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice for abandonware

    If you can find your old disks you can run all your old apps at blinding speed.

    Has it got a TCP/IP stack and internet browser as well? yes and yes

    https://www.arcanoae.com/wp-content/uploads/wiki/ArcaOS50_InstallationGuide.pdf

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Nice for abandonware

      "Has it got a TCP/IP stack and internet browser as well? yes and yes"

      OS/2 had both of those in 1994. More import is that it supports USB, which wasn't on OS/2 or Win95 in 1995.

      I remember MIcrosoft OS/2 Server with LAN Manager (sold in 1989 after IMB and MS parted ways).

      Is OS/3 the reason that NT starts at Version 3?

      MS inflicted Win9x, not much more than Win3.x with the VFW & Win32s bundled optimised for gaming on businesses that would have been far better using NT3.5 or OS/2 Warp. A burden for them and business till XP (Win 5.1, Win2K was the unfinished Win 5.0). Idiots, though commercially sucessful, it was the source of most of the stupid design decisions and badly written SW on NT after 1995.

      1. Flakk Silver badge

        Re: Nice for abandonware

        I think Microsoft started its version numbering for Windows NT with 3.1 because that was the same version number of the Windows desktop OS at the time. Both desktop and server OS largely shared the same GUI interface.

        I remember installing Windows NT 3.1 from floppies for one of my college professors. Due to lack of software support, it wasn't exactly dazzling. It did offer a TCP/IP stack, a trick that took Novell a few (fateful) years to replicate.

        1. TheOldBear

          Re: Nice for abandonware

          <blockquote>

          I think Microsoft started its version numbering for Windows NT with 3.1 because that was the same version number of the Windows desktop OS at the time. Both desktop and server OS largely shared the same GUI interface.

          I remember installing Windows NT 3.1 from floppies for one of my college professors. Due to lack of software support, it wasn't exactly dazzling. It did offer a TCP/IP stack, a trick that took Novell a few (fateful) years to replicate

          </blockquote>

          The software that was released as Windows NT was started [pre divorce] as OS/2 NT - the 'portable' version of OS/2, written in C instead of assembler. It also had a kernel + API design [Win32, Win16, OS/2 1.x, POSIX subset]

          From what I recall, NetWare 3.x was introduced a couple of years before WinNT - and had several pluggable network protocols - both TCP/IP and IPX were available, but IPX was easier to configure.

          1. patrickstar

            Re: Nice for abandonware

            A piece of related interesting/useless trivia is that the original NT team was actually called the Portable Systems Group.

          2. Flakk Silver badge

            Re: Nice for abandonware

            From what I recall, NetWare 3.x was introduced a couple of years before WinNT - and had several pluggable network protocols - both TCP/IP and IPX were available, but IPX was easier to configure.

            Technically that's accurate, though the TCP/IP implementation under NetWare 3.x, 4.0, and 4.1 was quite limited (enabling compatibility with local FTP, LPR, and HTTP, but no routable communications). The implementation under 4.11 was laughable (encapsulating TCP/IP in IPX... lolwut). NetWare did get a native implementation in 5.0, but by that time many customers had abandoned NetWare.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice for abandonware

          "I think Microsoft started its version numbering for Windows NT with 3.1 because that was the same version number of the Windows desktop OS at the time. Both desktop and server OS largely shared the same GUI interface"

          Seem to recall there was also somethjing about using this numbe so MS was able to claim that NT was just another version of Windows 3 which avoided some contractual undertakings they'd made with IBM over they future roadmap being OS/2.

      2. davidp231

        Re: Nice for abandonware

        NT statrted at 3.1 as it was contemporary to Win3.1 at the time. Effectively the business version of it, much like 95/98 had NT4, and Me had Win2K.

        OS/2 came about because the original was an improvement over the original DOS (and initially could only run text based applications, albeit in 32bit) and they touted it as the new DOS (hence OS/2). That and the IBM PS/2 line.

      3. patrickstar

        Re: Nice for abandonware

        "MS inflicted Win9x, not much more than Win3.x with the VFW & Win32s bundled optimised for gaming on businesses that would have been far better using NT3.5 or OS/2 Warp. A burden for them and business till XP (Win 5.1, Win2K was the unfinished Win 5.0). Idiots, though commercially sucessful, it was the source of most of the stupid design decisions and badly written SW on NT after 1995."

        A lot of people who are now rabid Linux fanboys and general MS haters (or was at some point, like me in my younger days) switched to Linux from Win95/98 and still think "Windows" is like that

        .

        Win95* was a pretty darn impressive hack with a lot of sheer sorcery needed to build an environment that's simultaneously a new 32-bit system with all the bells and whistles, still very backwards compatible with 16-bit Windows and DOS stuff (even to the point of supporting DOS-only hardware drivers!) and had good performance on the systems of the day.

        But this came at great costs in terms of stability, functionality and elegance. Which people without an understanding of the underlying reasons behind it - and more importantly, having never tried NT in any meaningful way - quickly assumed was because of "M$" incompetence when writing their "Windoze" (after all, Linux was clearly better, and also made you feel superior to common users after mastering it or even managing to install it and getting X running in high res).

        So if they had just started pushing NT sooner, maybe we would have less annoying Linux fanboys...

        Still, I'm not sure I can blame them for not doing it at that point in time. I really think the 9x stop-gap was needed to get people to start developing the shiny new Win32 applications, and NT wasn't exactly nice with 8 or even 4MB RAM which were common then.

        They should probably have skipped Win Me though and simply launched XP at that point in time...

        * Actually the biggest change from a technical viewpoint was arguably when Windows got 32BFA, which arrived in the 3.11 minor release, but...

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Nice for abandonware

          "But this came at great costs in terms of stability, functionality and elegance. Which people without an understanding of the underlying reasons behind it - and more importantly, having never tried NT in any meaningful way - quickly assumed was because of "M$" incompetence when writing their "Windoze""

          Just because NT was a proper OS, it doesn't follow that Win 95 was OK. There is a reason Ctrl-Alt-Delete is a famous key combination. MS can sometimes do things properly, then the right small group of people work on a project -but as a rule, business decisions trump technical decisions. Just witness the things that never get fixed, because management has decided that it won't be cost effective. Despite billion dollar profits.

          1. patrickstar

            Re: Nice for abandonware

            Maybe you should try reading what I wrote again?

            It was "OK" as a stop-gap measure to stick 32-bit preemptive multitasking on top of DOS and Win3.1x on the systems of the day.

            Not "OK" compared to "proper" 32-bit systems that didn't have to give a damn about such things as backwards compatibility.

            I can recommend reading the book Unauthorized Windows 95 if you think the result was caused by incompetence or business decisions, as opposed to hard technical limitations regarding what can be achieved under those circumstances.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Nice for abandonware

              " if you think the result was caused by incompetence or business decisions, as opposed to hard technical limitations"

              You could argue that just sticking Windows 95 on top of DOS was a business decision. A competent business decisions (made money), leading to an incompetent technical decision (gave us the Ctrl-Alt-Delete meme).

              In many organisations the techies would have pushed back with "we aren't doing that because ugly/stupid/support costs, we are doing Windows 2000+ instead, aka XP". At MS techies were more compliant it seems.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Nice for abandonware

          "A lot of people who are now rabid Linux fanboys and general MS haters (or was at some point, like me in my younger days) switched to Linux from Win95/98 and still think "Windows" is like that"

          I doubt that very much. Do you think they have not noticed XP, Vista, 7 and 10?

          XP came out 16 years ago! And if they didn't like 95/98 they most likely knew about Windows NT and 2000 as well.

          Linux stands on it's own merits. Not on believing Windows is still Windows 95.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice for abandonware

        > "Has it got a TCP/IP stack and internet browser as well? yes and yes"

        > OS/2 had both of those in 1994.

        Yes ... OS/2 2.0 (or possibly 2.1) was promoted as being the "on-ramp to the internet" and came with the ability to sign up for the ibm.net ISP. It also had this amazing (at the time) feature that when they issued a service pack you could download it over the internet and it automatically installed itself (so no need to find 10+ floppies to copy the images onto and then shuttle through the floopty drive!).

      5. david 12 Bronze badge

        Re: Nice for abandonware

        >businesses that would have been far better using NT3.5 or OS/2 Warp.

        I tried.And it's not like I was tied to Windows at the time. Didn't like Win3. OS/2 user long before Win95. Painful Win95 installations, and it wasn't enormously stable.

        But Win 95 application availability was better, and development support was better, and that's where I ended up, because overall, it was far better than using NT3.5 or OS/2 Warp.

  2. Number6

    I still have an OS/2 instance running in a VM. It might be using a zimmer frame but it's not dead yet.

    1. jake Silver badge

      I still have a couple contracts running eComStation ... IBM should have called MS's bluff way back when. If they had, there would be an entire generation of happier sysadmins.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        @jake

        If IBM had used the 68008 rather than the 8088 the PC may have started a teeny bit slower but we would have avoided 10 years of some of the finest brains in the world trying to work out which 64k block their brain had exploded in.

        Shit even MS might have written a decent OS on that!

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: @jake

          The Intel segmentation model is actually quite sophisticated. Too bad that MS doesn't really use it -- sure, it segregates code into 'user' and 'system' rings but prefers to put everything in a nice big memory puddle where applications can corrupt each other, data can be run as code and so on. MS went this route because a lot of their earlier GUI code was based on what Apple was doing and Apple was using the 68K processors, early versions of which lacked memory segmentation.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: @jake

            Actually, Intel's biggest problem back in the day was a lack of MMU ...

            Frankly, I never had an issue with the segmented address space. Every CPU has it's quirks, some are more quirky than others. They all suck, but we use 'em anyway.

          2. patrickstar

            Re: @jake

            This is just about the weirdest misconception I have ever heard...

            The Apple GUI code was Pascal and 68k ASM.

            The Windows (NT) GUI code is C and C++ (plus a tiny bit of ASM for the various archs supported, none of which is even remotely similar to 68k).

            The non-NT Windows GUI code is C and C++ as well, plus quite a bit of ASM (x86).

            The reason for the flat memory model and lack of any finer separation than user/kernel is that NT was always intended to be portable - they had to go with the common denominator across all relevant archs with MMUs. In fact, NT wasn't even originally developed for x86 and the x86 port was done pretty late in the development of the first version.

            That being said, segmented protected mode and multiple rings certainly have a point (apart from scaring youngsters about the horrors we had to endure).

            Atleast earlier in its life (1.x, 286 16-bit protected mode) OS/2 used this with quite good results.

  3. Griffo

    SO it's actually based on the OS/2 code-base or is it a dark-room clone? It's not entirely clear to me from the article.

    A lot of my late 90's and early 2000's were spent working on OS/2. My first intro was 2.1 where Iearnt just how annoying it was loading the 21 or so disks to get the OS up and running.

    I have many fond memories - including how we could run Windows apps on it natively not only more stably, but faster than they ran on a Windows machine. Quite often apps that would crash consistently on Windows would just run smooth as silk under OS/2. Pretty impressive for an emulated environment.

    1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      It's the old code base with new drivers and enhancements. No-one has written a compatibility layer for other OS that amounts to anything,yet.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To quote a popular song ... 'Let it go !!!'

    Deary God No !!!!!

    I suffered OS/2 the first time round and it needs a few more stakes thru the heart for everyones sake !!!

    Leave it be and let it 'rest in piece' ....... lots of them :)

    If OS/2 comes back then I want Netware to come back as well as at least it worked ..... very well in my experience, so there.

    [Before the Anti-Netware people arrive :)]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To quote a popular song ... 'Let it go !!!'

      Speak for yourself, there is no reason that everyone else should do without it because you couldn't use the OS properly.

      The OS stays, you need to get yourself a chromebook or something.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To quote a popular song ... 'Let it go !!!'

        It was not I could not use the OS, it was that it was unstable for totally random reasons.

        Software could run well for a time then stop for no reason with no meaningful error messages.

        Two machines could be built with the same media and software installed that would run on one but not the other.

        (This was on identical kit sourced from our warehouse and tested for faults etc before use as standard. Including IBM, HP, Compaq and lesser known brands of the time.)

        This was for a large Distributor/Services company that shipped thousands of systems to customers that they supported. They had no lack of very good skilled people to do the work who were trained properly by the likes of IBM, Netware, Microsoft, HP, Compaq etc. The company used the hardware/software they sold for real on their internal systems, not just slinging out 'kit' to customers.

        The stability was the issue as I remember, I had issues logged with IBM that where never resolved !!!

        (This was many years go so don't ask for details I thankfully forget the specific details.)

        Finally, as per your 1st line .... I am speaking for my self and my experience and the experience of some our our customers at the time.

        Perhaps, after all this time I need to 'Let it go !!!' but some traumas stay with you. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To quote a popular song ... 'Let it go !!!' [Part 2]

          Edit timed out on previous reply ..... :(

          (Part 2)

          Forgot to mention.

          A chromebook or similar would not suffice for the needs of the Customers I supported, I built and installed & supported mid-large systems based on AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, Netware and even a little VMS thrown in for luck. they were intergrated into networks that supported PC based workstations, of the time (which I also configured, built & installed) and strangely enough I had no real problems that could not be solved. I could build/configure all these systems from the hardware configuration upwards and 100% working as specified including OS and supported software.

          Just maybe OS/2 was not as good as the 'Marketing' .... (not an unknown event in IT, I would say !!! :) )

          I will now let this go.

        2. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

          Re: To quote a popular song ... 'Let it go !!!'

          The joke was if you wanted to stress test your hardware build install OS/2 on it. If it got through the install and booted up, you had a solid machine. The bugger was trying to diagnose the TRAP 0002 to determine what was failing.

          1. HereIAmJH

            Re: To quote a popular song ... 'Let it go !!!'

            It was a difference in design philosophy. A lot of problems that were blamed on OS/2 were actually hardware that wasn't performing to spec. Stodgy OS/2 said "I'm not going to stand for substandard hardware." Windows said "if I didn't see it, it didn't happen". The odds ended up in Windows favor and the underlying issues went unnoticed. But they had their share of blue screens too.

            1. davidp231

              Re: To quote a popular song ... 'Let it go !!!'

              OS/2 was designed to run perfectly on IBM machines (esp. the PS/2 ones) - running it on anything else was pretty much Russian Roulette because it looked up specific things only found in IBM BIOSs so was 80% reliable at best on non-IBM kit... if it ever installed (it doesn't like Toshiba laptops that much).

              1. tom dial Silver badge

                Re: To quote a popular song ... 'Let it go !!!'

                "running it on anything [but IBM machines] was pretty much Russian Roulette because it looked up specific things only found in IBM BIOSs" ...

                I am quite skeptical of this. I ran it for a time on self assembled '486 and dual Pentium Pro systems. Neither one had an IBM BIOS, and neither one had noticeable problems with OS/2. Unlike Windows of the time, it was rock solid. It did give problems with VMs on qemu/kvm when tried a few years ago.

              2. Tannin

                Re: To quote a popular song ... 'Let it go !!!'

                I installed and/or ran OS/2 on many different machines, so far as I can remember not a single one of them an IBM-branded unit. If you could install it, it just worked. Weeks, months and years of uptime - and that in an era when nothing else except 'nix could manage more than a few days at best. Windows didn't start to approach OS/2 stability until 2000 came along. Consumer-grade Windows never did.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @david

                "OS/2 was designed to run perfectly on IBM machines (esp. the PS/2 ones)"

                Not really. I once spend a whole weekend trying to get OS/2 Merlin to work on an IBM Aptiva and it simply didn't work. No OS/2 drivers provided, no native support, it was a total failure.

                Funny thing too: Compaq actually provided OS/2 drivers for some of their hardware, but not IBM.

                1. kusanagi

                  Re: @david

                  In fact, it was, but on MicroChannel PS/2 systems.

                  When IBM trashed this architecture in 1995, it was the beginning of the end for them in the PC universe, until the sale of the PC division in 2006.

                2. Metztli

                  Re: @david

                  Niltze [Hello]!

                  IBM Aptiva computers required these upgraded drivers -- overwriting the originals in either diskette 1 and/or diskette 2:

                  ibm1s506.add

                  ibmidecd.flt

                  os2cdrom.dmd

                  os2dasd.dmd

                  cdfs.ifs

                  Evidently, a professional installer had to add corresponding entries in CONFIG.SYS (found in diskette 1):

                  [...]

                  basedev=ibm1s506.add

                  basedev=ibmidecd.flt

                  device=\os2cdrom.dmd

                  basedev=os2dasd.dmd

                  ifs=cdfs.ifs /q

                  [...]

                  Rem AND set at the end:

                  SET COPYFROMFLOPPY=1

                  Cheers!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had to administer a Lotus Notes server running on OS/2.

    I had hoped they didn't take it out the back with a rifle.

    I hoped they took it out the back with Chuck Norris, a minigun and explosive ammo.

    1. jake Silver badge

      I see where your problem was.

      It wasn't OS/2 ;-)

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Lotus Notes

      Plain evil. Totally horrible on NT too.

      1. Mandoscottie

        Re: Lotus Notes

        @Mage

        Domino 6.5.5 runs a treat on 2k8 R1 x86 (i was bored and wondered) :P and as hard as it may believe, Notes 6.5.4 runs sweet as a nut on W7 x64 (its never been so stable, no more ZapNotes required)...I have the (mis)fortune of still supporting it and being certed in Dom.....sure you have to grant all users R/W to Data folder and notes.ini but its never been so stable....

        Tell router update config.... :P reboot schmeeboot

    3. Philip Storry

      Odd - I never had any issues with our OS/2 Notes servers. They just ran and ran, and were fairly nippy too.

      Now, the Notes server on a Netware box running as an NLM - let's just say that replacing that was a top priority, and much beer was consumed when it happened. Netware 3.x was wonderful for file & print services, but godawful for running application servers on.

      1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

        "Odd - I never had any issues with our OS/2 Notes servers. They just ran and ran, and were fairly nippy too."

        The only problems I ever had running Notes on OS/2 was when the Notes Admins did something dumb. Like turning off the machine because shutdown took too long (because Notes was doing it's shutdown).

        A few corrupted os2.ini and os2sys.ini files later the Notes Admins weren't allowed in the data center any more.

    4. Number6

      OS/2 vs Chuck Norris, a minigun and explosive ammo? No contest, OS/2 would win every time.

      Unless they did it on that infamous day when the date bug bit and ATMS everywhere crashed in unison.

  6. John Savard Silver badge

    Obscurity

    Well, there's a lot of useful Windows 3.1 software.

    And I don't suppose anyone's going to bother writing a lot of OS/2 ransomware. That, and the loss of control over one's computer with Windows 10, makes it very tempting to consider this.

    1. HereIAmJH

      Re: Obscurity

      I think it was a missed opportunity that they didn't put a compatibility layer in there for Linux or BSD. Maybe something like built-in VM support and an integration layer with X for the desktop. One of the big problems with OS/2, and the reason for the solid support of Win16 apps, is the fact that there were so few native applications. I know I used it primarily for multitasking DOS applications that had performance problems with Desqview or Win95.

      1. Doug 3

        Re: Obscurity

        There was EMX, gcc, gdb and XFree86 all on OS/2 providing source level compatibility with *nix apps.

        I ran a number of X apps on OS/2 and even used it to write *nix/X apps before moving the source across the network to HPUX and building and testing on that target platform.

        OS/2 was a great platform running multiple OS's from DOS, Windows, *nix, Java besides OS/2 apps.

        IBM screwed up when they got OS/2 running full Win32 apps before Microsoft shipped Windows 95. Once Microsoft found out, they changed the SDK resource compiler such that it put a tiny amount of resources at the top end of their virtual address space. That was up at 4GB and OS/2 could only access 2GB of virtual address space so there was no way for OS/2 to run these Win32 apps any more. OS/2 stuck running just Win16 and Win32C apps. And with no compatibility there wasn't a migration path.

        1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

          Re: Obscurity

          The bastards!

  7. Michael Hoffmann

    Game on!

    Now where did I put those old 3 1/2 disks with Stardock's original Galactic Civilization?

    1. Tannin

      Re: Game on!

      Last time I checked - two or three years back maybe - you could still buy a GalCiv bundle of about 5 different versions on-line from Stardock for just a few bucks. Hell, I bought it myself ... installed it .... and never quite got around to playing it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USB history

    ... hardware using things like USB that had come along since OS/2's last version, 4.52, emerged in 2001.

    A bit of revisionist history here. USB1 came out in 1996 (with some silicon available at least a year before that). USB 1.1 dates back to 1998, while USB 2.0 was released/ratified in 2000/2001. By 1999, it was already getting hard to find new PC hardware which did not include a USB port in some form.

    By now, USB is a fair bit older than many of its users; the thing is practically ancient!

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: USB history

      I remember at the time (1996) that we used to call USB "useless serial bus." Heh.

  9. AntiSol

    This sounds interesting, I remember OS/2 fondly. I'm looking forward to the day they realise you can't sell an OS these days and release the personal edition for free. I'll check it out then. My bet is 6 months.

  10. PhilipN Silver badge

    Retro?

    No, in fact the latest eCs version ran fine in a VM under macos, including sound.

    Interface clunky? Again no. There were subtle differences which made it slicker than Win95/XP at least in some respects including e.g. re-focusing from window to window without first having to click inside (forgot the buzzword for this feature)

    I'll give this latest version a whirl but if the base OS is a continuation it will retain all of the operational benefits of the original.

    To be honest I can't wait to fire up WordPerfect for DOS 6 and recover the word-processing efficiency which has been eroded year by year.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Retro?

      The buzzphrase you are looking for is "focus follows pointer". Windows had it natively as an option starting with Win95 (registry hack ... I believe TweakUI could make the change). It's useful for some things, hellaciously annoying for others. I use it probably once a month or so on Slackware w/KDE (pointy-clicky: System Settings -> Window Behavior -> Window Behavior -> Focus, a slider gives 6 different variations on the theme.)

      1. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

        Re: Retro?

        Sloppy focus - so windows don't lose focus when you go over your background XD

        Still love it in my FVWM config.

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Retro?

        I think TweakUI called it Xmouse.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Retro?

      If you really can't wait, you could always run WordPerfect in FreeDOS (natively or in a VM) or in DOSBox.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Retro?

        Got WP5.1 running on a Pi ... confused the * out of people walking past, but there was a stack of old system docs only available in WordPerfect ...

        1. dajames Silver badge

          Re: Retro?

          ... a stack of old system docs only available in WordPerfect ...

          My old WordPerfect 4 and 5 documents open very nicely in LibreOffice ... probably no need to emulate DOS on a Pi for that.

      2. dbannon
        Linux

        Re: Retro?

        > If you really can't wait, you could always run WordPerfect in FreeDOS (natively or in a VM) or in DOSBox.

        No, no ! Dosbox is for running Warcraft II - it runs better than it ever did under DOS.

    3. bobajob12

      Re: Retro?

      To be honest I can't wait to fire up WordPerfect for DOS 5.1 and recover the word-processing efficiency which has been eroded year by year

      FTFY...

  11. MrDamage

    The only thing I didnt like about OS2

    Was the way the 4 people I knew running it evangelised it.

    Think of the worst combination of Linux geek, Apple fanboi, Winslave and trainspotter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The only thing I didnt like about OS2

      There actually was an advocacy group actually supported by IBM, the Team OS/2, back in the early 90s.

      Funnily enough I also remember some clown coming up with "Team Gates".

    2. W.O.Frobozz

      Re: The only thing I didnt like about OS2

      Ah, the good old days of USENET and the OS/2 fanatics. Even long after it was dead you would still have the inevitable "OS/2 is making a comeback/Microsoft is running scared" discussions.

  12. LDS Silver badge

    It was the third version to be called "Warp"

    Also, IIRC it was never able to run full Win32 applications, only Win32s applications. So you were basically stuck to Win 3.x applications, albeit with some extensions - the same available under Win 3.x

    Thereby when more and more developers started to write full Win32 applications, and new compilers abandoned that environment, OS/2 was clearly dead in the water, for lack of native applications.

    IBM did very little to increase the availability of native applications, more or less like Microsoft is doing now while attempting to promote its UWP platform.

    One reason is that these companies when they become large enough they fear competitors hugely, and try to crash them - without understanding how much third party tools can be important in the success of a platform.

    Microsoft may not like it, but without Lotus, Borland and others, both DOS and Windows would have been far less appealing platform to users. Now they have the issue their store is quite "empty", guess why...

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Win32 applications, only Win32s

      An artificial distinction invented by MS for mostly 16bit Win95 and mostly 16 bit Office 95 so that Office 95 wouldn't run on Win3.x. So Office 95 didn't work on true Win 32 NT3.1 or NT3.5, it wasn't a limitation of Win32s. Many users of NT3.5 got the NT3.51 upgrade free, which had the extra APIs purely invented for Office 95. There was later even an explorer shell preview on NT3.51, then we were horrified on that on NT4.0 they moved GDI (graphics and printer drivers then could blue screen) into kernel. Many organisations thus continued to install NT 3.51 server.

      So really nothing to do with Win32s

      OS/2 was out marketed by a gaming console and MS dishonest lock in of PC makers. Both NT3.5 and OS/2 warp were far better than Win9x, which killed the excellent Pentium Pro. But that's another story.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Win32 applications, only Win32s

        No. The full Win32 API has several features that cannot be backported to Win 3.x - just think the difference between preemptive and cooperative multitasking. Win32 applications that actually don't use any of the calls not supported on Win32s *may* work on Win32s. NT 3.51 added the new controls made available in Windows 95, and which 3.1 lacked. You needed them to run the newer applications.

        Graphics *drivers* have always been in the kernel (otherwise how could they talk to the hardware?), the change made in NT4 was to move most of the GDI routines code itself (which run atop the driver) to the kernel to minimize the number of CPU ring level transitions, which on the CPUs of the time, especially before the syscall/sysenter opcodes were added (Windows didn't use them until XP for backward compatibility), could require a lot of time, hampering graphic performance, in a time when GUI application were becoming much more demanding, including games, and GPUs with more memory and specific 3D features became available (hence the need for DirectX).

        Other OS of the time, like the Apple's system/MacOS, had fairly simpler architectures (Apple took a long time to add protected memory support and preemptive multitasking to its OS....).

        The biggest risk isn't really code instability, although a bug in a routine can bring down the system, but usually bugs are more probable in low quality graphic drivers, which needs to run in the kernel anyway. The biggest risk are vulnerabilities, because the code runs with kernel privileges. All the font-related vulnerabilities are an effect of this choice. But face it, with graphics cards requiring now a lot of low-level interactions to exploit their advanced features, most of the controlling code needs to be at a level where direct access to the hardware is available, unless you can accept a large number of rings transitions. Linux went the same way for this reason.

        I run many NT4 servers on IBM hardware back then, and really, the graphic subsystem was never an issue, especially since you didn't run complex GUI applications on them. Bad drivers were often an issue in those days, especially on cheaper hardware, and no internet to get updates quickly.

        1. davidp231

          Re: Win32 applications, only Win32s

          Hence the 'S' - the full name is Win32 Subset, because it only contained a handful of gubbins from full-fat Win32. Oh and Freecell.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Win32 applications, only Win32s

          "Graphics *drivers* have always been in the kernel (otherwise how could they talk to the hardware?)"

          User mode drivers are given access to their hardware. No need to be in the kernel.

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Win32 applications, only Win32s

        The Pentium Pro itself is long gone, but its architecture still forms the basis for all of the modern Intel designs, which has been the case ever since the NetBurst architecture crashed and burned (and burned it did).

    2. Fred Goldstein

      Re: It was the third version to be called "Warp"

      The Warp name was assigned to OS/2 version 4. Version 3 was Borg. I don't think v2 had a name, at least not a Trekkie name. They advertised Warp using a different meaning of the word, and it didn't, well, fly very well.

      The debate over supporting Windows applications was ongoing in the OS/2 community. On the one hand, if there was good Windows support, there'd be less reason to write native applications. On the other, without Windows support, who'd buy it? Chicken, meet egg. I started with OS/2 when v2 came out. It was billed as a "better DOS than DOS, better Windows than Windows". And it was, compared to Windows 3.1. It did after all have the real Microsoft Windows code in it, under a license that expired in 1992, and it ran Windows applications in separate processes over a solid kernel, unlike Windows 3 which ran over DOS.

      But when Win32 came to dominate, the lack of application support killed OS/2 for desktop mass market applications. That and Microsoft's licensing policy, where PC makers had to pay for a Windows license on every PC they sold, even if it had OS/2 instead of Windows.

      1. Doug 3

        Re: It was the third version to be called "Warp"

        Don't forget, OS/2 version 2.1 aka OS/2 for Window and code name Ferengi.

        It was the version without the Microsoft Windows 3.1 subsystem and used your own version of Windows.

      2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: It was the third version to be called "Warp"

        The 'Warp' name was attached to v3 and v4. The Star Trek related names for other versions were all internal, and Warp 4's internal code name was 'Merlin'. Please see http://www.os2museum.com/wp/os2-history/os2-timeline/

        There were apps for OS/2, the issue was that for some of them the interface was a little lacking (Describe for one, technically impressive word processor, great printing. Crap interface), and others due to the more limited userbase you paid more for less functionality, but what functionality existed was of high quality.

        Unfortunately this was a hard sell for OS/2's community. Whilst there were some impressive open source offerings, in general OS/2 users expected high quality commercial software to the same standard as major Windows packages, and economies of scale made that unlikely.

  13. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I can't make sense of the heading.

    Did the author mean "may never die"?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Tip.

      Bottom of TOA. Left hand side. "Tips and Corrections". Click it & follow your nose.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Tip.

        No can do. Requires email.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Tip.

          So does registering as an ElReg commentard. I fail to see your point.

  14. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I might give it a go at $9.90, but not at $99.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Have to agree, it was looking quite interesting up until that point

    2. jake Silver badge

      Concur.

      They should have some variation of "try before you buy" ... There is an entire generation of folks out there who have no idea what OS/2 is all about ... I suggest dropping them a short, polite email to this effect. I just did. Squeaky wheel & all that.

  15. PhilipN Silver badge

    Up and running

    Still playing but booted and installed from the iso under VMWare Fusion on macos. Fast enough but familiarity with the eCs installation regime helps a lot. Quite zippy but not yet tried anything except Firefox : slow to load but quick to run

  16. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge
    Pint

    But OS/2 did give us...

    ...jfs. The linux version of jfs is from OS/2. A pity IBM can't find it in its heart to liberate jfs/2, but jfs is the only linux filesystem with which I have never lost data in 20 years of linux use. (I know xfs isn't the beast it once was, substituting @ signs for real data, but the pain hasn't yet gone away.)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: But OS/2 did give us...

      I haven't lost any data on any of the Linux file systems in over twenty years of use (outside of testing, of course ... but who uses anything irreplaceable when testing?). I'd be curious to see where you are going amiss ...

      1. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

        Re: But OS/2 did give us...

        <Shrug>

  17. Anthill Beetle

    Hardware support

    I see the situation with drivers has certainly improved since 20 years ago...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OS/2 wasn't "pitched against Windows 95". It was supposed to be for enterprise class stuff, and was ultimately pitched against Windows NT once IBM and MicroSoft parted ways on the original OS/2 project.

  19. DontFeedTheTrolls
    Windows

    Missed a trick

    From this week's On Call about scamming the scammers, load them up into a VM running OS/2 :)

  20. poohbear

    Don't forget linux...

    I ran a few Linux/Unix things as well on my OS/2 box... starting with Apache, bind, etc. I think Gimp as well, under the Enlightenment window manager.

    I really missed PM/Mail when I moved to Linux.

  21. Geoff May (no relation)

    I used to have Hockware VisPro/REXX

    Still got the disks but I've lost the registration so I couldn't use it :-(

    Now that is bringing back memories of learning thread and events coding.

  22. Trygve Henriksen

    v5?

    I guess it's time to update my eCS 1.1 install...

    Or a clean install since I can reinstall X-wing without too much trouble.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the days

    OS/2 was introduced into our little s/w shop by accident when some Aptivas came preloaded with dual-boot OS/2 and Windoze. The engineers gave it a shot and loved it; the Windoze fanboi recoiled in horror without ever trying it. With Eberhard Matte's stuff and a proper filesystem, we had all the GNU tools to make a reasonably good approximation to a real workstation. (At the time, MKS also had a nice set of UNIX tools running on OS/2.)

    There are several stories from those days: (1) We were developing s/w for PC-Cards (often erroneously named after their defining body PCMIA). The Windoze drivers then were all DOS drivers. With a crash in Windoze, you not only lost your session, you sometimes lost your drive. With a crash in a DOS box, you just opened another one. (2) Borland had the nicest graphic debugger that I had ever seen outside of SGI.

    But things have moved on. We wanted to make it UNIX-like as there was little else available then that we could afford ('though we ran Sparc servers in the back). These days, I develop on real UNIX boxes (Apple and Solaris).

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Ah, the days

      PCMCIA.

      Which, as far as I am concerned, stands for People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms.

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: Ah, the days

        And remember TWAIN, for digital cameras? That's "Thing Without An Interesting Acronym"

        (I always thought the M in PCMCIA was "reMember"...)

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Ah, the days

      Ever try Mark Williams Company's "Coherent"? Nice little un*x clone of the era, written entirely in assembler. $99/seat, as advertised in Byte. Available via FTP at:

      ftp://www.tuhs.org/UnixArchive/Distributions/Other/Coherent

      Don't blame me for the www in that address.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Ah, the days

        I remember Coherent OS! I might have used it at some point, but I'm not 100% sure.

  24. Pete Maclean

    ArcaOS: operating system. Archaos: circus. ArcaOS: operating system. Archaos: circus. ArcaOS: operating system. Archaos: circus.

    Well I would never call an operating system Archaos, sorry I mean Arcaos or rather ArcaOS. How the heck do you pronounce it anyway?

    Posted by a veteran OS/2 aficionado and champion.

  25. Jove Bronze badge

    Open Source

    Key question is; can it be made to run GNU s/w, say via mode to Cygwin? If not, it is still a micro-niche player.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Open Source

      See: MKS Toolkit

      Or perhaps http://os2ports.smedley.id.au/index.php?page=tools-utilities

  26. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Reasons OS/2 didn't catch on

    Computer Chronicles - OS/2 Warp (1995)

    "OS/2 .. didn't catch on because of a clunkier GUI and Microsoft's hardball licensing tactics that made it commercially suicidal for PC-makers to offer the OS."

    "Joint Development Agreement between International Business Machines and Microsoft" ref

    "we need to focus on .. establishing OS/2 as the next standard in personal computing Bill Gates

    "I was super enthustiac that we shipped OS/2" Steve Ballmer

    "The demos of OS/2 were excellent, crashing the system had the intended effect -- to FUD OS/2 2.0."

    'OS/2 "Crush" will focus .. to stop IBM from further successful promotion of OS/2.' ref

    'Newspaper exposes “Steve Barkto” as MS agent'

    1. W.O.Frobozz

      Re: Reasons OS/2 didn't catch on

      Has Steve Ballmer ever admitted he was "Steve Barkto?"

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Reasons OS/2 didn't catch on

        No, Ballmer hasn't ... because "Barkto" was fairly conclusively outed as being Rick Segal, or perhaps a flunky of Rick's. Microsoft was running scared. Still is, in some ways, thus the "if you can't build or buy better technology, baffle the illiterate with bullshit and FUD" form of marketing they embrace.

  27. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Anyvody willing to donat US$99? For a good cause! :p

    Heh, it's a bit above my budget for now. Pity they did not make a demo version for you to play around with.

    I still have my MOTE CD somewhere, dunno where my GALCIV CD went to....

  28. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    I'll be buying it..

    Long term historic business and personal OS/2 user, I've had a legacy OS/2 box running for years but eCS was just too expensive for a toy when I already had Warp 4 running fine.

    $99 with enhancements for SMP, JFS, and some of the drivers that didn't ship in Warp 4? Works for me. Samba so it's not necessary to fiddle with Windows/Unix to get OS/2's creaky old SMB networking working in the modern age, definitely..

    Mostly it'll probably be used for the occasional game of Galactic Civilisations 2, but I've a lot of historic software including a couple of nice graphics packages. Might even port a couple of packages to it, I've got all the dev tools.

    To nitpick, Warp 4 did have some USB 1.0 capability, but it was limited to Intel USB chipsets only, and was a pain to configure.

    Ultimately I was glad to move on to NT, and then BSD, but my time with OS/2 was excellent. If IBM had spent the time wasted on OS/2 PowerPC more wisely, OS/2 might still be going today. It would have meant a substantial rewrite to make OS/2 multi user, and increase OS security..

  29. Randall Shimizu

    I gave up on OS/2 after Serenity Systems mislead people about OS/2. Serenity Systems originally told customers that they had been authorized to make approved code modifications to OS/2 Warp. IBM never granted and permission to do so. Serenity systems was only authorized to provide new drivers and a new install process I believe.

    OS/2 had a lot of promise and it might have overtaken Windows if the marketing was better. OS/2 was way ahead in client server technology back in the Win/95, 98 days. The other problem is that IBM mishandled the IP rights to OS/2. I never understood why IBM did not hire MS as contractor to write the code for OS/2. MS used some of IBM OS/2 code and merged it with the Windows code. MS then claimed it then owned the rights to the code.

    Today OS/2 is irrelevant as OS.

  30. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Flame

    hardball licensing tactics making it commercially suicidal for PC-makers to offer it

    and this is why Micro-shaft STILL gets away with what they do with Win-10-nic. Those infamous "hardball licensing tactics". WHY is this STILL going on?

    Can OS/2 provide a VIABLE alternative to the WIn-10-nic (effective) MONOPOLY? I'd like to THINK so!!!

    Without those "hardball licensing tactics" I bet it would be EASIER to purchase an inexpensive LINUX box. Screw Micro-shaft anyway. they've RUINED the PC market, but everybody is all to willing to blame SLABS and SMART PHONES instead, refusing to see the obvious...

    I'm rooting for OS/2 on this one. I want to see it SUCCEED!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hardball licensing tactics making it commercially suicidal for PC-makers to offer it

      That was the same reason BeOS was shut down and sold. They could not get dual boot because of illegal licensing restrictions and/or licensing cost threats on any dual boot. BeOS was an amazing bit of tech too but we all lost out because of anti-competitive business practices.

  31. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    As an aside, would love to hear from those who are lucky enough to be able to afford it, what their experience with the new shiny are like wrt bare-metal installation as well as virtualization (pity vmware doesnt offer OS/2 compatibility).

  32. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Clunky?

    Wasn't the GUI taken from the Amiga? Wash your mouth out!

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Clunky?

      Xerox designed the first GUI in their PARC, but they fumbled it. History would've been totally different had they patented it, yes?

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: Clunky?

        Xerox designed the first GUI in their PARC, but they fumbled it. History would've been totally different had they patented it, yes?

        Yes, if they'd patented it methinks it would have sunk without trace never to be seen again.

        Now, if they'd Open Sourced it ...

    2. Kepler
      Boffin

      Re: Wasn't the GUI taken from the Amiga?

      Googling confirms that IBM did license something from Commodore, but I haven't been able to ascertain what.

      And in return, Commodore licensed REXX from IBM! Leading to ARexx, one of the most popular, successful, elegant and sophisticated implementations of REXX ever, on any platform.

      Googling "os/2 amiga" leads to multiple hits/sources that all use identical language:

      "IBM also once engaged in a technology transfer with Commodore, licensing Amiga technology for OS/2 2.0 and above, in exchange for the REXX scripting language."

      (No idea who first wrote this.)

      (ARexx was first created in 1987 by William Hawes, and included with AmigaOS 2.0 by Commodore in 1990. It included a number of Amiga-specific features that allowed it to communicate with and be incorporated into third-party apps in a very easy, flexible and powerful way. This plus the intrinsic power and simplicity of REXX as originally developed by Mike Cowlishaw of IBM made it immensely popular with Amiga users.

      OS/2 2.0 was released in April 1992.)

      But whatever IBM got from Commodore and the Amiga, it was not OS/2's GUI. Certainly not its entire GUI.

      OS/2's GUI consists of two main components.

      The GUI itself is Presentation Manager. It's what's responsible for defining a coordinate system, drawing objects — including windows and pointers — on screen, controlling the mouse and receiving and directing input from it, and so on. It was developed primarily by an IBM lab in Hursley, England (but with some involvement by Microsoft as well), and introduced with OS/2 1.1 in late 1988.

      The really cool object-oriented desktop shell that sits and works on top of Presentation Manager, but that many OS/2 users think of as OS/2's GUI (or at least as part of OS/2's GUI), is the Workplace Shell. It was developed by IBM's lab in Boca Raton, Florida, and it is built on top of IBM's very powerful System Object Model (SOM). Which in turn was developed by IBM's lab in Austin, Texas. The SOM-based Workplace Shell — which in turn is very nicely integrated with REXX — is by far and away the coolest thing about OS/2, interface-wise, and the one area where it actually offers capabilities that even the wonderful Amiga did not yet have. And it was introduced as part of OS/2 2.0 in April 1992.

      So whatever IBM got in the way of Amiga technology licensed from Commodore (and I really wish I could find out what it was!*), the vast bulk of what constitutes OS/2's then-revolutionary and very impressive user interface actually was developed by IBM itself, in house!

      .

      * The fact that whatever was licensed was licensed for OS/2 2.0 (and above) makes me suspect that it must have been some component, aspect or feature of the Workplace Shell. But certainly not the Workplace Shell itself, for the Amiga had no such thing, and the Workplace Shell is built entirely on SOM plumbing, which was entirely IBM's creation.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Wasn't the GUI taken from the Amiga?

        Workplace Shell used some of WorkBench's technology, most of which were passed on to NT by proxy. I can't remember the details, but I remember the joke back in the day being that IBM traded REXX for the trash can in NT.

        REXX (as Regina) is still available, I use it frequently in odd corners. See:

        https://sourceforge.net/projects/regina-rexx/

        Also worth mentioning is The Hessling Editor:

        https://sourceforge.net/projects/hessling-editor/

  33. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    @bombastic bob - why do you refer to it as Win-10-nic?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      @Anonymous South African Coward

      "why do you refer to it as Win-10-nic?"

      Icebergs ahead! better open the throttles and race them! Queue the music with Celine Dione, and some emotionally touching scenes, and next thing you know, it's not so "unsinkable" any more.

      Microsoft released Windows 10 *KNOWING* it's a pile of crap, they did it at the objection of their customers, they jammed it down our throats and up our backsides, and did everything except show up at your house and demand you install it at gunpoint, etc. etc. to force it onto our lives [not a mis-spelling of 'into']. And it's doomed to sink. Hence, "Win-10-nic".

      And it's also why I'm glad OS/2 is getting another jump start.

  34. evilman667

    Cool. Freshly released and they call it "Archaic".

    Fitting.

  35. Lewis R

    Some clarifications

    As the Managing Member of Arca Noae, and one of the engineers who worked on the release of ArcaOS 5.0, just a few points to clarify (both from the article and from the comments, here):

    1. $99 is introductory pricing for the personal edition. After the first 90 days (about 85 days left, now), the normal pricing takes effect, to wit, $129/license.

    2. There are quantity discounts for the commercial version, starting at 25 seats.

    3. The personal edition ships with 6 months of included support and maintenance, while the commercial edition ships with twelve months (1 year, not 2, as stated in the article). After that, support and maintenance is available for each by subscription.

    4. There are still a good number of large (really large; huge) enterprises with OS/2 entrenched in their IT infrastructure. We know because we consult for more than a couple of them. Running OS/2 on modern hardware is a must for organizations like these, where virtualization - for one reason or another, whether due to lack of device driver support for connected hardware or performance reasons - is not a viable option.

    5. ArcaOS ships with SMP support for up to 32 CPUs (I think 32 is the number, though it could actually be higher; I haven't actually tested on anything more than 4 8-core CPUs.

    6. ArcaOS includes rudimentary PAE support, where we are able to utilize RAM above the 4GB boundary as a RAM disk with up to two partitions. This may not seem like much, but for any application which requires fast access to temporary files (cache, etc.), this is a HUGE performance gain.

    7. ArcaOS is not a clone of OS/2. At its core, is a fully licensed MCP2 (Warp 4.52, a/k/a Merlin Convenience Pack 2) installation, with Arca Noae's fixes, updates, and modifications on top of that. In addition, the TCP/IP stack, ported from BSD, is in there, as are HPFS and JFS, the latter of which is fully maintained by Arca Noae. Indeed, we have a licensing agreement in place with IBM.

    8. When IBM released SMP as an option for Warp, it was an option only available for Warp Server for eBusiness (WSeB). We did not license WSeB from IBM; we licensed Warp 4 (MCP2). We have a special SKU from IBM which allows us to bundle SMP with the MCP2 code.

    9. ACPI support is ours. IBM included only basic ACPI support, using the OS2APIC PSD (Platform Support Driver). OS2APIC is barely useful on hardware built within the last 10 years. Arca Noae's ACPI driver is fully compliant through ACPICA 20170119.

    Some follow-up to some other comments:

    OS/2 (and ArcaOS) is indeed sensitive to substandard hardware. We do not claim to run on everything, and surely not on the cheapest junk floating about. Use that other OS from Redmond on that stuff - LOL.

    While some may scoff at a new release of OS/2, let's bear in mind that any marketing failures on IBM's part should in no way be taken to mean that OS/2 was not technologically superior to its competitors at the time. As a NetWare engineer, I can attest to the fact that Novell's similar difficulty and lack of success in competing with the overwhelming marketing machine from that other company likewise should not be taken as any kind of statement that NetWare was not superior in its space, or that there are not still shops with NetWare running quietly and consistently to this day, managing mission critical operations, just as OS/2 is. If there were no demand for a new OS/2, Arca Noae would not have come into existence, and I can tell you unequivocally, the response to ArcaOS has been overwhelming.

    Win32: Besides DAX (the Win32s subsystem built into Win-OS/2 in Warp 4), ArcaOS ships with Odin32, which is based on WINE. This allows us to run a number of more complex Win32 applications, and Odin32 can be further customized to work as a wrapper for even more complicated Win32 applications. Essentially, it's just a matter of properly mapping the Win32 calls to OS/2 calls, stubbing them out, or working around them for things which do not exist in OS/2. We can work with our development partners to support specific Win32 apps under consulting contract, and in fact, look forward to exploring such opportunities, so incidents which we've all seen recently (under XP) do not occur, while still allowing those applications to run nearly-natively.

    Ah, and finally, why there are no try-before-you-buy offers: Our licensing with IBM does not allow for this. Every ArcaOS license includes an IBM OS/2 Warp 4 license. We can't just give those out for free!

    1. Doug 3

      Re: Some clarifications

      I for one am looking forward to seeing the OS/2 desktop again. Was just a pleasure to have such consistency between folders, the customizations and the workspace feature where complete folder trees and applications would be started on one opening of a folder. Genious.

      Thank you Lewis.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Some clarifications

      All very cool! I hope all goes well for the company!

  36. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Happy

    Well.......

    OS/2s system architecture was ALWAYS more stable than Windows by protecting ring 0.......

    1. kusanagi

      Re: Well.......

      But NT did a better job, running everything except the Kernel, at ring 3.

      Also, from day one, it had multiple input queues, compared to PMShell who had only one.

      1. patrickstar

        Re: Well.......

        At least in its earlier incarnations OS/2 actually ran graphics drivers in userland by giving specific threads direct access to the I/O ports and memory of the graphics card. Not a bad choice for its time (and I never had it blow up), but not exactly great from a stability/security point of view.

        What I certainly do remember trouble with when running OS/2 is the single input queue. There was a third-party application (called WatchCat IIRC) to allow you to forcibly quit an errant application hogging it, by hitting a magic key combination (I suppose it hooked the keyboard far below Presentation Manager so it worked regardless of it) or even pulling a pin on the parallel port.

  37. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Hobbes OS/2

    We look forward to keeping hobbes alive as long as it is used and appreciated by the OS/2 community.

    Thank you!

    http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/h-browse.php?dir=/pub/os2

    Looks like it's still around.

  38. harmjschoonhoven
    FAIL

    The Blue Lion

    is not a blue lion at all. It is a normal yellow one viewed through a blue filter. Don't they use PhotoShop anymore?

  39. Mark 56

    Anyone still got their copy of "Inside OS/2"

    By Gordon Letwin?

    I have!

    1. patrickstar

      Re: Anyone still got their copy of "Inside OS/2"

      Very good book. Worth reading even though it's only about OS/2 1.x, to get some perspectives on OS design when you don't have a flat 32/64 bit address space.

      1. Kepler
        Facepalm

        Re: Anyone still got their copy of "Inside OS/2"

        Just love the fact that it's by Gordon Letwin!

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Anyone still got their copy of "Inside OS/2"

      I have it! A very good book!

      A very nicely designed OS too.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019