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Is OS/2 Coming Back?

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the high-school-flashback dept.

IBM 432

mstansberry writes "Is IBM considering relaunching OS/2? One source close to IBM says Big Blue plans to repurpose OS/2 services atop a Linux core. IT managers ask, why now?" Hey, back in simpler times OS/2 was super badass. Both of the guys who ran it were hard core.

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WPS (4, Interesting)

Improv (2467) | about 4 years ago | (#31846640)

I would be delighted to switch my window manager back to the Workplace Shell (well, provided that there were keyboard shortcuts). I would not be so delighted to again deal with the SIQ lockups (but I imagine a port of WPS to X11 wouldn't have that problem, except to the extent that its own components might themselves use their own queue). I also would worry about EA corruption, which was always a concern with OS/2 as the collection of cruft in EAs kept growing and often a little mistake led one to need to repair them (or reinstall the system).

Anyhow, point is if I could just have the interface back, with some light Unix sensibilities injected, I'd be happy to switch from WindowMaker back to WPS. (Actually, having Stardock's Object Desktop as part of that would be a huge plus).

Re:WPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846662)

Stardock's products are horrible bloatware, no one in their right mind runs that garbage.

I'm all for OS/2's comeback though, I have fond memories of that great environment.

Re:WPS (2, Informative)

Improv (2467) | about 4 years ago | (#31846722)

Object Desktop was quite popular - their launchpad replacement was much prettier and more capable than the original. I have no idea how well-recieved the Windows port was, but many of the people on the old IRC channel used OD (and you see it in screenshots just about as much as you'll see the vanilla desktop).

Re:WPS (1, Informative)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about 4 years ago | (#31846808)

The only reason they are bloatware on windoze, is they had to write a lot of code to get some WPS functionality. Their original product, for OS/2, just added a layer on top of WPS.

Re:WPS (5, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 4 years ago | (#31846912)

Although I agree a new flavor of Linux is never a bad thing, the strengths that made OS/2 a contender back in the day don't exist now. There were very few viable desktop operating systems back then to choose from. Today is a vastly different landscape. From a technical standpoint this is interesting stuff, but certainly not something to write home about. I just don't see something like this making much of an impact to the current landscape.

Re:WPS (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#31847238)

There were very few viable desktop operating systems back then to choose from.

You think there are more "viable" desktop operating systems available today than back when OS/2 was released?

Are you sure?

EA corruption (4, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31846792)

I also would worry about EA corruption

Did EA even make any games for OS/2?

Re:EA corruption (5, Informative)

Warphammer (610896) | about 4 years ago | (#31846964)

Humor value noted, but for those wondering, he's talking about Extended Attributes, the big database of stuff about files, stored on HPFS. Kind of like a Resource Fork on a Mac file. EA corruption was one of the more annoying things you'd have to deal with on an OS/2 system. Examples of EA data would include the file's icon, data type (which would refer back to which program to open it), etc. Without it, a lot of the system would get really unhappy. There was even a hack IBM came up with to let you have EAs on FAT volumes, but that was a little less nice.

You must be that "other guy" that ran OS/2 also! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847246)

"I would not be so delighted to again deal with the SIQ lockups" - by Improv (2467) on Wednesday April 14, @12:57PM (#31846640) Homepage

This can, & has been, "gotten around" on OTHER OS', such as Windows NT-based ones (&, probably others as well of more modern variety), by using MULTIPLE MESSAGE QUEUES (so there isn't just a single one to lockup)...


"I also would worry about EA corruption" - by Improv (2467) on Wednesday April 14, @12:57PM (#31846640) Homepage

Then, instead of HPFS? You'd tend to think that IBM would stick by some variant in the LINUX world, like ext3 etc./et al, instead... simple!


P.S.=> Lastly, pPer the subject-article's concluding quote:

"Hey, back in simpler times OS/2 was super badass. Both of the guys who ran it were hard core."

Well, per that line, & the way you speak? I must be replying to that "other guy", because I ran OS/2 2.1 - 3.0 here back circa 1994-1995 & I like it, a lot... I had all kinds of good tools for it, like GammaTech's utilities (much like Norton Utitilties was for DOS, with your defragger, GUI chkdsk, & more), The DeScribe Word Processor (good for its day), Borland C++ for OS/2 & I was "all set" pretty much, & loved it...

So, I agree - it'd be nice to see it "make a comeback", albeit with a LINUX solid core underneath & yet, to still have the cmd.exe command processor tty console too, & its functions as well in concert w/ those of LINUX command prompts/consoles/tty's too, like BA$H etc. also! apkj

Not everyone likes POSIX (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#31846668)

Although there are a lot of virtues in UNIX programming, some people just don't like it. They prefer richer APIs that Windows and OS/2 provide.

So with OS/2 aging, it makes sense for IBM to put the APIs onto a modern OS. App migration becomes a cinch, and the future of the system is guaranteed.

Does OS/2 have enough customers to make this porting effort worthwhile? I don't know.

Re:Not everyone likes POSIX (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31846818)

Although there are a lot of virtues in UNIX programming, some people just don't like it. They prefer richer APIs that Windows and OS/2 provide.

That's why there are richer toolkits that sit on top of POSIX and X11, such as Glib/GDK/GTK, Qt, wxWidgets, and Winelib.

Re:Not everyone likes POSIX (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847038)

I'm sorry, was that supposed to be funny?

API on top of POSIX != Rich API

Re:Not everyone likes POSIX (4, Interesting)

mkrup99 (1586809) | about 4 years ago | (#31847022)

Maybe a port to the ReactOS kernel? Would keep a whole bunch of the OS/2 benefits of Windows compatibility, only now it would get Win32 support. Could be interesting. Plus, it would give the ReactOS project a key differentiator, instead of just being a "hey, I'm kinda like Windows too!" thing.

Re:Not everyone likes POSIX (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 years ago | (#31847060)

Although there are a lot of virtues in UNIX programming, some people just don't like it. They prefer richer APIs that Windows and OS/2 provide.

I have a revolutionary idea: Let's put only the necessary primitives into syscalls and let rest of the rich APIs be served by user-space libraries. Chances are the applications won't give a damn.

Those two guys (1)

Sehnsucht (17643) | about 4 years ago | (#31846680)

I think I know one of them

Re:Those two guys (3, Informative)

WinterSolstice (223271) | about 4 years ago | (#31846786)

I am one of them :D
Ran it, wrote code for it, supported it for 10,000 users from version 2 to version 4.

Unfortunately, they kind of pulled the wind out of the sails around the time Win 95/98 came out, so it didn't really make sense to stay with it.

I still miss little things like being able to reset the video to the default driver with a key combo, SNA/3270 support (which matters if you're not addicted to using a VB front-end for your mainframe), the first graphical remote desktop support, and a really great CDE style dock.

Oh, and REXX. I loved REXX... that was a great language.

Re:Those two guys (2, Interesting)

Third Position (1725934) | about 4 years ago | (#31847128)

That was a move I just couldn't understand - IBM dropping OS/2 just as Windows 95 came out.

Here's the situation - Microsoft is forcing it's user base to migrate off of DOS and Windows 3.x. Both Windows 95 and OS/2 are backward compatible with DOS/Windows 3.x, and at the time, there were more native applications available for OS/2 than applications that used Windows 95's exclusive features, and OS/2 was far and away acknowledged to be the technically superior OS. Since Microsoft was forcing a migration to an unfamiliar environment in any event, you'd have thought it would have been the perfect opportunity for IBM to swoop in and grab some of Microsoft's user base.

So, given a golden opportunity to capitalize on a disruption in the OS market, what did IBM do? Dropped OS/2 like a hot potato and walked away without looking back. I just couldn't understand their reasoning.

A resurgence of OS/2 at this point might be a cute trick, but I doubt it's going to happen. Given that IBM is currently doing everything it can to cut costs and is laying off people left and right, I can't really see them investing resources into a product that has limited interest in it. It's not even clear that they still have the expertise on the payroll to pull it off. It's a great rumor, but sorry, in the current environment, I'm just not seeing this as happening.

Re:Those two guys (1)

killthepoor187 (1600283) | about 4 years ago | (#31846804)

My dad was one of them. :) He still has all the old disks in his closet, and occasionally watches youtube videos about how great it was.

Re:Those two guys (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846936)

Given that there are apparently only two that ran it and two people have already commented in this thread saying they were one of them, I conclude that you are the offspring of either robnator or WinterSolstice :P

Re:Those two guys (1)

TrashGod (752833) | about 4 years ago | (#31846952)

"Always two there are, no more, no less: a master and an apprentice."—Yoda

Re:Those two guys (2, Funny)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 4 years ago | (#31847004)

Hmm... by the last count in this thread, there's three of us. I shall dispose of the usurper and set things right.

Re:Those two guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847088)

But WinterSolstice supported it for 10,000 users...

Evidently, CmdrTaco isn't very funny. Nobody wants your 2 cents, Taco...

Re:Those two guys (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 4 years ago | (#31847194)

I used to work for one. Two years ago, and their systems were still running OS/2.

Heck, they probably are still running them. I just don't work there anymore.

He'd probably like being able to run it on Linux: It'd ease his migration path.

Typical (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | about 4 years ago | (#31846696)

This is just typical of IBM Services missing a delivery target.

The article is really an April 1st joke, but the 12th was the closest they could come. Probably need a few more contractor billable hours next time.

Re:Typical (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 years ago | (#31846736)

I believe I speak for most geeks when I say, simply:


Re:Typical (2, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 4 years ago | (#31846864)

Be careful not to run out of your supply of /facepalm oil. A chafing /facepalm is no laughing matter.

Re:Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846904)

Are you a girl?

Re:Typical (1, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 years ago | (#31846928)

Are you a girl?

No, I'm a lesbian.

Re:Typical (2, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | about 4 years ago | (#31847002)

Oh noes, you've set her off again ... she's going to be reminding everyone how "unique" she is all bloody day now :-(

Re:Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847026)

Are you a girl?

No, I'm a lesbian.


Re:Typical (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 years ago | (#31847086)

Hmm, that would imply that you're actually a Greek man living on Lesbos.

Re:Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847220)

I was in a sociology class and the teacher was saying that there has never been a society run by women. I called her out on her bullshit and she asked me to name one society ruled by women. I said "Lesbos" and all the idiots in the class started roaring out laughing. Fucking idiots.

Re:Typical (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847124)

Are you a girl?

No, I'm a lesbian.

Ah, so you are a girl, but with good taste.

Re:Typical (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847008)

Nope. "She" hasn't gotten the final surgery done yet.

Great, another deskop environment (3, Interesting)

Fred_A (10934) | about 4 years ago | (#31846718)

People moan and whine because there's Gnome and KDE (although there's increasingly a bit of a norm unifying the whole thing thanks to opendesktop) and now they pull, out of all things, OS/2 services ?

Granted, why not ? But the few who actually worked on OS/2 programming let it go a long time ago. And why OS/2 and not [insert whatever other dead system here] ?
Everybody nowadays either uses Unix or Windows. Come up with something new or work with the crowd. Out with the IT necromancy I say. Bring out the torches and pitchforks !

Re:Great, another deskop environment (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 years ago | (#31846822)

From TFA, it doesn't sound so much like a desktop environment as it does server protocols. Kinda like Samba, LikewiseOpen, netatalk, etc, provide services and/or connectivity to other OS's protocols, but they don't actually change anything about the Windows environment.

From that standpoint - it's neat, I guess, but I don't think any regular users will care. This is something to throw to those places running systems on legacy installs of OS/2 so that they can move up to modern hardware and a modern OS without having to redo their core applications.

Re:Great, another deskop environment (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 years ago | (#31847080)

Nah, that problem was solved ages ago. I worked on a project 6 or 7 years ago where we replaced a secondary computer and a KVM at each desktop with a ram upgrade and MS Virtual PC. The application was a multistate rate computation program for mortgages and if they had re-written it they would have had to recertify it in each state, projected cost of the rewrite was approaching $10M.

Re:Great, another deskop environment (3, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | about 4 years ago | (#31847174)

IBM sells services.

The more options there are, the more decisions there are.

The more decisions there are, the more people there will be who need to pay someone to help them make those decisions, or implement them.

Making things simple from the very beginning isn't as profitable as making things more complicated and then "helping" people "simplify" stuff ;).

Maybe I'm too cynical? ;)

Re:Great, another deskop environment (3, Informative)

Wovel (964431) | about 4 years ago | (#31846954)

Because more people used OS/2 than any other dead GUI OS I can think of at the moment. The other (and more important reason) is that many companies are still using OS/2 for critical applications. If they were able to build WPS (which by the way is not what this story is really about) on Linux, your concern about 3 major desktop environments would go away within 18 months anyway. WPS was a better desktop environment 10 years ago than Gnome or KDE are today. If they spent some time actually updating it, the other two would fade into obscurity. Linux has come a long way, but it is no where near being a serious threat in the desktop market. Would OS/2 services and GUI change this, no probablly not.

Why? Because in order to support a desktop OS today, you either have to control the hardware platform or have a significant enough install base to compel every hardware manufacturer to release updated and supported drivers in a timely manner. This is why you have Windows (big install base) and OSX closed platform. Linux works on most every platform, but there are nearly always tradeoffs and limitations, no one devotes the same level of engineering to their Linux drivers as they do their Windows drivers for desktop hardware. In the server space there has been considerable progress made in driver development, in many cases Linux driver support far exceeds Windows on enterprise server hardware.

  Desktops remain a difficult nut to crack. Revere engineered drivers are not a viable solution for a consumer operating system, drivers must be engineered and supported for consumer hardware , just like they are for server systems , before you will ever see Linux make any meaningful inroads into the desktop market. Since IBM does not make desktop hardware anymore, it is unlikely they will be the ones to bring a closed platform Linux solution forward (essentially like Apple did with BSD), but an OS/2 Linux hybrid could be interesting if they could partner with Lenovo (for example) and provided a fully integrated and supported solution.

Re:Great, another deskop environment (1)

bragr (1612015) | about 4 years ago | (#31847256)

I think you've missed the point. I don't think that they are building new linux distro that you can run on your desktop to enjoy the wonders of OS/2, or even bringing back the GUI. What it sounds like they are doing is writing a Wine-like compatibility layer but for OS/2, but owing to the fact that a dedicated team will be writing this, with access to the original source-code, I'm guessing its going to be a whole lot more compatible than Wine. What this compatibility layer will do, is allow OS/2 shops to upgrade to a modern OS on modern hardware, while being able to bring along those critical apps that run on OS/2, in a similar fashion to how Wine allows people to migrate to linux when they still have an app that is holding them back on Windows.

Re:Great, another deskop environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846996)

More accuratly, people moan and whine because they're using [Gnome/KDE], and someone else isn't. It's almost on the same level as Playstation vs. XBox.

Great! Another deskop environment to mix things up (1)

thaig (415462) | about 4 years ago | (#31847118)

There's also GNUStep and XFCE and the ROX desktop and probably many more.

KDE and GNOME are slightly warmed over versions of Windows, perhaps with a few hints of OSX. Those are not the last word in UIs by such a long way...

The WPS was object oriented. Right now GNOME-devs are talking about making gnome more "applicaton oriented" which is really "back to the age of pitchforks". I'd like to see a desktop like the WPS on Linux so that GNOME and KDE devs have something better to copy their ideas from.

As said elsewhere, it looks like this is not about the GUI, unfortunately.

Those Two Guys (5, Informative)

technomancerX (86975) | about 4 years ago | (#31846726)

You seem to miss the thousands of banks and financial institutions that were using it as well. OS/2 was far more prevalent in large businesses than it ever was with home users.

Re:Those Two Guys (1, Troll)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 years ago | (#31847012)

OS/2 Really fill the void (with novel) before NT came out and got popular. It offered good multi-tasking and made a good small scale server. OS/2 Warp there was a lot of speculation that it Might be the next Big thing and kill windows... However IBM was Stupid with the advertising while Microsoft was smart. And Windows 95 really got the mind share, once it got the mind share when NT 4 with a Windows 95 interface came out it caused a migration away from OS/2 Warp and Netware... At that Time linux came in and started to take away from the Unix Market.

Re:Those Two Guys (2, Insightful)

Jawn98685 (687784) | about 4 years ago | (#31847164)

Well..., duh. Back in them days, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM..." was a literal truism. Still didn't make it a good idea, then or now.

OS/2 never went away (5, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#31846732)

OS/2 is still running ATMs, train systems, all kinds of important things. It never went away.

Re:OS/2 never went away (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 years ago | (#31846782)

Actually I have to wonder if OS/2 might not make a great embedded OS these days. It is super reliable and by today's standards petty light weight.
OS/2 Mobile on your next phone?

Re:OS/2 never went away (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#31847062)

I remember OS/2 being the opposite of reliable. I used versions 2.1 and 3.0. Did they make a quantum leap in 4.0, or are you just speaking nonsense?

OS/2 Mobile on your next phone?

Even AmigaOS would make more sense; sure, there's no memory protection (or is there, now?) but it at least reboots quickly. Put all the stuff for handling voice calls into a whole separate subsystem and let the smartphone part crash and reboot itself in under a second if it has to :p Classic AmigaDOS could be coaxed into doing that, including the GUI, if you stuffed the OS into a recoverable ramdisk. A little hardware support (RRD support is not unheard of in embedded systems now) and it could happen... it worked on 68k chips

Re:OS/2 never went away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847108)

There are two EDM [wikipedia.org] machines that run OS/2 where I work. Both are less than 5 years old.

An updated Workplace Shell would be great (4, Interesting)

realmolo (574068) | about 4 years ago | (#31846734)

Gnome and KDE are fine, but if IBM really wanted to, they could make them both obsolete pretty quickly with an update WPS interface. Plus, let's face it, at this stage in the "Linux on the desktop" battle, Linux *needs* an official, fully-funded commercial desktop environment. The Gnome vs. KDE battle is retarded, and both DEs are starting to get kind of nutty. IBM could restore sanity.

I'm all for it, personally. But I also think it's obvious that this is just a rumor.

Re:An updated Workplace Shell would be great (5, Informative)

Improv (2467) | about 4 years ago | (#31846810)

I'd be wary of suggesting that we ever will or should have an official desktop. Some competition and cross-pollination helps us share interface ideas that work after having separate communities really find out what doesn't. Those of us who actually used OS/2 generally also find the very idea of "IBM will save us" to be ridiculous. IBM long neglected, ignored, and occasionally kicked the OS/2 community. They're not really the poster child for sanity. We liked the product, but were very wary of big blue itself.

Also, as a general hint to other people, whenever somebody says "let's face it", it's a good clue that they're being a douche. It's an empty, self-congratulatory phrase.

Re:An updated Workplace Shell would be great (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 4 years ago | (#31847116)

I'd be wary of suggesting that we ever will or should have an official desktop. Some competition and cross-pollination helps us share interface ideas that work after having separate communities really find out what doesn't.

Yes, because reinventing the something 27 times is such a great idea.

Would need a SOM runtime. (2, Informative)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#31846830)

The Workplace Shell was built on SOM - System Object Model. You would need the runtimes ported to Linux to support all of that.

SOM programming was a pain in the ass: code an IDL, precompile and get C header file from Hell (it was akin to the first C++ precomilers that would implement everything in C), link, and then there was a binding operation - IIRC. For the WPS, you'd create a dll that would extend it - your application was really a dll that was run by the desktop. It did allow multi threading BUT it was all in the same address space meaning, a bad app took out the whole desktop.

In a nutshell, GNOME and KDE is better than what IBM had invented 18 years ago.

They could port (3, Interesting)

ameline (771895) | about 4 years ago | (#31846740)

They could port the OS/2 userspace APIs to linux. It would probably work pretty well. They could probably make it load and run OS/2 EXEs and DLLs unchanged. That would be cool.

(Spent some years of my life working on IBMs C++ compiler for OS/2.)

Wine-ing about app compatibility (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31846856)

They could port the OS/2 userspace APIs to linux. It would probably work pretty well. They could probably make it load and run OS/2 EXEs and DLLs unchanged. That would be cool.

But how many people would "Wine" about changes to the APIs during the transition that break specific apps? Or that a piece of hardware that worked on OS/2 Warp doesn't work on OS/2 for Linux because the driver API wasn't also ported?

Re:They could port (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#31846876)

(Spent some years of my life working on IBMs C++ compiler for OS/2.)

I apologize for all the horrible things I said about your team and product while I was there: WPS FVT Boca. ;-)

Why not bring back Amiga OS? (1)

jhsanchez (199185) | about 4 years ago | (#31846756)

I used both OS/2 (Warp and earlier) as well as Amiga OS and the latter is a better choice to bring back. Probably easier too!

Re:Why not bring back Amiga OS? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 4 years ago | (#31846846)

You're aware of AROS, and AmigaOS4? And (E-)UAE? And Fellow? And AmigaForever?

Part of me wants to add... "and BeOS and DragonFly BSD and GNOME and KDE" as I'm pretty sure AmigaOS influenced each of these in some small ways (spatial desktop on GNOME, for instance).

Re:Why not bring back Amiga OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846892)

This is kind of non sequitur, dude. Not only are there three actively developed Amiga operating systems, IBM has never had a line of code in any of them! Are you stoned, maybe?

Re:Why not bring back Amiga OS? (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#31847054)

Actually, there was some exchange of technologies going on between Amiga and OS/2. IBM gave Amiga REXX in exchange for some general desktop enviroment tech; something like that.

Re:Why not bring back Amiga OS? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847044)

Amiga is dead. This is good for the computing community as a whole. People need to support something viable to develop on, such as BSD, Linux, Android, or another OSS platform.

There was no more rabid, frothing at the mouth fanbase than the Amiga people. The current Mac advocates or the people that hand you an Ubuntu burn and say "SUK LESS" have nothing on the insanity the Amigoids had for their platform. The fact that a checkered ball could bounce around a screen while a floppy was formatting was awe-inspiring to them for almost three decades. Go hit a NNTP archive site, and look at comp.sys.amiga.advocacy in the early 1990s if you want a taste of this keening insanity.

It took over two decades for the mindless advocacy for a dead platform to finally die down. These days any garden variety Mac or Windows box can do video and sound.

AmigaOS was cool way back when. However, PCs caught up, and because C= didn't bring anything new to the platform, people moved on, and the Eggplant/Implant/Video Toaster setups ended up either in the ashbin of history, or in an attic for a future Stan Veit to comment on.

The platform is dead; deal with it.

Interesting.. (4, Insightful)

Wovel (964431) | about 4 years ago | (#31846764)

For a lot of companies, if something works there is no reason to mess with it. As hardware gets old and is difficult to replace with devices supported by OS/2, this may be attractive for some companies. In the past 12 months I have visited clients running critical applications on OS/2 and Xenix, while it is easy for an outsider to say "Just upgrade it to a newer application", replicating all the business logic and surrounding process would be costly and disruptive.

Re:Interesting.. (2, Insightful)

ulski (1173329) | about 4 years ago | (#31847276)

I see your point, but perhaps it would be possible to run OS/2 on powerful virtual machines? That way you could have the visualization software deal with the hardware.

Re:Interesting.. (0)

realmolo (574068) | about 4 years ago | (#31847286)

"...while it is easy for an outsider to say "Just upgrade it to a newer application", replicating all the business logic and surrounding process would be costly and disruptive."

So what? I have ZERO sympathy for business that don't want to keep up with technology. Yes, it's a pain in the ass. Yes, it's expensive. But that's THE GAME. You either keep up, or you live to regret it. EVERYONE knows this. Keeping *completely* obsolete systems running is just asking for trouble.

YES!!! (3, Funny)

zill (1690130) | about 4 years ago | (#31846766)

Finally, I've been dreaming for this day to come for years now. I've been using the PS/2 to USB adapter on my model M keyboard but it's adding unnecessary latency, not to mention USB's slow polling rate sucks. Now I can finally plug my keyboard into a native PS/2 port!

What? What do you mean TFA wasn't talking about the port?

Re:YES!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846922)

PS/2 != OS/2.

Joke fail.

Really, IBM? (1)

dskzero (960168) | about 4 years ago | (#31846798)

The obvious question is why? And the answer is despite Windows' spanking, IBM shops still run quite a bit of OS/2 -- not that they've advertised that fact. In theory these companies can drop this Linux-OS/2 amalgam in to replace aging installations with minimal disruption.

I'm all for another alternative, but I really would like to know what part of OS/2 is running around in the wild. It's been like 10 years since I've heard that word: Nowadays is Windows, some distribution of Linux, or Snow Leopard. Finding a place in the middle of the Evil Giant, the Indie Guy, and the, er, cat, and most imporantly, a target audience might prove to be, well, impossible. How many distro of Linux are there anyway? Granted, I'm not really into Linux, but all I keep hearing is Ubuntu, Debian, and Red Hat. This could very well be the fate of OS/2 unless they realy find that target audience.

New Tag... (3, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | about 4 years ago | (#31846800)

Can we have a new tag: "Rhetorical questions to which the answer is 'No'"

Re:New Tag... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846908)

I don't think that word means what you think it means. If the answer is "no" then it is not a rhetorical question.

What's the point? (1)

Dunderflute (1001355) | about 4 years ago | (#31846840)

If they're going to build OS/2 on top of Linux then why not just use Linux? This brings back memories of the whole "Linspire" PR stunt.

I'm not a Linux expert so can someone explain why porting just the shell would be useful? Wouldn't it break compatibility with existing applications which use the KDE or Gnome APIs?

Re:What's the point? (2, Interesting)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 4 years ago | (#31846958)

How about because the X Window System actually sucks?
How about because there is a better way of doing things?
How about because a standardized UI is better than the crap out there now?

  Is that reason enough for you?

My OS/2 story (4, Informative)

boristdog (133725) | about 4 years ago | (#31846844)

When I worked for the state there was a company contracted to develop a whole suite of Windows applications to move us off the old VAX green-screen interfaces into the modern world. Most of the department ran on Windows NT 4.

So naturally, the contractor developed all of their applications on a Windows NT 3.51 emulator running under OS/2.

Aaaaand after millions of dollars spent, the contractor demonstrated their applications (working flawlessly under the emulator in OS/2) got their money and high-tailed it, leaving us IT schlubs to implement the applications. All the apps immediately crashed when we attempted to run them in the real NT 4 environment. We never did get them working, except on the few workstations actually running OS/2 with an NT emulator.

Your tax dollars at work. Remember kids, watch your specifications when hiring a contractor!

Re:My OS/2 story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846940)

you mean you let a developer complete a project without actually testing it on your systems? That sounds like your error.

Re:My OS/2 story (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 4 years ago | (#31847032)

Your post should be entitled "My experience with a mismanaged Windows NT 4 software development project." The only experience you had with OS/2 in your story is that the contractor used it to emulate NT 3.51 during development instead of using actual NT 4.0 machines.

What happened is not the fault of OS/2, but rather the contractor and the manager overseeing the development.

It would be a very intresting move (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 4 years ago | (#31846852)

Since MS has won the desktop OS battle, IBM has been behaving as a small company, but they are not. Sure the company that IS big IT must have more aspirations then just being a service provider?

And of course they are a lot more, but once they were the face of IT to ordinary people. You bought an IBM or at least an IBM compatible.

And now?

So if this story has some truth in it, it could mark an attempt by IBM to get back out there and fight in a crowded market place and not just charge 1000 dollars per hour for its personnel.

Doubt this is the case but I have always had the thought that if anyone can break the current stalemates it is IBM. It could force both hardware and software makers to worry about competition again.

Not that I think it is likely, IBM does quite well as it is. But it would be more intresting if it is true.

Wrong question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846858)

IT managers ask, why now?

No. We just ask "Why?"

lol (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#31846884)

I find it very telling that many of the people that have commented on this story have low UIDs, lol

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31847308)

Well, on the other hand, I've been following Slashdot since sometime along 1999 or 2000 and never got to the need of making an account...

I guess I'd be taken as a "new guy" if I did one today... so who cares about UIDS?

Linux on the user desktop success (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 4 years ago | (#31846932)

This is the exact thing that would have a chance to make it as a general user desktop Linux distribution.

Of course, most FLOSS fanboys will scream and cry and hate all over IBM so it probably won't happen, but it would have a much better chance of success than the current offerings.

Mmmmm... OS/2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31846946)

Finally, I could run my Telegard BBS so users could upload/download their turn files and (at the same time mind you) I could play my VGA Planets turn - from the same machine! Wowie wow wow. T'was awesome.

Back to the olden days... (1)

GreyLurk (35139) | about 4 years ago | (#31847036)

Does this mean I have to brush up on my REXX [wikipedia.org] syntax to write shell scripts in the IBM Linux distro? The most memorable part of OS/2 for me was installing it from about 40 floppy disks onto a system with a VGA monitor (640x480, 16 colors)

MVS is still around too (2, Informative)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | about 4 years ago | (#31847092)

Now called z/OS, it is still popular too, mostly as the backend to all those OS/2 ATMs. However, neither will see a resurgence. The PC market is 'mature' and will not have room for another general purpose OS. The future of operating system is in the mobile device, then in dedicated purpose devices such as cars, appliances, and gadgets.

OS/2 was a basterd child. I had the first OS/2 developers kit. It cost $3,000, had no GUI (PM came later), and wouldn't compile "Hello World." The day after I got the SDK, I drove from SF to Seattle to attend the first OS/2 developers' conference at the Westin. Balmer was there but Gates was not. I wondered why the head geek did not show up for such a "big event." Now we all know why.

No way (2, Interesting)

Kylere (846597) | about 4 years ago | (#31847096)

In 1996 I called IBM Support about the fact that my IBM Aptiva was having memory problems. When they found out I had OS/2 Warp installed they refused to help unless I installed MS Windows. I have not purchased an IBM product since.

This doesn't change much (1)

CmpEng (1123811) | about 4 years ago | (#31847158)

At the power plant we use OS/2 with Banyan Vines for our parts of our internal network. Finding compatible hardware was becoming more and more an issue so we switched to running OS/2 virtual machines with Microsoft Virtual PC. While the solution isn't perfect it does provide us time to transition our services/applications off OS/2. If IBM does reintroduce OS/2, it certainly won't change our plans to migrate away from it. It's a little too late, particularly since IBM cut off sales and support for OS/2 several years ago.

Laugh all you want... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 4 years ago | (#31847188)

I found OS/2 quite stable for the year I ran it. I ran it because it was the only 32 bit os out at the time for intel hardware. I don't recall any stability issues that were above anything I experienced on Windows 3.1 at the time. And OS/2 came with something I think a lot of people would be on board with: REXX. REXX was an awesome shell language.

This will be great! IF we get MSOffice Pro for OS2 (1)

ekimminau (775300) | about 4 years ago | (#31847258)

If we can actually get MS Office ported to the OS2 Window Manager on a decent Linux distribution, Im all for it. I would switch my OS from WinBlows to OS2 in a heartbeat.
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