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User Group Urges IBM To Open OS/2

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the another-oss-project dept.

IBM 404

axonis writes "A report on Tom's Hardware tells of one of the last active OS/2 user groups, which has announced an initiative to garner support for IBM to release its long-neglected OS/2 operating system into the open source community. IBM announced earlier this month that it will withdraw its operating system OS/2 officially from sale on December 23 this year and will offer support only through 2006." From the article: "Making OS/2 Open Source will benefit all IBM customers that had invested in this OS...Customers that are willing to continue using OS/2 will get the benefits of an open OS that will be continuously developed by individual developers and/or software companies, their ownership fees will decrease and they will have the enhanced security of an OS that will continue to be relevant due to the open-ended nature of open source (following the BSD and Linux examples)."

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Is IBM is stupid? (5, Insightful)

supercoop (871775) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105050)

Either you think IBM hasn't thought about releasing OS/2 or that IBM is missing a business opportunity.

The cold hard fact is that IBM can't release the source code. So many non-disclosure agreements have sealed the fate of OS/2. The only good thing that can come from OS/2s demise is that people will think very carefully before going into software that has a shelf life with no possibility of saving.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (1, Funny)

xlr8ed (726203) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105064)

The title of you post overflows with irony....

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105143)

The title of you post overflows with irony....

Oh, the irony! Won't somebody think of the irony!

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (3, Funny)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105264)

Rule #1 of pointing out grammatical/spelling errors: Make sure your post doesn't have any of its own.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (3, Funny)

springbox (853816) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105356)

Maybe he just forgot to add commas:
The title of you, post, overflows with irony....
Almost makes sense..

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105393)

Rule #1 of pointing out grammatical/spelling errors: Make sure your post doesn't have any of its own.

Technically, there should be two spaces after a colon.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (3, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105084)

IBM can't release the source code. So many non-disclosure agreements

Are you saying that IBM doesn't own OS/2 outright? That doesn't sound like IBM at all.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (5, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105116)

It was originally a colaboration between MS and IBM. So chances are MS owns some of the code.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (3, Funny)

faqmaster (172770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105245)

Yep. Microsoft "owns" the TCP/IP stack they stole from BSD.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (2, Insightful)

NekkidBob (807988) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105321)

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people? You CAN'T steal something that someone is giving away FREE OF CHARGE to use in ANY WAY you see fit. MS is given permision to use any BSD code they want, without doing a damn thing other than including a Copyright notice SOMEWHERE in their docs (whether it be online or in the distribution). And believe it or not, this is what the BSD folks want.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (5, Insightful)

PaxTech (103481) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105432)

Are you new here? It's the slashdot way.

MS legally using BSD licensed code = "Stealing".

Downloading a bittorrent of Windows XP = "Not Stealing".

Violating copyright is viewed as about as serious as jaywalking on slashdot, unless the specific copyright you violate is the GPL, then it's worse than murder.

This isn't hypocrisy though, because we don't call it that. Hope that clears things up. :)

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (1)

danielk1982 (868580) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105331)

Stole how exactly?

Oh you mean use the code as allowed by the BSD license. Yep.. definitely stolen.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (4, Informative)

slashdot.org (321932) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105420)

It was originally a colaboration between MS and IBM. So chances are MS owns some of the code.

Exactly. When I worked at MS, I have seen files in the Windows source tree that had comments saying they were part of OS/2. They were also marked as 'Copyright Microsoft' only, which implies that MS licensed their source to IBM, but kept the copyright.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105136)

If any of you idiots would bother to RTFA, the various code ownership issues are discussed at length. Don't let that discourage you, though...

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (4, Funny)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105236)

U read the RTFA ?

Dude thats cheating !

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (2, Informative)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105096)

I agree, If nothing else it has lots of code written by Micro$oft.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (0, Flamebait)

unixbugs (654234) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105105)

Id also suggest that there may be things in the code they dont want us seeing for other reasons, like copyright violations. This is of course the essence of closed source code in my opinion.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (4, Funny)

DoctorPhish (626559) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105112)

Yeah, next thing you know someone will start a petition to open source Solaris!

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (2, Informative)

stiggle (649614) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105411)

Actually OpenSolaris is a good comparison.
Loads of bits of Solaris were developed by others outside of Sun.

But they spent the time and effort to either remove them or sort out the licenses and then release.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (0, Redundant)

KingDaveRa (620784) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105113)

I would wager there is a certain amount of MS code still floating about in there somewhere, plus licenced bits from others who aren't agreeable to open-source in the same way as IBM. Although It'd be a wonderful idea, I don't see it happening any time soon.

Expire? (2, Interesting)

Valiss (463641) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105137)

Do non-disclosure agreements expire necessarily? Or is that something that would only happen if it was written into a contract for some reason?

Re:Expire? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105352)

Well, one thing is typically NDAs which expire upon release... for example system specs, pricing and so on. But for things like source code, there's no reason for it to expire.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (5, Interesting)

CptSkippy (793400) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105142)

They really have nothing to gain from open sourcing OS/2 and potentially a lot to lose from doing so.

If Solaris is any example, it costs money to open source code. You have to pay someone to scour the code for inappropriate or confidential information.

Lawyers need to work through any licensing agreements with third parties and so forth.

They're potentially exsposing themselves to lawsuits by showing their knickers to the world. I mean for all we know OS/2 could be filled with stolen UNIX source code and the last thing IBM wants is to actually validate SCO's claims!

Bottom line is that IBM has nothing to gain from spending (wasting?) money to open source OS/2. It's a shame, but that's life.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (3, Interesting)

yorugua (697900) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105154)

Maybe that's why the article wants IBM to release "as much OS/2 code as possible", so maybe we have an OS/2-Lite version, (sucn as the 4.4BSD-lite Unix version without the AT&T code) so that the community can fill in the blanks later.

Closed source abandonware = software death (4, Insightful)

Omega (1602) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105165)

Yeah, it would never happen, because, as you mention, there are too many NDAs, restrictive licenses and copyrights tied up in OS/2's code.

Which is a shame, really, because releasing the source would not only give eternal life to OS/2, it would also vastly improve the other free software out there by allowing them to integrate (or at least port) portions of OS/2 to their systems. Linux might be able to add support to run OS/2 binaries or learn how its scheduler handles pre-emptive or realtime tasking.

Unfortunately, since OS/2 is closed source, the product will eventually die off when the hardware that can run it becomes obsolete. This is one of the real unfortunate sides to closed source software -- when its owner abandons it, it's dead.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (1)

purple_cobra (848685) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105186)

A variant of OS/2 is still being sold (eComStation) so I doubt IBM would be able to open the source...

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (1)

IncarnadineConor (457458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105196)

But wouldn't there be parts that IBM soley owns? Sure it might not be a whole OS anymore but they could open up parts, that might still be useful to some people.

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105249)

The cold hard fact is that IBM can't release the source code. So many non-disclosure agreements have sealed the fate of OS/2.

That didn't keep them from contributing secret code to Linux!!!1!one!

--Darl

Re:Is IBM is stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105417)

It was my understanding that the only parts that they couldn't release were some drivers and the Windows integration stuff (I heard this 3rd hand a few years ago so it might not be totally true).

Anyhow it would be nice if they could go through the code with a chainsaw and just cut out all of the components that they can't release (and maybe replace them with comments saying roughly what they were and what they did).

Even if no one could get the thing going it would be interesting to look at. And who knows, after what the Mozilla people did with the Netscape code (eventually) there might be hope for even OS/2 Warped And Full Of Holes edition.

Just what Linux Needs (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105055)

Just what Linux needs...

Competition!

Re:Just what Linux Needs (1)

Almond Paste (838493) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105094)

Just what Linux needs

What is "Linux"?

Re:Just what Linux Needs (2, Interesting)

xAXISx (855579) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105115)

Make's sense, it could put more pressure (as if there isn't enough already) on the competing open-source community.

Re:Just what Linux Needs (0, Troll)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105350)

ohh great another dead [openbsd.org] OS [freebsd.org] for competition. No wonder Linux does so well.

Re:Just what Linux Needs (2, Insightful)

Ki Master George (768244) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105422)

Uh... old news. Linux already "competes" not only within itself (in the form of distrobutions), but also against Solaris/OpenSolaris and the BSDs. If another operating system turns open source, it's a good thing: then,from a Stallmanistic, ideology-based point of view, more people are using Free/Open Source Software (without even thinking about it--everyone who uses OS/2 automatically now uses an open source operating system), which advances the cause.

Interesting (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105057)

FIRST POST!!! ahahaa

Please, IBM! (2, Interesting)

ucahg (898110) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105058)

Another open source OS would be welcome. At the very least ideas and features can be examined and possibly implemented in the bigger players (Linuxes). But diversity is always good, and what does IBM have to lose?

Unless of course they are making a successor, but that doesn't seem very likely.

Re:Please, IBM! (0, Flamebait)

Leiterfluid (876193) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105093)

There already is a successor to OS/2.

It's called Windows.

Re:Please, IBM! (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105244)

Then what happened to the wonderful integrated commandline, proper dos multitasking without the lame emulation of windows, and nice gui shell (presentation manager?) It was one of the best OSes I've ever used, I would seriously consider using it as my main system if it was opened up.

Re:Please, IBM! (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105107)

But diversity is always good, and what does IBM have to lose?

Nothing. It's all the other companies (i.e. Microsoft) that have IP bundled with OS/2 that will lose.

Thus it's pointless to dredge up this discussion again and again (yes, I believe this is at least the third time in many years).

No matter how much IBM would love to open it up to us, they just can't. Go whine to Microsoft and the 100s of other code contributers first.

Re:Please, IBM! (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105341)

They could re-code the parts that are from other parties. Or just strip those parts out and open it up for the OSS community to redo the missing parts (with IBM letting people know how the interfaces were used). Imagine all the great documentation they could release as well...

Re:Please, IBM! (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105440)

They could re-code the parts that are from other parties.

No they can't. The "new" codebase would be tainted by previous exposure to IP owned by other companies.

Or just strip those parts out and open it up for the OSS community to redo the missing parts (with IBM letting people know how the interfaces were used).

a) too much work/money with too little end benefit for IBM.

b) see my first point -- they cannot "let people know how the interfaces were used" as it would be tainted and thus open them up to legal issues.

Re:Please, IBM! (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105315)

"and what does IBM have to lose?"

Money.

From the article: "I think it's a question of motivation," added Schindler, "and...what's the benefit for the company [...]"

That's the real question, even though that quote was almost an afterthought late in the article. What *is* the motivation for IBM to spend millions of dollars to do the cleanup, legal, and technical steps necessary to open-source OS/2? What possible return on investment could it bring IBM? That money is much better spent creating a better transition path to linux and on linux support and development projects.

What features and ideas? (2, Insightful)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105373)

Like the JFS [sourceforge.net] filesystem and IBM's OMNIPRINT [sourceforge.net] driver?

IBM has already raided the OS/2 code base for projects that it felt would be helpful to be released as open source. While it would be neat if they could release the WorkPlace Shell or the OS/2 2.1 SMP kernel as open source, if they haven't done it by now, there is probably a good reason such as the code being tainted with third party licences.

What about code that IBM is still using? (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105063)

I would imagine that OS/2 may contain proprietary code that IBM is still using in products that it still supports. If that's the case, the chances of OS/2 being open sourced are pretty much nil.

If OS/2 truly contains nothing but obsolete code that IBM no longer has any use for, then they might do this to throw a bone to the Open Source community, but it might not be of much use to anyone but OS/2 zealots.

Re:What about code that IBM is still using? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105177)

If OS/2 truly contains nothing but obsolete code that IBM no longer has any use for, then they might do this to throw a bone to the Open Source community, but it might not be of much use to anyone but OS/2 zealots.

I'm not so sure. Hadn't Netscape been neglected for a while before it was resurected as Mozilla? It would be a decent foundation for a free modern desktop OS if nothing else.

Re:What about code that IBM is still using? (1)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105252)

Mozilla isn't Netscape. Mozilla is a rewrite. Are you suggesting that IBM should start a foundation that would fund development of a replacement OS for OS/2? That doesn't sound like such a hot idea, does it?

As others have already mentioned, the IP situation for OS/2 is probably so complex that it could never be released as Free software.

Re:What about code that IBM is still using? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105323)

IBM is already doing that, it's called Linux. Although they didn't starte the foundation they are pretty much the biggest funder.

Re:What about code that IBM is still using? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105436)

Well, that wasn't what I was suggesting, but why not. It's a lot easier to write a complete OS when you have something to base it on.

Or.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105068)

The article explains exactly why IBM wouldn't release it as open source. They don't want customers to get their support via the open source community... They want their customers to buy support from IBM, regardless of the operating system that must be used.

OS/2 Info For Fellow Clueless (3, Informative)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105073)

I've heard of it and used it a little back in the day but wan't too up on the history: Wikipedia to the rescue! [wikipedia.org]

Re:OS/2 Info For Fellow Clueless (1)

OnyxRaven (9906) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105166)

The wikipedia entry also talks about the Open Source potential for OS/2 - Almost exactly what I was about to post - Microsoft likely still owns a good chunk of the code. There are pieces that IBM may be able to make available, but the core of the OS is already owned.

Re:OS/2 Info For Fellow Clueless (2, Funny)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105413)

Maybe you need the wikipedia article on karma whoring [wikipedia.org] .

dupe? (2, Informative)

doofusclam (528746) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105074)

Isn't this a dupe? I seem to recall the reason they don't open-source it is because Microsoft still owns some bits of it and banks who still use OS/2 wouldn't be happy for people to go look for holes in the code.

I've definitely told the story on slashdot before of the support line for a german company (Heilersoft?) who pronounced the name like 'Oh Ess Half'.

Re:dupe? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105375)

... a german company (Heilersoft?) who pronounced the name like 'Oh Ess Half'.

Every geek did.

CC.

pointless (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105078)

This has been covered a million times. Due to all the code they share because it was a joint project with Microsoft, it'll never be opened. Pieces probably could be, but I doubt IBM will spend the time or effort to decide what's theirs and whats microsofts and rip it apart.

No way (1)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105082)

There's too many license agreements involved for this to ever work.

A wiser tack would be to ask if the Workplace shell itself, and the system object model, couldn't be open sourced. Neither of those technologies appear in Windows, and I think they were some of the greatest features of OS/2. If they are Microsoft-free, maybe IBM can help those technologies come back to life.

Re:No way (1)

klingens (147173) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105130)

WPS and SOM depended a lot on extended attributes. Which (Free) filesystems has those?
NTFS has these streams which could work as EAs, but Linux?

Re:No way (1)

snorklewacker (836663) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105193)

ReiserFS is a possibility. XFS supposedly has extended attributes too. NTFS doesn't need streams to do it, it already has extended attributes ... NTFS is descended from OS/2's filesystem after all.

So hey they could open SOM ... big deal. This does not mean everyone will flock to it. There's hundreds of good open-source ideas out there that are rotting away for lack of use in production code.

The full WPS probably can't be released (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105262)

But there was an IBM skunkworks WPS clone that could replace PROGMAN.EXE as the shell in Windows 3.x. I remember downloading it to put install over Windows for Workgroups to alieviate the cognitive dissonance I encountered on those occasions when I had to dual boot to run one of those few programs that wouldn't run under OS/2's version of Windows 3.1 running on OS/2's dos box.

I doubt that it was much more than a hack. It almost certainly didn't contain all of SOM classes. Nonetheless, it was pretty slick.

How up to date is OS2? (1)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105097)

Would the effort be better spent on improving more contemporary open source OS projects?

For example (I admit, I don't know), but does OS/2 support:

USB?

High End Video Cards?

Wireless Networking?

If not, then why???

Desktop vs. Server (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105147)

Do you really need all these for a server/atm configuration ? Obviously, no.

Aw, come on... (3, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105179)

For example (I admit, I don't know), but does OS/2 support: USB? High End Video Cards? Wireless Networking?"

Aw, come on. No-one really needs anything other than a 25-pin RS-232 serial interface and 16-colour VGA. Wireless networking? Dangerous, man! The waves will cook you. Also, you should really be happy only with a single-speed CD-ROM drive. Anything faster, and the disk melts from the centrifugal force. Cd Burner, yeah right. You really have to pay a lot more in homeowner insurance for that. I won't even touch "firewire", not without asbestos gloves anyway.

Re:How up to date is OS2? (1)

jcdick1 (254644) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105257)

USB is definitely supported.

It supports current video through a unified graphics driver coded by SciTech Software [scitechsoft.com] . This replaced the GRADD drivers IBM was coding "back in the day." Its basically an OS/2 version of their SNAP graphics.

As for the other stuff, I am not entirely sure. I am pretty confident, though, that it has some wireless support provided through the more recent service paks.

Re:How up to date is OS2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105269)

Yes, try hobbes.nmsu.edu

Yes, try www.scitechsoft.com

and Yes, again try hobbes.nmsu.edu

Nathan

Because the SMP implementation was sweet (2, Interesting)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105291)

Of course given that most of the kernel was written in assembler gives it limited practicality, but it would be an great exercise in kernel design to look at OS/2's SMP engine that was so wickedly fast.

One IBM developer was heard muttering (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105132)

"oh, shit, how are we going to explain that it's just a bunch of cats taped together?"

Question (2, Insightful)

cached (801963) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105134)

Tell me if I am wrong, but to me it looks like the same thing as many windows users asking to see the source code of, say, windows 95? There is almost 0% chance of this occuring, so why bother posting it on /.?

Potential Security Risks for existing customers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105140)

This will not happen, as the potential risk to existing customers is extensive.

These archaic systems may hold sensitive data which thus far has been protected by security through obscurity (at least in part).

Fillin' in the gaps (4, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105146)

Surely the code contains proprietary software that IBM doesn't want to open source, but that doesn't mean that they can't open up the rest. Part of the magic of open source is that people will write the necessary software to fill those gaps.

However, I can't see IBM releasing the source until after December 23rd. It's not until that point that OS/2 becomes immediately unprofitable. If IBM holds up its promise to support OS/2 through 2006, then the source will hit the ground running and be able to get help from its parents while the teachers begin to take over, thus the transition from closed to open goes well and is supported by the original developers, even if only for a year.

Not to mention (1, Insightful)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105158)

all the ATM machines that still use OS/2...releasing the code for a product that handles money is probably not the wisest of ideas...

Re:Not to mention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105254)

Er... I thought we didn't like security through obscurity.

Re:Not to mention (1)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105313)

Er... We have to live with it though if we don't want to go and patch all those machines. If you aren't going to update most of the machines using the software after holes are found then you probably don't want the source code released.

Security through obscurity is good. ... (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105371)

Er... I thought we didn't like security through obscurity.

You are mistaken. Security through obscurity is good when it is one of many methods. Using it as your one and only method of security is what is bad. It's just another tool.

Re:Not to mention (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105314)

all the ATM machines that still use OS/2...releasing the code for a product that handles money is probably not the wisest of ideas...

Right, and security through obscurity works so well, which is why Windows is so much harder to hack than Linux.

Um ... right?

Oh, wait ...

This Is Not New... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105159)

...as you can see by reading this comment. [slashdot.org] It is, however, good to see more support for this idea though.

No Need (4, Insightful)

ssj_195 (827847) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105160)

I'm sure that as I type a hundred people will have posted the reasons why IBM could not open the code even if they wanted to (Microsoft co-own it, etc), but I personally think opening it would not really benefit many people. The code-base is years old and an attempt to getting it running on newer hardware would probably be doomed to failure so, since a lot of the reasons people like it was the GUI design of the thing, why not just clone it and re-implement all the great ideas? I wouldn't be at all surprised if a re-write of the shell on top of Linux/ BSD wouldn't take a lot less time and effort than dragging an ancient code-base into the 21st century and torturing it into something that works well on current hardware.

Re:No Need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105344)

You wrote this because you are ignorant of it running on todays computers??

Try www.ecomstation.com, it will run.

Check facts before you pontificate on what you know nothing of.

Re:No Need (1)

ssj_195 (827847) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105374)

Oops - cheerfully withdrawn :)

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAN... (1)

enigmals1 (667526) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105183)

Let the fricken OS die already!!

Dang it, where'd I put that pic of beating a dead horse...

IBM's shifting focus (5, Insightful)

Bazuul (561189) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105184)

IBM has been championing Linux for servers for quite a while now. By creating demand for Linux based servers, IBM creates a customer base that excludes the MSFT/DELL alliance and creates a base for their lucrative service contracts. Any success an open-sourced OS/2 would have would distract from this.

It's very important for companies' initiatives to be well-focused. If IBM released OS/2 to the community, they will dilute their Linux marketing campaign and further fragment the customer base they are trying to build. If OS/2 took off like mad, that would be yet another OS that IBM has to qual test it's servers with. While I have fond memories of using OS/2 and realize that many of its innovations are standard features in today's operating systems, I wouldn't want it polluting the OS base for all time to come. And apparently, neither does IBM.

Never Gonna Happen (5, Interesting)

Old VMS Junkie (739626) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105190)

I was at an ATM in a convenience store last summer during a thunderstorm. The power went out and when it came back on, I watched the ATM boot. Guess what? OS/2. There is no way that IBM's lawyers are going to let that code loose so that people can pick it apart. Just the suggestion probably gives them visions of a pony-tailed hacker going from ATM to ATM and filling his Volkwagon mini-bus with cash.

Re:Never Gonna Happen (0, Troll)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105415)

Reminds me of a Walmart ATM that I went to and accedentally swipped my card backwards and boom, blue screen, rebooted as Windows NT. A few days later just to see if it would do it again I swipped my card backwards and boom same thing.

from then on everytime I went by that ATM I would blue screen it.

Re:Never Gonna Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105442)

Right... just like how the fact that a lot of ATMs and such used to run on DOS, and therefore DOS source code would allow people to rob ATMs?

Or like how running an ATM on Linux would instantly give "pony-tailed hackers" access to all the money contained therein?

OS/2 has already been open sourced (2, Interesting)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105194)

IBM has open sourced about as much of OS/2 as it is going to. OS/2's file system (JFS) was opened up as well as IBM's Omniprint driver. So it isn't like we can really claim that IBM is entirely opposed to opening up OS/2. They've already opened large swaths of it to be rewarded by constant complaints that what they've opened isn't enough.

The balance is probably so tainted by third party licensed code (and not only from Microsoft) as to make separating out the IBM code from the third party code an expensive proposition.

One thing that might be interesting is that there was an unsupported IBM WPS clone that could replace PROGMAN.EXE as the shell for Windows. It might be interesting if that particular skunkworks product could be released as well, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Fir5tP post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105195)

United States of [goat.cx]

Let the dead stay dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105213)

Why is it when an OS dies a needed death (Be, OS/2) there are groups that want it to go open source. Like some how that will save it for the scap pile insted of insureing that it will always be a decade behind the times. That's what happened to UNIX.

Make an OS port/fork- like Linux, BSD, DOS,etc (1)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105225)

In the same way Linus was tired of the closedness of UNIX (think VAX, AIX, etc); freeBSD from BSDI, OpenDOS (and many DOS variants) from DOS- rebuild OS/2 if it has such advantages.

I used to love OS/2 back in the day, but if certain elements prevent IBM from releasing it all, either (a) get them to release parts and fill in the gaps with open-licensed code, or (b) start from scratch.

I'd agree though- it's a shame to see thousands and thousands of lines of code head over to /dev/null.

-M

The Only Stupid Question... (2, Interesting)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105226)

Is the one that goes unasked, right?

So here goes: After reading the first wave of posts it seems that there are other entity's source code in OS/2. So is it possible for IBM to make available its source code for OS/2 only? If they provide the code with gaps, couldn't those in the Open Source Community fill them in? My gut tells me that to do so would be far too complicated for the benefits, but not being a Software Engineering type I don't know for sure.

Re:The Only Stupid Question... (1)

doombob (717921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105304)

I was going to ask something similar, for instance how could IBM possibly splice out code that isn't theirs? It could be ingrained into very important parts of the OS. And what happens if a little piece of someone else's pie gets release? How much trouble could this cause IBM?

Project to create an Open-Source OS/2 clone (4, Informative)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105251)

Some people in this discussion might be interested
to know that there is a project underway to create a "from scratch" clone of OS/2, under an open-source license.

See http://www.osfree.org/index.php [osfree.org] for more details.

Pay IBM to open source OS/2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105308)


Let's face it - OS/2 likely contains proprietary code and trade secrets that IBM merely licenses from a 3rd party. Also, IBM will likely want to spend some significant time to examine exactly what it would be opening - and that means scouring every line of code.

To me, that means big $. I think if people want it opened, they should partner with IBM and kick in some $$$ to make it happen.

It isn't easy to open something that was never designed to be opened.

Luser group (-1, Flamebait)

rdmiller3 (29465) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105381)

Anyone still enamored with OS/2 is a total loser.

OS/2 Warp-whatever was released about ten years ago!

It's dead, folks. Let it rest.

At least make it free.... (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105399)

Even if OS/2 cannot be made open source, I think they should at least give it a license so that it can be gotten for free. I've wanted to try it for years, but have never been able to because I'm not going to spend $$$ on something I might not even use after trying. It's a part of computer history that I think should be shown, what Windows could have been (As I understand, OS/2 was a decent competitor to Win 3.1 early on in Win 3.1's life).

IBM: As a long-time fan of OS/2, I say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105402)

...Please please please do not even consider releasing OS/2 WPS or base OS source -- ever!

Sure, the WPS was ahead of just about any other desktop at the time and even now stomps on most, though it's not portable.

The time needed to adapt the WPS -- the main part of OS/2 that was so sweet -- would be better used to add WPS capabilities to other open source projects.

Fellow programmers: If IBM does indeed release the source...use it for inspiration, though don't reuse it.

OS/3 (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105404)

Opening the OS/2 source code is a great idea [slashdot.org] ;).

Would the OS/2 source code, integrated into WINE, help it to run 32-bit Windows apps? Does OS/2 support for Windows apps require any approval from Microsoft? Could OS/2 finally create a real competitor to Windows with its death rattle?

I kinda doubt it... (1)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105406)

Why would IBM want to do this? It would make business sense to kill OS/2 dead and start sales on its replacement.

Whatever ideology it is we delude ourselves with what IBM has morphed itself into these days, they are first and foremost a business

And besides, is OS/2 really that great? Some things deserve to die. I'm not saying OS/2 *does* (i've never actually used it myself).

Is it wonderful or is it crap? This is something that needs to be considered as well.

The problem with Open Sourcing OS/2... (5, Informative)

kangadru (853564) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105427)

Is that you can't Open Source the entire Operating System, and at this point it would cost more to perform the code audit and legal audit to make this happen that it would to simply take the black eye of killing it. If you think about it, it makes sense. OS/2 is, and never was, just the operating system. Think back to installing OS/2, especially in the pre 4.0 days. You didn't just install OS/2, you also installed LAN Server (or LAN Manager in earlier days), TCP/IP for the Internet, eventyually you got MMPM and others, but these are all seperate packages that are more or less bolted onto the core. It's probably reasonable to release parts of OS/2, but you can't release all of it, particularly the parts licensed from third parties. That's the real kicker. In order to Open Source OS/2 in the sense that most people want is a logistical nightmare that would encompass years and a cost that IBM would have no hope of ever recovering. So what is the next best option? release the source for the important parts. SOM ? can't because of Microsoft licensing. WPS? can't, Adobe PostScript font rendering engine. Those are just items from the top of my head, and I haven't used OS/2 in close to 10 years now. It's a nice dream, but it's unlikely to ever happen. kanga

It brings tears to my eyes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105430)

tells of one of the last active OS/2 user groups

Wow, just wow. I think we should all write our congressman and tell them that these people need to be protected before they become extinct. Does anyone know if they're on the endangered species list?
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