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Keeping the OS/2 Flame Alive

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the burn-baby-burn dept.

IBM 316

nanday writes "Ever wondered what happened to OS/2? With IBM officially abandoning the operating system last year, users are relying on a third party version of OS/2 -- and, increasingly, using free and open source software to keep it alive." From the article: "According to Haverblad, the main reason that users stay with OS/2 is for 'features that Windows and Linux don't have yet.' He singles out the REstructured eXtended eXecutor (REXX), an interpreted programming language known for its ease of use, a 'rock solid kernel,' 'excellent multitasking,' and low system requirements. Haverblad also claims a lack of viruses and spyware and, referencing a report on OS/2 Warp Server by Secunia, fewer security vulnerabilities." Newsforge is also an OSTG site.

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316 comments

First comment.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743060)

Whooohooooooooooo!!!

REXX was also available for Amiga...and others... (4, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743072)

"...the REstructured eXtended eXecutor (REXX), an interpreted programming language known for its ease of use..."

REXX was also available for Amiga...and others...
See: http://rexxla.org/Links/ [rexxla.org]

Re:REXX was also available for Amiga...and others. (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743149)

I'm on an OS/2 machine right now, at work.

REXX is a poor replacement for Perl.

Re:REXX was also available for Amiga...and others. (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743544)

REXX is a poor replacement for Perl.

But an elegant replacement for BASIC!

Regardless, the golden years of REXX, and for that matter OS/2, have passed. The world has moved on, barring some pockets of legacy code here and there.

Re:REXX was also available for Amiga...and others. (0, Redundant)

hummassa (157160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743168)

Others include Linux (regina).

Re:REXX was also available for Amiga...and others. (0, Flamebait)

iamacat (583406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743171)

Not to mention that Mac users had AppleScript before, during and after OS/2. Nothing to see here, move along!

Re:REXX was also available for Amiga...and others. (2, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743180)

There are about a dozen more than this. See Interpreters [wikipedia.org] . Its a pretty well supported language on just about every platform. Though its really only naturally at home on Z-OS and I-OS and that's where it makes sense to use it.

...including Windows and Linux. (2, Informative)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743261)

I've used REXX on Windows. There's a terminal emulator called ZOC with a built-in REXX emulator. After it became widely used as a scripted helper for Trade Wars 2002, REXX support was incorporated into other TW helpers, including SWATH and (I think) TWX.

Pretty sure there's also a standalone REXX for Windows. I'll let somebody else do the Googling and leech the +1, Informative.

The problem is... (2, Insightful)

ajiva (156759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743073)

Unfortunetly for OS/2 is that the installed software base is very small. So if you are content with whatever software is out there for OS/2 (old versions of browsers, etc) and don't have a fast computer then yes I agree OS/2 is worth it. Otherwise you're better off with Linux, Windows or maybe even Solaris.

Re:The problem is... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743167)

Small software base, for now. It would be very cool to see OO.o, Firefox & Thunderbird ported over. It would provide another alternative for building 'grandmother computers.' Computers that are used for writing letters and checking e-mail and that's it. No viruses, no spyware, no worms. I would never need to fix grandmas computer again!

I know I could do the same thing with Linux or OS/X, but still, it's OS/2! I declare this Cool Retro OS Day, and will now fire up my B-box, my Amiga, and a PC running PC DOS. I will play Sim City for Dos and tweak autoexec.bat and config.sys. I will load OS2 from flopy, all 27(?) of them! Horay!

Re:The problem is... (2, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743221)

I've added the relevant links (found with a quick Google) directly to the quoted text:
It would be very cool to see OO.o [ecomstation.com] , Firefox & Thunderbird [mozilla.org] ported over.

Re:The problem is... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743252)

Thank's! That is very cool. Now all I need is to find that stack of flopys. :)

Re:The problem is... (1)

cygnus (17101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743407)

Thank's!
Oh no you didn't! [angryflower.com]

Re:The problem is... (5, Informative)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743304)

Yeah, those old versions of browsers [mozilla.org] are really painful.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743331)

What about specialized embedded applications of OS/2 like some of the ATMs used by the bank I work for? Perhaps we might want to use newer hardware than that of the mid-90s.

OS/2 is still out there. It might never completely go away, just like the floppy drive.

Re:The problem is... (1)

ninthwave (150430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743576)

Why would you need newer hardware for an atm?

Re:The problem is... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743358)

Firefox 1.5 is available for OS/2 Warp 4 (with updates applied) and eComStation. There are a couple of screen shots of it here: http://toastytech.com/guis/ff15t2.html [toastytech.com]

Re:The problem is... (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743594)

So if you are content with whatever software is out there for OS/2 (old versions of browsers, etc)

I don't know how you could be. The reason I bit the bullet and gave up OS/2 Warp for Windown 95 ten-plus years ago was that the new releases of Netscape 2.x that web developers were starting to target didn't have native OS/2 versions, and the Windows 3.x binaries constantly crashed OS/2's Win16 subsystem.

REXX support (1)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743076)

REXX is something that the Amiga had too. But I think that REXX only really works if the majority of applications have hooks for it. Linux and Windows will never have useful REXX support because they have been going for too long without it. There would have to be a massive grass roots effort to add it to all the software, somewhat like when the Unisys started enforcing the gif patent

Re:REXX support (2, Informative)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743172)

Well, on Windows there's nothing to stop REXX calling COM methods.

Re:REXX support (1)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743202)

What, like: address SH "your shell command here"

As a scripting language, its great, as you dont have to bother about having special libs developed for it, you get all the OS interface you need from the shell.

When the vista environment comes out, I wont have to learn a new scripting language, just learn the few vista shell commands I need to get what i need done.

Its not so good for full application development, but its the ideal universal scripting language.

Re:REXX support (0, Redundant)

NullProg (70833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743363)

Linux and Windows will never have useful REXX support

Regina has been around on linux since the mid-90's.

http://www.linux.org/apps/AppId_8860.html [linux.org]

Enjoy,

"REXX" with hooks on modern OS (1)

porneL (674499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743607)

On OS X AppleScript works much like REXX and lots of apps have hooks for it.

OS/2 (3, Insightful)

certel (849946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743084)

I would still be using OS/2 if it was receiving regular updates for new hardware. I feel that if IBM was to relook at the OS, they may gain some market share because users are now more educated as to the workings of a computer.

Re:OS/2 (1, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743303)

I feel that if IBM was to relook at the OS, they may gain some market share because users are now more educated as to the workings of a computer.

You're joking right? OS/2 failed during a time when it was MORE likely that people using computers would understand them. Now, with OSs that nearly force you to NOT know about computers (by hiding everything behind purty graphics) people know even less about how their computers interact with the OS.

Just because more people can *use* computers doesn't mean that they know how they work.

Re:OS/2 (1)

crawling_chaos (23007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743590)

Now, with OSs that nearly force you to NOT know about computers (by hiding everything behind purty graphics) people know even less about how their computers interact with the OS.

Yeah, 'cause cars were so much better when everyone driving them needed to know how all about them rather than hiding everything behind purty dashboards. A computer is a tool and the simplest to use tool that completely accomplishes the job is the best one to use. I do not feel like going back to punch cards or flipping registers on the front panel to load bootstrap code, thank you very much. (And yes, I have done both as part of my employment. I guess that makes me an old fart.)

WarpDriver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743090)

Just FYI, the WarpDriver project never went anywhere. A few lines of code were written many years ago, but that was it. I don't think anyone ever used it. I'm surprised it was mentioned.

IBM is contemplating resurrecting OS/2 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743093)

But the bad news is if they bring it back, all those OSS projects will be targetted for shutdown. Their official announcement [local6.com] is a bit scary.

Re:IBM is contemplating resurrecting OS/2 (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743142)

Well, it was made in Western Kentucky.

Let it go man! (5, Funny)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743095)

I suppose there are people using the abacus too.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Let it go man! (1)

spectre_240sx (720999) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743396)

Actually, the abacus (or soroban) is still in use in Japan.

Actually... (0, Offtopic)

maiku (167604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743410)

Wikipedia: Abacus [wikipedia.org]

It was in use centuries before the adoption of the written Hindu-Arabic numeral system and is still widely used by merchants and clerks in China and elsewhere.

Abacus schools and competitions are still common in Japan. The better instructors are known for being very strict, not above getting a little physical when disciplining students.

Re:Let it go man! (1)

Rellik66 (596729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743427)

I suppose there are people using the abacus too.

Nah, it's more of a cry for help [spamusement.com]

.

Re:Let it go man! (1)

The Cubelodyte (913142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743566)

Drat! You beat me to the punch. A well-played link, sir.

Re:Let it go man! (1)

icydog (923695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743456)

I think abacuses (abacii?) might be more common in China than calculators. Especially outside of large cities, shops usually will use an abacus instead of electronic devices. It's pretty cool, they can do calculations on that thing way faster than I can on a calculator.

Security Problems... (4, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743106)

Considering the timeframe OS/2 was developed in, and its complexity excuse me if I don't believe it is secure. Most of the software from that timeframe has been shown to have a LOT of security problems, primarily because the training, and tools to discover holes didn't exist at the time.

Plus a complete OS that is secure? ... I don't think so... Linux, and BSD, in their lifetimes have had lots of security problems, particularly as they have grown in popularity.

If OS/2 was released OpenSource tomorrow and got popular you'd have it with the MOST security venerabilities by years end I guarantee it.

The ONLY reason OS/2 /appears/ to be secure is because it isn't worth any one's time trying to crack it.

Re:Security Problems... (3, Informative)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743134)

Actually it is the most worthwhile OS to crack from a greed perspective... Guess what those ATMs generally run on... thats right, OS/2

Re:Security Problems... (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743212)

Barring a few stupid corporations (*cough* Diebold *cough*), most ATMs accept extremely limited input, and have a very narrow range of possible actions they can take with that input, so there really isn't much to gain by hacking an ATM, and no real way to do it, because it's not really set up for that, and isn't running other, exploitable, services.

Now, those Diebold machines that run Windows, on the other hand...I've seen screenshots of those things after a bluescreen, with the browser up, and the media player going. I'd bet there was a way to get them to spit out their complete internal cash supply. That's a good 250k, if it's full. Can you insert a buffer overflow on the back of an ATM card?

Re:Security Problems... (3, Informative)

general_re (8883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743467)

That's a good 250k, if it's full.

No way. I used to work for a bank, and the busiest machines carried $30k when full, and most of our machines carried less. The machines just aren't set up to hold 12,500 bills (about 25 pounds worth of currency), which is $250k in $20 bills. Plus, that amount of cash would be way too tempting for the sorts of idiots who might consider hooking up a tow truck or backhoe and just driving off with the thing.

Obligatory Mac Bash (0, Flamebait)

Comboman (895500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743274)

The ONLY reason OS/2 /appears/ to be secure is because it isn't worth any one's time trying to crack it.

...just like Mac OS.

viruses (4, Informative)

blue_adept (40915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743107)

Haverblad also claims a lack of viruses and spyware.

um, having a lack of USERS tends to do that.

Re:viruses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743177)

That may be true, but the fact remains that it lacks viruses and spyware, so if that's more important to you ...

Re:viruses (1)

RiotXIX (230569) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743178)

Quite right. Whenever people try to hype up an old OS because of lack of viruses, I get the impression they're shooting themselves. Software will always have bugs : good review/verification schemes (like the linux kernel has) are great, but you're never going to get that on every single piece of software. It's probably the lack of people writing the viruses that makes them statistically more secure.

Re:viruses (1)

ghislain_leblanc (450723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743406)

Not counting lack of software...!

Re:viruses (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743416)

"having a lack of USERS tends to do that. "

Tell me about it! I've got this awesome OS that I'm still working out in my mind. The best thing is... NO VIRUSES/ADWAVE/SPYWARE. N-O-N-E. The thing's never even crashed.

Re:viruses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743460)

As many have posted before: Where are all the Unix viruses then?

OS/2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743122)

OS/2 is like timeclocks, typewriters, card punches, hard disks, and PCs. High-growth business supporting commercial clients in its time; but now the action is in Linux. There's a REXX for Linux.
And you can still get OS/2 licenses if you want. Just not from IBM.

A worthy attempt but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743129)

OS/2 is IMO on its way to the big dark EOL. It had many advantages, even when looking at their server environments, but now it is all but surpassed big time. They mentioned REXX, nice, but forgot that OS/2 was also one of the first OS's to fully integrate Java. And once you mastered that it turned out to be a little more flexible than Rexx was, even with the Rexx visual developer kit (good old memories: on 2 3.5" disks).

In my opinion this is nothing more than a bunch of people / companies who try to postpone the inevatible. "If it isn't broke, don't fix it", which will reduce costs in itself. But only for so long... OS/2 was nice, but now it really dwells in the realms of other old OS's.

Re:A worthy attempt but... (3, Insightful)

kwandar (733439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743203)

I tend to agree. I had/have OS/2 v4 and maybe I'll get around to adding it to Grub, but its really a legacy system at this point. What I would like to see, is for OS/2 to be open sourced. I'm sure IBM wouldn't care, but I suspect there may be some legacy MS component lurking in the background, as it was orignally a joint MS/IBM venture. Who knows - an open sourcing of API's could help. Even MS might benefit if they really thought about it, as its old technology and, as they view open source as a competitor, better that open source spend time on the old, rather than the new.

Re:A worthy attempt but... (1)

simong (32944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743293)

The Windows compatibility was taken out of v4 and IBM alleged at the the time that there was no Microsoft code left in the core OS. However, it transpired that this didn't apply to code that had been written by MS for version 1 and had been given (or sold) to IBM when MS had dropped out, so releasing it to open source is practically impossible.

Re:A worthy attempt but... (1, Flamebait)

DingerX (847589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743211)

Yeah, that reminds me. Last summer I had to buy a ticket at an Italian railway station. I could have used the robodispensers, but this required a little fancy maneuvering the automated machines didn't have. So I wait in line, give my request. The guy gets halfway through entering it, and the system crashes hard. He waits two minutes, hits reset and sure enough, the OS/2 Warp logo graces the screen. He ends up issuing me a ticket identical to what the robodispensers were giving, i.e., not solving the specific issue I wanted solved.

Now, Italian trains are, relative to the rest of europe, cheap, but I wonder if ditching OS/2 wouldn't improve stability and flexibility.

Word of the day (-1, Offtopic)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743137)

Chauvinist comes from one Nicolas Chauvin, a rabidly patriotic member of Napoleon's army; it was then later applied to the veterans of the Napoleonic wars who were mocked for their unswerving loyalty to Napoleon long after his fall. Whatever the true origin, what's undisputed is that a Chauvin became a vaudeville character, and so the term chauvinisme came to be applied to blind and belligerent patriotism. By the 1870s, English had borrowed the term in this meaning.

The broadening of the term to include any sort of biased belief in the superiority of a particular race, creed, operating system or cause emerged much later, in the mid-20th century. Both this meaning and the earlier meaning also took on the form chauvinist, and both forms are most often used with an adjective modifier to describe the kind of chauvinism or chauvinist being talked about.

Re:Word of the day (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743226)

Thank you for today's sermon Reverend Ch-Chuck. So, as I leave these hallowed html halls of /. (on my way back to msnbc.com), is today's lesson on Chauvinism analogous to OS/2 followers? IBM is napolean? Well done, sir. 'Tis quite a morsel for me to savor the remainder of the day. Well done.

Down! Mod Parent Down! (0, Offtopic)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743320)

This might be interesting, if it's even true, but it's still offtopic.

NT kernel (-1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743139)

rock solid kernel? correct me if i am wrong, but isnt OS2 another child of the NT kernel (or vice versa) are they still binary compatible?

Re:NT kernel (2, Informative)

mr_majestyk (671595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743188)

No, NT was developed by Microsoft independently of IBM. NT did offer an OS/2 compatibility layer early on, but it has a completely different kernel.

Re:NT kernel (4, Interesting)

cnettel (836611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743208)

OS/2 shares a few design decisions with the NT kernel. The NT kernel used to have a "personality" (just like the Posix and the more famous, Win32, one) to run a small subset of OS/2 console applications in Windows NT. At one point, of course, NT was supposed to be primarly an OS/2 successor, instead of a Windows 3(.1) one. This means that a lot of data structures and so on are similar, where it really doesn't matter, just to make it familiar to user application developers.

BTW, what's "unsolid" about the NT kernel itself?

Re:NT kernel (1)

rmallico (831443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743390)

you had to ask a question like that... eh? there is not much unsolid about the kernel... its the stuff a few doors north in the OSI model that seem to get it bashed (no pun intended)

Where can I get it? Virtual PC? (1)

Expert Determination (950523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743165)

I remember versions OS/2 being given out for free on CD on the front cover of magazines. Are these free versions downloadable from anywhere? And will it run in Virtual PC?

OS/2 Petition (4, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743291)

I think it's worth pointing out this petition [os2world.com] over at OS2World.com (which is still accepting signatures), asking IBM to release the source of OS/2.

There are apparently some legal issues -- the most frequently cited one is that IBM might not hold copyright to all the code, since the project was originally done in collaboration with Microsoft and Corel -- but the request is that IBM open up all of the code that it has available and can legally release, and note what parts it can't, so that they could be re-implemented.

I'm not sure it's ever going to happen, but it sure would be nice if it did.

Re:Where can I get it? Virtual PC? (1)

Archbishop (161322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743334)

OS/2 will run under virtual pc and virtual server. Doesn't work under vmware though.

os2 and windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743173)

os/2 is compatable with 90% of all windows apps still. aside from things that really are part of windows you can run almost anything with it still.

its big problem is its really primative compared to many of todays oses. But its ok if you dont mind the rough look and a little hassle.

Rock Solid Multitasking? (3, Interesting)

thammoud (193905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743183)

I developed for OS/2 for about 7 years. Yes the kernel had threads and a solid multitasking support but the flawed design of Presentation Manager (PM) caused a single rogue app to lock up the desktop and making it useless. The single message queue that IBM designed in PM, was one of the worst technical design decisions ever made. There added many workarounds to kill rogue apps but the results were pretty unreliable.

Re:Rock Solid Multitasking? (4, Informative)

NullProg (70833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743240)

I developed for OS/2 for about 7 years. Yes the kernel had threads and a solid multitasking support but the flawed design of Presentation Manager (PM) caused a single rogue app to lock up the desktop and making it useless. The single message queue that IBM designed in PM, was one of the worst technical design decisions ever made. There added many workarounds to kill rogue apps but the results were pretty unreliable.

It was fixed in 1996 with the release of version 4. Microsoft owns the copyright on PM, not IBM.

Enjoy,

Re:Rock Solid Multitasking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743278)

Aaaagh, yes, I remember this. We used to have an OS/2 Warp 3 file server. It ran quite well, but occassionally the GUI would lock up, forcing you to reboot to fix it.

However, the server would still serve up files. It was just the GUI that was crashed, so I could just wait till the end of the day for the reboot.

REXX for Linux is available (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743189)

And its not the stuffy old version that came with OS/2 either, it's the more modern ObjectREXX. Enjoy. [oorexx.org]

You'd be amazed what's still available and used :) (1)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743193)

If any of you (like me) had fun back in the days of dial up BBS's .. and liked OS2 (I kinda liked DesqView also) , Rob Swindell still keeps Synchronet [synchro.net] the telnet BBS package alive (along with its OS/2 Build).

While he hasn't made much changes to them over the years the message base networks / online games are still really active. Someone mentions OS/2 and I instantly start thinking back to the days of playing Trade Wars.

Wow makes you feel like a dinosaur and not even much past 30 .. But its good to see they're still alive and kicking.

Memories :) Fun stuff.

REXX (4, Insightful)

Shag (3737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743194)

I used to code in REXX in 1989.

It was pretty handy for scripting, useful as "glue" between different things and all that.

By 1989 standards, mind you.

I think modern things (like AppleScript/Automator) can probably do everything REXX could ever do, and more, while being more readable to us humans.

Re:REXX (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743256)

Back in the day, I used to run a BBS on my machine in a minimized DOS session. The BBS control script was done in REXX, and afforded me an insane amount of control when dealing with nightly maintenance of the board, its games, and assorted mail networks.

I thought OS/2 was history ... (0, Redundant)

ravee (201020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743197)

What is the point in reviving OS/2 now. Another OS is the last thing we need at this hour. And how much ever be the robustness of OS/2 as claimed by its users, I think it is high time enough to move on and let some things remain as they are - ie history.

Re:I thought OS/2 was history ... (1)

markhb (11721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743461)


Another OS is the last thing we need at this hour.


I thought we were in favor of choice.

Obligatory Bill Gates Quote (5, Informative)

ribuck (943217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743213)

"I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time. As the successor to DOS, which has over 10,000,000 systems in use, it creates incredible opportunities for everyone involved with PCs."

-- Bill Gates, from "OS/2 Programmer's Guide" (forward by Bill Gates)

Re:Obligatory Bill Gates Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743342)

(forward by Bill Gates)

Obligatory "Princess Bride" quote: "That word...I do not think it means what you think it means."

According to Webster,
foreword
Pronunciation: 'fOr-(")w&rd, 'for-
Function: noun
: prefatory comments (as for a book) especially when written by someone other than the author

Re:Obligatory Bill Gates Quote (1)

ribuck (943217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743391)

Thanks, AC. I knew forward wasn't right, but a search for foreward didn't help and I didn't think to try foreword. Makes sense though, word and all.

What !!??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743218)

What !!??!!??

features that Windows and Linux don't have yet.' He singles out the REstructured eXtended eXecutor (REXX)

How about http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=REXX+linux&bt nG=Google+Search [google.com]

Look in the corner of that bank's machine room (2, Informative)

simong (32944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743228)

There are probably elderly PCs running Dow Jones feed servers in many banks still, probably even running OS/2 1.3 on the command line as it Just Worked, even to the point that there were attempts to port applications to v4/Warp when it was released. It had an amazingly fast boot time even compared to DOS but even when IBM had a burst of zealotry over Warp and tried to promote it as the Internet desktop of the future (I still have a few of those 60 day trial CDs that got everywhere at the end of 1994). It's good to know that it's being kept alive as despite its foibles, it had a potential that neither Linux, Windows or OS X have managed to really live up to, as a light, fast, multithreading application server. Just perhaps not a desktop.

Re:Look in the corner of that bank's machine room (1)

simong (32944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743314)

Hmm, I seem to have missed a whole line there. It was about the general lack of compatibility with anything but, er, IBM machines. I can remember an IBM guy trying for two days to get a network connection on a generic PC at the ISP that I worked at at the time.

Re:Look in the corner of that bank's machine room (1)

TheBracket (307388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743394)

Not just in banks. A couple of my clients still have OS/2 boxes sitting quietly running voicemail systems, attached to a PBX. They just run and run, occasionally needing replacement drives but otherwise pretty flawlessly. The only systems we have that match their uptime are running FreeBSD.

OS/2 died on August 17, 1995 (5, Informative)

mr_majestyk (671595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743247)

On that day, OS/2's architect, Gordon Letwin, posted USENET message [google.com] explaining why the system was doomed in the market. After that, it was all downhill.

Fond memories (1)

Hercynium (237328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743268)

While I don't subscribe to the fanboy lit, I do remember being really impressed with OS/2 back in 1995 or so.

Does anybody here have an ISO of the last version? I would love to spend some quality time poking around for old time's sake. (just send an email about it if you don't want to advertise having a copy to the world)

Time to (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743271)

get a Mac.

OS/2's unique advantages aren't, any more. (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743283)

So OS/2 has REXX, a solid kernel, excellent multitasking, and low systems requirements.

Good. But not unique. And a $259 price tag makes it considerably more expensive than Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.

So... for the people who don't want to run Windows, but want to use a PC, maybe a nice OS/2 emulation layer for Linux? Maybe IBM could donate the documentation and money necessary to sponsor a FOSS developer for a year or something.

OS/2 I used it today! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743302)

I work at a PBS station and our voice mail system is OS/2 based. We had some hard drive issues lately and we found some OS/2 guy to fix it. As far as stability goes, aside from the occasional downtime due to user error from the absurdly complex interface (our VM software), its stable as can be.

Did anyone else read this as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743317)

"Keeping the OS/2 Flame War Alive"?

Anyway, within a 50 foot radius, there are a couple OS/2 boxes here at work as I am typing. You will always see at least one if you work with mainframes or some tape libraries in a data center, like I do. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on perspective) I almost never have to touch OS/2. I was well acquainted with how to reboot an OS/2 box when it was used as a fax server at a previous job, but in recent jobs, I never see them ever go down. Its presence is certainly around us, even if it seems to be behind the scenes.

While some OS/2 Peeps are browsing... (2, Interesting)

phase_9 (909592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743327)

wonder if anyone could offer me a quick bit of advice (Sorry, I know this is O/T!). Our phone system, apart from being ancient, runs on a 166Mhz Cyrix (lol!) with OS/2 installed. If the hard disc in that machine fails, we are buggered as our telco no longer supports OS/2 and wants us to upgrade (a snap at £8,000!).

My question is - does anyone know how I can make a perfect hard disc image that I can restore from if the Rickety 2Gb Segate in the box fails? Any advice greatly appreciated.

Jonny.

Re:While some OS/2 Peeps are browsing... (1)

NullProg (70833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743441)

My question is - does anyone know how I can make a perfect hard disc image that I can restore from if the Rickety 2Gb Segate in the box fails? Any advice greatly appreciated.

Take the drive and slave it on a Linux box. dd if=/dev/hda2 of=what-ever-image-you-want-to-call-it. If you have hpfs support in your kernel, you could mount it and copy the files that way (mount /dev/hda2 /mnt -t hpfs).

Enjoy.

Re:While some OS/2 Peeps are browsing... (1)

phase_9 (909592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743504)

I thought as much, knoppix to the rescue!

thankyou :)

Re:While some OS/2 Peeps are browsing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743517)

Almost every Imaging software that that supports NTFS will support HPFS, OS/2's native filesystem. Furthermore, If you get the same exact model hard drive (or a drive with the same geometry) as a replacement, you could make a bit by bit image with either Ghost or Linux's dd.

You will need to get the DOS or Linux drivers for your scsi controller though. And if you don't have a floppy drive on the machine, yuo can add a preformatted HDD (with DOS+GHOST or Linux) and a SCSI CD Burner to your existing chain to do the backup.

Re:While some OS/2 Peeps are browsing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743535)

Well, I'd suggest mounting your HDD in another computer, booting Linux,
mounting the partition and zipping everything on it.
If you want a disk image (as opposed to just a tarball of the partition content),
use dd instead (man dd).

As a side comment, if your HDD fails, you'll have to jund a new drive that your motherboard recognises. Good luck with that... My mum had to upgrade her K6/2
because of just that: the HDD had become too small (W98 needed more room on C:\ due to too many installed drivers. A driver package for an HP printer/scanner combo needed over 100MB, can you believe that ???) and we found no HDD that the motherboard could recognise. So she has a blasting fast Sempron now:-)

Good luck !

Stephane

In an alternate timeline... (2, Funny)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743339)

"Ever wondered what happened to RSX? With Digital Equipment Corporation officially abandoning the operating system, users are relying on a third party version of RSX -- and, increasingly, using free and open source software to keep it alive." From the article: "According to Strobe, the main reason that users stay with RSX is for 'features that RSTS and RT-11 don't have yet.' He singles out the Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multi-Programming System (or MUMPS), a database programming language known for its ease of use, a 'rock solid kernel,' 'excellent multitasking,' and low system requirements. Strobe also claims a lack of viruses and spyware and, referencing a report on RSX showing fewer security vulnerabilities."

A terse reply (5, Funny)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743343)

Ever wondered what happened to OS/2?

No.

eComstation and ObjectRexx (1)

eltoyoboyo (750015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743366)

eComstation [ecomstation.com] is keeping the flame alive for those that are interested.

ObjectRexx [ibm.com] is also available for many platforms as noted above.

Claiming lack of virii due to quality of OS (3, Insightful)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743378)

Could we stop chauking up the lack of virii to the quality of the OS?

I mean, honestly, no OS/2 virii? Is there any reason to target the 10 people out there still running OS/2 Warp with a virus?

While I will agree that good OS design will prevent the kind of zombie take over of a machine that allow viruses to propogate and activate without user intervention, I don't believe for a second that ANY OS is virus proof.

Virii are weapons of mass desctruction, that is, they want to have the greatest number of targets. An OS/2 virus, even if it had a 100% infection rate, would not make the news rounds, and might get a quick blurb on Slashdot. Virus writers are not going to waste time exploiting OS/2.

We have seen a virus launched against OSX recently, probably due to the higher profile Apple has been getting recently with their new Macintel machines. Before this, people assumed OSX was virus proof, but its just that it wouldn't make an impact to write an OSX virus unless the writer can claim some fame by having it affect the greatest number of people and be talked about in the news.

Also, when it comes to OS/2 having lower system requirements, it WAS written for computers designed about 15 years ago. I doubt OS/2 Warp server would be able to run or peform well with the typical client load that most servers today have to contend with. Email spam filtering alone can bring a modern server to its knees, I doubt OS/2 Warp Server would be able to function properly with 256mb of RAM, 10 gb hard drive space running on a Pentium class CPU even handling the email load a typical small business puts on today's servers.

Anyways, I don't believe that OS/2 has any better ability to fight off virii then any other OS, just that its been forgotten about except by those too cheap to upgrade to a new computer and OS.

Oh, OS/2 could get viruses all right... (1)

brennanw (5761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743597)

When I was running Warp 3 (back in 95 or 96), I managed to get infected with a DOS virus (because Warp Blue had Dos and Windows 3.1 preinstalled). I never noticed until I ran an antivirus program on a lark, because the virus couldn't adversely affect the system -- the multitasking and multithreading just let OS/2 work around everything the virus was trying to do.

I miss OS/2. Workplace Shell is a thing of beauty. I hope Voyager works out.

Re:Claiming lack of virii due to quality of OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14743598)

And which OSes are you referring to? Because Windows is the only OS that's particularly vulnerable to viruses. Unix existed long before OS/2 or DOS or even the Mac and Unix-based OSes are still widely used as servers, yet there have been only 13 Unix viruses in history. All those "if it were popular as Windows it would have lots of viruses too" argument is pure BS and any Unix admin who knows his computer history knows it.

OS2 - Is'nt that a mainframe OS? (0)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743384)

I don't see how people can keep something running that was designed for mainframes back in the early 70s! The last time I saw OS2, it was running under VM on an old IBM 4341. :)

Keeping the OS/2 Flame Alive (5, Funny)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743432)

OS/2 is the crappiest OS ever!

How's that for keeping a flame alive?

Joking... just joking...

Hmm, let's think here (1)

Tylerious (836357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743567)

"Considering these circumstances, why do users continue to support OS/2?"
Probably for the same reasons people insist on using ugly GUIs when there are myraid cleaner, more intuitive ones. Not necessarily a good one.

ATM machines & OS/2 (5, Informative)

harshmanrob (955287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14743610)

80% of the ATM machines in North America are running OS/2 right now. I'd call that one hell of an install base. I know this becuase my company does remote IT support for several banks, including one that plans to be the largest financial institution by the end of 2007. In that bank, a civil war is being fought between the Wintel and Unix/Linux side to decide what these ATM machines will run when IBM drops support. I do not know about you, but it scares the crap out of me to put in my ATM card and the next thing I see is a blue screen. That is when Mr. Crowbar will have to take over.
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