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IBM Operating Systems Software

IBM Officially Kills OS/2 609

boarder8925 writes "'Big Blue has hammered the final nails into OS/2's coffin. It said that all sales of OS/2 will end on the 23rd of December this year, and support for the pre-emptive multitasking operating system will end on the 31st December 2006.' IBM has posted a migration page to help OS/2 users easily switch to Linux."
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IBM Officially Kills OS/2

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  • Hey! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:03PM (#13069550)
    It ain't dead until Netcraft confirms it!
    • Re:Hey! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:06PM (#13069576)
      what a shame.. os/2 had so much potential
      • Re:Hey! (Score:5, Funny)

        by LilGuy ( 150110 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @12:24AM (#13069988)
        Why oh why did I use all my mod points earlier. I almost fried my keyboard thanks to you! Definately deserved a point from me!

        Alas, I remember when I was about 7 or 8 visiting a computer store in Rapid City, SD called Reboot. They sold / bought used software, and I saw a copy of OS/2. I picked it up and thought WOW! ANOTHER os?! I didn't even know they existed aside from macintosh. I wanted it soooo bad, but my dad couldn't afford it. In retrospect I think he could, but he didn't want to have to format the hd and lose all his precious stuff.

        I became determined to get it. I mowed lawns until I had enough money to buy a stack of game cds from another store for $20 and sold it to Reboot for $25. But as I was going to pick up the OS/2 box I noticed Falcon 4.0 and couldn't resist.

        I made my dad proud. But I never tried os/2. :(
        • Re:Hey! (Score:3, Funny)

          by MarkGriz ( 520778 )
          "Alas, I remember when I was about 7 or 8 visiting a computer store in Rapid City, SD called Reboot. They sold / bought used software, and I saw a copy of OS/2"

          In keeping with their name, they now sell strictly Microsoft products.
      • Re:Hey! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gilesjuk ( 604902 )
        It's a wonder it took so long to die. It found its way into ATMs though, the newer ones use Windows and its obvious since they so unresponsive.

        OS/2 just showed that to take on Microsoft you have to have a strategy that deals with the dirty tricks they're likely to pull on you.
      • Actually... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @09:28AM (#13072174) Homepage Journal
        I used OS/2 after I got fed up with DOS/Win3.1 crashing all the time. I was amazed at how much better of a desktop experience it provided in 1994 than Win3.1. It didn't have the slickness of Mac OS at the time, but it had a lot of things that went beyond Mac OS and were alsmot more NeXT-like. I used it for about a year, then Win95 came out and since I was into certain games that the OS/2 Windows subsystem didn't run well I moved to it.

        Interestingly enough, I tried OS/2 again after a few years just on a lark. By this time I'd gotten a job that introduced me to Windows NT4 and I'd been working with that for about 2 years. It really amazed me just how much OS/2 resembled NT4 in a lot of ways, only with a better GUI and much more reliable. The fact that a lot of banks used OS/2 for a long time, indicates just how well made OS/2 was at the time when compared to DOS/Win3.1, Win9x and early WinNT. I think Microsoft, kind of, caught up to OS/2 with Windows 2000 SP3 in terms of reliability. But MS still doesn't seem to "get" the concept of a proper Object Oriented desktop. OS/2 did. NeXTSTEP did. And of course, Mac OS X does.
    • Re:Hey! (Score:5, Funny)

      by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:09PM (#13069590)
      That's right. I don't care what IBM says about it; I want empirical evidence. Has anyone counted the number of Usenet posts about OS/2?
      • Re:Hey! (Score:5, Funny)

        by darkpixel2k ( 623900 ) <> on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:32PM (#13069728) Homepage

        1. I heard they were killing OS/2.
        2. Yeah, me too!
        3. F*ck OS/2
        4. Grow up, retard.

        Yeah. Four posts.
    • Banks loved OS/2... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Chordonblue ( 585047 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:00AM (#13072509) Journal
      It was stable. It had class. It was predictable in almost any environment. It scaled well between servers, ATMS, backend stuff and workstations. And, at least in the implementations I saw, it was efficient as hell.

      I worked for Meridian Bank back in the early 90's as a simple integration tech. Everything was cool - then came the buyout. It's inevitable - every bank eventually gets bought by another bank, and it happened on my shift on fine day.

      A lot of people lost their jobs, a lot of 'redundant' branches were closed. But for me, worse things happened. You see, Corestates was still using strung together DOS scripts and it was messy. User's workstations were downgraded to Novell/DOS/Win 3.11 with the OS loading on 4 or 16 Megabit Token Ring. On Audit Day (Wednesday), a user could expect to wait up to 15 minutes for their machine to boot into the network. It was ugly, the users hated us... Hell, I hated us! I didn't leave that job soon enough.

      Everyone there missed their 32-bit OS and as this was one year before Windows 95, it would be several years before they started getting 95/NT on the desktop. The horror!

  • Last time I checked, large numbers of ATM machines ran OS2, which is why you don't see the BSOD when you go to grab some cash.
  • I heard OS/2 was big in banking, but I just assumed they had moved off of OS/2 some time ago.
    • I know Bank of America in Nevada uses it on the teller's workstations. I recently went in and applied for checking, and saw OS/2.

      I laughed a little, then just went through the spiel of signing up.

      I'm sure BofA has it's own support though, and I wouldn't be too surprised to see them migrate to Linux, possibly with a terminal emulator to get that old 'classic' feel.
    • the last time I used an AmTrak self-service kiosk, it was running os/2 warp 3.

      eComStation [] has been maintaining os/2 under license from IBM for a few years now.

  • by Azadre ( 632442 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:05PM (#13069569)
    Is the OS/2 ran on older hardware similiar to what ran Windows 3.1? Should those that run OS/2 just upgrade to 3.1?
    • by Phil246 ( 803464 )
      thats downgrading.
      • Correct. OS/2 is a 32 bit OS, where 3.1 is not. However, OS/2 is also capable of running all windows 16 bit applications. Which is more then I can say for the new Windows.
    • It depends which OS/2 you mean. The 1 series is a little lighter than Windows 3.1 and the upgrade makes sense . For 2 or 3 was a competitor of Windows 3.1 and better. If you are going to upgrade you can probably go all the way to Windows 98 or NT 4.0 (though both are worse in any objective sense). I stopped using it after 3.0.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:06PM (#13069574)
    It's a sure thing with all those OS/2 users coming over.
  • Will it be opened? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Only fair don't you think?

  • OS2? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mutewinter ( 688449 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:06PM (#13069578)
    OS/2 is still around? Thats news to me! I guess I'm not a real geek, but that last time I heard anyone used that operating system was in 1995.
    • Apple Macintosh System 6 and Microsoft Word For DOS are being end-of-lifed in a couple of years, so better start having planning meetings on that. You know, as long as you're at it and everything.
    • Re:OS2? (Score:3, Insightful)

      OS/2 is still around? Thats news to me! I guess I'm not a real geek, but that last time I heard anyone used that operating system was in 1995.

      Same here. I got a free copy of OS/2 from a computer store in chicago back in 93 or 94. Everyone suspected OS/2 was going to die, and I think they were trying to get more people to use it.

      The version I had was very much like Win 3.1. Maybe a little nicer. But I could not get software to run on it. If OS/2 would have had games, I would have kept it longer.

      It i

      • Re:OS2? (Score:5, Informative)

        by jm92956n ( 758515 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:36PM (#13069760) Journal
        I wonder what will happend with all the OS/2 code? IBM should publish it and make it public. Maybe someone can use parts of it in non-commercial ways (so M$ does not exploit it).

        I would love for IBM to publish the source for OS/2, but it won't happen for two reasons:

        1. Because OS/2 was written in conjuction with Microsoft, I'm sure the original agreement with MS prohibits this sort of action (and MS would never agree to it now, especially as the two aren't nearly as cozy as they once were).
        2. Companies that still use OS/2 would apply pressure against such an action if IBM even considered it. The code hasn't been through the same review that Linux has been subjected to, and I'm sure there's an exploit or two in there that could be readily discovered if the code were available (think: "if you ever want us to purchase your services again, don't open-source it").

    • Re:OS2? (Score:3, Interesting)

      OS/2 is still around. This post is being written on an OS/2 machine, in Firefox. (The company where I work uses OS/2 nearly exclusively for desktops, and whenever it can for servers.)

      It has some advantages, but from a day-to-day use standpoint right now I feel it combines the worst of Windows and Linux: It doesn't have all the commercial support, and has a limited (MS-DOS like) comandline/compiler tools.
  • I wasn't aware OS/2 was still in use anywhere.

    Do any slashdotters actually use it? if so, where? (And WHY!?)
    • by End11 ( 740392 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:11PM (#13069601)
      Because linux is too mainstream now GOD even my mother can use it. To be a REAL geek now you have to use OS/2 and/or punchcards.
    • by TimTheFoolMan ( 656432 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:19PM (#13069642) Homepage Journal
      We wrote a large body of building automation software subsystems in OS/2. There was no easy way to provide the same functionality in Windows, so it was never cost effective to port it.

      To this day, we keep the central routing server and all the subsystems in OS/2 boxes that are treated like embedded control systems, and have written Windows 2K-based interface code that proxies everything as BACnet devices.

      OS/2 was a good combination of modern OS services (named pipes, threads, etc.) and easy development. Given how simple it was to access serial ports, we could easily interface via DigiBoard multiplexers and such, and could write a new system driver (including reverse engineering time) in less than six months.

      I'm the primary contact for IBM in our office, so they've been flooding me with information about porting these apps to Linux, which sadly, may never be cost effective.

      I am *very* sorry to see this event, even though I fully understand and appreciate all the factors that led to OS/2's demise. It's like watching a very dependable ship being sent to the bottom of the ocean because it's too expensive to keep it afloat.

      Oh well...

  • Open Source OS/2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by katana ( 122232 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:07PM (#13069583) Homepage
    It's too bad that Microsoft owns so much of OS/2. It would be great to see it released as Open Source. The Open Source OS/2 Petition [] is a good start.
    • by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @01:54AM (#13070414) Homepage Journal
      Nah, I have a copy of OS/2 at home, but I can't get it to work or even install on any of the PCs I have. The thing is just too bloody outdated. All the effort that would be required to get it to work, then fixing all the security holes that are bound to be there, would be much better spent developing another OS, IMO.

      It's a shame OS/2 didn't beat the technologically inferior Windows 9x series. But on the other hand, a world in which it did would probably be a world in which IBM _and_ Microsoft dominated the OS market together. Thinking about it that way makes me prefer the way things happened in this world.
  • So long! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Losat ( 643653 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:08PM (#13069586)
    I loved OS/2 back in its day! I first grew to hate Microsoft as I watched them try to kill it with "Chicago" vaporware and FUD.
    I wonder how the 850M MS just paid IBM over it compares to the damage MS really did.
  • If they won't support it, why not open the source and release it as such?
  • by Zuke8675309 ( 470025 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta.> on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:09PM (#13069593)
    From IBM's "migration page"...
    "There are no replacement products from IBM. IBM suggests that OS/2 customers consider Linux as an alternative operating system for OS/2 client and server environments."

    They aren't helping anyone switch. They're just saying people should use linux since OS/2 won't be supported.
  • by markov_chain ( 202465 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:10PM (#13069594) Homepage
    To help switch to Linux, they are assigning a different engineer to each of the 12 customers. Talk about service! :^)
  • In other news tonight Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds were reported to have been involved in a secret conspiracy which...included suckering Steve Jobs into going x86...
  • by kyndig ( 579355 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:12PM (#13069606) Homepage
    So, OS/2. May you rest in peace. And please stop scratching the coffin from the inside. It upsets the bereaved
    Ahh hah hah hah! :: wipes a tear from eye ::

    What I really find interesting is that IBM has offered a migration HOWTO for the OS users, and its to Linux. Always nice to have the big boy support.
  • Why kill OS/2??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:14PM (#13069618)
    I've never used it (maybe it deserves to die) but I'm surprised IBM didn't spin-off OS/2 sales & support as a little services company (with an appropriate slice of the proceeds of the service contracts). If people want to use OS/2, why not sell it to them? If people need support for it, why not sell it to them?

    I could understand a company killing a product that competes with its own more modern systems, but how do continued OS/2 sales hurt IBM more than orphaning some existing customers?
    • Re:Why kill OS/2??? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They did spin it off. Its now call eCommStation. []
    • Re:Why kill OS/2??? (Score:3, Informative)

      by XO ( 250276 )
      They did, a few years ago. ecomstation [] has been the only upgrades of OS/2 to come out besides fixpaks from IBM in several years.

      eComStation product plan calls for sales of eComStation through mid-2007. Even then, there are no plans to terminate the product. That is simply the time frame of the current product plan.

      On July 12, IBM announced withdrawal of active marketing and end of support for OS/2, see nts.html [] IBM had previously endicated end of ser

  • Linux gain (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mfloy ( 899187 )
    OS2's loss is linux's gain. Is anyone really suprised with this? I think we have all seen this coming for quite some time, and it was more a matter of "when" than "if".
  • by debilo ( 612116 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:16PM (#13069626)

    As a *BSD user, I really feel great today!
    • By the way... (Score:3, Informative)

      by debilo ( 612116 )
      There's an interesting discussion over at OSNews []about this very topic. It seems like OS/2 still has a relatively big fan base, someone mentioned three or four native Mozilla/Firefox ports alone!
  • by WarmNoodles ( 899413 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:16PM (#13069628)
    SHAMELESS plug for MOD INFORMATIVE But this site claims to have the un official counts of OS/2 licenses world wide. ml [] Discounting the 500,000 set top boxes, apparently their are about 65,535 licensed installations out their. Hmm, maybe this is why os/2 blew its marketing stack.
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:18PM (#13069635)
    So, while it looks like IBM is stopping sales(2005) and general support(2006), OS/2 will still be shipping and supported by Serenity Systems via eComStation.

    OS/2 is dead, long live OS/2.

  • Was the article date correct? It wouldn't be the first time that /. posted an article that was dated years ago.
  • by Council ( 514577 ) < minus physicist> on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:21PM (#13069657) Homepage
    This of course came as a shock to the dedicated OS/2 userbase, which had recieved no hints that it might no longer be in the forefrunt of the computer culture . . .
  • by tu_holmes ( 744001 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:31PM (#13069727) Homepage
    What will happen to some mainframes and tape libraries?

    OS/2 is still the predominant OS for managing MVS systems (even the new Z series) as well as tape libraries.

    Will they be migrating all current environments into Linux as part of this? Or will they just leave those alone?

    I wonder...
  • by user_ecs ( 878826 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:35PM (#13069752)
    If you liked OS/2 you will find eComStation is better.
    eComStation is more stable than ms win while being easy to use. []
  • by PingXao ( 153057 ) on Thursday July 14, 2005 @11:51PM (#13069840)
    Will they finally open the Workplace Shell? It's a truly object-oriented desktop design that's still superior - a decade later - to anything Windows has to offer. Looking back it's hard to believe a lot of the early FUD from MS against OS/2 was aimed at scaring people away because, hey, 2 megabytes of memory was just an absurd requiremet! They also claimed multithreaded programming was no big deal. If they open up the Workplace Shell maybe OS/2 could preserve some of its legacy. It would rock on Linux.
    • by Losat ( 643653 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @12:03AM (#13069892)
      Hear hear! I love the WPS!
      It's been so long since I used OS/2 that I'd forgotten about dragging colors and fonts from the palettes and such, until I went and checked out eComStation a few moments ago. I remembered that WPS rocked, but I'd forgottem some of the coolness.
      BTW, I liked the old settings notebooks better than the later tabbed dialogs. I especially liked notebooks with both horizonatal and vertical tabs (when appropriate).
      And my favorite UI feature missing in other systems: the Conditional Cascade Menu!
  • by quantum bit ( 225091 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @12:02AM (#13069887) Journal
    Our phone system's voice mail processor used to be on an OS/2 Warp 3.x box (with the GUI disabled). Thing was stable as hell, ran for years without being touched.

    When we "upgraded" the phone system, it got replaced with one that runs on NT. It came preloaded with an 'at' job to reboot it nightly...
  • by SMS_Design ( 879582 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @12:42AM (#13070084)
    The OS/2 userbase was totally shocked upon hearing this news from IBM. He then went to the fridge and got a soda.
  • by jackDuhRipper ( 67743 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @01:17AM (#13070268) Homepage
    Was Full of Firsts (for me, anyway):
    • My first exposure to the GNU tools
    • My first exposure to a "native" TCP/IP implementation (anyone remember that winsock.dll you hadda get before Windows would get online?)
    • First install and config of NCSA httpd
    • First "Professional Certification" ("OS/2 Engineer" ... oh, how that did impress the ladies ...)
    • First User Group meetings, etc.

    Learned a decent amount about OS internals. Certainly led me and others down "enlightened paths" later in life (from an OS PoV).

    getting verklempt ...

    Knew ye well, OS/2. Rest in Peace.

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:06AM (#13070653) Homepage Journal
    Where do I go to turn in my OS/2 Certified Engineer card? OS/2 was a great OS and as far as I know there's still nothing out there that talk to IBM big iron like it does. The last big user I saw who was using it were Bank of Austria back around '99. I had to go over there and sort some driver issues out for them.

    There were really only 1 or 2 really major bugs that I feel really hurt OS/2's chances. IBM was never keen on fixing them no matter how many users complained. I also don't recall a single native OS/2 program that used threads as effectively as they could have been used. The workplace shell was easily corrupted and God help you if you managed to trash your desktop with all the objects that they liked to register everywhere.

    Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. It paid the bills for me throughout the '90's and I'll fondly remember doing the '95 Comdex in Atlanta with Team OS/2 (That's where I got certified) and threatening to mug "Team Microsoft" (A buch of MS employees MS brought with them so they could pretend they had a grass roots movement too) and leave them duct taped in one of the back booths that no one ever goes to.

  • History (Score:3, Informative)

    by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:44AM (#13070791) Homepage
    Younger readers might not remember much (or anything) about OS/2 and the history behind it.

    This is my understanding, anyone correct me if I'm wrong on some points, please:

    Microsoft developed OS/2 for IBM, as a sort of next generation operating system. And it was; it was fast, efficient, good looking, responsive, easy to develop under, with a much cleaner API than Win32.

    I'm not sure if Microsoft sold OS/2 itself, but I seem to vaguely remember that there was a Microsoft version of it, as well as an IBM version of it, with only minor differences. It's my recollection that all indications were that Microsoft was going to put its weight behind OS/2.

    After getting IBM heavily committed to it, they turned around and worked on their own, incompatible, equivalent (NT). It really was quite a screw job on the part of Microsoft to intentionally lead IBM astray, in my view. A faily anti-competitive way to weild their growing clout.

    Wikipedia has some interesting history [] on it.
    • Re:History (Score:3, Informative)

      Well you're on the right track somewhat.

      IBM and Microsoft worked together on OS2 IBM did most of the code for 1.0 and started working on 2.0 while MS was supposed to sell 1.0 and a new GUI MS called windows that was supposed to be incorperated into OS2 around 2.0 or 2.1 as well as work on 3.0 as the next gen 3.0 ended up being NT BTW yep NT is the offspring of OS2. Anyway while IBM was working on 2.0 MS as some have said was having arguments with IBM about memory requirments as well as price for the n

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