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IBM Operating Systems Linux

Is OS/2 Coming Back? 432

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

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @12:59PM (#31846668)

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

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

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

  • Interesting.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wovel ( 964431 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:06PM (#31846764) Homepage

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

  • New Tag... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:08PM (#31846800) Homepage Journal

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

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:10PM (#31846822)

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

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

  • by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:16PM (#31846910)
    That's right. OS/2 is the COBOL of operating systems.
  • Re:WPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:16PM (#31846912)

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

  • Re:Typical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by daveime ( 1253762 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:21PM (#31847002)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:25PM (#31847044)

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

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

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

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

    The platform is dead; deal with it.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:26PM (#31847060)

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

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

  • Re:Those Two Guys (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jawn98685 ( 687784 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:34PM (#31847164)
    Well..., duh. Back in them days, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM..." was a literal truism. Still didn't make it a good idea, then or now.
  • Re:WPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:38PM (#31847238) Journal

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

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

    Are you sure?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:39PM (#31847246)

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

  • Re:Interesting.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ulski ( 1173329 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:41PM (#31847276)
    I see your point, but perhaps it would be possible to run OS/2 on powerful virtual machines? That way you could have the visualization software deal with the hardware.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @02:01PM (#31847544) Homepage

    > API on top of POSIX != Rich API

    You say that like it's not possible to build a "richer" interface on top of a more primitive one.

    Of course this is an idea that's completely assinine and absurd.

  • Re:WPS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @02:06PM (#31847598) Homepage Journal

    I think you need to brush up on your history, and maybe use a less "book" definition of OS - there were several competitors even in the PC market. Also, there's a bit of apples-to-oranges comparison with the "per platform" qualifier, as there was more platform diversity back then.

  • Re:WPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @02:06PM (#31847606) Homepage

    Os2 was still used heavily up until a few years ago. Many ATM machines ran it because it was 8000% more stable than any of microsoft's Operating systems.

    Honestly OS2 can certainly thrive it has big blue's name behind it, If they make a Linux distro with it that is really hardened and stable, they can own several markets quite quickly.

    Look at the government. They dont have a stable OS to use for any military operations.

    I know a lot of people that wish that microsoft would make a real industrial OS instead of a Consumer grade OS with some security slapped on it for servers. They could do it, they choose not to because it's cheaper to maintain a single codebase and simply enable or disable features.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @02:10PM (#31847646) Homepage

    This would not be for your auntie or some drooling drone making sales calls. It would be for real work like launching missiles, aligning satellites, Controlling a 900 ton press making metal clips, ATM machines, roaming death bots for the new death panels, I.E. real work.

    Most of those people don't want a richer API. they want a minimal API that is rock solid stable.

    IBM could care less about someone that wants fluf and talking paperclips.

  • Re:Interesting.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @02:21PM (#31847780) Homepage

    Why should businesses have to "keep up with technology".

    We're talking about the span of only a decade or so. Why should businesses have to be in a constant state of chaos just because the geeks and the conspicuous consumers need something new and shiny constantly?

    Sadly many times the "new technology" simply doesn't measure up.

    No one should be forced to used crap they don't want to.

    This is not the Soviet Union.

  • Open-sourcing it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MattBD ( 1157291 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @03:03PM (#31848264) Homepage
    Would it not make more sense to open source the existing code base? As I understand it some of the code was created by Microsoft so they probably can't do so with that, but the Wikipedia article suggests that code from ReactOS might be able to fill the gap. That said, I guess it would have years of development to catch up on anyway, but surely it would require less work that way than something like Haiku?
  • by butlerm ( 3112 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:09PM (#31849126)

    The Amiga had proper co-operative multitasking around a decade(!) before Windows

    Amiga multitasking was pre-emptive, not cooperative. Much better. Windows multi-tasking was cooperative (if that) until Windows NT/95. Pre-emptive multitasking was where Amiga OS had a ten year advantage over common versions of Windows. The Mac didn't get co-operative multitasking until System 7, and pre-emptive multitasking on the Mac didn't come until Mac OS X.

    The main problem with AmigaOS was that there was no security or process isolation to speak of. That made it _extremely_ fast, but also rather vulnerable to a variety of problems.

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