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IBM Operating Systems

Upcoming OS/2 Release Will Be Called ArcaOS 5.0 (techrepublic.com) 211

At the annual convention of OS/2 users, Arca Noae announced their new OS/2-OEM distribution will be released in the fourth quarter of 2016, and the project, codenamed "Blue Lion", will officially be called ArcaOS 5.0. "The significance of the version number relates to IBM OS/2 4.52 -- the last maintenance release of the platform released by IBM in 2001," reports TechRepublic. martiniturbide writes: The article discusses the features of ArcaOS like USB bootable installer, USB (1.1 and 2) , ACPI, AHCI, and network card drivers, new OS installer, etc. It will be sold in two editions: ArcaOS Commercial Edition [with 12 months of priority support and updates] and ArcaOS Personal Edition...
Anyone have fond members of OS/2? Are there any Slashdot readers who are still using it?
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Upcoming OS/2 Release Will Be Called ArcaOS 5.0

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  • by thinkwaitfast ( 4150389 ) on Sunday May 29, 2016 @03:44AM (#52204325)
    OS/2 was the reason I started reading ./ and learned about it and operating systems.

    It has a funky memory management system and I'm not sure why anyone wold want to use it now over *NIX. The synchronous input que on the GUI basically doomed it (not counting IBM), but otherwise was pretty nice for the time and fun.

  • Why but why (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Honestly, I was fond of OS/2 by the time it was the principal opponent to Win, but nowadays who would like to use an OS that was frozen for the last 25 years ?

  • by Empiric ( 675968 ) on Sunday May 29, 2016 @03:59AM (#52204363)

    Worked on a port of an asset management package written in DOS to Windows 3.1 and OS/2 in the early 90's, coding C++ for both.

    I remember a sales guy wanted to impress with its multitasking capabilities by running installers of 4 applications at once, with another half-dozen running concurrently. It ground to a swapping halt. Still, using it overall, quite impressive capabilities on that front for the time, probably rivaled only by the Amiga in terms the consumer-level arena. Preferred coding for it over Windows MFC, as well.

    Regrettably, by 2005 when working at IBM, I encountered no evidence it had ever existed. Windows and Linux boxes only, and the topic never brought up. Seems that history could have gone quite differently, with the right resources at the right time.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Sunday May 29, 2016 @04:30AM (#52204407) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, I had some carefully planned tech demos for it. Formatting a floppy disk (Specifically, from the command line) and printing a document out was a fun one. As long as you knew how to avoid tying up the system input queue, you could accomplish some mind-boggling (for the time) things with the system. At the '95 COMDEX in Atlanta, we set up a quad processor Compaq box at the Compaq stand to play 4 videos at once. It had a staggering 16 MB of RAM, so we made a small RAM disk to hold the videos so we wouldn't have to go to disk for them. It sat there quite happily for a good chunk of the show, playing its 4 videos in separate windows side by side. The WIndows NT box next to it was running its polygons screensaver.
    • Regrettably, by 2005 when working at IBM, I encountered no evidence it had ever existed. Windows and Linux boxes only, and the topic never brought up.

      I left IBM in 2007 and my department still had a couple of moderately significant products running and supported on OS/2. I don't suppose the OS/2 versions got a lot of marketing attention, or anyone buying new licenses, but it hadn't disappeared altogether. Given the nature of the product, and the customers using it, I suspect it still hasn't.

    • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

      Regrettably, by 2005 when working at IBM, I encountered no evidence it had ever existed. Windows and Linux boxes only, and the topic never brought up. Seems that history could have gone quite differently, with the right resources at the right time.

      I saw OS/2 on the decline in IBM between 97 and 2000. It was used extensively in 97 and was even the primary desktop. Win95 was overtaking it in those years.

      The OS had warts, big warts. The "Synchronous Message Queue" on the GUI was a huge one. Some stup

      • In 1999 they were using OS/2 to control all the machinery in the hard drive factory in Rochester MN (right before they sold the hard drive division to Hitachi)

      • We had most of the old OS/2 systems decommissioned in the IBM server room at worked at by 2002. The ones that remained had specialized software that nobody bothered to port to another platform. Some of them were still "running" (they needed to be rebooted weekly) when I left in 2008.

  • I worked at a large OS/2 site and the users hated it with a vengeance. One of the tricks which the shell would play on them would be to put 100 icons in a folder with no way to sort through them because they all had the same x,y coordinate. There was no organise by name or anything. They had to drag and drop every icon.

    Outside work I saw its bootstrap being used all over the place where people needed a convenient way to boot different operating systems. There wasn't really better solution around at the time

    • IBM died on consumer machines because of their testing/QA methodology. Waterfall method. Exhaustive but not reactive.

      Windows programmers had to "eat their own dog food" and the chow started to taste better very quickly.

      IBM was (and probably still is) like Raytheon when I worked there. It became a standard joke for those of us testing an air traffic control system (MAATS) -- we'd ask each other if bugs found months ago had been fixed. They never were.

      • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
        They were probably "Working as designed". That was the answer I got for a lot of that shit. You had to submit a "Program Design Change Request", the only copies of which were kept in a file cabinet in one of the steam tunnels under the Boca Raton facility, just right of the sign reading "Beware of Leopard" (Yes, I stole that from Doug Adams.)
    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      Were the users really too stupid to right click the folders background and choose sort or arrange? I know that Win3.x trained people that the mouse only had one button but OS/2 made full use of both including using (default but configurable) the right mouse button for drag'n'drop

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday May 29, 2016 @05:23AM (#52204505)

    I know this is /. but it is almost 2016. At this point I think we need to assume that OS/2 is just another weird IT acronym that needs to be defined in the summaries for those who don't realise that it's more than just another app in the Appstore.

  • Ob (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday May 29, 2016 @05:51AM (#52204559) Homepage Journal

    OS/2 is that thing like a small DIN plug for connecting a mouse, right? I have a PC somewhere with those.

    I don't use it - loading the coal is really messy.

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Sunday May 29, 2016 @05:58AM (#52204581)

    By the time I got ahold of a copy, it was quite some ways behind NT4 on useful desktop software, and lightyears behind on drivers.

    The copy I had was a floppy diskette based installer set, with some ungodly number of diskettes in it. I remember wondering about the similarities between HPFS and NTFS.

    Mostly, it felt like windows 3.1 with a 32bit UI instead of a 16 bit one, very ancient windows app support, and very little native apps.

    I suppose it could have gone somewhere had IBM actually gone hard-nosed about it after being snubbed my MS when they released NT4. NT4 had some nasty warts-- no PnP support, No USB support, and a number of others. A proper reboot of the OS/2 ecosystem with proper win32 app support, WDM driver support (So it could use windows drivers, even if just using a wrapper to do so) along with proper OpenGL, USB, and PnP support would have gone a long way back in the day.

    These days the features of OS/2 are so obsolete it isn't even funny. ReactOS is extreme bleeding edge alpha, and would be more useful than an OS/2 deployment.

    The real windows alternatives out there today are OSX and Linux.

    • NT4 had some nasty warts-- no PnP support, No USB support, and a number of others. A proper reboot of the OS/2 ecosystem with proper win32 app support, WDM driver support (So it could use windows drivers, even if just using a wrapper to do so) along with proper OpenGL, USB, and PnP support would have gone a long way back in the day.

      By the time USB became available, Windows 95 had already destroyed OS/2 in the marketplace. WDM drivers didn't exist until Windows 98.
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        PnP was useless until windows XP before then all operating system Butchered it badly.

        There is a reason it was called Plug and Pray.

        • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

          AmigaOS handled PnP nicely. I'd say that AmigaOS 2.1 and 3.0 handled PnP at least as well as XP, and Linux anno 2004. Parts of that is that Commodore early on introduced a hardware manufacturer ID registry that Autoconfig, which also predates PCI configuration, could use.

        • Had Windows 98SE melt when I tried three network cards rather than two (at least two of them were ISA) but otherwise I always got lucky.
          Later on I had a motherboard with USB 2.0 ports, still with 98SE. Did that work? I have no idea, since I had no peripherals or drives to plug in there! I used the game port a bit and even the parallel port for some doodad.

      • Sp3 had pnp. USB wasn't really in use until 1999 anyways, and by then we had 2000

      • IBM didn't have a license for Win32. It did support Win32s, through it's support for Windows 3.1/3.11, but the fully Win32 API wasn't going to happen. The only reason it even ran Windows 3.1 apps was because it retained the licensing agreement with Microsoft. But Win32 was never going to happen.

        I remember going to a launch event in Vancouver for Warp 4, where they announced they had developed a set of tools that allowed for easier porting of Win32 programs over to OS/2 (much like Microsoft is trying to do n

        • My experience was having developed some software for a civil service agency under 1.3 & Presentation Manager back around the time that Windows 3.1 came out. They essentially needed an 8-line BBS that had some other functionality that required multithreading, and OS/2 ended up being the fastest and cheapest way to do it, plus it had good support for the Digi multiport serial boards. I got a nice Plexiglas award from IBM for writing that. I did do a little bit of development with Warp 2.0 after it came o
          • Replying to myself - that should read "around the time that Windows 3.0 came out". This was in 1990 or so.
          • I ran WaffleBBS in a DOS VDM under OS/2 2.1 for a couple of years. It was cool in a modest sort of way, but then I moved over to Linux where it was just a few configuration changes and I could give people shell accounts, all on a 486 with 16mb of RAM and a couple of 200mb hard drives.

            • My OS/2 monstrosity ran on a 386/33 with 8 gigs of RAM and a 100 meg drive. I really miss the BBS days though, and I keep thinking about setting one up. Then it occurs to me that no one else would likely use it, and the thought falls by the wayside again.
              • I've seen a few people try to recreate it on the web, but they never really get the same feel. The sense of community and of being a member of a club is gone now. But I am proud to have run one back in the day. Because Waffle had a decent UUCP client, I also hosted a few Usenet groups and had my own email subdomain. It was from this that I first received an email from someone in New Zealand around 1990 and got the chill up my spine realizing he'd sent it out just a *few hours* before. I also had a Fidonet f

                • I've seen a few people try to recreate it on the web, but they never really get the same feel. The sense of community and of being a member of a club is gone now.

                  Yeah, for sure. It was a great time, but it's not coming back again. I never ran my own BBS, but I was a sysop on a big Amiga board back then and implemented PC door support by hanging an ancient XT running RemoteAccess off the Amiga via some glue code I wrote for the Amy. It was also cool having the weekend get-togethers at the local restau
        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          IBM had a license for Windows up to ver 4, which is why Win95 was version 4.095.
          The real problems with Win32s was that they required a VxD (or whatever the Win3.x device drivers was called) which had to be rewritten for Winos2. For a while there was an arms race where IBM would port the latest Win32s and MS would release a new one that broke Win32s on WinOS2.
          Then MS realized that OS/2 could only address 1 GB, 512 MBs per session and 512 MBs for the kernel. This was for 16 bit compatibility where a 286 could

    • I still have a box for OS/2 3.something, and it came as forty 5 1/4 floppies. It's like 5 pounds worth of install media. OS/2 warp 4 at least came on 3 1/2 floppies.

    • by rworne ( 538610 )

      The copy I had was a floppy diskette based installer set, with some ungodly number of diskettes in it.

      Yes, I remember this. I had a copy of OS/2 v2.11 that came on 40+ 5.25" floppy disks. Just insane.

  • I have a boxed copy of OS\2 Warp and having wanting to give it it's own dedicated machine. Can anyone suggest a hardware configuration I suppose in the 486 DX real or maybe Pentium 60 with working drivers in mind?
    • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

      Just give it lots of RAM. 16M minimum.

      I guess that's lots... when you're looking for SIMMs.

      • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

        I should add that although OS/2 3.0 could run off 4MB of RAM, you'll pull your eyes out waiting for it to boot.

        Systems were frustrating to use on less than 16M.

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          My brother bought OS/2 3.0 and installed everything on a 486DLC with 4 MBs of ram, totally unusable due to swapping so he gave it to me.
          First thing I noticed was that doing the install from 3.5 floppies, after copying the first 5 floppies to the HD and rebooting, the OS was actually usable, at least for reading the documentation as not much else had been loaded. So you could play with it while it was installing.
          I only had a 386/33 with 4MBs but by tuning it just right, using a third party shell rather then

    • Hi. It depends on which OS/2 version do you have. I recommend you to visit OS2World.com and get an account to ask for help on the forum. It does not requires lots of RAM anymore ;)
    • Get ready to fight cache settings and you'll need a sub 8gb disk, preferably sub 2gb disk.

      The ide cd detection is a joke. Also have MS-DOS with edit handy to go in and fix config.sys... and make os/2 boot disks backups so you can run chkdsk, since os/2 can easily get itself into a scenario where it can't repair itself.

      • Why not just run it virtualized? I haven't done it, but I've heard plenty of people run OS/2 under Virtualbox.

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Last time I had to fiddle with cache settings was installing Win2k. Currently running OS/2 ver 4.52 on a TB Hard drive, Sata HD and DVD, 2 cores, 2 GBs of ram using JFS for the file system so chkdks usually consist of checking the journal and like with last nights power failure, takes a couple of minutes to boot up in worst case scenario. Basically need JFS anyways to get a large cache, large file (2GB+ files) support and large HD support. No more needing to know why that 0xDEADBEEF address was needed on HP

  • It's a whole other world from when that had its last release. How well have those OS/2 ATMs been holding out against network attacks? Is this old code full of buffer overflows and ancient ping packet crashes?

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 29, 2016 @06:42AM (#52204657)

    ...held in the phone booth behind the convention center...

  • But at least it can boot from USB!
  • i will attempt to revive a winnt4 box that was hacked by a drunk hobo back in 1998 and the server has been down and offline ever since
  • From about the time Warp came out through the first year of Windows 95 a person could argue they had the most kick ass desktop with OS/2 and Object Desktop. My main system through our first year of home broadband but I cant imagine using it today compared to linux. Dont miss the zombie threads desktop sounds and streaming music clashing would create though.

  • I still have the dark blue Microsoft OS/2 LAN Manager book bag that was given out at a tech conference back in the day.
  • by slasher999 ( 513533 ) on Sunday May 29, 2016 @08:46AM (#52204901)

    I haven't used OS/2 in many years, since around 2000 I'd say. Installation was always a challenge but once it was running it was solid and a fun system to use. I had custom built a computer specifically for OS/2 with a Pentium Pro 200 MHz, Matrox Millenium II video and Sound Blaster AWE64 which I ran for quite a long time. I'm looking forward to playing with this release although I admit it won't be a primary or even secondary OS for me at all.

  • OS2 had some sore of demo version that would run easily. Maybe a live disc? Anyway, I could experience some of what it was supposed to do and I was enthralled. I had a feeling I was looking into the future. Multiple desktops... Holy moly. I was in love.

    Driver support meant I couldn't use it. Probably just as well because the install was "touchy", and I had no tech skills at all. I went with NT for better support. And NT was pretty cool too, but...

    I never forgot that feeling of looking into s

  • Anyone have fond members of OS/2?

    Soooo.... Editor David is David but not an Editor...
  • ... that couldn't run in MSDOS because my computer at the time had too little memory. Booting into OS/2 and starting it worked great - and the fact a large chunk of memory was virtual and on a HDD caused no problems.

    OS/2 was created as the next generation DOS, the first versions didn't even have a GUI. And it was a very good DOS.

  • In the late 90s I was able to produce spectacular performance with OS/2, DB2, Java and Caucho's Resin (a Java httpd) while serving dynamic web pages. Due to the (server) stability of OS/2 and its multi threaded nature, IBMs commitment to Java, DB2 wih Java integration and early XML/XSL implementations, I was able to produce a bleeding edge content management system. I'm talking approx. 1997 to 2001. When IBM killed off OS/2 I switched to Linux which by then had Java implementations that could match OS/2s, a

  • Yeah, it was a bitch to install, but I enjoyed OS/2 at the time, and had Win3.11, OS/2, DOS 6.2 and Linux (I want to say it was Yggdrasil) all booting from OS/2's boot manager on the same 40 GB hard drive. I had no room for actual applications, but i had a great time tinkering with the OS'es! My first foray onto the World Wide Web was via OS/2's WebExplorer 1.0. I loved their NR/2 Newsreader with it's MDI UI - I keep thinking I'm going to build something similar in PyQT, but never quite get around to it.

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