OS/2 Info

OS/2 is IBM's 32 bit "user-friendly" operating system for Intel-based personal computers. It runs existing DOS and Windows applications, as well as 16 and 32 bit OS/2 applications. It is one of IBM's strategies for remaining competitive in the PC OS market. And, to Micro$oft's chagrin, it's doing well.

When I'm not running BSD Unix on my own machines, I run OS/2. It allows me to use DOS and damned Windows programs which I sometimes run (such as TurboTax). Also important stress-relief applications such as DOOM and others of its ilk :-) At the very same time, I can use GNU Emacs for editing, and GNU Make, GCC and GDB to develop code. It's almost as good as a Unix box, except for the damned Drive Designators in the path-names.

I still run OS/2 on a box at home, but its usefulness has dropped off lately. Not any inherent problem with itself, but rather with it's Windows compatibility mode. All the windows applications being written these days are for the Win32 interface, which the OS compatability mode in OS/2 doesn't support. I don't really use many Win32 tools, Turbo-Tax being the only thing I run on Windows, but I can no longer run it under OS/2. Which means I must maintain a seperate box to run Turbo-Tax on, which seems some of a waste. Plus, I'd like to run the occasional newer game on my system as well; however people no longer manufacture games for DOS, just for Win95 and Win98.

As of 2002 I don't really use OS/2 any more. It is still rock solid reliable and I still have the installation to use. The problem is twofold:

  1. It doesn't run win32 apps, so I can no longer run TurboTax on it :)
  2. My dual-input monitor died, so I don't keep the box turned on and ready to use.
I would use it, I have good stuff there, but too many machines running in my house already.

I really wish that IBM hadn't dropped the ball on OS/2. I think it is a good solid usable product that is reliable. Most of the software packages IBM sold for it were priced reasonably ... I purchased quite a few of them because of that. I purchase almost no windows software, prefering my Unix boxes for most everything.

The wonder of it is, here in 2004, that many people still use and support OS/2. It is good stuff, but it is more of a target niche than generalized service.

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Last Modified: Thu Jan 10 00:37:55 CST 2008
Bolo (Josef Burger) <bolo@cs.wisc.edu>