facebook rss twitter

The future of OS/2 - Open source or not?

by Steve Kerrison on 24 December 2005, 11:17

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaedm

Add to My Vault: x

Yesterday saw IBM cease the sale of the OS/2 Operating system. Come the 31st of December, standard support for the OS will end also. However, a significant number of companies and people continue to use it, and they are finding ways for OS/2 to live on.


Back in April of this year, OS/2 website OS2 World started a petition. It's aim was to get IBM to release OS/2 as an open source piece of software, so that existing users could continue to use and develop it, should they wish. In November, after nearly twelve thousand signatures had been collected, the petition was sent to IBM's CEO, Sam Palmisano. As of yet there has been no response from IBM.

However, regardless of whether IBM release OS/2 as open source or not, there are still others working to keep it alive. US based Serenity Systems International have developed an OEM version of OS/2 called eComStation, setting the ball rolling for an OS/2 build of the popular office suite OpenOffice.org. Additional projects for eComStation include new graphics drivers, audio support and wrappers for Windows LAN and wireless drivers. It's clear than that some are still passionate about OS/2 and keeping it going, even if IBM have given up on it.

However, if current OS/2 / eComStation developers could get their hands on the source code for OS/2, it would help them out with current and future developments. OS2 World hopes that at some point they'll be able to talk the issue over with IBM and maybe come to an arrangement. However, for now the ball is in IBM's court, and developers will have to battle on with what they've got.

Long live OS/2?


OS2 World - Petition status and update.

HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Personally, I feel an open source OS/2 would have the potentinal to surpass both Linux and Windows. I have tried it once or twice, and it certainly ‘feels’ versatile; I'm sure if it were open source, this could be built on successfully.
The more alternatives out there, the better imo, as long as they all respect open standards and don't deliberately try to break each other's software :)
OS/2 is better than linux in some respects…. but as linux fans tend to be religous like in defending the linux and the open source format, i think there would be so much countraversy and termoil for another player to enter the feild. Even if it is better!

The major thing OS/2 warp has done to piss me off was to crash unexpectedly on an HSBC cash point, just after i'd enter'd the first digit of my pin. Retaining my card as it rebooted :( Silly design imo!
OS/2? I thought that thing died aeons ago…

/resolves to pay more attention in future
Its the end of an era. I still remember booting into OS/2 2.0 for the first time on a 486 with 8Mb RAM and being gobsmacked! Compared to DOS 6 / Win 3.1 it was a different world. Forwards to OS/2 Warp with its built in Internet functionality and the onto OS/2 4.0 with built in speech recognition… MS were years behind.
Linux / Windows still has not caught up with the flexibility and power of the WorkPlaceShell in my opinion and their underlying OS has only been made more bulky and complicated. Just for a laugh I downloaded the Ecomstation (final version of OS/2 as we know it) demo disk and loaded it up on Virtual PC and setup an internet connection. A quick dial later and I was surfing away quite happily.
I can see a reason for OS/2 to still exist even now. As a small, fast OS with Open Office and Mozilla it would cater for >70% of all pc users needs without the bulk and complexity of a modern Microsoft equivalent. IBM will never release OS/2 to the OpenSource community as there are legal issues with some of the code codeveloped with Microsoft which would prevent this happening. This, its current price + relative obsolesence will forever condemn what could have been a contender in the OS space to a brief footnote in the annals of PC history….