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Anyone use OS/2 back in the day?


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I just got an OS/2 VM working in VirtualBox, more than a quarter century since I last used OS/2 at the end of 1998 (on a native install at that time).  Poking around, I don't remember a whole lot, but I seem to be able to navigate it fairly well, and was thrilled to discover that the Mahjongg game that I remembered from my youth shipped with OS/2 and wasn't a third-party piece of software that I'd never find.  Now I just have to re-learn its rules!

 

I've wanted to have an OS/2 VM for a while, but its reputation for being difficult to virtualize, due to using all the rings of the 486 processor, had deterred me.  It's working stably on my Sandy Bridge CPU though!

 

Anyone else here use OS/2?  Perhaps longer than I did?

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I spent a fair amount of time with both MS-DOS and Windows 3.x back in the early 90's, but I've never so much as seen a running instance of OS/2.

 

I did notice this article from the other day, a major OS/2 software archive will be going offline.  I'm sure there will be mirrors hosted elsewhere, but I went ahead and downloaded the whole thing (...stuffing it right next to my archive of Apple II software that I never use).  I am curious to try standing one of these up at some point just to poke around with it and see what it is like.

 

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2024/01/after-32-years-one-of-the-nets-oldest-software-archives-is-shutting-down/

 

I also read that Parallels exists because some bank needed to be able to virtualize OS/2 and VMware couldn't do it at the time.  Though I doubt that I can run OS/2 in Parallels on an ARM system...  Maybe it is possible to run it in DOSBox-X?

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20 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

I spent a fair amount of time with both MS-DOS and Windows 3.x back in the early 90's, but I've never so much as seen a running instance of OS/2.

 

I did notice this article from the other day, a major OS/2 software archive will be going offline.  I'm sure there will be mirrors hosted elsewhere, but I went ahead and downloaded the whole thing (...stuffing it right next to my archive of Apple II software that I never use).  I am curious to try standing one of these up at some point just to poke around with it and see what it is like.

 

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2024/01/after-32-years-one-of-the-nets-oldest-software-archives-is-shutting-down/

 

I also read that Parallels exists because some bank needed to be able to virtualize OS/2 and VMware couldn't do it at the time.  Though I doubt that I can run OS/2 in Parallels on an ARM system...  Maybe it is possible to run it in DOSBox-X?

 

Similar...I did install OS/2 from floppy disk's onto a 386 I think it was. Played with it for a day then straight back to Windows for workgroups 3.11

I very remotely recall that WindowsNT was an amalgamation of OS2 and Windows ?!?!?!:classic_dry:

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On 2/1/2024 at 5:20 AM, Eban said:

I very remotely recall that WindowsNT was an amalgamation of OS2 and Windows ?!?!?!:classic_dry:

Well, not from a code perspective, but from a philosophical perspective it took influences from both, as well as other systems.  The lead designer on NT, Dave Cutler, had previously worked at DEC on VMS, and brought ideas from there as well, but also had the opportunity to implement some of his own ideas on NT, which hadn't been possible on the already-established VMS but which Microsoft was receptive to on a fresh operating system.

 

Microsoft was still working on OS/2 with IBM when NT started, but of course they couldn't just borrow its code for NT, and at any rate they didn't want all the same design decisions.

 

For the long story, I recommend the book "Showstopper!: The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft" by G. Pascal Zachary.  Zachary was a technology journalist who wrote this book, and it's a quick and fascinating 288 pages - at least if you have an interest in computer history, as many members of this forum likely do.

 

-----

 

We had OS/2 (Warp 3?) installed alongside Windows 95 (and MS-DOS) when I was growing up as my dad worked at an IBM shop, but also saw the advantages of Windows and DOS, most notably the much greater educational software market for the latter two.  By comparison, we didn't have much third-party software for OS/2 - we had Lotus Notes as our word processor on the OS/2 side, and us kids would write short stories there, but I couldn't tell you what other third-party software we had, if any.  OS/2 had at least one other advantage though - I cannot recall it ever crashing.  Whereas Windows 95, you eject the floppy disk at the wrong time, you get a blue screen of death, along with 327 other ways to encounter one.

 

After that computer (an AMD 486) gave up the ghost, we switched to a new computer with Windows 98 in early '99, and didn't carry OS/2 forward.  It wasn't really a commercially viable product at that point, and I doubt if OS/2 received much more than 10% of our usage share in 1998.

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18 hours ago, Sandy Bridge said:

Well, not from a code perspective, but from a philosophical perspective it took influences from both, as well as other systems.  The lead designer on NT, Dave Cutler, had previously worked at DEC on VMS, and brought ideas from there as well, but also had the opportunity to implement some of his own ideas on NT, which hadn't been possible on the already-established VMS but which Microsoft was receptive to on a fresh operating system.

 

Microsoft was still working on OS/2 with IBM when NT started, but of course they couldn't just borrow its code for NT, and at any rate they didn't want all the same design decisions.

 

For the long story, I recommend the book "Showstopper!: The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft" by G. Pascal Zachary.  Zachary was a technology journalist who wrote this book, and it's a quick and fascinating 288 pages - at least if you have an interest in computer history, as many members of this forum likely do.

 

-----

 

We had OS/2 (Warp 3?) installed alongside Windows 95 (and MS-DOS) when I was growing up as my dad worked at an IBM shop, but also saw the advantages of Windows and DOS, most notably the much greater educational software market for the latter two.  By comparison, we didn't have much third-party software for OS/2 - we had Lotus Notes as our word processor on the OS/2 side, and us kids would write short stories there, but I couldn't tell you what other third-party software we had, if any.  OS/2 had at least one other advantage though - I cannot recall it ever crashing.  Whereas Windows 95, you eject the floppy disk at the wrong time, you get a blue screen of death, along with 327 other ways to encounter one.

 

After that computer (an AMD 486) gave up the ghost, we switched to a new computer with Windows 98 in early '99, and didn't carry OS/2 forward.  It wasn't really a commercially viable product at that point, and I doubt if OS/2 received much more than 10% of our usage share in 1998.

 

You do read some interesting books! :classic_wink:

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