In a recent article we were discussing some of the finer points of Haiku and I referenced IBM’s OS/2 Warp 4.52. As promised a bit of history and a review of the features of this early contender for the home PC market.
In the late 80’s OS/2 was introduced as, among other things, a successor of the Dos legacy. Windows, while widely more accepted due to it’s inclusion as default software, had a few key limitations by contrast to the capabilities of this somewhat cumbersome collaborative project. Microsoft and IBM were collectively and then individually working towards the realization of a multitasking protected system, with an entire series of releases to tackle some of the software goals shared by Unix and Windows NT – and others.
Support ended in 2006 – Officially…
“So where were these operating systems being used?” You might wonder, Banks, ATM’s, Grocery Stores, Small Offices, Servers for every conceivable purpose. It was literally a forerunner of Linux both in terms of adoption and honestly in it’s intended scope. Much like Linux has struggled to make a dent in the desktop market but has run the world (and the internet) behind the scenes, OS/2 has had a devoted and brilliant community of purists keeping the “Blue Spine” world alive. While that probably hasn’t been the easiest task, this operating system hasn’t made it an impossible one.
Skipping through to the Warp Era
By 1994, the war for the desktop had all but ended, and the only reason IBM even acknowledged OS/2 was their existing business market. It might have been nearly impossible to gain new customers but they didn’t abandon their existing ones at all. Imagine maintaining an operating system series from 1989 – 2006 with little reason other than loyalty to your past customers, and you’ll begin to understand why Serenity Systems developed Ecomstation.
The OS/2 following may not have been quick to grow, but they were still slower to die.
Even a casual glimpse at the original OS/2 alongside the eComStation reveals that the constant upgrades have yielded a carefully tended maturation from “Amazing potential,” to “Like we said, Amazing potential!”
But now for my scathing review…
My first foray into this OS/2 world came out of my general curiosity about “the connectivity and file sharing abilities” of a system developed in the early 90’s, against it’s then rival’s the Microsoft Windows systems themselves. This proved to be a great approach to evaluate something that many of our older readers might still remember quite well, though to be fair these systems aren’t all that similar under the hood.
When running file sharing and print services the OS/2 performed better than it’s peers and was surprisingly easy to configure (even when using floppies instead of the CD image to install everything in a Virtualbox.) Not surprisingly there was some profanity involved in each case but it was pretty straight forward once I ignored the written directions. 4.0
Internet browsing – I managed to get the server edition working and facing the internet with little difficulty though obviously the outdated default browser makes browsing nearly impossible. Surprisingly though it managed to have some of the very best bookmark layouts and far better organization than any of the IE browsers it was contending with. IBM really thought everything through brilliantly. 3.5
Performance was tested at specs that neither machine really required, 512 Mb Ram, 4 Gb Hard Drives, NAT connections, Hosted On Linux Mint 17.3 because… #LinuxForever
IBM OS/2 File System – 4.0
Overall 3.8 on Par with many modern operating systems used by enthusiasts to keep old machines running, and on a personal note I’ll be watching the Blue Lion operating system intently and perhaps finding a copy of eComStation for kicks.
IBM – Actually rocked, but what were we to expect from the geniuses who brought us Watson?