Thursday, 3 May 2007

My Experiences with OS/2

I would like to share my experience with OS/2.
It was mid 1993 (I guess) and I saw in a computer store the OS/2 2.1 box so I decided to purchase and test it.
I started the installation and all went well, the only problem was that I had to choose the standard VGA because it didn't recognize my video card (an OAK-067). So I called to the IBM BBS using my 2400bps modem in order to look for my drivers ( wasn't there in those old times). Amazingly they had the drivers, but the driver downloads was only permited to registered users...
I called IBM and a telephonist explained me that I had to send the registration card that came in the box in order to validate that I was a OS/2 customer. So I filled the paper and sent it.
A few weeks later I was able to download the file. The driver worked fine. The operating system was robust but I didn't found additional OS/2 native applications.

Two years later, mid 1995, I bought the OS/2 Warp 3.0 a better OS : excellent compatibility with DOS or Win applications, it included the Bonus Pack, true 32 bits OS not like Micro$oft windows 3.1 or 95 running over DOS. But with most of the old problems : it was nearly impossible to pass information between applications, the single input queue problem. And you had to choose if the application was full-screen or windowed, but was impossible to change the mode after you selected one.

I really never understood this "blue pill or the red pill" Matrix Philosophy.

Morpheus : You take the windowed pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.
You take the fullscreen pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Remember -- all I am offering is the truth, nothing more.
Unfortunately, no one can be told what the difference is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance.
After this, there is no turning back.
(Neo Takes the fullscreen pill)

I never found a free Software Development kit too. And the OS itself was expensive. Nowadays the sucesor of OS/2 warp the eComStation 1.2R costs $ 259 dollars.

On the other hand, in those long gone times, Micro$oft Windows was cheaper and in some cases almost free (my mouse logitech came with a complete windows 3.1 edition for free) with a lot of drivers (and no one asked for a registration card to download a simple driver), free Software Development Kits, came pre-installed in millons of computers, and a great marketing campaing. I don't like Micro$oft Windows, back then I prefered OS/2 (later I chose Linux). But I can deny that OS/2 died before Windows (I am still hopefully waiting for that day, the fall of Micro$oft). And for me that had everything to do with those issues. (expensive software, lack of hardware support, registration to download a driver (?), the windowed or fullscreen pill...)

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