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Goodbye OS/2

Posted: December 31st, 1969 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Goodbye OS/2

Picture of Irv Owens Web DeveloperI don't know anyone else who ran OS/2 as their sole desktop operating system. When I installed it on my 486DX2 50 MHz with 32 MB of RAM my Dad asked me, “Why do you want to run that?” It ran like a dog, took about ten minutes to boot up, and had no applications developed for it. What OS/2 did have was geek factor. Before Linux choices were limited for computer geeks who didn't have access to a mainframe. After the fire at the DRAM factory in Taiwan, the cost of memory was ridiculous, I remember wanting to get 64 MB, but it cost something like $300 for 16 MB and as a 11 year old I couldn't afford it. Still, I wanted to run it because it was truly 32-bit, no shared memory space, and was everything that Windows 95 should have been. The interface was pretty ugly, and I to this day have never seen slower window redraws with any operating system.

I remember running Windows 3.1 apps natively running on top of OS/2. I start the app, go upstairs, get a coke, watch a few minutes of cartoons, then come back down to use Notepad. It even would crash, but it was OK because the rest of the operating would keep sluggishly running along. Later, OS/2 Warp came out which was supposed to be faster, but I didn't go into that. I was too geeked out on the beta version of Windows 95 to even think about it. Who wouldn't be excited to have a beta version of an OS to mess around with? I was seriously bummed when I inadvertently overwrote one of the like 10 3.5s that it came on. I had to bum one off a friend to copy so that I could reinstall when the registry got corrupted. If only I had seen what was coming then and started with Unix!

Still, it was cool to be able to tell my friends that I was running OS/2 and have them say “What's that?” It is probably the reason that I still mess with niche operating systems like Solaris and OS X. I wonder what I will run when OS X becomes mainstream? Will it be back to Windows? Nah! I only use it when I have to, and at work. Longhorn looks like it isn't packing anything to make me want to switch, and Linux is too hard to do anything in. OS X is still the best choice. Anyway, I'll miss OS/2. Now to try to find my original disks to see how it'll run on my Athlon…

IBM to bury OS/2