Jump to content

OS/2 turns 25 today


Recommended Posts


25 years ago today, IBM and Microsoft announced OS/2, the PC operating system that was designed to replace DOS but failed to do so, thanks mostly to Microsoft's efforts to improve Windows.

Posted Image

25 years ago, IBM was still the biggest force in the PC industry. On this date in 1987, the company announced a new partnership with Microsoft that at the time seemed to be the next major step in the PC's evolution: The launch of OS/2. However, the operating system failed to gain a foothold in PC desktops and the reason lies ironically with Microsoft.

Time.com's site has an interesting article today on the rise and fall of OS/2. The story points out that while it was announced on this day 25 years ago, it wasn't until December 1987 until version 1.0 was released. Even after its launch, OS/2 still didn't have a lot of features, including basic items such as having a graphical interface for mouse interactions, until a year later. OS/2 was also a resource hog; most PCs of that time didn't have the memory to support OS/2's 4 MB requirements.

In the end, IBM's partner on OS/2, Microsoft, broke off its development arrangement and released Windows 3.0 in 1990. Most PC owners installed and used it thanks to its Mac-style graphical interface. In 1992, IBM launched the 2.0 version of OS/2. It was a huge improvement from the original and it could handle OS/2, Windows and DOS programs all at once and had 32-bit software support (although it still had a few 16-bit drivers).

Even with the improvements, O2/2 2.0 still had some high system requirements, and more consumers and businesses still moved on to updated versions of Windows. OS/2 3.0 came out in 1994 but PC users decided to wait until Windows 95 came out a year later. IBM kept releasing updated versions of OS/2 but by then the writing was on the wall. The company released the final version of OS/2 in 2001 and stopped full support of the OS in 2006, although IBM will still offer some support for a fee.

OS/2 was in many ways a PC operating system that was many years ahead of its time, with some features that Windows didn't incorporate for a number of years, such as right-clicking on the OS to change settings. Even today, OS/2 is still in use running some older ATMs or inside the system that delivers the Metrocards for New York City's subway system. A company called Serenity Systems International even sells an OS, eComStation, that is based on OS/2 and runs all OS/2 based programs.

Posted Image View: Original Article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Views 908
  • Created
  • Last Reply


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...