This section of my website is devoted to the OS/2 operating system. Use the navigation links to access the various topics.

If you don't know what OS/2 is, or why I have webspace dedicated to it, read on...

OS/2 Background

OS/2 is a 32-bit operating system for x86 personal computers. It was jointly designed by IBM and Microsoft to be the successor to DOS. However, the two companies had a falling-out, and Microsoft left the project in the early 1990s (developing Windows NT instead). IBM has continued the product on its own since then.

In the mid-1990s, IBM decided to stop marketing it to end users, but it continued to be widely used in large businesses (especially banks and insurance companies) for many years. All the while, IBM quietly continued to release new versions as well as incremental updates at semi-regular intervals. IBM officially halted retail sales of OS/2 around the end of 2005, but even now provides contract support to existing enterprise customers. OS/2 is used, much more widely than most people think, in a number of dedicated applications. And it continues life here and there as an all-purpose computing platform, albeit for a rather limited number of end users who maintain their affection for it.

Regardless of what professional naysayers have been saying for most of its existence, OS/2 is not really "dead" — not while it remains a useful, productive platform with active users and developers, is useable on modern hardware systems, and continues to receive product updates.

For it does, in fact, continue to be developed, after a fashion. For the past several years, a licensed retail distribution of OS/2 called eComStation has been available. eComStation, produced (under OEM licence from IBM) by Serenity Systems International and Mensys BV, and in conjunction with a team of developers (both contracted and volunteer), has been steadily building improvements onto OS/2 in order to maintain it as a modern and viable computing platform.*

* In the interest of full disclosure, it should be mentioned that I am a volunteer developer for eComStation.

Characteristics of OS/2

OS/2 is a fast, efficient, and generally reliable operating system. While not as polished in terms of GUI features as the latest Windows or Macintosh offerings, it is highly functional under the hood. It is also one of the smallest, fastest, and most resource-efficient operating systems available for its feature set.

Compared to other PC operating systems, OS/2's general strengths include:

Of course, any discussion would be incomplete without a mention of OS/2's main disadvantages:

Hardware and Software Support

While OS/2 admittedly showing its age in some respects, it has so far managed to stave off technical obsolescence reasonably well. As an illustration, the following software features are all available for OS/2 (in some cases through the eComStation product):

(Some of these OS/2 ports may be missing minor features, or lack highly polished graphical integration tools, but the core functionality is all present; more to the point, they are all actively maintained and developed.)

As mentioned, OS/2 has traditionally struggled to keep its hardware support up to date (although the situation right now is probably better than it has been at several times in the past). Current hardware support includes:

Other OS/2 Resources

There are many OS/2 and eComStation resources available on the web, if you want to learn more. Some of the better ones include: