TOPIC: OS/2. Very interesting post.
OS/2. Very interesting post. 1 year ago #1
Some of you know, well maybe one of you do that I have been running a bbs for awhile (first one I created was in 1989, revived it in 2010), and i'm still running it today. Anyway I was reading a few posts from a network called "Dove-Net" (similar to fidonet, echo etc), and here it is...
│ Subj: OS/2
│ To : Mro
│ From: Orion Blastar (VERT)
│ Date: Mon May 21 2012 13:05:06 PDT
By: Mro to Orion Blastar on Sun May 20 2012 04:28 pm
> Re: OS/2
> By: Orion Blastar to Nightfox on Sun May 20 2012 01:30 pm
> > Originally IBM and Microsoft worked on OS/2 together. But IBM wanted tota
> > control and so did Microsoft. So Microsoft worked on Windows NT and pushe
> > DOS/Windows while IBM pushed OS/2.
> that's not what happened.
In the Beginning DOS - 1981
In 1981 when the original IBM Personal Computer was announced, IBM released
three operating systems for it. How many of you remember that? Since I wrote
the first IBM course on how to fix this original PC, I had to know at least a
little about all three of them.
IBM decided early in the development process of the PC that they did not want
to hire a bunch of programmers to write software for it - especially an
operating system. IBM wanted the hardware business and did not care about the
software. Since there was no clear-cut contender for an operating system at the
time, IBM approached three organizations about writing one for the PC.
IBM first approached Digital Research and asked them to create a version of
CP/M (Control Program/Microcomputer). The owner of DR snubbed the IBM lawyers
and went flying or golfing (depending upon whose story you hear) instead.
IBM then turned to Microsoft. Bill Gates was very receptive to the IBM overture
and also had information about an operating system which had already been
written that would fill IBM's need very nicely. Gates said yes to IBM, bought
the operating system called DOS for $20,000 and modified it somewhat to run on
the IBM PC.
For you trivia buffs, the other OS delivered with the original PC was the UCSD
P-System (University of California at San Diego Pseudo code System). I will
permit those who make a living from documenting the history of computers to
describe that operating system elsewhere.
I suppose we all know what assumptions can do for us. IBM made some interesting
assumptions about the original PC in 1981; or rather, Don Estridge and his very
autonomous development team did.
I was in a meeting with Estridge and a number of other people in April of 1981,
when I first was assigned to write the IBM education for the PC. It was stated
at this meeting that IBM expected to sell about 275,000 Personal Computers -
over a five year product life. in fact, IBM sold almost that many on August 11,
the day before the official announcement. IBM held a preannouncement showing of
the PC in Toronto at the annual ComputerLand Dealers of North America
conference. ComputerLand dealers placed orders for nearly 250,000 computers
that day. On August 12, IBM took orders for almost 250,000 more Personal
Computers. IBM's planners have not been correct since.
At the same meeting the target environment for the PC was described. Here are
some of the assumptions made then.
Small business would buy most PCs.
Large business would stick with mainframes and dumb terminals.
A few departments in large businesses would use PCs for local, non-connected
The PC would be used for one task only. Not just one task at a time, but a
single task all day long. This might be a spreadsheet, or word processing, or
accounting, but no more than one task would be performed all day.
Based on these assumptions, the operating system was specified to be single
tasking. Besides, although the hardware was far more powerful than anything
else available in the microcomputer market at the time, it just was not
powerful enough to warrant the extra load that multitasking would place on it.
As we all know, DOS became the OS of choice for the Personal Computer. In part,
this was due to its significantly lower price when compared to the other
operating system choices then available for the PC.
As soon as I bought my original PC ($5,000 for Intel 8088, 4.77 MHz, 96 KB RAM,
monochrome display adapter and display, 80 CPS dot matrix printer) I ran into
I was writing a letter in EasyWriter and needed to make a calculation so I
could use the result in the letter. Why should I get out a $10 calculator when
I have a $5000 one sitting here? Of course in order to use it as a calculator,
I have to save my document, close EasyWriter, reboot to another diskette with
the calculator program on it (which I wrote myself in BASIC), do the
calculation, write down the answer, reboot to the diskette with EasyWriter,
load the document, and type in the figure from the paper.
We needed multitasking already.
A couple smart companies like Borland came out with Terminate and Stay Resident
(TSR) programs like Sidekick which allowed you to switch to them by pressing a
special key combination. Sidekick had the calculator as well as a calendar,
notepad, schedule, and other little utilities which we all needed.
The TSR became a circumvention for the lack of intrinsic multitasking in DOS
and the PC.
The PC AT - 1984
In 1984, IBM introduced the PC-AT which was the first (IBM) PC to use the new
Intel 80286 processor. The 80286 was designed by Intel with support for
multitasking built into it. IBM made a promise to its customers that they would
provide a multitasking operating system for the PC-AT. IBM keeps its promises,
The PC-AT was supposed to be able to do multitasking, and some IBM publicity
photos even showed it connected to two dumb terminals. IBM had contracted
Microsoft to create the first multitasking OS for the PC, but Bill Gates really
did not want to do this for the 80286 processor. He publicly called the 80286
"brain dead" and constantly attempted to turn IBM away from creating OS/2 for
the 80286 and to jump instead to the 80386 which was then under development at
Most people don't know this, even many IBMers who should, but IBM has a series
of internal documents called Corporate Directives. Corporate Directive number
2, signed by Thomas J. Watson Jr. in 1956, states that when IBM makes a promise
to its customers it will keep that promise "...regardless of the cost." It was
on this basis that IBM pressured Microsoft to continue work on OS/2 1.00.
At this time, the IBM PC was the responsibility of Entry Systems Division
(ESD). ESD was also working closely with Microsoft to produce OS/2. During this
time, Microsoft was also working on the first versions of Windows, and IBM was
working on a product called TopView which was a DOS add-on that allowed text
mode multitasking. Most people do not remember TopView, but it was a good
product and I used it between 1984 and 1987 when OS/2 1.00 was released.
OS/2 1.00 - 1987
Released in December, 1987, OS/2 1.00 was the first ever operating system for
the Personal Computer to provide intrinsic multitasking based on hardware
support. It was text mode only and allowed only one program to be on the screen
at a time, even though other programs could be running in the background. It
also allowed one very limited session in which DOS programs could be run. The
maximum disk size supported was 32 MB.
Note: All 1.x versions of OS/2 were designed specifically to run on 80286
systems, but they were capable of running on 80386 systems as well.
OS/2 1.10 SE - 1988
In October, 1988, IBM released OS/2 1.10 Standard Edition (SE). SE 1.10 added a
graphical user interface (GUI) to OS/2. This GUI, called Presentation Manager
(PM), allowed users to interact with the operating system in a more friendly
manner than the command line interface provided.
Unfortunately the PM required a very large learning curve on the part of
programmers. When programmers became proficient they found that PM, and the
rest of the OS/2 APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), were very powerful
and quite efficient.
Support for large FAT hard drives was included in this version. By dividing
large physical drives into multiple logical hard drives, up to 2 GB drives
could be supported.
OS/2 1.10 EE - 1989
When IBM announced OS/2 1.10 SE, they also announced OS/2 1.20 EE (Extended
Edition). This product, released in early 1989 included Database Manager and
Database Manager was (and is) a multitasking relational database with a great
deal of power.
Communications Manager provided IBM mainframe and midrange customers with
multiple 3270 and 5250 emulation sessions. It also contained a really bad
asynchronous communications program.
OS/2 1.20 - 1989
Released in November 1989, OS/2 1.20 (SE and EE) offered an improved
Presentation Manager. Available with OS/2 1.2 EE for the first time was the
High Performance File System (HPFS). HPFS is much more efficient and faster
than FAT. HPFS also offers much greater data integrity.
REXX also appeared for the first time in OS/2 1.20 Extended Edition. REXX is a
very powerful interpretive programming language which can be used for writing a
complete application or as an extended batch language. I use REXX quite
frequently to write everything from quick and dirty programs to do something
one time, to very large, sophisticated programs which I use constantly.
Work had also begun on two new OS/2 products. Work on OS/2 2.0 was well
underway. This product would be the first true 32 bit operating system for
personal computers. Designed to work on the Intel 80386 and its follow on
processors which were still in development, OS/2 2.00 would no longer be
compatible with the 80286 processor.
OS/2 3.0 was in the very early stages of development and was intended at the
time to be a network server version of the operating system. It was also
intended to be platform independent. Because the operating system would be
built on top of a microkernel, it would not need to be aware of the type of
hardware on which it was running and therefore could run on Intel processors as
well as Motorola, SUN, and DEC, chips with only a change of the microkernel
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