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Alas, Poor OS/2! I Knew Warp, Palmisano

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The OS/2 operating system, un-updated for nine years, will officially be withdrawn from IBM’s product line.

In December 2005, the 32-bit operating system, at one time a joint IBM/Microsoft project, departs the IBM product catalog. IBM continued to develop the OS after Microsoft left the partnership in 1990 to develop Windows NT.

Twenty years have passed since those two tech firms signed their joint development agreement. And like many breakups, this one was far from amicable. Only this month did Microsoft and IBM finally settled a lengthy lawsuit, with Microsoft paying $775 million USD in cash and providing a software credit of $75 million.

IBM will continue to support OS/2 through December of 2006. After that, all OS/2 material will be removed from its web site. During the transition, IBM will encourage OS/2 users to switch to Linux.

For the truly diehard OS/2 user who just can’t let go, a company called Serenity Systems International has been selling an OS/2 distribution called eComSystem since 1998.

Serenity projects selling eComStation through mid-2007, but that is not an end date. According to the company: “That is simply the time frame of the current product plan.”

OS/2 never really caught on with the public, but it did have some considerable niche strength, particularly among Automated Teller Machines used by banks. And, due to a low presence in the market, virtually no viruses have been written to plague the platform.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Alas, Poor OS/2! I Knew Warp, Palmisano
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