Author Topic: OS/2 history  (Read 1465 times)

Rick C. Hodgin

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OS/2 history
« on: June 01, 2017, 09:23:12 pm »
I had someone tell me something today about OS/2 that I've never heard before.

He says he worked at IBM during the OS/2 years, and that Microsoft never actually stopped working on OS/2, but rather there was code in OS/2 that was licensed from Microsoft and IBM continued to pay Microsoft to develop it until IBM decided to pull the plug much later.  He says Microsoft didn't leave OS/2.

He paints it as a picture like Microsoft worked on Windows NT and OS/2 and wasn't any part of the cause of OS/2 being less than stellar in its market share gains.  He also states Microsoft is the reason they couldn't release the source code, because of the parts licensed from Microsoft.

Does anybody have knowledge of this?

Thank you,
Rick C. Hodgin



Remy

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2017, 09:50:48 pm »
From what I know, it looks to be correct except microsoft is no more working on the code since a long time...

Gerry Prosser

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2017, 10:53:37 pm »
Well, it was not quite like that, and the licensing issues were worse than that.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2017, 11:05:17 pm »
Hi

I really do not know exactly the date where Microsoft stopped all OS/2 development.

According to history OS/2 was developed under an agreement called "Joint Development Agreement Between IBM and Microsoft".

I'm not a lawyer to make an statement about the document and some annex are missing, but it states some things like:

Quote
DEFINITIONS:
"Code" shall mean Joint Code, MS Code or IBM Code, or any combination thereof, as generally defined below. "Source Code" · shall mean Code in source language form and "Object Code" shall mean Code in machine language form.

Quote
4.0 DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

For a period of ten (10) years from the date of receipt of Source Code from the other party, neither party shall disclose to any third party such Source Code of the other party unless such disclosure is made in accordance with terms aad conditions regarding coafideatiality substantially similar to those contained ia Addendum A to this Agreement, entitled "SAMPLE CONFIDEJlTIAL DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT".

According to the agreement Phase II documents are the ones generated on the agreement (the OS/2 components and products may be one of those).

There it is "3.2.1 With respect to Joint Code and Joint Documentation" It says that both parties (MS and IBM) are the owners of the product.  But then there is "3.2.2 With respect to IBM Code and IBM Documentation:" and "3.2.3 With respect to MS Code and MS Documentation:" which says IBM owns his own generated products and MS owns its own generated products.

The issue is that I don't have the annex to know what components are Joint Code, MS Code or IBM Code.

Quote
15.0 TERM AND TERMINATION

(g) The .terms of the Section entitled "Disclosure of Information" shall survive the termination of a Phase II Document until ten (10) years have expired from the effective date of such Phase II.

It is possible that the copyrights are owned by Microsoft and IBM on the source code, but maybe the source code can be disclosed by now :)

Regards
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 11:06:55 pm by Martin Iturbide »
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Dave Yeo

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2017, 03:33:03 am »
My understanding is that MS stopped mostly working with IBM with OS/2 v2 though there was a MS branded prerelease of v2. The deal was that IBM would develop v2 and MS would develop v3, which would be a rewrite and was called OS/2 NT. By ver 3.1 it had become Windows NT. Note that our internal version number is 2.45 as ver 3 and up belong to MS.
NT was quite capable of running OS/2 v1.x applications, I even ran v1 of cmd.exe on Win2k and loaded pinball.sys to access HPFS partitions (a mistake as MS never updated their HPFS driver to handle bigger then 4.3 GiB partitions. IIRC NT3.1 used HPFS and NTFS was partially based on HPFS). Have a Byte article somewhere that describes MS bringing up the 32 bit Presentation Manager on NT as well.
The os2museum http://www.os2museum.com/wp/ has lots of history.

André Heldoorn

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2017, 06:37:32 pm »
For a period of ten (10) years from the date of receipt of Source Code from the other party

IBM owns his own generated products and MS owns its own generated products.

It is possible that the copyrights are owned by Microsoft and IBM on the source code, but maybe the source code can be disclosed by now :)[/quote]

It is possible that the copyrights are owned by Microsoft and IBM on the product, but maybe the source code can be disclosed by now.

But that's not likely. Even with source code it's like owning a book, without having the rights to publish that book. Microsoft has no reason to donate you their parts of the product, which may compete with their own product again. That's financial suicide. If Microsoft wants your money, then they'd try to sell you a copy of Windows 10.

I guess laws could be modernized to account for abandonware, for example by allowing an unauthorized distribution of some registered copy of a popular shareware product after 15 years of full inactivity of the owner of the rights. This won't help OS/2, because Microsoft may still be using and updating components/technologies of MS OS/2 1.0.

Devon

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 08:40:34 pm »
He says he worked at IBM during the OS/2 years, and that Microsoft never actually stopped working on OS/2, but rather there was code in OS/2 that was licensed from Microsoft and IBM continued to pay Microsoft to develop it until IBM decided to pull the plug much later.  He says Microsoft didn't leave OS/2.

I would say that this is most likely incorrect for a few reasons (from what I've read and know), the first three that come to mind:

#1 OS/2 2.11 SMP was the work of one guy contracted by IBM non-MS:
Quote from: Brad Wardell
The email I received confirmed the rumor that OS/2 2.11 SMP was largely the work of 1 person who later left IBM.  Once that person left and IBM had gotten rid of most of the contractors at Boca Raton Fl (IBM decided to centralized PSP in Austin) the brain drain was so much that OS/2 would never get a client SMP version again.  OS/2’s kernal on a P-66 took 2 hours to compile.  OS/2 took about 40 minutes to compile on a 2 processor OS/2 2.11 SMP machine (4 P-66’s).  IBM would not allow OS/2 internal builds to use the SMP compile.  If each compile ate up over 2 hours, imagine how much better OS/2 Warp could have been if the engineers had had an extra hour and 80 minutes after each build to spend testing, fixing, adding, etc.?  The fact that OS/2 had an SMP version so early could have made a huge difference the high end market.  Unfortunately, IBM failed to capitalize on this and eventually Windows NT (which still can’t match OS/2 2.11’s SMP scalability) took over as the primary SMP client.  By the time IBM got around to showing how cool OS/2 SMP was, it was too late.
Source: https://www.stardock.com/stardock/os2present.html


#2 Microsoft never wanted to help IBM with OS/2 (as that would just sign their own destruction) and instead were just 'riding the bear', and also severely disagreed with IBM's payment model / I severely doubt they would continue to code OS/2 when they didn't agree with the payment model nor wanted to sign their own destruction:
Quote from: Steve Ballmer
It was just part of, as we used to call it, the time riding the bear. You just had to try to stay on the bear's back and the bear would twist and turn and try to buck you and throw you, but darn, we were going to ride the bear because the bear was the biggest, the most important you just had to be with the bear, otherwise you would be under the bear in the computer industry, and IBM was the bear, and we were going to ride the back of the bear.

In IBM there's a religion in software that says you have to count K-LOCs, and a K-LOC is a thousand line of code. How big a project is it? Oh, it's sort of a 10K-LOC project. This is a 20K-LOCer. And this is 50K-LOCs. And IBM wanted to sort of make it the religion about how we got paid. How much money we made off OS/2, how much they did. How many K-LOCs did you do? And we kept trying to convince them - hey, if we have - a developer's got a good idea and he can get something done in 4K-LOCs instead of 20K-LOCs, should we make less money? Because he's made something smaller and faster, less KLOC. K-LOCs, K-LOCs, that's the methodology. Ugh anyway, that always makes my back just crinkle up at the thought of the whole thing.
Source: http://www.pbs.org/nerds/part2.html

There's also the whole fact that IBM and MS had major disagreements with how it should have been designed. Which is why OS/2 is a far more stable and sanely programmed operating system than Windows. I won't go through all of the reasons why OS/2 had many things implemented ahead of the time by non-MS employees, but they are there. Microsoft only caught up with some of these much later on--and in many instances it was too late (which is why Windows' interface can't scale properly, whereas OS/2's can).

#3 OS/2 PPC was ported and developed internally at IBM and ate their budget for OS/2 as a whole (and is one of the main reasons why OS/2 was axed by IBM):
Quote from: Brad Wardell
I remember in 1997 when we were looking at the OS/2 revenue sales and realizing that NT 4.0 had killed OS/2.  When Windows NT 4.0 came out, that pretty much did in OS/2, people migrated from OS/2 to NT incredibly fast.  I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that about half of the active individual OS/2 user base switched from OS/2 to Windows NT 4.0 within 6 months of its introduction.  And IBM, unbeknownst to any of us, had decided to kill OS/2 before OS/2 Warp 4.  Warp 4 was in the pipeline already.  Gerstner, feeling betrayed by PSP (Personal System Products, a division of IBM) for the PowerPC debacle had ordered PSP eliminated and its assets split up amongst the other divisions, none of which particularly cared about OS/2. 
Source: https://www.stardock.com/stardock/articles/endofos2.html

EDIT: I'd like to add that the elements that OS/2 shares (and doesn't share!) with Windows are quite fascinating. IBM wasn't oblivious as to what was worth keeping and what was utter garbage.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 02:48:09 am by Devon »

Andy Willis

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2017, 03:10:13 am »
I had someone tell me something today about OS/2 that I've never heard before.

He says he worked at IBM during the OS/2 years, and that Microsoft never actually stopped working on OS/2, but rather there was code in OS/2 that was licensed from Microsoft and IBM continued to pay Microsoft to develop it until IBM decided to pull the plug much later.  He says Microsoft didn't leave OS/2.

He paints it as a picture like Microsoft worked on Windows NT and OS/2 and wasn't any part of the cause of OS/2 being less than stellar in its market share gains.  He also states Microsoft is the reason they couldn't release the source code, because of the parts licensed from Microsoft.

Does anybody have knowledge of this?

Thank you,
Rick C. Hodgin

I worked for IBM (not related to OS/2 development) for several years.  I do not know one way or the other about MS working on what code other than that I understand they own hpfs386 and some book forewards that I have read said the IBM built 2.0 on their own.  However, I did at one time know the General Manager that owned OS/2 and he had said the MS told IBM that they did not care if IBM open sourced OS/2 but IBM was unwilling because it would cost them $500K on top of lawyer costs. 

Rick C. Hodgin

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2017, 03:15:22 am »
I worked for IBM (not related to OS/2 development) for several years.

Did you know David Barnes?  He looks like someone I would definitely like to meet.

Quote
However, I did at one time know the General Manager that owned OS/2 and he had said the MS told IBM that they did not care if IBM open sourced OS/2 but IBM was unwilling because it would cost them $500K on top of lawyer costs.

If that information had been made public, I think many ISVs would've come together and figured out a way to fund that cost to obtain the code base.

Devon

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2017, 10:48:10 am »
If that information had been made public, I think many ISVs would've come together and figured out a way to fund that cost to obtain the code base.

Some critical portions of the OS/2 source code are missing anyways, so it wouldn't matter now.

A. Demetrious Sharpe, Sr.

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2017, 01:34:00 am »
Some critical portions of the OS/2 source code are missing anyways, so it wouldn't matter now.

What happened to them? How’d they go missing?

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2017, 03:01:11 pm »
What happened to them? How’d they go missing?

Hi Demetrious.

That is something that it is being told (rumors). I don't think we ever going to get a formal letter from IBM saying "We have lost the OS/2 source code" or "We have the OS/2 source code complete safe".

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Rick C. Hodgin

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Re: OS/2 history
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2017, 03:10:32 pm »
What happened to them? How’d they go missing?
That is something that it is being told (rumors). I don't think we ever going to get a formal letter from IBM saying "We have lost the OS/2 source code" or "We have the OS/2 source code complete safe".

I read that IBM was offering fee-for-support for OS/2 (and here).  Are they still doing so in 2017?

I've read many banks used OS/2 for their ATMs and terminals.  If so, it would require that they at least have the full kernel and driver sources somewhere.

UPDATE:  I've emailed the contact to find out.  The email did not immediately bounce so we'll find out.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 03:21:36 pm by Rick C. Hodgin »