Author Topic: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator  (Read 1047 times)

Daniel Nesbitt

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IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« on: June 02, 2017, 07:46:45 pm »
Hello,

I was having a look into IBM's Open32 recently and I stumbled across this thread on BetaArchive: https://www.betaarchive.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=28735&start=25 which has a screenshot of a Windows 95 emulator by IBM for Warp 4 (attached).

Does anyone know more about this unreleased emulator? On face value I guess it wasn’t as well integrated as WIN-OS/2 but it's a shame it never shipped.

Cheers.



Martin Iturbide

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2017, 07:53:50 pm »
Hi Daniel

I remember that we discussed that picture long time ago on IRC when everybody just wanted to be able to run Win95 on OS/2. Since I never saw any binaries of it, I consider that picture as fake.

If anybody has the binaries of this "emulator" we can finally put this urban legend to rest :)

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Daniel Nesbitt

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2017, 08:17:41 pm »
Hi Martin,

I should have considered that it might be a fake as well. Aside from Open32, did IBM make any big effort to try to provide Win32 runtime compatibility?

Martin Iturbide

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2017, 10:36:22 pm »
Hi.

For what I known (maybe it is just a personal opinion), IBM's Lou Gerstner pulled the plug on OS/2 even before Warp 4 was released. While many people was exited about Warp 4 release, some other with internal information knew that OS/2 was not going to get more investment. (remember that at that time there was not Facebook or twitter :) . So anyone inside IBM that wanted to do something more aggressive with the OS was stopped. WSfeB, Warp 4.52 and Server 4.52 was only to continue the legacy support and to support a migration path to Java apps.

I had seen that business strategy many times, instead of going to announce the abrupt discontinuation of a software product, they minimize the dev team to only offer support, do not offer any new innovation on the product, offer only bug fixing and patches, and wait until the market just fall off so at that moment they can announce the discontinuation without a bigger impact. If by some miracle the market react in a different way, maybe the product can revive, but that is not the common path.

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Greg Pringle

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2017, 10:51:00 pm »
Gerstner did pull the plug on OS/2. Well not technically. He told Microsoft that IBM would not pursue the home market anymore. Instead only target existing OS/2 corporate customers. That was done during talks about Windows95. That was 1993 or early 1994. What Microsoft had been doing was selling Windows licenses to PC manufacturers at different prices. IBM had the cheapest price as a reseller of Windows software. Microsoft told IBM that the price for Windows would go up if IBM continued to push the sales of OS/2. Gerstner, who was brought in to stop the massive losses at IBM saw Windows as a cash cow so he agreed to stop direct competition with Windows. I was told this by one of the attendees at the meeting the next month. This soon led to trying to completely withdraw OS/2 since sales were not good and Windows was seen as good for the desktop. Then IBM saw the open source market as a viable new direction and started pushing Java and Linux as ways of keeping IBM relevant on the PC.

Fahrvenugen

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2017, 04:57:11 pm »
Hi,

As I recall at around the same time that this so-called "screen shot" turned up, an OS/2 port of the BOCHS 386 emulator turned up around the same time.  It was slow and painful to run even on the fastest processors available at the time, but you could install (if you were patient enough) a full copy of Windows 95 on it similar to how you can install Win95 on Virtualbox today.

There was speculation at the time that this "IBM emulator" was simply a screen shot of BOCHS with Windows 95 running which someone had tweaked a bit.  It is anyone's guess if this was actually done inside IBM or if it was someone who just decided to have some fun.  With the lack of anything other then a screen shot it is all speculation, but it would not surprise me to hear that someone inside IBM might have looked at this. 

At the time of Windows 95's release I suspect there was a lot of discussion within IBM about OS/2 - while Lou Gerstner may have already made up his mind, there was also momentum behind OS/2 - the Just Add Warp marketing campaign - aimed at home users - was released in the fall of '95, resulting in December 1995 with OS/2 having more sales then Windows 95 had to home users (ie, I'm not talking about pre-installed on new PCs. but rather people going to the store and purchasing the OS).  Then early 96 - with the PowerPC version still not being completed (although they had "shipped" a version to select customers in December '95) - this was a huge part in the decision (recall that back in those days IBM still thought the PowerPC chip was going to be the next big thing!).  From what we know of the Power PC port of OS/2, it was a strange beast.  From what I recall it could run Dos and Windows software without modification, but in order to run OS/2 applications - the apps would need to be recompiled from source.  And many parts of it were still very much "beta" level code.

If I recall correctly there was also some discussion around a comment that one of the IBM developers had made surrounding the win32s driver (the driver that allows win32s 1.25 to run in WinOS/2).  The discussion had something to do with the driver having the capability to be modified / extended to allow other 32 bit code to run within the OS/2 Dosbox sub-system.  Some speculated that this might be a route for Win95 to be able to function within OS/2, although my own suspicion is that it was more in reference to the fact that Win32s version 1.3 had been released by Microsoft, and IBM wanted the potential to support this within WinOS/2.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 05:08:25 pm by Fahrvenugen »

Daniel Nesbitt

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2017, 09:55:20 pm »
Thanks for the reply so far! A senior guy from IBM UK was visiting the University I work at the other week, I jokingly asked him if they would open source OS/2, which he found funny. It seems to be that at least some IBMers are still very much aware of OS/2.
From what we know of the Power PC port of OS/2, it was a strange beast.  From what I recall it could run Dos and Windows software without modification, but in order to run OS/2 applications - the apps would need to be recompiled from source.  And many parts of it were still very much "beta" level code.

The PPC version looks very interesting, I guess at the time IBM were betting heavily on PPC workstations and laptops, and given that it was designed as a microkernel and with a "OS/2 personality" in hindsight it would have been a solid foundation if they wanted to push it further.

Going of-topic slightly, I feel that IBM's abandonment of OS/2 as well as their PC business may hurt them in the long run. The current undergraduate and MSc Computing Science students I teach know little to nothing about IBM or what it even did or does today. To me part of that problem is that there are no more IBM devices or services that attract new users who will potentially be the corporate buyers/decision makers in a few years time.

Ian Manners

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2017, 06:36:35 am »
Quote
Going of-topic slightly, I feel that IBM's abandonment of OS/2 as well as their PC business may hurt them in the long run. The current undergraduate and MSc Computing Science students I teach know little to nothing about IBM or what it even did or does today. To me part of that problem is that there are no more IBM devices or services that attract new users who will potentially be the corporate buyers/decision makers in a few years time.

I agree, IBM need to be in the public eye more. I had to correct a lecturer at my uni that Lenovo had not bought IBM.. Then went ahead and explained a bit about the blue octopus.

Maybe IBM should release a Blue Smartphone (I'm not serious, it would be out of date by the time it left development, let along..)
Cheers
Ian B Manners

Neil Waldhauer

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2017, 04:45:40 pm »
There are a lot of unlikely stories about the end of OS/2 in this thread. Why not let the guy who killed OS/2 tell his version?

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Leading a Great Enterprise through Dramatic Change Paperback – December 16, 2003
by Louis V., Jr. Gerstner

https://www.amazon.com/Who-Says-Elephants-Cant-Dance/dp/0060523808

Synopsis: Killing OS/2 was his greatest accomplishment. It was done before OS/2 Warp 3 was released.
Expert consulting for ArcaOS, OS/2 and eComStation
http://www.blondeguy.com

Remy

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2017, 11:40:01 pm »
Hi Daniel

I remember that we discussed that picture long time ago on IRC when everybody just wanted to be able to run Win95 on OS/2. Since I never saw any binaries of it, I consider that picture as fake.

If anybody has the binaries of this "emulator" we can finally put this urban legend to rest :)

Regards

You can make win-OS2 look windows 95 very nicely :
http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/download/pub/windows/calmii30.zip

I did it in the past.... 

Greg Pringle

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Re: IBM's Windows 95 Emulator
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2017, 01:41:56 pm »
Hi Neil, do you really think Gerstner would admit to an action that could have violated the Sherman Act? The lower courts said the same activity was anti-competitive for Microsoft's dealings. Then an appeals court reversed the decision. If you recall the information that OS/2 would be continued to be sold to corporate customers was announced to the public in 1976 or 1977 but that the home market was not being pursued. I have simply given the actual reason.