Author Topic: Revolutionary PC Technology  (Read 2282 times)

Edward Agrisea

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Revolutionary PC Technology
« on: October 21, 2020, 08:31:26 pm »
Last week there was a sub-discussion on /. about technological leaps that advanced the way we all used PC's (the original article was about the new gddr5 memory).

It got me to thinking of before OS/2 was released, how my company then used video memory dram chips on the monster motherboards to make our PC's faster than anyone else. From strictly a hardware point of view: Then hard drives instead of floppies, mfm then rll, finally the ide came about. The next leap was overclocking the cpu, which we did with AMD because intel would fry. Next up was storage media, from tape to CD, then dvd. (Blu-Ray, IMO, was released too late because flash drives rapidly had larger capacities for much cheaper than a single disc.) Next leap was the multi-core CPU. And the sata standard which brought us solid state drives.

In the software realm, we all (I hope) discovered the magic of OS/2 and what it did to PC's. I got involved when 2.1 came out, designed a pc to use it, then started showing it off to clients. Warp 3 (blue box) was amazing or terrifying, the ms-zealots were quite amusing at various COMDEX shows. I really wish ibm had stuck with Warp and given us a 64-bit version.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on technology leaps..

Matt Walsh

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2020, 11:22:41 pm »
My thoughts are that having an OS with no viruses, no weekly security updates and the ability to keep using my 20 year old bookkeeping program and my text email (instead of awful HTML ) at ever increasing speed with Ryzen CPU and Radeon video with USB-3  and gigabit network speed are fine for me.
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Edward Agrisea

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2020, 12:00:15 am »
Would that be Peachtree or MoneyCounts? I've used both in the past, am using gnucash these days on a mint pc. I was trying to recall which email client I used, java something. I still have a Warp 4 PC running but it's not connected to the internal network or internet, I use it for the customer database running in paradox.

Neil Waldhauer

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2020, 03:41:33 pm »
I remember when a PC came with 4 MB RAM and a Mac came with 768 MB RAM. "But Macs are more expensive..."

I remember a Seybold conference where graphics designers ran $799 iMacs against $25,000 HP personal computers. The Macs ran circles around the PCs.

OS/2 for Power PC had such promise, but IBM had already abandoned OS/2, and Apple abandoned MacOS, and rebranded NeXt as OS X. I had a compatible, but it never ran OS/2, unfortunately. Mac OS 7 did have some libraries with the same names as some of the OS/2 SOM DLLs. I wouldn't be surprised if there was code in common.
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David Kiley

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2021, 12:48:43 pm »
OS/2 for Power PC had such promise
IBM spent billions on the PowerPC direction, when they should have put all their resources into dominating the pc market instead.
But sometimes I think IBM was literally the worst company to own OS/2.. would have been a different ball game if Apple owned it maybe :).
But then I probably wouldn't still be using it then..  ah the paradox.

Neil Waldhauer

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2021, 03:50:31 pm »
If you look at Mac OS 9, in System, at the components loaded, you will see a lot of familiar libraries. These are SOM and DSOM libraries from OS/2 to make it inter-operate. The Apple clones would have run OS/2, Windows, MacOS, Taligent, Workplace all on the Power architecture's common reference platform.

But Apple was having big business problems. Microsoft bailed them out, and Apple's board got Steve Jobs back. Jobs killed MacOS 9 and replaced it with NeXt, renaming it Mac OS X. The clones were not included in these plans. OS/2 was out. IBM didn't want it, Apple didn't want it.

I could speculate that OS/2 might have competed against Mac OS X had IBM got behind it. I doubt IBM would have gotten any return on their investment, though. I doubt Microsoft really saw that they were going to lose control of consumers to Google and Apple. IBM at least had the vision to get out.

Microsoft showed some real intelligence putting Windows on life-support and moving their attention to consumers and their cloud platforms. Now LinkedIN is nearly as profitable as Windows.
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Martin Iturbide

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2021, 04:13:00 pm »
Hi

Just wondering over the discussion, my opinion was that IBM at that time (mid 90's) was too big, and had also too many products. Microsoft was lean and focused exclusively on Windows and Office...and MS used the "art of war" to sell software  ;D

While IBM had  a good position on the business market selling technology to other companies, when the PC showed up, it started to became a consumer good. Bill Gate's dream of "one PC per home" indeed was right at that time, the PC was going to became a home device instead of a corporate tool.  IBM's PC market suddenly became a customer electronic circus, while they internal structure was focused on selling to corporate customer.

I think that OS/2 was a casualty of that. The owner of OS/2 didn't understand the "customer electronic circus market" while Microsoft took a dive into it. When Lou Gerstner arrived as IBM CEO (1993) he focused on corporate solutions. When IBM sold the PC unit to Lenovo (May 2005), so the can focus on that "circus", OS/2 was cancelled a long time.

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Martin Iturbide
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Martin Iturbide

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2021, 04:25:46 pm »
But Apple was having big business problems. Microsoft bailed them out, and Apple's board got Steve Jobs back. Jobs killed MacOS 9 and replaced it with NeXt, renaming it Mac OS X. The clones were not included in these plans. OS/2 was out. IBM didn't want it, Apple didn't want it.

I remember those days from college.  The Apple iMac became the best selling PC of 1998. In my college we used Mac OS 7, 8 and 9 for some graphics design and even office courses. I personally think that MacOS 8 had a nice GUI, but it was not as stable as OS/2 Warp 3 or 4. MacOS 7,8,9 has the same internals and I remember the icon of the "bomb", that was like our "trap", showing from time to time while working on that computers.

Mac OS X (2001) was a different thing based on FreeBSD ("independent implementation" they call it) and I think with some time and patches MacOS X became more stable than MacOS 9 was.  Steve Jobs (and his team) now had a new line of iMacs selling good to the youngsters, a new OS (based in "unix") and market presence. He did save Apple at that time. In 2007 with the iPhone he took Apple where it is today.  On 1997 Apple was a niche dog for graphic design that investor thought  the only path for it was "going down", now it is monopoly

Very nice memories.

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Martin Iturbide
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David Kiley

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2021, 06:44:10 am »
But Apple was having big business problems. Microsoft bailed them out, and Apple's board got Steve Jobs back. Jobs killed MacOS 9 and replaced it with NeXt, renaming it Mac OS X. The clones were not included in these plans. OS/2 was out. IBM didn't want it, Apple didn't want it.

I could speculate that OS/2 might have competed against Mac OS X had IBM got behind it. I doubt IBM would have gotten any return on their investment, though. I doubt Microsoft really saw that they were going to lose control of consumers to Google and Apple. IBM at least had the vision to get out.

Microsoft showed some real intelligence putting Windows on life-support and moving their attention to consumers and their cloud platforms. Now LinkedIN is nearly as profitable as Windows.

Yeah true I wasn't thinking about the fact the Apple nearly died during that time and it wasn't until later that Steve Jobs saved them.
I think IBM should have stayed in the fray, evolving, could they have been able to focus on consumers. But it doesn't seem to be in their DNA since they are always focused on enterprise. Like IBM really didn't focus on third party software for os/2 like Microsoft did with Windows... they were more concerned with OS/2 running on servers with custom enterprise software instead. But ignoring the third party software market meant they couldn't compete in the consumer realm.

You have a good point about Microsoft - but somehow I feel Microsoft is taking the same direction as IBM. They have been shuttering their consumer brands and moving to just business focus, with a few exceptions.
Enterprise seems to be were the easy money is - but you lose technological relevance.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 06:47:38 am by David Kiley »

David Kiley

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2021, 06:56:05 am »
Microsoft showed some real intelligence putting Windows on life-support and moving their attention to consumers and their cloud platforms. Now LinkedIN is nearly as profitable as Windows.

I'm not sure it took too much intelligence - they were sitting on a molehill of money from their windows/office monopolies but they were losing every consumer battle since except for the Xbox.
Literally everyone is now selling the "cloud", they didn't have to come up with the idea - they just used their money to buy up a bunch of cloud services and funnel into that.
I suppose you could say knowing were to spend your money is intelligence though. 8)
« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 06:58:07 am by David Kiley »

David Kiley

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2021, 07:02:41 am »
Mac OS X (2001) was a different thing based on FreeBSD ("independent implementation" they call it) and I think with some time and patches MacOS X became more stable than MacOS 9 was.  Steve Jobs (and his team) now had a new line of iMacs selling good to the youngsters, a new OS (based in "unix") and market presence. He did save Apple at that time. In 2007 with the iPhone he took Apple where it is today.  On 1997 Apple was a niche dog for graphic design that investor thought  the only path for it was "going down", now it is monopoly

I bought an ibook when os x first came out and it was a good system. I really stopped liking Apple because of how they locked everything to their garden with the iphone, and how they lead the charge in the industry by making "locked down" phones that are difficult to repair. I liked Samsung when they still made replaceable battery phones for example but they followed Apple's lead and now hardly any phones are being made with replaceable batteries. And yes I know, they are waterproof - a great feature if you are a professional scuba diver.
 Lost all affection for the company since their iphone. So much for "thinking different".. they are thinking exactly like any other corporate monopoly that abuses their power. The irony is that was the first time some people started liking Apple.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 07:18:28 am by David Kiley »

Doug Clark

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2021, 08:50:46 pm »
I think the reason why OS/2 "failed" in the market place is the same reason all other PC operating systems "failed" - you can't compete with an operating system that is free and comes already installed. i.e. Windows.  Microsoft was smart enough to know that it needed to dominate marketing - and did so with its  agreements with PC manufactures.

Do you all remember how hard it was to install OS/2 2.0?  Now imagine your parents doing that.

IBM certainly started out not understanding the consumer market place.  When I bought OS/2 v1.3 the only place to buy it was at an IBM retail store and those stores closed at 5:00PM and weren't open on the weekend.
But by the time version 2 came around I think IBM was much smarter about marketing to consumers and OS/2 became available in software and computer stores.

But you couldn't buy very many new computers with OS/2 preinstalled - a few manufactures gave you the choice, but for those that did OS/2 always cost most than Windows when preinstalled.

As long as the govt allowed these sales agreements between Microsoft and PC makers where the PC maker paid Microsoft for every PC shipped, regardless of whether Windows was installed or not,  no other operating system really had a chance.

IBM certainly did pursue third party application makers, even going to far as to pay some companies to port their software to OS/2.  But the preinstall strangle-hold MS had on PC makers always meant that OS/2 would never beat Windows.

Doug Clark

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2021, 09:20:07 pm »
The other question here is how did the PC revolutionize the software industry.

Mainframe and minicomputer software cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  And all required support agreements that cost tens of thousands of dollars a year, which kept the sofware companies in business.

With PCs in the $3,000 to $5,000 price range no one was going to pay $20,000 for software so the software had to be cheaper.  I remember when FrameMaker ported FrameMaker v 3 to the PC and sold it for $500 a copy (I bought a copy) - which did the same thing the $2,500 a copy version did on workstations and minicomputers.

The difference of course was volume, but once you have sold your software to everyone that owns a computer, how do you stay in business?  The answer is, you don't.  You can come out with upgrades and new versions for awhile, but at some point there are no more new features to add.

So OS/2 biggest liability is also its greatest asset - that it doesn't change much. We can still run software purchased/released in 1993, and can run it on new hardware.  Software that is valuable, but is no longer available or has never been ported to the ever newer Windows versions, and/or the manufacturer is out of business.

So the revolution of the PC is that it drove down the cost of software but it made it almost impossible for a software company to stay in business for more than a decade.

David Kiley

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2021, 11:11:48 am »

So the revolution of the PC is that it drove down the cost of software but it made it almost impossible for a software company to stay in business for more than a decade.
There is a picture in the article below about an auto shop in Poland that still uses a Commodore 64 with specialty driveshaft balancing software.
I'm sure the company that developed the software is long gone.
I would say that auto shop sure did get a return on investment, lol.
Have to wonder how long the C64 will keep working.
https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/a23139/commodore-64-repair-shop/

Gordon in Toronto

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Re: Revolutionary PC Technology
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2021, 11:17:30 pm »
There is always this:

https://ecsoft2.org/commodore-64-emulator-os2

YMMV   ;)