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OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow

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Today, to make OS/2 work well (no problems with drivers, applications, etc.), I do the following:

A.) run a virtual environment (hypervisor: vmware, vbox) ... isolates me from hardware, virtualizes everything, and makes it available to the OS personalities I run (vm's) on top of it. I build one modern/beefy pc (multi-cpu, ram- & ssd-heavy), load a host OS on it, load the virtualization software, and then easily load & switch between running vm's, like others use multiple monitors. File transfers are shared folders between every vm to same space on host os. Backups are as simple as snagging vm copies.

B.) run personality (vm's):
  B1.) OS/2 (ArcaOS) in a vm ... works great! this is a "productivity" vm, because I can:
    - do certain tasks/apps in it (16-bit, 32-bit apps) in a fairly confident manner that nothing will crash.
    - constantly adding things to it to improve my productivity, as I (re)discover them.
    - no driver problems, no graphics/display problems, etc.
  B2.) Windows/Windows Server in vm's ... works great! these are productivity vm's, because I can:
    - run any app that exists for Windows, x32/x64, and don't have to worry about them being on OS/2
    - do development (vstudio, gcc, etc.), scripting (powershell, etc.), and more.
  B3.) linux vm's ... these mostly work great. these are test vm's, because I can:
    - kick the tires on every os out there, could be linux, could be L4 activity
    - bring up an OS, load a virtualization tool in it (nested), and test away.
    - run things that might not be available on either OS/2 or Windows, or is just flat-out better for those things.
C.) Someone says they HATE OS/2, or Windows, or linux? Fine, as the virtualization scheme works the same for all of us. Plug in your choice(s) for vm's.

This in no way reflects upon others running OS/2 (ArcaOS or otherwise, or any other OS) on any given platform directly, or developing for the same. How anybody pulls tools out of the toolbox and uses them is their business. ArcaOS is another tool in the toolbox for me, and OS/2 is pretty much like the Sears tool line ... indestructible.

It's just one way to do OS/2 (& other "productivity" vm's) absolutely trouble-free, and focus on what the OS is good at (running my OS/2 apps or other stuff), and what nearly no other single OS strategy gives me without grief. Anything on the current "wish-lists" for OS/2 ... done; for example, Notepad++ is editing my massive .txt (my "only/preferred" file format) file collection on the shared space. 4OS2 is maneuvering though that same collection. Firefox is d/l'ing files into the shared space. Pick your app ... should mostly be the same result.

That's where virtualization has brought us (me) to, today!

An intermediate step might be vmware esxi (type 1 hypervisor, not "complicated, messy" like hyper-v) on the machine, and a bunch of vm's on top of that. esxi is a great, enterprise-level environment, but might not be that friendly at home as a host os. Something to test, and see if I can further simplify the current scheme.

Tomorrow? The host machine and virtualization may morph into an L4-like microkernel, controlling the whole machine, and all my vm's continue, as vm's on top of vmm's, on top of services, on top of that microkernel. Perhaps like the graphic from NOVA (attached). Not much different than what I'm doing right now ... so, it should be fairly painless; key point to keep in mind is that I don't have to do this anytime soon, as long as the vm's slide over. Perhaps later, the vm's morph into "personalities".

Y1.) nova (seL4) kernel (source code available)
Z1.) personalities:
  - OS/2 becomes a personality ... possibly no kernel/loader needed, only the upper layers (services, vm).
  - Windows becomes a personality ... possibly no kernel/loader needed (this could be ReactOS or others)
  - Linux ... or something else ...
  - most likely (hopefully), "old" vm's continue to be hosted on the future platform; OS/2 (as a vm) keeps running.

It's just virtualization tech, existing for, or coming to, all elements of the stack ... hardware, os, services, apps. I'm doing a form of it today with current virtualization technology, and everyone plays well together. No one OS dominates me or causes me grief; they are all just tools in the toolbox. It's coming tomorrow, in the form of L4 and more ...

As virtualization technology gets upgraded, I'll just unplug older tech, plug in new ones, and will probably be doing the same thing, but on newer virtualization technology of the future. I've been doing this for years now, and keeping my head above the OS wars ... hope to keep doing it for decades more!

What does everyone think? I would like to run this as articles on other websites, to show in a positive fashion what OS/2 can do today, and will probably still be doing tomorrow. Your feedback now will help me get it "shiny" (to quote an old TV series and movie) ...


Martin Iturbide:

--- Quote from: JTA on January 06, 2023, 01:55:22 am ---What does everyone think? I would like to run this as articles on other websites, to show in a positive fashion what OS/2 can do today, and will probably still be doing tomorrow. Your feedback now will help me get it "shiny" (to quote an old TV series and movie) ...

--- End quote ---
I think the article is good, of course it is target on the people that does and understand VMs.

--- Quote from: JTA on January 06, 2023, 01:55:22 am ---Tomorrow....
Z1.) personalities:
  - OS/2 becomes a personality ... possibly no kernel/loader needed, only the upper layers (services, vm).

--- End quote ---

Maybe that is not what the people on the OS/2 community want to hear, but sadly it may be the solution in the long term to eventually have a 64bit kernel someday.

I'm in favor of cloning as open source every little close source component of OS/2, even if it is not good on the first shot it has the chance to evolve.

I also was very interested on 2ine project that tried to natively run an OS/2 application on Linux, but that involved too much work because you need to clone 100% the OS/2 API. There is also OSFree that also wants to fully clone OS/2, but I'm now sure about their status.

The other way is to use IBM's binaries.  I always have my drunk ideas on how to theorize OS/2 over different kernels, but I a can not generate interest for developers to do some little prototypes or even think on what should be missing on the idea. The graphic is one of the drunk ideas with FuchsiaOS and Zircon kernel (an open source (MIT license) microkernel that is being rolled out by Google), but it is just a general idea that can apply for other OSes.

These kind of thing are hard because you need to good deep knowledge of both operating systems, and that skill is not easy to find.


Thanks for the comments!

Note that, with Windows' inclusion of Hyper-V technology in recent versions, more folks (of the mom & pop variety) will be on-board with running vm's, as opposed to just us sys-admin types. That's millions of folks ... all of whom are at least asking "what is hyper-v, and what can I do with it?", and many of whom are figuring out how to run secondary vm's. How about running OS/2, and seeing what you've been missing?

If you TELL me that you can only run 3 apps in OS/2 (to pick a number), I'd SHOW you that I can run twice that amount of the same apps, or three times that amount, just by kicking off more OS/2 vm's, on up to available ram; with ssd's & such, they are ALL blazingly fast.

If you tell me that Windows alone just can't do what you want, I'd show you that you can have OS/2, Win, and Linux all side-by-side in their vm's, all on one machine (dt/lt both, these days), with plenty of room for testing other stuff.

If you say that by the time I put my dev environment on my current Win OS and a few other things as well, it falls over, I'd show you how a pristine dev environment can be maintained in a vm, with no further "windows" pollution happening to it from updates, feature enhancements, etc.  And then go on to show how OS/2 can help as well.

If I were AN, with such a great product as ArcaOS, I'd put more than a few tech evangelists on the road, showing how we can run two, three, or more vm's each with ArcaOS, and overcome any final objection to OS/2 (lack of ram, lack of bitness, lack of apps, etc.). 1% of those millions of users ... that's starting to be real opportunities, if not real numbers, for the OS/2 base.

Heck, I'd volunteer to be one of those Technology Evangelists! :)

Andi B.:
I use VMs with different host OSes and different guest OSes. That said, the problem is you need to know different OSes well enough to backup your data, to keep your data private, to secure your networks, to keep things running....

Most of us use OS/2 - ArcaOS cause they are used to it. They don't want to relinquish the strengths of the WPS. They don't want to get used to 'other' ways of getting things done. You can't solve these problems by virtualizing ArcaOS completely. F.i. it does not help to run ArcaOS virtualized under a Win or *nix host as long as you don't master Win/*nix very well. Otherwise your VM is as unreliable and insecure than the host OS itself. You can't get things done until you know the host OS good enough. You need extra efforts to keep the host OS running. And you have to arrange with the OSes drawbacks additionally to the ArcaOS shortcomings. So even more time needed to get things done.

F.i. my Win10 on another systems constantly nerves me with 'please complete installation' messages only cause I don't want to register with my private data on their servers. You can't solve such problems with virtualizing ArcaOS but only by running it on bare metal. When you're already at the point where you've arranged yourself with another OS, then it does not make much sense anymore to use ArcaOS itself. Except habit. And refusal to learn the host OS good enough. For most of us there is no killer application which does not have a better or at least similar good replacement on the host OS.

So what's your specific OS/2 - ArcaOS related point here? Do you wanna sell VM solutions?

Well said Andi, you put my thoughts down better than I could.


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