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

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Thanks for all the comments!

Let's get this out of the way up front ... in a forums venue, I don't want to sell anything to anyone, such that I make money off of it, so close your wallets back up! I'm offering ideas, for free, which is what forums are for! Pure exchange of ideas and methods ...

The central idea is that we can overcome the limitations of any OS, whether they be:

  - physical: os has constraints of bitness (no x64), can only run so many apps
  - operational: this OS has a feature/app I want, but that OS has an app that I need
  - and many others ...

The method is with virtualization ... given today's vast technology improvements in virtualization, and with many elements coming together right now (vast/cheap ram, virtualization software, multiple host os choices) you can implement the same solutions we use at the enterprise level, in your home, on your pc's ... right now, and overcome these issues.

The same issues I see in many posts throughout this forum!

You could live with the limitations of your current solution (one os on one physical box), and please, read no further if that's your preference. If you only want one tool in your toolbox, more power to you!

So, regardless of your host os (win, linux), install VirtualBox, and vm all the guest OS's you need. Get at all the data on your host os. If your host os is OS/2, vm it, and enjoy solutions to many of the problems (if not all) listed in these forums.

- hardware: virtualized
- ram (space): virtualize, run more than 1 vm of same os
- app availability: run an os in each vm, and get at the apps you want
- data: all available on shared space at the host level
- backups: as easy as copy/compressing vm file(s); data at host level, use your current setup

It's really easy, not complicated ... my kids are doing it. One wants an android game that just doesn't exist for windows on the pc. She loaded a virtualization product (bluestacks) on the host os, and now has access to that game. A solution that, while not for everyone, certainly works for her.

Microsoft is doing it right now, as well ... win10/11 offer hyper-v (a Type-1, no less) in the os, and with the push of a button or two, you've got this solution. In their scenario, primary host is win, and guest os's can be many things. That works today, and it overcomes many problems.

I don't think MS will ever give us a WSL for os/2, but that's ok ... I can do it right now, and in a more simple fashion than they, by using Virtualbox. I'm running this now, and I can tell you, it works, and as best I can see, it solves most every problem on these forums.

Thousands of DIY solutions out there on the internet, to solve any problem you could throw at me, and all we have to do is identify the problem, google the solution, and implement it.

The only hard and fast constraints I've ever seen are ... those in the mind, and they all come with an on/off switch.

<snipping all the original post>
You know what? What's really ironic is that OS/2 is most probably the first 32-bit operating system which actually came bundled with a virtualization environment - the VDM. One can launch theoretically as many real DOS environments in what looks really close to a sandbox, work in them, erase them if they crash, use different DOS versions (or maybe even CP/M?  ;D) and it was all already included in the system.
This, and the similarities between SOM and the recent incarnations of .NET under Windows and Linux just make me think how advanced OS/2 was at the time of its launch. An incredible feature and skill set wasted by IBM...


Hi Mentore,  The big mistake IBM made was to allow Microsoft to get involved with OS/2 because it was far better than the windows offering.

OS/2 *is* a better dos/win than DOS or Windows, and it was doing this way back when. Today, we could call this nested virtualization.

Unfortunately, marketing can (and did) overpower technical ability (I equate all this to car sales, with the usual gamut of car salesmen types), and with Windows we were all sold a lemon for quite some time, until IMO at least the Windows 7 timeframe.

ArcaOS builds on all the strengths of OS/2, and adds the features needed to run it on today's hardware. They've brought OS/2 into the mainstream (as did eCS). Basically, ArcaOS makes OS/2 still viable, today. Viable enough that I happily bought a license, and would recommend it to others (and I do). Quite an achievement, for a 30 year old os (counting from early days of Warp).

And, while the architectural underpinnings of OS/2 haven't been updated (and may not be any time soon) to modern standards for a single OS on a single physical machine, it turns out that we can bypass these limitations with multiple VM's. As best I can see, this takes away any remaining reasons why you can't run ArcaOS in fully productive fashion, today.

Many are running OS/2 successfully as a single OS on a physical machine (OS/2, eCS, and now ArcaOS), with some issues or limitations that they accept, or workaround with multiple machines. More could be running it tomorrow, within multiple VM's on a single machine, with no remaining issues. I'm running with multiple VM's right now.

In this way, I can see a future with another 30 years of OS/2 use ... as my kids get out into the world, it will be interesting to see if I can make OS/2 within the multi-vm strategy ... multi-generational!

Andi B.:

--- Quote ---it turns out that we can bypass these limitations with multiple VM's. As best I can see, this takes away any remaining reasons why you can't run ArcaOS in fully productive fashion, today.
--- End quote ---
Virtualized ArcaOS has the same limitations than on bare metal. So what's the point? ArcaOS can't be 'fully productive' in the sense of running current applications or technology. F.i. no current browser (except dooble which works sort of) runs on ArcaOS regardless if virtualized or not. You can't dynamically add f.i. an eSATA drive to ArcaOS regardless if virtualized or not. You can't run current FF on ArcaOS. If I need it, I boot another OS. I've plenty of them in parallel on my system(s) to choice from the AirBoot menu. Or I fire up my WinXP guest (OS/2 host) and run what's available on this guest (though today very limited too).

As you see I still don't get what you're dreaming about. As long as I want my important data being manged under control of OS/2 I need to boot it bare metal. When I sometimes decide to manage my data under Linux then there is not much point in f.i. starting OpenOffice within the ArcaOS virtualized environment. OpenOffice runs better on Linux than it does under OS/2. So why should I fire up an ArcaOS guest if I finally decided to run Linux as primary (host) system?

--- Quote ---to modern standards for a single OS on a single physical machine
--- End quote ---
For me a single OS on on physical machine is not a standard. In contrary. All my systems have multiple OSes installed in parallel.


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