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Benefits, purpose for OS/2/eComStation, and Serenity's vision

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It's cool to see something new being renewed and added to, however I can't help but wonder what would be the benefits of installing OS/2 or it's derivative?

By the looks of things it'd be great for nostalgia purposes and testing, but it doesn't seem to have a logical purpose other than that in the Operating system world.
To explain, it's just recently or subsequently achieved full 32bit support, when we are in a 64bit computing world. The only benefactor or use OS/2 would have is on an older server/PC.
But the question is who would run a server with a 133mhz processor? I'm sure it's good for students and people looking to fiddle around with, but as for general purpose "who" would benefit from OS/2?

It appears they're also trying to sell eComStation. I wouldn't buy it, it should be GPL for the purposes I labeled above. Unless I'm not seeing something.

Martin Iturbide:
Hi Larry, welcome.

From a Business point of view, eComStation is being sold to the companies that requires to run OS/2 legacy application, and that will be too expensive to migrate to other software or platform. So Mensys strategy is to update OS/2 to run on newer hardware for that customers.

From the community point of view, we like OS/2, we have been using it from a long time and it is our personal preference. Maybe I will be lying if I say that eComStation is the best of all operating system, but I'm not lying when I say it is my personal choice.

I understand that it is very hard to attract new users to this community with the costs that eComStation currently has, but it can not be free of charge. The code still belongs to IBM and Mensys has to pay royalties. I even tried to convince Mensys to make an eCS VM free of charge, without support, AS IS, and only for non-commercial use, but they told me they can't.

I hope that someday we can have an open source clone of OS/2, but that something that is going to take time and we require a lot of help (If you want to help coding, documenting, testing you are welcome). OSFree ( is trying to build this clone but require more resources and developers.  From the other side, any GPL software that can be included on eComStation will also be a step further on this dream.


Thanks Martin, I appreciate the thoughtful and thorough response. I am 24, about 15 years ago I started dipping into linux operating systems such as Knoppix and FreeBSD. By that time OS/2 had lost all of it's momentum, for the generic consumer anyway. Started with Windows 3.1 I think it was in public school, then Windows 95/98se in my early teens. Not to go off topic too much about my history, I'm always excited to try and experiment with operating systems as you can tell. OS/2 has always been something of slight interest to me, but it was so severely outdated before I became mature enough to comprehend the vast operating systems available to me.

You have said that OS/2 or eComStation is a personal preference to you. It's a feel thing, and I understand that. I'm sitting on Windows 7 at the moment and handle many linux servers, I became a web developer, PC technician and various of things over the years. So I know what benefits me, and what is more beneficial for server systems. What to you personally sets OS/2 above say any Windows/gui environment? Is it look, or is their something under the helm(inside the kernel) that makes it better for your everyday use?

Doug Bissett:
One of the main reasons why I like, and use, eComStation, is that there are zero viruses that affect it. Other advantages are that I don't need to update all of my programs, just because there is a new version of eCS., and it will do most of the useful things that can be done in other operating systems. I realize that if you want to make a living at servicing, and supporting, operating systems, those are distinct disadvantages.

It is true that eCS is not as flashy as some other operating systems, but as they say "if you can't make it work, make it look good". Unfortunately, the "make it look good" crowd also wants to complicate life by changing a lot of the rules, for no good reason. That makes it difficult for those who use a rock solid OS to keep changing what needs to be changed because somebody else decided to do something in a different way. Even to find out what has changed, is difficult. Then, it takes a lot of work to make changes to the OS, to accommodate what somebody else decided was a good idea. The source for most of OS/2 is not available, but OS/2 will still run circles around windows on the same hardware. For instance, I still have, and use, an old IBM ThinkPad A22e, with 256 meg of memory (max). It will run eCS 2.1 pretty well, until I have to use a bloated program like Firefox, with complicated web pages. Then, it runs into trouble because the machine doesn't have enough memory, and it ends up swapping constantly. If that thing could handle a gig of memory, eCS would do fine. It has Win98 on it, and it would probably run Win2K okay, but I don't think it would work very well with WinXP, even if it did have a gig of memory.

The way that I prefer to think of it, is "If you want to play games, get windows. If you want to get some work done,  get eComStation."

Martin Iturbide:
Well, betwen the benefits/features I can tell you:

* Once it is tunned is very stable. I had seen systems running since Warp 3 and Warp 4 that the only reasson to have problems is because the hardware started to fall into pieces. ATMs used OS/2 a lot, turned on 24/7 and didn't give software problems.
* Not native virus
* The kernel is "microkernel", it means the device drivers are not in the kernel. I think the kernel was so good architectured that it is the reasson why it keeps running today. For new hardware you just require to develop a new driver and just works together with the kernel.
* I think that the OS/2 architecture is amazing, At 1994, it was outrageus to have so many layers that asked for 4MB of RAM, but today that same architecture keeps running.
Sure, other users has their different points of views, lets see if someone else posts something :)


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