Spider/2: Spider's OS/2 information page

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By Hartmut Frommert‎

OS/2 is IMHO the most advanced operating system in the computer market from the technological point of view, i.e. its architecture and philosophy, even beyond the PC world.

It is rich in its abilities to exploit the resources of a 32-bit PC appropriately, and has therefore the potential to support every reasonable PC application. The only minus is lack of support from many non-IBM (and even some IBM, according to the rumours) providers of PC software and hardware. But after a harsh startup, there is now many software around (often PD, freeware, or inexpensive shareware) to do most jobs, especially in programming, networking, and the office environment.

Some points that make OS/2 superior to other systems IMHO:

  • Advanced, fully object-oriented architecture. This allows to take full advantage of real object orientation in application programming.
  • Multithreading and an intelligent, advanced (pre-emptive) multitasking. This makes the system extremely stable (although not totally).
  • Selectability concepts, in particular:
    • The implementation of the Installable File System (IFS). With HPFS, an advanced file system is provided for OS/2.
    • Boot Manager: This very nice feature makes OS/2 actually more than a single OS; it can administrate a multi-OS PC!
  • For me, OS/2 had always some of the most appealing programs and tools with it, even in the times of version 1.x (when I only knew it from rumours) and 2.0 when most people complained:
    • Rexx. I mustn't say anything to those who know this powerful batch interpreter language. It is powerful as it comes, but may be enhanced by packages of the (IBM) Employee Written Software (EWS) suite.
    • EPM (the Enhanced Editor). Always a powerful editor, it got excitingly enhanced in its newest version 6.03 (it is finally a 32-bit program since version 6.0). Programmable both in the compiled macro/configuration language E and an interpreted specialized Rexx, ERexx. There's not much you can not do with EPM.
    • IPF (the Information Presentation Facility). OS/2's information and online help system. A powerful documentation system, with the only disadvantage that you need at least the (inexpensive) Developer's Toolkit to get the IPF Compiler, IPF, and that at least some 2.X and first Warp manuals didn't point anything out on this fact.
  • With the BonusPak and the full TCP/IP Base Kit, OS/2 has one of the most powerful communication software packages delivered with it, including especially the full range of internet communication tools, generally in very good realizations. This is again supported by remarkable additions from the EWS suite, which was also the birthplace of the WebExplorer, OS/2's first and for a long time, only native Web browser.
  • OS/2 is quite modest in hardware requirements (oh, I recall well the times around 1992, when the opposite was claimed): It runs on virtually every 386+ PC with 4+ MByte RAM and 100+ MByte hard disk space, making it the only choice beyond Dos for owners of such machines.

As examples and images say more than a lot of words, I have made some screenshots of my actual workplace (creating HTML files; working on the Messier pages under OS/2).


Links to important OS/2 sites will be added here soon; for now, look at this very preliminary link list.

  • Interesting discovery on the Web server of Microsoft press (!): Banks and Operating Systems [1]

Every PC user beyond Dos should use OS/2, not Windows, IMHO:

  • I cannot recommend anybody to use Windows, regardless of 3.1 or 95, but Win-OS/2 (to run Win-Apps under OS/2), even though some beginners who don't know OS/2 may be happy with some new graphical possibilities compared to DOS. On machines with less than 4 megs RAM, Windows founders (if 95 will run at all) so that one is better advised to stay with DOS. Since the invention of objects-oriented Full-Screen (though Text-mode) shells in Dos (e.g., Borland's Turbo Vision), there are convenient Dos programs available for most purposes such as programming or using the Internet. Btw, you can run OS/2 with 2 megs, but without the graphical interface, the Workplace Shell, but that may be not so much fun .. For the purist, there is an OS/2 text mode shell (tshell) which is said to be object-oriented and warp at 4 megs..

Of course you are better off if you can invest in more RAM (at least 6, better 8 MByte), so that you can run OS/2 - this should be considered, especially because with Windows need will arise to invest in RAM anyway, and then the better platform is OS/2.