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Thread: OSFree

  1. #1
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    Default OSFree

    The last time I used OS/2 was back when OS/2 3 Warp Connect came out. I used to love it though I left it behind due to games. I'm slowly getting back my interest in OS/2 and happened upon something called OSFree. Supposedly it's a GPL re-creation of OS/2 from scratch much like HAIKU is to BeOS.

    I'm wondering what others think of it?

  2. #2

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    Interesting project, but I'm not optimistic about its future.
    Who needs OS/2 today? Only a bunch of companies with legacy software, and they are more likely to buy eComStation instead of experimenting with OSFree.

    Also, cloning a closed-source system is a difficult task in general. Look at ReactOS - after 12 years they are still in alpha stage...

  3. #3
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    True. Looking at the status pages it looks like it is bogged down. Probably due to lack of interest. I did check out the eComStation site. Not sure what level of systems it can handle. The price for such a niche operating system is unusually high considering it's not, say, a RTOS.

  4. #4

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    I too loved OS/2. I spent my money and purchased eComStation. What a nightmare! After about 2.5 years of waiting, ver 2.0 was finally, finally released. It has very poor support for PCMCIA cards. You have to spend more money to purchase working PCMCIA routines from yet another company. I didn't bother. Unless you have a working 486 system from around 1993, good luck getting the drivers working. Granted, the provided VESA video drivers work (sort of), getting network and even mouse drivers working correctly is a royal pain. If you wanted to play with it, installing it into a vitual machine is the way to go. Seems expensive just to do that. Overall, I was sorry I got suckered into purchasing a license.

  5. #5

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    ReactOS is another total joke. I have downloaded and installed at least 5 releases. I can usually get it to run for about 5 minutes before it locks up or goes totally dead. I am sure it's been at least 1 year since I gave up on it.

  6. #6

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    I was a huge OS/2 proponent during its heyday, and stayed with it longer than most. I was dual-booting it with Win95 until 1998, and it was my primary OS up until 1997. And it's very impressive indeed when you throw high-end late 1990s hardware at it.

    I had an OS/2 server fail once, so to get back up and running as quickly as possible, I took the drive, threw it in my desktop machine (a K6-2, probably 300 MHz) with an Adaptec SCSI card, and powered it on to see what would happen. It booted, handling the Intel-AMD, 486-K6, Microchannel-PCI differences smoothly. All I had to do was get the network card working. Try that with Windows...

    But in the last decade or so, OS/2 lost its advantages over Windows. Windows XP and Vista and 7 are all based on Windows NT, which was supposed to be the next-generation OS/2. In the '90s, OS/2 and NT had some differences, particularly in regards to virtual memory and disk caching. The OS/2 way was less CPU- and memory intensive, but hardware caught up. And stability-wise, Windows has had 16 years to catch up.

    So although I was a big fan, today it's pretty much a historical curiosity.
    my blog: http://dfarq.homeip.net
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  7. #7
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    Default

    Increasingly, I find myself moving away from Windows for "serious" applications. For example, I've used the Xilinx ISE software on Linux for a long time and decided to give a Windows (XP) version a go. I couldn't get through installation without the thing hanging up. OTOH, the Linux version installs quite easily. AFAIK, most EDA tools come in *nix versions and I suspect that's what most engineers use.

    The endless security updates for Windows really shakes my confidence in the platform.

    But I really, really liked OS/2 for a GUI. The developer's documentation was really well done.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckcmagee View Post
    I too loved OS/2. I spent my money and purchased eComStation. What a nightmare! After about 2.5 years of waiting, ver 2.0 was finally, finally released. It has very poor support for PCMCIA cards. You have to spend more money to purchase working PCMCIA routines from yet another company. I didn't bother. Unless you have a working 486 system from around 1993, good luck getting the drivers working. Granted, the provided VESA video drivers work (sort of), getting network and even mouse drivers working correctly is a royal pain. If you wanted to play with it, installing it into a vitual machine is the way to go. Seems expensive just to do that. Overall, I was sorry I got suckered into purchasing a license.
    So the hardware support is iffy at best. I thought they were going to start implementing part of the BSD/Linux driver model into OS/2?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadcrickets View Post
    So the hardware support is iffy at best. I thought they were going to start implementing part of the BSD/Linux driver model into OS/2?
    There has been a CUPS driver available for OS/2 and Ecomstation for about 2 years which will allow for printing from some printers not supported directly by OS/2.

  10. #10

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    I have been a huge fan of OS/2 for the past 5 years or so. The Point-of-Sale system for our retail stores run on OS/2 and it is about as rock solid as a platform gets. I will say that setting up the equipment is a headache, of course we use features like rIPL, that most desktop users never have to bother with. Once you've got it up and running, it is just about unstoppable.

    Our servers are running Warp 4 Server with the most recent CSFs, and the terminals remote boot DOS and/or Warp 3 Workstation. It is an extremely trouble free setup. The only downside the POS server at our main location has had in the last three years is when we actually shut it down to move.

    Now, all that said, we are considering migrating the software to a Linux platform. The OSFree product is something I hadn't heard of before but will certainly investigate.

    My experience with eCS has been fairly positive...there have been some driver issues, but I didn't have to do a ton of digging to find qualifying components. Of course, our business is building computers, so I have several supplier channels to choose from. Actually, our easiest fit was a line of Intel Mobos based on the Atom processor. Every device was recognized by the installer. Before anybody decries how underpowered the Atom processor is, Warp SERVER booted in 9 nine seconds flat.

    Now, my reservation about using eCS: IBM licensed Serenity Systems to sell OS/2 under the eCS name. They did not, however, license the source code. That means the core of the OS is fundamentally locked and will receive no further updates. Serenity Systems can issue driver packs, new applications, etc., but can not modify or update the OS, rendering it almost useless for commercial applications. So, while my experience with eCS is positive, I can't see putting a lot of R&D money into software for that platform. It's kind of like IBM said, "you can take over development of OS/2...just kidding."

    Anyway, it's a sad little ending to what was and remains an impressive PC O/S.

    I will look into the OSFree product. I have a friend who has some OS coding experience and we've often, over drinks, kicked around the idea of "rolling our own" OS for this particular project. This may be the impetus we need to go off in that direction...
    Windows: worst operating system in the world, almost two decades running!

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