IBM OS/2 Warp

OS/2 was IBM's answer for a consumer operating system with high end features (versus their enterprise mainframe operating systems). Jointly development with Microsoft for a period of time, it later was split apart and became an IBM exclusive product. For anyone who hasn't tried OS/2, it's like a mixture between Windows and Linux with 'IBMisms' thrown in there for good measure.

 

OS/2 was ahead and behind

In the year 2016 Microsoft Windows still doesn't have a proper system to handle with higher DPI, and Microsoft has just started to implement 'resolution sniffing' where it will dynamically change your DPI settings based on your resolution. Well guess what, OS/2 Warp had this way back in 1999. If you set up OS/2 in 1600x1200, it will bump up the DPI to 125%. This was only *just* introduced in Windows 8! Windows 7 won't bother to change your DPI. Sometimes I get surprised by old technology, but I must say OS/2 really shocked me there.

What's more, is that OS/2 properly scales all fonts, windows and applications without having to smudge everything over-- which is becomming a huge problem even in Windwos 10 where Microsoft desperately tried to change the DPI system breaking things even worse.

Of course OS/2's shell is old and it shows. You can't drag and drop icons, you can't select everything with a swift Ctrl + A, and other commonly used features like that are lacking. But on the flip side it does allow you to copy to an existing window that's open; which is something Windows doesn't offer (unless you had a 3rd party propgram operating).

 

Advice for installing OS/2

If you're installing OS/2 for the first time, there should be a few things that you need to be aware of:

#1 It's best to use a version of OS/2 Warp that already has the Merlin 'Convenience Package'* installed (i.e. 4.52), this ensures that you don't have to disable ARTCHRON, have to deal with inferior hard disk controller drivers, and a host of other problems.
*Convenience Package is the same as a Service Pack in the Windows world
#2 You should always make sure the drive is fully formatted; as there can be stray partitions if you're using standard platter drives that could interfere with OS/2's deployment (re: the LVM partition).
#3 It's extremely necessary that you use HPFS for the operating system; using FAT32 will disallow long file names. You also don't want to exceed 16 GB as CHKDSK won't be able to run on an HPFS volume higher than that.

 

Differences between OS/2 Warp 4.0 and 4.52

Due to the amount of legacy information and documentation still surfacing around the internet, there's a bit of confusion regarding the differences between the two versions of OS/2 Warp 4.0 and 4.52.

Warp 4.0 with the Merlin Convenice Pack is in fact known as Warp 4.52. And IBM did release installation media of 4.52 (although never commercially, which is why you will always see Warp 4.0 boxed media, but never 4.52).

Warp 4.0:

*Contains the ARTCHRON 'elephant' registration program
*Has an 8 GB hard disk limitation

Warp 4.52:

*DOES NOT have the ARTCHRON regirstration program
*DOES NOT have an 8 GB hard disk limitation and works with SATA

 

Differences between OS/2 Warp 4.0 and 4.52

Where is OS/2 now at the present time? Its use has rapidly declined and even ATMs are starting to switch over to other operating systems; actually there's a big problem with the XP ATMs: which is why Microsoft is still making special updates for it that desktop users are relaying to their own machines as well. There are of course some businesses that have equipment and processes that still run on OS/2 and probably won't be changing any time soon because:
A) it's more secure than Windows, Linux and OS X at this point
B) removing it would cost more than keeping it running and would have more disadvantages than advantages

With some of the problems of Windows 10 though, OS/2 does offer some respite.

 

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