Yes, OS/2 Still Lives
At the end of the 1980s, I was stationed in the Netherlands with the US Army. Before going there, I didn’t even know we had troops in that country. It was a plum assignment. My ostensible job was Military Policeman, but my actual duties varied widely. At that time the Army in Europe was struggling with automating office tasks and paperwork. Our office ran a network of 286s on DOS. We later got a Unix server, but it made little difference in our experience as users.
Meanwhile, my family had joined me on this very family-friendly tour. The Dutch TV broadcasting carried a lot of UK and Australian programming. The Dutch subtitles helped us familiarize better with the local language, but frankly the majority of those we met spoke English as one of their half-dozen tongues. A major recurring advertising campaign, often in English, was for OS/2. This was the first graphical computer OS I had seen. Not in the military, though, it was used by a couple of local businesses.
At one point, while living in Texas and working on the infancy of my computer ministry, I had a friend who was an avid fan of OS/2. I thought it had died, given the official announcements from IBM. However, he was a certified technician for what was then the Merlin release, and a tireless promoter. Apparently IBM eventually found an interested buyer who was banking on the still substantial community of users to fund future enhancements.
A couple of years ago, I decided to see if the new holders of the license, Serenity Systems, were interested in me writing a review of their product. They were. Turns out they had a solid 1.2 release in wide use, and a 2.0 beta. They gave me a free one year license. I tested it and wrote about it. If you bother to check, you’ll see it was not much to write about, since I couldn’t find a suitable machine for it. I came close with an ancient Toshiba laptop, but it just wasn’t functional.
I felt bad about it, but I hardly felt right in begging them for a computer, too. Where would be the adventure? Might just as well have them write the review themselves. So I figured that was the end of it. A couple of times I came close to testing it on a couple of machines donated for the ministry, but never got around to it.
Yesterday Mensys (the primary vendor of the product) contacted me again and with a license for their latest release. I was stunned. So I am downloading the ISOs and will be trying it soon on my aging Dell Inspiron 4100 laptop. From my initial research, I have reason to believe it’s worth a shot. Naturally, it should also result in a fresh review of the product at Open for Business. However, the raw experience will be written up here, along with any interesting discoveries.