Welcome to the World of OS/2
What is OS/2?
Well, it's a operating system (OS) just like Windows, but
Who made it? (a bit of history)
You might be suppressed to hear that it all started with
a collaboration between MICROSOFT and IBM.
Can you imagine that? They decided
to program a OS that was more user friendly then the existing DOS to make
computers more accessible to a broader range of users (noble eh!). In those
days the cliché of the Computer Nerds was spot on (no offence to
So work on OS/2 began. Meanwhile work on another OS was running parallel.
This OS was called WINDOWS.
Microsoft, good marketing, or luck?
OS/2 was undoubtedly the better OS, but it had a big problem,
this being that it used far too much memory. Windows did not have this
problem, but it crashed all the time. That is until Windows 3.0. Well it
still crashed, as anyone knows who used it. Never the less, this was the
breakthrough for Windows, and it took off like a rocket. The rest of the
story is well known, Windows 3.1 was the best selling OS together with
DOS, which it used as a platform.
Well at the beginning it must have been a bit of both.
After the success of Windows 3.1 it was marketing genius. This effectively
brought OS/2 (Warp 3 at the time) to its knees.
So what happened?
Through extensive, very early coverage in the media about
Chicago (this was the name of Windows 95 in its early stages of development)
interest levels for the next version of Windows were kept high. And promises
of release dates that were never kept, did sort of help to. Microsoft started
leaking release dates about one year before the final product was actually
released. So everyone was waiting for the new release date, and was then
disappointed, because Microsoft postponed the release to a later date.
For OS/2 this meant that it had one year to get a foot in the door before
Windows 95 was finished, and released. Unfortunately IBM didn't manage
to get that foot in. Although OS/2 did everything Windows 95 can do now,
and more, IBM could not get people to buy it, inspite of millions of dollars
in marketing. This was in part due to the reasons I have just named.
OS/2's greatest hit!
This was in Germany. It was due to the decision of one
of the biggest computer retailing chains in Germany to get out of the oppressing
contract with Microsoft. For a period of time this company sold computers
with OS/2 pre-installed, thus creating one of the biggest markets for OS/2
in the world.
So why am I telling you all this?
Well OS/2 does still exist. According to the media it
died, then it died and after that it died. But it still lives. If you ever
have read about OS/2, one of the most common claims is that there is no
software available for OS/2. This is simply not true. You can compare it
to UNIX, there is a huge Freeware and Shareware market with excellent software
out there plus very good office packages (e.g. StarOffice 5.1 by
StarDivision which is **FREE to download for privat
use**). And since IBM took over LOTUS their software is on its way.
So why am I telling you all this again?
If that is not enough you get everything to access the Internet and an
office package from IBM in the Bonus pack with OS/2 Warp 3 and 4 (The Bonus pack comes FREE with Warp).
So you realy have got everething there when you start!.
Well lets be realistic here! There is no way you can
do without Win 95 really, right (or at least Win 3.1)! Well yes that is
true but you don't have to. See when you install OS/2 you can chose to
install the Bootmanager. This allows you to boot from a hard disk or partition
of your choice. This means you are able to have more than 1 OS on your
Computer. For example, you could partition a 2 GB Hard disk into two partitions
of 1 GB. On each of those partitions you can put a different OS (e.g.:
OS/2 and Win NT). OS/2 Warp 4 has Windows 3.1 (minus about 100 mistakes
removed by IBM) integrated. It's like the DOS box in Windows. DOS is also
in there. So what you get is, OS/2 + Win 3.1 + DOS and you can install
as many OS on as many partitions as you have space on your HD.
So what is the cache?
I'd be lying to you if I told you that it's easy to install
OS/2. You need to know your basic stuff (i.e. what a Hard disk partition
is, etc.). And you have got to plan what you want to do!!! Don't just start
installing. Think of how big you want a partition to be and so on. The
Handbook (believe it or not) is quite helpful here. OS/2 will want about
300 MB just like Win 95. The good news is that you can ring the IBM hotline
free in the first month, which is very good.
And another thing!
(TIP: install Windows 95/NT on C: and OS/2 on D:)
Did I mention that you get Voice Type of OS/2 thrown
in with the package. And if you don't know what that is, here goes. You
can dictate text through a microphone, and navigate your desktop
(e.g. start programs etc), without ever touching your mouse or keyboard.
Is that COOL or what. And another thing, DOS and Windows still work with
the old FAT system from the stone ages! Even VFAT (Win 95B or NTFS for NT) is not
as advanced as the system OS/2 uses. It is called HPFS. The HD does not
need any maintenance at all (well hardly). No more Defrag. When you install
OS/2 you can choose if you want to format your HD with the old FAT or HPFS.
If you partition the HD as I suggested use HPFS, if you want to put Win
and OS/2 on the same HD format FAT (NB. Windows can not read HPFS, hence
it does not recognise that HD). HPFS has another advantage, it organises
the HD in a different way. This means you don't lose any Disk space as you
would with HD over 540 MB (don't quote me on the 540 MB, but it is around there)
and the old FAT system. This is because the cluster size does not "expand" with HPFS
as it would with FAT.
That's it! :-)
There is only one thing left to say, and that is the
minor matter of the cost! I have got some good news for you, if you are
a student or teacher then you can get OS/2, get this, for under 30 Pounds
(that includes P+P and VAT). So now it's your turn. It's make your mind
up time. If you have got any further Questions mail me, and I'll answer
them to the best of my ability! There you go, some food for thorough!
© 25.07.99, Chris
Freundel (Click here to Mail me!)