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2003 May 08 13:53

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Re: [vox] OS/2 and Linux, why has IBM changed?
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Re: [vox] OS/2 and Linux, why has IBM changed?

Peter Jay Salzman wrote:

> On Thu 08 May 03, 11:07 AM, Kevin Hooke <kevin@kevinhooke.com> opined:
> > Quoting Ken Herron <kherron@newsguy.com>
> > >During the MS antitrust trial, some information about these negotiations
> >
> > Quoting Peter Jay Salzman <p@dirac.org>
> > >what exactly was IBM's killer product in the mid 90's?   nobody used
> > >typewriters.  nobody really used OS/2.
> > Actually Pete, as someone else just mentioned, OS/2 was widely used by large
> > corporations in Europe during the early 90's. Royal Sun Alliance (an
> > insurance company) used OS/2 on the desktop and also for backend servers
> > almost exclusively until only a few years ago, and I believe Lloyds Bank
> > were another big user on the desktops in their branch offices. I also heard
> > that in the early 90s some of the London area Air Traffic Control was also
> > run on OS/2. I'm sure there are/were many others as well..
> as for specific examples, i knew quite a few business that ran inventory
> on a timex sinclair.   :)

This is very funny. But reading testimony that OS/2 is embedded in Air
Traffic Control centers and ATM machines is evidence that OS/2 can
be perceived as reliable. However, my experience with OS/2 was unflattering.

I think it is possible that a bunch of resources were able to get OS/2 to do
work embedded in hardware. Also, it is likely that many companies tried it on
desktops. However, I think it is significant that OS/2 is no longer being sold for

>   the point is that OS/2 was a largely
> unadopted OS.

This is true, and being that we're taking about IBM marketing muscle
says it's demise must be someplace other than commitment.

Ken observed that Microsoft tried to hinder OS/2's growth by forcing an exclusive
contract with IBM. Whereas this may seem like a monopolistic action, I think
any company would refuse to sell to a competing company its products at wholesale.

> adoption rates of an OS is a non-linear thing.  the more people that use
> it, the even more people that want to start using it.   OS/2 clearly
> never reached the critical mass needed for droves of people to start
> waiting in line to purchase it at the stores.
> as far as i can remember, OS/2 users was a bunch of super die-hard fans
> who loved their OS fiercely and couldn't fathom why the people outside
> their small group didn't install it.   actually, if you think about it,
> the *BSD users of today are the OS/2 users of yesteryear...  ;-)
> in short, i don't think anybody would actually accuse OS/2 of wide
> spread adoption.  i think the present is evidence of the past.   :)

I don't think I was the only one who did "a:install" of Windows 3.1 after
struggling with OS/2.



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