Should OS/2 Be Made Open Source

IBM announced earlier this month that it will withdraw its operating system OS/2 officially from sale on December 23 this year and will offer support through to the end 2006. Now that the funeral has been announced the active OS/2 users that still exist are calling for the operating system to be made open source.

Should OS/2 be made open source? Back in it’s hey day OS/2 was a very significant operating system and was major competition to Microsoft Windows, now it is only used by a few banks for it’s ATM’s. Making it open source would mean that it could be updated for today’s hardware and would also make it more secure as all aspects of the system would be open to peer review.

Does the world need another open source operating system? With IBM’s commitment to Open Standards and Open Source ( Eclipse, Apache, Tomcat, J2EE etc ) maybe making OS/2 open source could be a wise move that will keep those few remaining OS/2 customers happy.

What do you think?

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4 comments on “Should OS/2 Be Made Open Source
  1. Too much MS code in there to ever be open-sourced, regardless.

    Should it be open-sourced? I’d like it to be, but I fail to see what we’d learn from it. The OS itself was better than Windows 3.x, and arguably better technically in many regards than Windows 9x. But it wasn’t better than Windows NT, and I don’t tihnk it was better than Linux/UNIX either. Modern OSes have little to learn from OS/2, I suspect.

    The Workplace Shell, however – I’d happily see that Open Sourced. I understand it’s too tightly bound to Presentation Manager, though, so would be about as portable as Stonehenge.

    (Which is not to imply that hippies would stage sit-ins if we tried to port Workplace Shell.)

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  2. Joanne says:

    I had no idea some ATM’s ran on OS/2….until, that is, last weekend when an errant AIB ATM in Ranelagh village decided to crash and reboot, eating my credit card.Boo.

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  3. Actually, most ATMs have historically run OS/2 and now all will have to change:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3962573.stmI for one would prefer an open source based solution. Much easier to harden.Windows Vista ATM anyone?

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  4. Andy Broyles says:

    In addition to ATMs, OS/2 runs a good number of voicemail systems and small PBXs (Nortel Meridian and ICS series and their associated VM systems.)

    I was an OS/2 fanatic ‘back in the day’, and one of my previous bosses, Mark Minasi, was arguably the King of OS/2 outside of IBM and MS.

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