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IBM Withdraws OS/2

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Last Friday, IBM officially withdrew OS/2 from the market, and product CDs are no longer available.
It’s the end of an era as OS/2 disappears from IBM’s portfolio.

The move had originally been announced in July and affects the final two versions of IBM’s OS/2 effort, OS/2 Warp V4 and OS/2 Warp Server for e-business.

IBM’s OS/2 effort originally began as a joint effort with Microsoft in 1985, a deal that ended in 1990 when the development partnership faltered. OS/2 version 3, released in 1992, was the first to have the “Warp” moniker attached to it. Version four was released in 1996.

Throughout its life, OS/2 faced competition from Microsoft Windows and never overcame it. The true death knell for OS/2 likely came, though, once IBM began its full embrace of Linux in 1999. In fact, IBM is explicitly recommending to OS/2 users that they switch to Linux.

“There are no replacement products from IBM,” IBM’s OS/2 migration page states. “IBM suggests that OS/2 customers consider Linux as an alternative operating system for OS/2 client and server environments.”

Though IBM is giving up on OS/2, OS/2 users aren’t quite done with it yet.

Over 13,000 of them have signed a petition asking IBM to open source some, if not all, of OS/2 and its components.

“For customers that want to keep OS/2, or for those long-time users who are considering migrating to another OS, the open sourcing of OS/2 makes perfect sense,” the petition states. “We also have an OS/2 community of developers that has produced several open source software (sic) for OS/2 and many are willing to continue doing so.”

To date, though, IBM has not responded to community request to open source OS/2.

although OS/2 has been officially withdrawn from the market, IBM’s standard support will continue until December 31, 2006. Beyond that date  it will be available as a separate Service Extension fee-based offering.

This article was originally published on

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