|Also Known As:|
|OS Personified:||OS/2 v. 1.0 - OS/2 WARP 4|
|First Released:||25 September 2001|
|Latest Stable Release:||v. 4.52 - December, 2001|
Operating System/2 (OS/2) was originally developed as a joint project between IBM and Microsoft. It's intention was to replace the antiquated Disk Operating System (DOS) as the operating system of choice. At the time, DOS was at version 3.x, and IBM and Microsoft both realized that with the advent of the Intel 80286 in the mid-1980's, it was quickly becoming obsolete. Thus, OS/2 was born, initially as a 16-bit, command-line based operating system. Microsoft worked closely with IBM up to version 1.3. While IBM worked on the guts, Microsoft worked on the new graphical user interface that was due for later versions. OS/2's kernel was developed by IBM from the ground up as the Personal Computer (PC) version of a mainframe operating system, with all of the time-slicing, stability, and other features previously existing solely on those high-end machines. Microsoft to this day maintains a broad-ranging cross-licensing agreement with them. Windows NT was partially based on the OS/2 work that they did for IBM, and Windows 95 also borrows heavily from this code.
Soon, however, Microsoft decided to pursue it's own operating system, Windows. With Microsoft no longer doing development on the user interface, IBM was faced with creating this themselves. In this timeframe, a deal was made with Commodore. Commodore licensed IBM's REXX scripting language for inclusion in their AmigaOS, and IBM took many GUI design ideas from the AmigaOS for their new GUI. With the release of OS/2 2.0, the WorkPlace Shell (WPS) user interface was born. OS/2 was now a 32-bit operating system, with a fully object-oriented graphical user interface. OS/2 2.1 and 2.11 followed, including a version of 2.11 with full Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) support. OS/2 2.x won over many Windows 3.x users because of it's ability to run Windows programs seamlessly, while maintaining a stable system. IBM even went so far as to trademark the term Crash-Proof.
In November, 1994, OS/2 Warp 3.0 was released. It was the first PC operating system to have built-in Internet support. At the time, OS/2 critics said that Internet support was just more geek crap, but today every major operating system ships with built-in Internet support. The release of OS/2 Warp Connect followed, and included full network support out of the box for all the major protocols, including IPX, TCP/IP, and NetBIOS. At this point, the focus for OS/2 became the networked computer. When Windows 95 was released in August, 1995, resellers reported record sales on OS/2.
OS/2 Warp 4.0 (codename Merlin) was released in August, 1996. It's new features included a beautified GUI; the new graphical icons and widgets were designed by an ex-Apple programmer. The beauty was much more than skin deep, however, as the system included many useful features.
OS/2 Warp 4.5 (codename Aurora) was released in 1999, as a server release. It featured a bootable install CD, a new 32-bit TCP/IP stack, a journaling file system (JFS), and a logical volume manager.