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IBM OS/2 & Resources

Why OS/2? | ArcaOS | eComStation | About the OS/2 Site

Why OS/2?

In 2003 Isaac Leung asked, If I were starting all over again today, would I still choose OS/2?

This is a good question, particularly if you assume, like many, that OS/2 is dead.

Unlike Windows at the time, OS/2 was extremely stable and significant numbers continued to use it where reliability was more important than fancy graphics and stock installations.

Unusual Reliability

While not pretty, OS/2 could be counted on to just work. It served as the background software running cash machines and other critical systems.

I received a call for help from a manufacturing company when they discovered that a OS/2-based communications computer failed after running for over 10 years without needing servicing (or even being noticed).

I couldn't imagine Windows running for 10 months without problems for the IT staff, never mind 10 years! Certainly not Windows 95 — the Windows version that launched nearly 12 months after IBM's OS/2 Warp 3.

OS/2 Ahead of Its Time

OS/2 turned 25 in 2012. It failed to gain dominance, not because it was inferior, but because it was ahead of its time. It contained features that were years ahead of software pending at the time (DOS was the primary operating system). Yet, OS/2 continues to be used in places you'd never suspect.

OS/2 Discontinued by IBM

Effectively IBM had stopped selling and supporting OS/2. End of Standard Support for OS/2 Warp was December 31, 2006.

The combined sophistication of this software and its typical user created unheard-of loyalty to a product that is no longer in production.

The Open Source Petition Letter to IBM

OS/2 users twice petitioned IBM to release OS/2 into Open Source. They hoped to renew OS/2 in same way that Netscape's Mozilla paved the way for the Firefox and Thunderbird programs to gain such wide acceptance. It was not to be.

Probably the biggest hurdle was the licensing for the Windows 3.x components. Microsoft was not interested in supporting a competitor to Windows.

OS/2's fourth release was widely regarded as technically superior to Windows 95 and Windows NT but didn't catch on because of a clunkier GUI and Microsoft's hardball licensing tactics that made it commercially suicidal for PC-makers to offer the OS. — The Register

ArcaOS — Arca Noae's New OS/2-based OS

ArcaOS provides modern and continuing support for those wishing to run OS/2 programs. It is a viable upgrade path for those currently running OS/2 or eCS.

Let Arca Noae show you what OS/2 looks like in the 21st Century. Stable. Secure. Lean. Hardware-Compatible.

ArcaOS is a recommended update to both eComStation and OS/2 Warp.

Learn more about ArcaOS.


eComStation emerged out of the demand for continued support for OS/2 software.

eComStation is a reliable and secure operating system originally based on IBM OS/2 Warp, which delivers a proven virus free, no-downtime operating environment both for personal desktop use and industry needs where reliability is paramount.

Learn more about eComStation.

Running OS/2 Warp 3 or 4?

If you continue to run OS/2 Warp 3 or 4 (or earlier), you may find the Archived Resources on this site useful.

You may also wish to check out Arca Noae's OS/2 & eCS drivers & software subscriptions, available in personal or commercial editions.


About the OS/2 Site

This OS/2 site is a sub-site of Russ Harvey's Resources, a collection of resource pages containing documentation, troubleshooting hints, advice and suggestions supported by relevant external links.

At the time OS/2 was being rapidly developed and had a large user base, this site was a significant contribution to the overall OS/2 knowledge.

After support from IBM became unavailable, this site has been maintained for those continuing to use OS/2 and its derivatives. Unfortunately, many of the external resources that made it so valuable have since been discontinued.

Current Information

The following pages contain the more current information on this site:

Archived Information

It is hoped that the archived pages continue to have value for those running legacy OS/2 software and hardware:

OS2 World Forums

V.O.I.C.E. (Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education)


If these pages helped you,
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Updated: November 11, 2019