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OS/2 Warp Compatible Hardware List Web site: IBM OS/2 Strategy

What is OS/2 Warp's future?

If you've carefully read the Short OS/2 Introduction page, then you know that IBM doesn't make a priority of OS/2 anymore. In fact, IBM wants to get rid of all of its desktop operating systems. Of course, they won't just stop selling OS/2, since a lot of companies that still use OS/2 today and refuse to use anything else would be very angry, and would never sell IBM hardware again...
So IBM has found a way: already heard of IBM e-Business strategy? The name sounds like to be taken from the OS/2 Warp Server for e-Business product, but in fact e-Business is a term that means something like platform independency. Now, that's something that's rather popular within large organizations. To find all the details about e-Business, please visit IBM's website at www.ibm.com/e-business. One really powerful concept in the e-business strategy is WebSphere Application Server, and it also exists for OS/2. This is IBM's answer to companies who want to see OS/2 developed further.
Some time ago, I discovered a PDF-file (IBM confidential, so I can't post it on my website) in which the IBM OS/2 and e-Business strategy was explained. It makes IBM's plans pretty clear. Take a look at the following diagram:

IBM's long-term objective is to enable customers to achieve platform independence via the Application Framework for e-Business, and it recommends that customers make the transition as soon as possible. That means two things:

  •   Complete deployment to platform independence before 2005 and
  •   Complete platform transition before 2007

So IBM really advices to migrate to another platform than IBM OS/2. Happily, a lot of OS/2-using companies like OS/2 that much (due to its performance, stability, easy of use, and manageability) that they will keep running it. Don't forget that many of these companies have their own OS/2-specific written software that has been worked on for years. They by now have very stable and complex applications that exactly suit their needs. IBM has officially stated that it estimates that it would take 500 person years to rewrite these applications and transform to non-OS/2, thereby requiring an investment of $ 100 million. IBM realizes that the large companies won't leave OS/2, and so e-Business with its platform independency is an answer to those companies.

e-Business Enabling Enhancements

Until now IBM has been providing tools to enable e-Business platform independency for OS/2 Warp product family (that means OS/2 Warp 4, OS/2 Warp Server for e-Business, WorkSpace on Demand R2, also called BlueBird). Thereto, they provided a robust TCP/IP package (see screenshots page) for data transmission and communication, a superb Java Virtual Machine for portability, an XML parser for data portability, a browser (IBM WebBrowser, based on Mozilla) for a neutral user interface, and Lotus Domino Application Server complemented with WebSphere Application Server for the hosting of applications. Thus, IBM clearly holds tight to the client-server strategy in their e-Business plans. These tools are now not further in development; IBM expects they work and will be compatible with later releases of WebSphere.

Hardware and Device Driver Enhancements and Defect Support

Take away drivers, and an operating system is dead, unusable and doesn't value anything. IBM will continue to develop OS/2 device drivers until the end of the year 2004. These drivers are mostly available via a SoftWare Choice or PassPort Advantage subscription. Some of them (as is the case with some IEEE208.11b drivers) will only be obtainable via IBM business contract. What will happen after 2004 is rather unclear: IBM has already said more than once that they would abandon OS/2, but again and again, they keep supporting it ;)

Fee-based Services

That still leaves open three of IBM's directions that will be offered until the end of 2006, if not perhaps even longer. These services are only for companies, not for individuals. If a company wants a logon client application that enables it to log on to OS/2 via BeOS for example, then a company can get this software via an IBM business contract, for which IBM charges fees.
More in detail, official directives from IBM:

    • IBM Software Services for WebSphere focuses on engagements for transforming OS/2 applications into e-Business applications.
      IBM Software Services for WebSphere also focuses on engagements for OS/2 release-to-release and platform migrations and provides: software migration to the latest OS/2 versions, performance tuning in OS/2 networked environments and software-specific deployment. It also includes consulting services for the WebSphere Software platform, Java Technology, and MQSeries.
    • IBM Global Services focuses on very large engagements and provides:enablement services for e-Business, e-Commerce services, e-Business Accelerator and hosted business application services. Total Systems Management services are also included.
    • Lotus Professional Services for consulting, education, and Getting Started and Acceleration Packages.
    • Tivoli Services for architecting and implementing Tivoli management software (powerful utilities for system administration).

So far, IBM's strategy. The annual official IBM reports on their famous "IBM OS/2 Warp Strategy" can be found at www.software.ibm.com/os/warp/strategy.

Serenity Systems International

This is a company independent from IBM that was funded some years ago by some retired IBM employees that like OS/2 really much. For the first time ever, IBM licensed its OS/2 to another company to develop it further. SSI continues to develop and sell OS/2 under the name eComStation.
eComStation is a good alternative for SoftWare Choice; it's kind of an OEM product, and the prices are a lot lower than IBM's OS/2. Given to that, they also offer third-party software for real diplomatic prices. If you want to start using OS/2, and OS/2's future is important to you, go for eComStation! More information can be found at the eComStation homepage.

os2warp.be Corporate Support Services

os2warp.be, being the leading OS/2 and hardware related website gives an answers to the current questions and demands from the corporate customer having either deployed a complete OS/2 network, or companies migrating away from OS/2. To this end, os2warp.be offers os2warp.be IT Business Solutions to prepare your network for the future, while reducing costs to the minimum.
By introducing technologies like Citrix MetaFrameXP and virtual computing solutions, existing OS/2 software and/or clients can be maintained while upgrading servers and thus preparing your company for the future. For more information about os2warp.be Corporate Support Services, os2warp.be IT Business Solutions and os2warp.be Migration Support Services, please visit http://www.os2warp.be/support/.

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Last modified: 2004/08/30, 22:09 | This site is sponsored by Mensys B.V.