I couldn’t find a Microsoft OS/2 1.2 so on with IBM OS/2 1.2. I figured it was still a joint project that IBM should upgrade a Microsoft install.
New in OS/2 1.2 is the HPFS filesystem. I could go on about it’s extended attributes, long file names, speed, but I’m sure others have written far better about it then me. Also how it didn’t have any journaling, could crash out easily, and there was no method to map longfilenames onto the 8.3 filesystem could easily leave DOS applications in the dark.
Again don’t let it format the disk. I wonder how many people went ahead and formatted thinking it’d preserve anything… Oh well we’ll keep things FAT for the duration of this exercise. Which reminds me, it’s a shame IBM/Microsoft didn’t include a tool to convert FAT to HPFS. I guess that was another lesson learned for WindowsNT.
The install also asks if I’d like to keep my old program groups (yes!) and a mouse & serial port. The IBM OS/2 1.2 version has no support for PS/2 mice on AT computers. Oddly enough the PS/2 driver won’t load on VirtualBOX, so the real fix is to load the OS/2 1.3 PS/2 mouse driver on OS/2 1.2, add it to the mouse driver, and it’ll work fine.
So with the installation out of the way, let’s boot it up!
Two BIG things that were absent in OS/2 1.1 is the inclusion of a Tutorial, “Introducing OS/2”, and the “OS/2 Command Reference”. It’s sure nice having online help for the system commands.
The text mode editor is gone, replaced by the PM e editor.
E seems designed for you to use the mouse, not the alt/arrow keys. But that’s how I navigate and I find it kind of forceful to alt, then letter to get a command menu. Oh well.
As you can guess by the grey backgrounds, OS/2 doesn’t do wall paper. Not even a screen saver. As you can see for the late 1980’s and early 1990’s OS/2 is missing out on two of the big sellers for bored office workers. It’s an IBM inspired system, which meant GREYS and YAWNS. But it sure can multitask, but boy is it BORING.
Since this is OS/2 1.2 there is some applications at this point I do have that will work. Namely Microsoft Excel 3.0 for OS/2. Installation is just like installing Excel 3 on Windows. 3 disks, and a reboot.
And it can shutdown! So really what are my impressions of OS/2 so far? It’s come a LONG way, it’s starting to feel like something workstation esque, but really it’s just so.. barren. With the ‘standard’ version you don’t have all the accessories you did get with Windows. I know they were largely ‘junk’ but hell even having the windows terminal with X-modem was still awesome for the time as you could actually kind of multitask. It would have been different for OS/2 but you’d never know it. IBM & Microsoft really expected people to fall in love with the multitasking, and basically bear with the ultra minimalism of OS/2. But Windows 3.0 changed everything.
Anyways, Onward to OS/2 1.3!