When OS/2 4.0 came out, something was different. First it was 1996. The Windows 95 tidal wave had happened. Users everywhere were moving to Windows 95. Office 95 was also a big deal, a real 32bit version of Office that was sold on retail shelves, unlike Office for NT.
And if that onslaught wasn’t enough, a month earlier Windows NT 4.0 had hit the shelves. And as I had mentioned it was so popular and so desired, where I worked people were going out and purchasing it themselves, and replacing their corporate sanctioned OS (Windows 3.11 or Windows 95) as the productivity of not crashing or the conflicts of old/bad drivers etc etc.
At this point to say OS/2 4.0 had significant competition is an understatement. Not to mention how Microsoft leveraged it’s OEM channels to force bundling & instillation of Windows/Office, even on IBM hardware.
When I got OS/2 1.3 it was at a HAM Fest, as nobody sold it retail. OS/2 2.1 for Windows, and OS/2 Warp were all sold through retail channels. When OS/2 4.0 had finally gone retail none of the local retailers in the Ft Lauderdale, Miami area were going to even stock it. Instead me & a friend had to drive all the way up to some small retailer out around Boynton Beach. Needless to say this release wasn’t going to be a big one.
While the hype around Merlin, had been quite intense, when it had come time to deliver it seemed at this point IBM was only going to push this out because of all the time & effort that went into it. But the PowerPC version was basically dead, and it seemed with them the hope of OS/2 had gone with them.
Also at this point there were no plans to build a Win32 subsystem into OS/2. This meant that you couldn’t run Office 95. And of course when Office 97 came out, there was no way you would be running that on OS/2 either. Oh sure there was this half hearted framework, Open32, 800 some popular Win32 calls adapted to OS/2, but it was only source compatible, there was no way it’d run stuff on OS/2 (while others have taken up the torch via Odin).
Ok, enough with the back story! Let’s upgrade!
The installer had now swelled up to 3 disks. I’m not sure if 4.0 was even available on floppy disks. I know the version I had was on CD.
I’ve got to admit it, this boot logo looks the best. Although in my opinion they should have dropped the Warp thing, at this point 4.0 was it’s own thing, and even in this logo they are using warp like a deformation, not warp speed. Could it have been that hard to slap some Star Trek people on this?
In this day in age, there would have been a ‘Jean Luc Piccard’ limited edition. But I guess IBM wouldn’t want to offend the STAR WARS fans or something.
Yep let’s NOT format the disk. Although in retrospect I think I really did only half read this once, and I just saw the “convert to a different file system” part and said oh yeah let’s do this HPFS thing! … Too bad I missed the “erases all files”… Maybe a blink tag would have been appropriate there… Oh well it’s been a long long time since then.
Oddly enough the Sound Blaster was not preserved from Warp. And at least in a virtual machine I do have the ability to test, and quickly go redo this, so I know the “Sound Blaster 16 PnP” works best in Virtual PC 2007. And as you can see it picks up the S3 video, and it remembered my printer! But it still asks me to go thru a list of printer & video drivers, I guess it’s to make sure they are correct. I just hope this doesn’t leave me with 3 printers…
Let’s let the installer do it’s thing!
Also you may notice that OS/2 4.0 looks nothing like the prior versions. Gone is the old 5 color flag thing, and in with the ‘warp bounce’ thing.
Then another reboot and…
Although I do like the status bar up top. Right away I know I’m using more then half my disk!
And there is some OS/2 answer to the start menu..
Ironically, Word 1.1 for OS/2 works great. Although it’s far obsoleted in terms of it’s document format, left behind by Word 2 for Windows, this version just keeps on rocking. I can’t help but wonder if I had an older version of Excel that it may have worked better.
Talk about horrible! They are almost all GONE! Even poor Neko didn’t make the cut! And yet gwbasic 3.23 from OS/2 1.0 made it. Honestly I really feel let down by IBM at this point.
Another thing that didn’t make the cut was my Win32s install. It was completely removed. I almost wonder what would have happened if I’d installed apps in OS/2 2.0’s Windows 3.0 .. I may have to time travel to find out.
Also any attempts at running MS-DOS in a full screen freezes OS/2. Looking at the Excel glitch I can’t help but feel it’s a video driver thing.
I know this post is very heavy in terms of pictures, and there is a lot of ground to cover in this final release of OS/2 (I’m counting 4.0 as the last one as it’s the last one I’ve ever used, and I don’t think that 4.5 was even attempted to be marketed in a retail fashion, and I really can’t justify the $$$ for ecomstation.. but maybe I’ll see if there is a demo…)
I’ll try to cover some of the new features, in the next post.