Upgrading through OS/2; Version 1.0

On the heels of the upgrading Windows, I thought I’d do something similar with OS/2.

So to get things started, let’s start with OS/2 1.0

I’ve got to admit it, I really like the splash screen stuff.  It’s a shame that basically it wouldn’t come back until Windows 95.  This one does animate, but on VirtualBOX it is hard to see what it’s doing but I think it’s the logo coming together, like it did in early Windows.

The installer is text based, as is the OS back then.  To get this to run, I had to hexedit the keyboard driver (as discussed here) and change the hard disk driver from a non-working IBM version of OS/2 1.0 .  None of the Microsoft ones seemed to work.

In 1987 this would be an awesome kickass machine.  Now kids toys have better features.  At any rate, back then FAT was limited to 32MB partitions. I just gave this thing a 32MB disk, as I didn’t feel the need to mess with it too much.

Talk about a weird installation process.

Notice the lack of PS/2 mice?  This would go back and forth as one of many weird things that one or the other would not support.  It’s very strange.  But at the time of course, only PS/2 machines could have PS/2 mice.  Not that it really matters in OS/2 1.0’s text only interface.

And the next time you feel like complaining about a lack of drivers for anything.. Look at this extensive list.

Anyways basically pick out what you are going to do , and away it goes copying the first floppy then it’s time to reboot.

I should also point out at this point the install for OS/2 is three (yes 3!) high density diskettes.

On reboot we continue the install..

And then on to disk 3.

And we are done!

And now we can eject the disks, and reboot.  We get the nice splash screen only to be dumped to…

This. Now you can see why so many people were underwhelmed by OS/2.  Now I know it’s a tough thing that Microsoft & IBM were at here, the basic underlying structure of OS/2 was working, IBM had been selling IBM AT’s since 1984 going on about some advanced OS, and the PS/2 line had just launched, with… MS-DOS.  The need to spend 15+ thousand dollars on a fancy 286 to run MS-DOS just seemed totally insane.  So they launched without the UI.

I’m thinking this must be a late version of 1.0 as my files are timestamped 12/15/1987. While not immediately obvious, this version can multitask like all the others. hitting control-escape brings up the Program Selector:

OS/2 1.0 task selectorAnd tabbing around we can run a bunch more of the OS/2 command prompts, and select the single MS-DOS task that the 1.x versions of OS/2 are limited to.

Shutting down OS/2 involved control-alt-delete.  Remember OS/2 was designed to be a single user workstation, not a multi-user time-sharing system like Unix.

One thing I dislike immensely about OS/2 1.0 is that it dumps all the files into the root directory.  What a mess!  I mean look at this!  Ugh.

Also it was interesting that you can run 12 OS/2 sessions, and the one MS-DOS session.  Oh well it’s a heck of a lot more responsive the Windows trying to run this many sessions.  Also for you GWBasic fans out there, you’ll be happy to know OS/2 includes GW Basic 3.20

GWBasic under OS/2Oddly enough there are no text editors.  I guess everyone is expected to be running wordstar under the ‘MS-DOS’ session box.  And of course sure you can task switch but only ONE copy.. and no cut/paste…

Ok, So now I’m going to backup this OS/2 1.0 session, restore it onto a larger disk (which OS/2 1.0 cannot boot from) but then I can ‘upgrade’ it to 1.1.

Onward to OS/2 1.1

Installing OS/2 1.x in VirtualBox

OS/2 Museum just published this great article detailing what is needed to run older versions of OS/2 on VirtualBox. The ‘skinny’ is that Microsoft OS/2 is the way to go as they included the 386 method of switching from protected mode to real mode in their product, while 1.0 and 1.1 from IBM relied on the 286 triple fault.

Almost all versions have timing issues however. And again they are covered.

I may finally have that excuse to dig around and install OS/2 1.0!

Virtual Box 4.0

It’s a significant upgrade so it would seem.. The big thing that hits me is now you can use more then 1.5GB of ram!.. The virtual motherboard supports PCI Express, along with SATA, and the ability to read Apple virtual disk images…

I see there is more improvements in the 3d support as well… Although I’ve been using VMWare Fusion as of late, but it’s always good for more alternatives.

Download VirtualBox from Oracle, here.

It still supports Windows, Linux, OSX and Solaris, all x86/x64.