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Half an operating system: The triumph and tragedy of OS/2
From the archives: IBM doesn't make consumer desktop OSes anymore for a reason.
history  ibm  os2  os  software  computing 
5 days ago by emory
Subway history: how OS/2 powered the NYC subway for decades • Tedium
Andrew Egan:
<p>Despite the failure of [IBM's PC operating system from the late 1980s] OS/2 in the consumer market, it was hilariously robust, leading to a long life in industrial and enterprise systems—with one other famous example being ATMs. Waldhauer said, “Thinking about all the operating systems in use [in the NY Metropolitan Transit Authority, MTA], I’d have to say that OS/2 is probably the most robust part of the system, except for the mainframe.”

It’s still in use in the NYC subway system in 2019. IBM had long given up on it, even allowing another company to maintain the software in 2001. (These days, a firm named Arca Noae sells an officially supported version of OS/2, ArcaOS, though most of its users are in similar situations to the MTA.)

The role of OS/2 in the NYC subway system is more of a conduit. It helps connect the various parts that people use with the parts they don’t. Waldhauer notes, “There are no user-facing applications for OS/2 anywhere in the system. OS/2 is mainly used as the interface between a sophisticated mainframe database and the simple computers used in subway and bus equipment for everyday use. As such, the OS/2 computers are just about everywhere in the system.”

At this point, we’re talking about an OS designed in the late 80s, released in the early 90s, as part of a difficult relationship between two tech giants. The MTA had to ignore most of this because it had already made its decision and changing course would cost a lot of money.</p>

This is quite the horror story. No wonder New Yorkers are <a href="https://twitter.com/chrisfralic/status/1141086228630134787">thrilled when they can pay by contactless</a>, five years after it became standard all over London's underground network.
ibm  history  subway  os2  nyc 
june 2019 by charlesarthur
Subway History: How OS/2 Powered The NYC Subway For Decades
Vintage technology has powered the innards of the NYC subway system for decades—and sometimes, it surfaces in interesting ways. This one’s for you, OS/2 fans.
newyork  NYC  transit  os2  ibm  operatingsystems  computers 
june 2019 by pozorvlak
Workplace OS History: IBM’s $2 Billion Microkernel of Failure
How IBM bet big on the microkernel being the next big thing in operating systems back in the ’90s—and spent billions with little to show for it.
ibm  workplaceos  retro  old  computing  history  os2 
march 2019 by gilberto5757

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