OS/2 -- the Goldilocks of Operating Systems
The old story about the 3 bears illustrates a fine point about the IBM OS/2 operating
system: there's a point to do everything "just right." By just right,
I mean not too hard and not too easy; not too graphical and not too text-oriented;
not too power-hungry and yet able to use new technologies.
OS/2 runs just fine on a 486 with 16 MB of RAM. But it really flies on a Pentium
II with 64MB. On the other hand, I've seen people literally burn up 486 motherboards
trying to install the Windows98 Upgrade edition -- and these same people suffer
PC lockups running Windows95 on a 400MHz Pentium. It's nice to actually have one
operating system that spans the entire range of PC hardware from the last 4 years
-- and the next 4 as well. This way, I don't have to start over and redo my software
just because I upgrade my motherboard & CPU every few years.
It's also nice that OS/2 Warp 4.0 has a great command-line interface that lets me
do DOS commands for file searches, copying, moving, deleting, etc. in the background
while other things are occurring such as file downloads or printing. I can do the
same things with the WPS (WorkPlace Shell) GUI, also, if I choose. That means I
can be fully graphical or do everything with textline commands -- or any combination
in between. This is great, because the same OS can be used by command-line "junkies"
and graphical "newbies" at the same time. Nobody has to play second fiddle
here; OS/2 does both types of user interface superbly.
OS/2 has some plug-and-play capabilities, but it does not go overboard and try to
lock-in a single architecture. Since OS/2 works best with real interrupt-driven
modems, for example, I can change modems at will without worrying about device driver
conflicts -- there are *no modem drivers required*. On the other hand, it's a little
harder to change VGA cards because OS/2 doesn't default to 16-color mode unless
I tell it to manually at bootup (similar to using Windows95's "safe mode").
So while there are occasional "gotcha's," OS/2 has the best possible combination
of features, capabilities, and user interface designs. There is something for everybody
in this world-class operating system.
Most recent revision: June 25, 1999
Copyright © 1999, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.