Dec 07 2007

Is it possible to get IBM to open Source OS/2?

Published by under Open Source,Operating System

As a big enthusiast of open source and as well since I have earlier has been product manager for OS/2 at IBM Sweden; I really feel for this great operating system that have during many years been far more productive than for example Windows XP for me should be open sourced. IBM has so far been totally ignorant to an earlier petition where almost 12.000 people signed it and didn’t even bother to answer the letter sent to them together with the signatures.

What is the current position with OS2 today then? Well, the last release from IBM was version 4.52 for both the client and server. Did it stop there? No, US based corporation Serenity picked up an OEM license at IBM and has together with Mensys in the Netherlands continued to develop and enhanced the system with new features and components such as wireless network support and as well multicore CPU support; so this old work horse still does quite fine together with the endless work of porting application from the linux community. All the major application support is there and are up to date; what more could I ask for?

Well, I really ask IBM to open vital parts of the OS/2 core components and after talks with the OS/2 development community, we have found that the following three important components will be basic to the continued development of OS/2:

  • SOM (System Object Model) Core. This will also be a good contribution to the open source community in general and to the computer science educational area.
  • Workplace Shell (WPS). According to press documentation, the OS/2 graphical user interface (GUI) was developed 100% by IBM. There are no third party restrictions to open sourcing it.
  • OS/2 Kernel.

IBM has earlier made comments about that there are way too much 3rd party code in OS/2 and this itself makes it impossible to release the code; above 3 mentioned core components should not fall under this category and be fully possible for IBM to release – if they just should a little bit of effort…

If you agree that OS/2 should be open sourced I then invite you to participate to sign the 2nd petition at OS2 World.Com and by signing you will also get notified on the progress made.

Kim Haverblad

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