IBM's Failed OS/2 Is 25 Years Old, Still Powers ATMs And Checkouts

On April 2, 1987, IBM launched its plan to revolutionise the PC industry: a next-generation operating system called OS/2. Co-developed by IBM and Microsoft, it was designed to replace DOS and change the way we used computers. Sadly, it didn't. But it still crops up in some of the weirdest places.

You see, it was ahead of its time. It was able to multitask, for instance, and it's GUI let you right-click on things to tweak settings. It was blazing a trail, which you can read about in more detail in a wonderful feature over at Time. In fact, it was blazing such a trail that — even though Windows became the dominant OS in the market and caused OS/2 to fail commercially — plenty of industrial users embraced it.

And they still do. New York City uses it to power systems for swiping fare cards. Safeway runs it on its supermarket checkouts. And there are still plenty of ATMs that run OS/2. Old, failed and forgotten it may be, but it just won't go away. [Time]

Image: Malvineous/Flickr


Comments

    Sorry, but I've gotta say it.....they don't make 'em like they used to.....

    I remember OS2/Warp and yes it was a great OS. I still remember the television commericals that IBM run to promote the new OS. They had an ad with two nuns talking about Windows and OS2. I still use the OS from time to time and at the time of release I was hoping it to become something like Windows because it was ahead of its time and it was a solid platform but sadly it didn't.

    IBM had something great with OS2/Warp.

      Agreed Barry, my brother uses OS2/Warp daily even today! He just can't let it go

    I installed OS2/Warp on my first ever PC, a DX2/66. It was nice but, like Linux, I couldn't run any software on it so I went back to Windows.

      Had the same problem myself. Though being a kid I only had one reason for going back to DOS... GAMES! I'm sure a lot of the reasons for OS2's failure could be due to the lack of 'software' but I would refine that to say it's mostly because of the lack of games.

    Lol, and I was just thinking about OS/2 and what happened to it. Does it still get software updates?

    Just like COBOL

    Aussie readers note that the Australian "Safeway", owned by Woolworths (international readers note that is unrelated to the English Woolworths that went bust), uses Windows XP on its checkouts and selfserve machines.

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