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Definition: OS/2


An earlier family of operating systems for x86 machines from IBM. OS/2 Warp was the client version, and Warp Server was the server version. With add-ons, DOS and Windows applications also ran under OS/2 (see Odin). The server version included advanced features such as the journaling file system (JFS) used in IBM's AIX operating system. Like Windows, OS/2 provided both graphics-based and command line interfaces. See OS/2 Warp, Warp Server and eComStation.

Although highly regarded as a robust operating system, OS/2 never became widely used. However, it survived for a while in the European banking industry and in U.S. ATM machines due to its stability.

Features
OS/2 included Adobe Type Manager for rendering Type 1 fonts on screen and providing PostScript output on non-PostScript printers. OS/2's dual boot feature allowed booting into OS/2 or DOS.

The OS/2 Workplace Shell graphical user interface was similar to Windows and Mac. Originally known as Presentation Manager (PM), after Version 2.0, PM referred to the programming interface (API), not the GUI interface itself.

OS/2 16-bit Version 1.x - Microsoft and IBM
Jointly developed and released in 1987, OS/2 Version 1.0 was written for the 16-bit 286. DOS compatibility was limited to about 500K. Version 1.3 (OS/2 Lite) used only 2MB RAM instead of 4MB and included Adobe Type Manager. IBM's Extended Edition version included Communications Manager and Database Manager.

OS/2 32-bit Version 2.x - IBM Only
Introduced in 1992, this 32-bit version for 386s multitasked DOS, Windows and OS/2 applications. Data could be shared between applications using the clipboard and between Windows and PM apps using the DDE protocol. Version 2.x provided each application with a 512MB virtual address space that allowed large tasks to be easily managed.

Version 2.1 supported Windows' Enhanced Mode and applications could take full advantage of Windows 3.1. It also provided support for more video standards and CD-ROM drives.

Communications and database management for OS/2 were provided by Communications Manager/2 (CM/2) and Database Manager/2 (DB2/2). CM/2 replaced Communications Manager, which was part of OS/2 2.0's Extended Services option.

OS/2 32-bit Version 3 - IBM
In late 1994, IBM introduced Version 3 of OS/2, renaming it OS/2 Warp. The first version ran in only 4MB of memory and included a variety of applications, including Internet access.

Windows NT - Microsoft
Originally to be named OS/2 Version 3.0, this 32-bit version from Microsoft was renamed "Windows NT" and introduced in 1993. See Windows NT.