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IBM to OS/2 users: Achieve neutrality! Change OS!

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IBM has effectively set the date for the end of regular support for all versions of the operating system, less than a month after promising a "consolidated" update to OS/2. IBM says there will be no more fixpacks for the client after 31 January next year, for the Server after 31 May 2001, and for WorkSpace On Demand after 31 January 2002. Support will be available in the form of what IBM calls "special-bid, fee-based Service Extension and Total Content Offering defect support for selected OS/2 products and components", in other words service will be auctioned to users with very deep pockets. The message is pretty clear: customers should deploy "new e-business technology applications concurrently with existing OS/2 applications until platform neutrality has been achieved, and then change the operating system." That's been the message for three years now, but IBM has never spelled it out so bluntly. "They can't wait to move users off," said a source close to IBM's Austin facility. "Continuing support in 30 languages is a pain in the ass." One of the attractions of outsourcing development of OS/2 - as IBM very nearly did with Stardock Systems, only to be vetoed by HQ, was the cost of international support. But doesn't this contradict what IBM was telling users just last month? Mostly. IBM has repeated its commitment to delivering a consolidated release in November, and to refreshing Navigator, TCP/IP and Java and device drivers. Given that OS/2 can't be installed on disks larger than 8Gb, on PCs with new BIOSes or ATA-66 drives without a clutch of fixes, that’s the bare minimum to keep it serviceable. And no, our Graham wasn't dreaming up the bit about these releases becoming a regular event. Last month IBM said that "over the next two years, the Convenience Packages will be provided annually... supported from its delivery date through 31 December of the following calendar year". But with the end of general support for subscribers to the Software Choice scheme, that’s an offer that will have very few takers. Related Link The IBM announcement

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