Team OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List

Version 2.4 (20th May 1996)


Available on the World Wide Web at:


Abstract

This document contains a list of questions and answers about that wholly remarkable organisation, Team OS/2. It is maintained by Christian Scarborough. Corrections, as well as constructive criticism, suggestions for improvement and additions, and large sums of money are all welcome, and can be submitted to the following addresses:

Internet: christi@teamos2.com (preferred), ccs95@aber.ac.uk


Disclaimer and Copyright Notice

This document is based entirely on my personal opinions about Team OS/2, and any inaccuracies are therefore my fault. In no way does this document constitute the official opinion of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (who probably don't even know what OS/2 is), or IBM itself.

The document is provided AS IS, without warranty of any kind. The author is not liable for any loss or damage resulting from use of information contained herein, correct or otherwise.

All trademarks are copyright of their respective owners.

Copyright Christian Scarborough 1994-1996 (except where otherwise stated). License is hereby granted to freely distribute this document in any form, provided no fee (other than a reasonable distribution charge, where applicable) is charged, and that this copyright notice remains intact. This document may not be reproduced in any way, either in full or in part, as part of a commercial venture (including but not limited to CD-ROM distribution and magazine articles) without my express written permission.

An explicit exception to the above license is hereby granted to the producers of the Walnut Creek OS/2 Shareware CD ROM, who may include this document on their distribution.


Contents

  1. General Questions
    1. What is Team OS/2 about?
      1. What exactly is Team OS/2?
      2. How did Team OS/2 originate?
      3. What does Team OS/2 do?
      4. I'd like to do one of the things mentioned above, but I'm a bit nervous about going it alone. Is there anyone I can ask for help?
      5. What is Team OS/2's position on Windows, Windows 95, NT, and other competing software?
      6. Are Team OS/2 membership and using or supporting a different OS mutually exclusive activities?
    2. IBM and Team OS/2
      1. What is IBM's relationship with Team OS/2?
      2. Do I have to work for IBM to be a Team OS/2 member?
      3. How do I contact IBM's Team OS/2 support?
    3. How do I join?
      1. How do I join Team OS/2?
      2. How do I get my name placed on the register of Teamers?
  2. Where to contact Team OS/2 members
    1. Electronic conferences
      1. Fidonet
      2. Internet / Usenet
      3. Prodigy
      4. CompuServe / CIX
      5. GEnie
      6. Delphi
      7. America Online
      8. WWIVnet
    2. Face to face
      1. User groups
      2. Computer shows / store demos
  3. Team OS/2 sources of information
    1. Where are the principal sources of Team info?
      1. Fidonet
      2. Internet
      3. Others
    2. What general documents are available?
      1. The Team OS/2 FAQ
      2. The OS/2 FAQ
      3. The Team OS/2 membership list
      4. OS/2 installation help file
      5. Trap error guide v1.01
      6. OS/2 2.1 performance improvements
      7. OS/2 performance tuning
      8. Stupid OS/2 Tricks
      9. APAR lists
      10. CONFIG.SYS documents
      11. OS/2 shipping applications
      12. OS/2 BBS list
      13. Hardware compatibility table
      14. The Good, Bad and Ugly hardware list
      15. Workplace Shell keys reference
      16. OS/2 Awards
    3. What newsletters are available?
      1. Team OS/2 newsletter
      2. San Diego OS/2 User Group newsletter
      3. IBM Developer Support News
      4. Others
    4. Where can OS/2 promotional items / software be obtained?
      1. Indelible Blue Inc. (USA)
      2. Lees-Keystone (USA)
      3. The OS/2 Solution Centre (UK)
      4. OneStop Software (UK)
  4. A brief history of OS/2
    1. History
    2. Versions
  5. Team OS/2 related jargon
  6. Appendix - Revision History

1) General OS/2 questions

1(a) What is Team OS/2 about?

Question 1(a).1 - What exactly is Team OS/2?

Team OS/2 is a highly informal organisation dedicated to telling the world about the advantages of Operating System/2 (OS/2), an advanced operating system for personal computers. Faced with a large amount of ignorance and misinformation about OS/2, Teamers respond by demonstrating the operating system to others, and educating them about its strengths and weaknesses. Teamers are all volunteers with a genuine enthusiasm for OS/2 that translates into a wish to spread that enthusiasm to others.

Question 1(a).2 - How did Team OS/2 originate?

Shortly before the release of version 2 of OS/2, an IBM employee called Dave Whittle had an idea. He, like many others at that time, could see that OS/2 was an excellent program, but like many others, he was frustrated by the lack of attention that it was receiving in the computer press and elsewhere. As a result, he decided to form a group of OS/2 enthusiasts who would help each other to promote OS/2 at the grass roots level. This organisation grew beyond his wildest dreams to encompass Teamers both inside and outside of IBM. Currently, Team OS/2 has more than six thousand members worldwide. Less than 5% of these are IBM employees.

Question 1(a).3 - What does Team OS/2 do?

Anything that promotes OS/2 to other people. Examples include, but are not limited to:

Not to mention anything else that springs to mind, often on the spur of the moment. Above all, Teamers do what they do because it is fun.

Question 1(a).4 - I'd like to do one of the things mentioned above, but I'm a bit nervous about going it alone. Is there anyone I can ask for help?

Yes. Many Teamers are willing to offer advice through electronic conferences, and you may be able to find Teamers local to you this way. For demos, you might like to get in touch with IBM's Team OS/2 support group (see Section 1(b) below), or your local IBM office, if you have one. If you are setting up an OS/2 User Group, then IBM can also offer some help; contact ibmpcug@vnet.ibm.com via the Internet. In particular, the Fidonet Team OS/2 echo has many contributors that also run user groups.

Question 1(a).5 - What is Team OS/2's position on Windows, Windows 95, NT, and other competing software?

Well, Team OS/2 is an informal organisation, and as such has no views on anything. In my experience, and yours may differ, the majority of Teamers feel that OS/2 is good enough that we can promote it on it's own merits, rather than resort to rubbishing competing products, which can often give a bad impression, alienating people who might otherwise enjoy using OS/2.

Question 1(a).6 - Are Team OS/2 membership and using or supporting a different OS mutually exclusive activities?

Absolutely not. Being a fan of OS/2 does not mean that a Teamer has to avoid all other OSes. There are now a wide range of other PC and non-PC operating systems such as Linux, Windows NT, Windows 95, NextStep, and System 7, and all of them have different strengths and weaknesses, so it's possible to like more than one.

1(b) IBM and Team OS/2

Question 1(b).1 - What is IBM's relationship with Team OS/2?

IBM has no control or authority over the activities of Team OS/2. It does provide formal support for Team OS/2 activities, such as the loan of computers for demonstrations, OS/2 store packs, etc, in a similar way to the support it offers to OS/2 user groups. IBM also maintains a register of Team OS/2 members (see Section 1(c) below), and produces a Team OS/2 newsletter, both distributed electronically.

IBM's support for Team OS/2 is strongest within the USA, but they now have liasons in sixteen other countries. Their email addresses are listed in section 1(b).3.

Question 1(b).2 - Do I have to work for IBM to be a Team OS/2 member?

The answer to this question is a categorical NO. Although Team OS/2 contains many IBMers who are active participants, the vast majority are users, programmers, students, and other enthusiasts from outside of IBM.

Question 1(b).3 - How do I contact IBM's Team OS/2 support?

Any of the following may be used, but electronic mail is preferred

 
Internet (Team OS/2 Support):         teamers@ibm.net 
Internet (PC User Group Support):     ibmpcug@ibm.net 
Telephone:        1-905-316-2468
Fax:              1-905-316-2535 (Attn: Arylnn Poczynek)
Post:             IBM Team OS/2 Relations,
                  c/o Richard Woolsey
                  PO Box 81946
                  Austin, TX 78758
                  USA

International contacts:

Caveat: This information is very old, and I have no idea how accurate it is.

 
Argentina:        Juan Sortheix - dszpholm@hp1.cbs.dk 
Australia:        Peter Kelley - yellek@vnet.ibm.com 
Austria:          Georg Hascheck - haschek@vnet.ibm.com 
                  Ludwig Eder -  ederl@vnet.ibm.com 
Belgium:          Frank Vandewiele - <address unknown>
Canada:           Arylnn Poczynek - teamos2_cnd@vnet.ibm.com 
Denmark:          Carsten Joost - TEAMOS2_DK@vnet.ibm.com 
Germany;          Andreas Claus Kistner - KISTNER@FRANVM2.VNET.IBM.COM 
Ireland:          Scott Myles - teamos2.ireland@street.nemesis.co.uk 
Japan:            Kaoru Sudo - <address unknown>
Latvia:           Harry Bush - Harry@castle.riga.lv, Fido 2:51/2 
Netherlands:      Jeroen van den Horn - HORNE@vnet.ibm.com 
Portugal:         Pedro Soares - <address unknown>
Singapore:        Jason Ho Yong Sing - <address unknown>
South Africa:     Faridah Hoosen - <address unknown>
                  Glenn Fermoyle - <address unknown>
                  Francois van der Merwe - <address unknown>
Spain:            Xavier Caballe - xavier.caballa@abaforum.es 
Sweden:           Mats Pettersson - TEAMOS2_SV@vnet.ibm.com 
Switzerland:      Thomas Straumann -
                  Thomas.Straumann@p3.f315.n301.z2.fidonet.org 
UK:               Andrew Agerbak - TEAMUK@vnet.ibm.com 

1(c) How do I join?

Question 1(c).1 - How do I join Team OS/2?

Joining Team OS/2 is very simple. There is no formal membership application process. All that is necessary is to do something that promotes OS/2 to others, no matter how large or small, and you are entitled to call yourself a Team OS/2 member. Once you have done this, you may wish to place the text "Team OS/2" in any electronic messages you send, and you may wish to have your name placed on the register of Teamers kept by IBM, but neither of these steps are essential to becoming a Team OS/2 member, just a willingness to promote OS/2 to others.

Question 1(c).2 - How do I get my name placed on the register of Teamers?

The Team OS/2 membership database has been undergoing a bit of a facelift recently. If you would like to join, then the easiest way is to use the World Web Web - point your browser at http://www.teamos2.com/jointeam, but for those without WWW access here are some (rather out of date) instructions.

The following is quoted from a document by Janet Gobeille

The Team OS/2 Support group keeps a database of members that we then sort and upload to the electronic networks so that you can find each other. For this database, please send the following information to one of the addresses in section 1(b).3 above:

  1. Your Name
  2. Mailing address (only the city, state, and country will be published)
  3. May we release your address to vendors who wish to do mailings to Team OS/2 members? (Yes or no)
  4. userids and networks / email addresses
  5. Optional: you can include a short (1-2 line) description to be included with your name. Sometimes software developers like to mention which products they've written or BBS operators include how to reach their BBS.
  6. Also please let us know what you've been doing so that you feel you qualify for Team OS/2.

2) How to contact Team OS/2 members

2(a) Electronic conferences

Teamers frequent many electronic conferences, some of which are listed below. If there is a conference that you know of that is not listed below, please let me know.

2(a).1 - Fidonet

The Fidonet echo TEAMOS2 is on the echo backbone in Zones 1 and 2, and is also taken by sites in zones 3 and 6. It serves as a meeting place for Teamers worldwide to discuss issues relating to Team activities, as well as serving as a point of contact for many OS/2 user groups.

There are also several national Fidonet echoes in existence, for example Germany and France both have national language Team OS/2 echoes.

2(a).2 - Internet / Usenet

The newsgroup alt.org.team-os2 is specifically devoted to Team OS/2, although many Teamers also follow the newsgroups in the comp.os.os2 hierarchy. Of particular interest to Teamers is the comp.os.os2.advocacy newsgroup, also frequented by several staunch NT supporters. some of the posts in this newsgroup are rather extreme in nature - you have been warned!

There are also a couple of OS/2 related mailing lists. To subscribe to one of these lists, send mail to the address specified with a blank subject line and the text

 
 
    sub <list name> <your first name> <your surname>
 
in the message text, filling in your details as appropriate. Do not include an explanation or signature, as the request will be processed automatically.

List name: os2users
Location: McGill University in Canada
Topic: general OS/2 discussion
Address: listserv@vm1.mcgill.ca

List name: os2-l
Location: the Netherlands
Topic: general OS/2 discussion
Address: listserv@nic.surfnet.nl

List name: team-os2
Location: the Netherlands
Topic: Grass roots promotion of OS/2
Addresses: listserv@nic.surfnet.nl

List name: teamhelp
Location: the Netherlands
Topic: Team OS/2 help desk
Addresses: listserv@nic.surfnet.nl

In addition, there are several Team OS/2 related mailing lists running off the Team OS/2 World Wide Web server. Details of these can be found at http://www.teamos2.com/joinlist.

2(a).3 - Prodigy

Seek out the OS/2 club, which has both files for downloading and message areas.

2(a).4 - CompuServe / CIX

'Go OS2USER'. Section 9 is dedicated to Team OS/2.

2(a).5 - GEnie

The OS/2 roundtable (page 1400) is the place to look here. Look out for the announcements of upcoming Realtime Conferences (RTCs) in the Upcoming Bulletin Board conferences section.

2(a).6 - Delphi

The Teamers here are to be found hanging out on Custom Forum 41.

2(a).7 - America Online

Head for the Computing icon, OS/2 topic. AOL has regularly-scheduled OS/2 chats on Tuesdays at 11:30 p.m., Thursdays at 9 p.m., and Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. EST (Grenwich Mean Time minus 5 hours.)

2(a).8 - WWIVnet

Dave Allen Walker hosts a Team OS/2 subboard on WWIVnet, which can be subscribed to from WWIVnet or WWIVlink as follows:

2(b) Face to face

Often it's nice to meet fellow Teamers in the flesh too. There are two main places where there is a good chance of meeting Teamers face to face.

2(b).1 - User groups

OS/2 user groups usually have a large contingent of Teamer members, and there may be one near you. These are mostly found within the USA, although the International OS/2 User Group is based in Cirencester, UK and many other countries (such as Germany) now have their own user groups. A list of OS/2 User Groups is regretably beyond the scope of this document.

2(b).2 - Computer shows / store demos

If you are planning to attend a computer show, it is possible that you will find a group of Teamers helping out there. If you would like to help out with Team activities at the show, then contact IBM's Team OS/2 support, who will probably be able to put you in touch with those organising Team OS/2's presence. Also, Teamers will often help out at store demos of OS/2.


3) Team OS/2 sources of information

This section is concerned mainly with the electronic distribution of Team OS/2 and general OS/2 related information, although the final sub-section covers OS/2 promotional items and software by mail order.

3(a) Where are the principal sources of OS/2 information / software?

This section is classified by electronic network.

3(a).1 - Fidonet

An extensive selection of OS/2 related material is distributed on file echos called the "Fernwood Collection" and is maintained on the Bear Garden BBS in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. FWOS2INFO is the place to look for Team OS/2 info, much of which can also be FReqed (see glossary) from Janet Gobeille's BBS (1:382/902).

Also worth a mention is the OS/2 Shareware BBS (sysop Pete Norloff, node 1:109/347), located in Fairfax, Virginia, USA, phone number 703-385-4325, carrying one of the widest selections of OS/2 related files and echos in the the world. The BBS is also connected to the Internet at bbs.os2bbs.com (subscribers only) and the WWW at http://www.os2bbs.com.

In England, Monusci, the BBS of the International OS/2 User Group is a good source of OS/2 information and files, and access is not restricted to User Group members. The Sysop is Mike Gove, node number 2:255/100, phone number (01454) 633197.

3(a).2 - Internet

Several OS/2 related anonymous ftp sites are available on the Internet. The two main sites are

 
 
    ftp-os2.nmsu.edu               Directory: /os2
    ftp.cdrom.com                  Directory: /pub/os2
 
IBM's own official OS/2 FTP site is located at
 
 
    software.watson.ibm.com        Directory: /pub/os2
 
The IBM OS/2 device driver repository is at
 
 
    ftp.europe.ibm.com              Directory: /psmemea/os2drivers
 
These sites are mirrored in several places around the world, including
 
 
    src.doc.ic.ac.uk (England)      Directory: /computing/systems/os2
    ftp.funet.fi/pub/os2 (Finland)  Directory: /pub/os2
    ftp.informatik.tu-muenchen.de   Directory: /pub/comp/os/os2
        (Germany)
 
A more comprehensive list of FTP sites can be found in the OS/2 FAQ.

For information about ftp, consult the glossary in Section 5

In addition, IBM operate an experimental gopher server at index.almaden.ibm.com containing many OS/2 related files.

There have been an enormous number of OS/2 related World Wide Web sites set up recently, so much so that it is impossible to list them all here. However, a couple of sites worth looking at, from which you should be able to find the rest, are:

 
 
www.ibm.com                 IBM's own WWW site
www.austin.ibm.com/pspinfo/os2.html 
                            IBM's OS/2 page
www.europe.ibm.com          IBM Europe 
www.teamos2.com             Team OS/2's home on the Web 
www.mit.edu:8001/activities/os2/os2world.html 
                            The MIT OS/2 home page
 

3(a).3 - Others

Any details of OS/2 sources on other networks would be greatly appreciated.

3(b) What general documents are available?

3(b).1 - The Team OS/2 FAQ - TMFAQ24.ZIP

Well, you are reading it at the moment. Anything I could say about it seems slightly superfluous in the light of that fact.

3(b).2 - The OS/2 FAQ - WARPFAQ3.ZIP

This is a list of questions and answers related to OS/2 generally, maintained by Timothy Sipples. It is posted at regular intervals in the comp.os.os2.advocacy newsgroup, and can be found on many ftp sites, as well as some BBSes. There are a small number of FAQs concerned with more specific aspects of OS/2, such as programming. For a list of these, please consult the OS/2 FAQ.

3(b).3 - The Team OS/2 membership list - TEAMOS.ZIP

This document, widely distributed on BBSes, is a list of all the Team OS/2 members worldwide who have submitted their names to IBM, along with their location (city and country), and any electronic addresses, enabling Teamers local to each other to get in touch. The filename is TEAMxx.ZIP (xx being a version number).

This list is fairly out of date at the moment, and IBM are planning to release a new list "real soon now".

3(b).4 - OS/2 installation help file

A list of problems and fixes for use when installing OS/2 2.1, in INF format. Filename is probably INSIN2.ZIP.

3(b).5 - Trap error guide v1.01 - TRAPINF.ZIP

INF file containing a brief description of OS/2 Trap messages and what they really mean.

3(b).6 - OS/2 2.1 performance improvements

An INF file describing Workplace Shell performance improvements in OS/2 2.1. Filename: WP21PERF.ZIP

3(b).7 - OS/2 performance tuning.

INF file containing tips to allow you to fine tune your system settings for better OS/2 performance. Filename: OS2PERF.ZIP

3(b).8 - Stupid OS/2 Tricks - TRICKS6.ZIP

A list of useful (and not so useful) things you can do to your OS/2 system in INF format.

3(b).9 - APAR lists - 30APR1.ZIP

APARs are known problems with OS/2 that IBM is in the process of fixing. The lists contain details of the bugs that IBM know about.

3(b).10 - CONFIG.SYS documents

There are currently two ASCII documents explaining what the sometimes rather cryptic statements in the OS/2 CONFIG.SYS file mean. These are CFGS_11.ZIP and OS2CFG11.ZIP.

3(b).11 - OS/2 shipping applications - OS2_APPS.TXT

Just that. A list of currently shipping applications for OS/2. Often useful when countering rumours that there are no OS/2 applications available.

3(b).12 - OS/2 BBS list - OS2WORLD.ZIP

Contains a list of BBSes that carry OS/2 files and echos throughout the world.

3(b).13 - Hardware compatibility table - PCMTAB.ZIP

Contains a list of hardware that has been tested by IBM and found to be compatible with OS/2. This can be very useful when buying new hardware, or for finding out if OS/2 will run on a friend's machine.

3(b).14 - The Good, Bad and Ugly hardware list - GBU109.ZIP

Similar to the hardware table above, but is compiled from feedback from users who tried to get their hardware running under OS/2. It is in INF format, and is organised by peripheral type (e.g. 'soundcards').

3(b).15 - Workplace Shell keys reference - WPSKEYS.TXT

A concise reference containing keyboard shortcuts for various operations.

3(b).16 - OS/2 Awards - OS2AWARD.ZIP

An IBM produced listing of awards that OS/2 has won

3(c) What newsletters are available

3(c).1 - Team OS/2 newsletter - TNEW09.ZIP

This electronic newsletter from IBM in INF format aims to keep Teamers worldwide informed and up to date on Team activities worldwide. This is now defunct, but back issues should be widely available. Available from many BBSes as TNEWxx.ZIP (xx is the version number).

Any Teamer wanting to take on the task of creating a newsletter should get in touch with IBM Team OS/2 support (see section 1(b).3 above).

3(c).2 - San Diego OS/2 User Group newsletter - SDIN9410.ZIP

An extremely well presented and professional INF format newsletter produced for the San Diego OS/2 User Group, but distributed worldwide via Fidonet and the Internet. Edited by Dave Sichak, each edition contains OS/2 related articles and reviews, as well as a worldwide list of OS/2 User groups. This is worth checking out. The newsletter has now gone print only, but electronic back issues are still available.

3(c).3 - IBM Developer Support News - DSN95AA.ZIP

An INF format magazine produced by IBM and aimed at programmers working with OS/2. This magazine tends to contain articles of a more technical nature. The latest filename can be calculated according to the following archaic formula, reproduced from the newsletter itself:

 
 
Issue  Date       Zipped       ASCII        .INF        .PS        Pages 
                                                                         
 10    15 Aug     dsn4ja.zip = dsn4j.asc                           106   
                  dsn4ji.zip =              dsn4j.inf                    
                  dsn4jp.zip =                          dsn4j.ps         
                                                                         
 11    14 Sep     dsn4ka.zip = dsn4k.asc                            54   
                                                                         
Explanation of names of zipped files for 1993 Issue 7 and later:         
                                                                         
  DSNymA = Developer Support News 199y issue m ASCII (plain-text)        
  DSNymI = Developer Support News 199y issue m .INF  (use OS/2 VIEW)     
  DSNymP = Developer Support News 199y issue m .PS   (PostScript)        
                                                                         
where y = last digit of year (3, 4, ...)                                 
      m = issue represented as alpha (1=A, ..., 7=G, 8=H, ...)           
     
For example, DSN3GI is 1993 issue 7 (=G), the 15 October issue, in .INF format (after being unzipped).

3(c).4 - Others

Here is a short list of some of the other newsletters available:

CON1195.ZIP - OS/2 Connect
EDMI3_6.ZIP - Electronic Developer's Magazine/2
PROS1295,ZIP - PROS/2 - Tampa Bay OS/2 Users Group Newsletter

3(d) Where can OS/2 promotional items / software be found?

3(d).1 - Indelible Blue Inc. (USA)

Indelible Blue is an OS/2 only mail order vendor with a large stock of applications. They also have franchises worldwide. Any details on these would be much appreciated.

 
 
Address:        Indelible Blue, Inc.,
                3209 Gresham Lake Road,
                Suite 135,
                Raleigh, North Carolina, 27615
                USA
 
Phone:          800-776-8284 (USA only), 919-878-9700
Fax:            919-878-7479
Office Hours:   8:30am - 7:00 pm EST Monday-Friday.
CompuServe:     70670,2352 
WWW:		http://www.indelible-blue.com/ib 
 

3(d).2 - Lees-Keystone (USA)

Lees-Keystone stock a wide range of OS/2 trinkets and promotional items such as mouse mats, car stickers etc. They also stock Team OS/2 specific items such as T-shirts.

Lees-Keystone are known for having high shipping costs. Be sure to check these before ordering.

 
 
Phone:          (800) 717-7666 (USA only)
                (914) 273-6755
Fax:            (914) 273-9187
 

3(d).3 - The OS/2 Solution Centre (UK)

An offshoot of the International OS/2 User group, based at the same address, this mail order vendor stocks a large range of OS/2 products and services, aimed primarily at business customers.

 
 
Address:        The OS/2 Solution Centre,
                Barton House,
                Barton Lane,
                Cirencester,
                Gloucestershire,
                GL7 2EE
                ENGLAND
 
Phone:          +44 (0)1285 641175
Fax:            +44 (0)1285 640181
 

3(d).4 - OneStop Software (UK)

OneStop Software aim to be the most comprehensive source of OS/2 products in Europe. They will ship outside the UK.

 
 
Address:        OneStop Software
                Maggs House
                78 Queens Road
                Clifton
                BS8 1QX 
                United Kingdom
 
Phone:          +44 (0)117 985 3370 
                (9.30 - 5.30 Mon. - Fri. - answering machine out of hours)
Fax:            +44 (0)117 985 3373
WWW:            http://www.onestop.co.uk 
 


4) A brief history of OS/2

This section is intended to give an introduction to the history of OS/2, as well as a brief explanation of the rather confusing splintering of OS/2 versions that has occurred recently.

4(a) - History of OS/2

In 1987, IBM and Microsoft released OS/2 version 1.0 as the successor to MS DOS, the PC operating system shipped with the original IBM PC. OS/2 ran on a 286 or better processor, and required a minimum of 2MB of RAM.

OS/2 version 1 was enhanced and improved jointly by IBM and MS, and for version 1.1 a GUI (see Glossary below) was added. Version 1.2 introduced the High Performance File System (HPFS), and also a plethora of bugs.

At about this time, MS and IBM started to disagree over the future of OS/2, and Microsoft pulled out of the project, leaving IBM to develop a more stable OS/2 1.3 on its own.

OS/2 1.x never sold in great volume, and enjoyed only a moderate success in the corporate market for a variety of reasons. It did not run on most non-IBM manufactured hardware, was not really backwardly compatible (having very limited DOS program support), and suffered from a lack of applications.

In 1991, IBM released OS/2 version 2.0, a new version of OS/2 for 386 and higher processors requiring a minimum of 4MB (6MB for practical purposes) of RAM, and featuring a redesigned object oriented GUI called the Workplace Shell. It also introduced multiple DOS sessions that would run the majority of old DOS applications, as well as built in support for Windows programs through a licensed version of the Windows 3.0 code.

Version 2.1 added improvements in performance and usability, as well as Windows 3.1 support and built in multimedia. IBM then followed this up with OS/2 for Windows, which would take users' existing copies of Windows, and modify them to allow them to run under OS/2. The next release of OS/2, called OS/2 Warp version 3, built on this with substantial an improved install process, reduced memory requirements, and support for many more hardware devices. This was followed by OS/2 Warp Connect, which added full TCP/IP support and Peer to Peer networking to the Warp bundle.

4(b) - The OS/2 family

There are a number of versions of OS/2 about. Hopefully this will explain the differences. Where products have not yet been released, details are obviously sketchy and subject to change.


5) Team OS/2 related jargon

This section is intended to explain some of the terms used by Teamers and in this document. The world of computing in general seems to be rife with jargon, and this can be confusing for the newcomer. Hopefully, things will be a little clearer after having read this section.

APAR
APAR stands for Authorized Program Analysis Report. An APAR is a problem or bug (qv) in OS/2 that IBM has officially recognised and either has fixed, or is in the process of fixing. Fixpacks (qv) usually come with a list of APARs that have been fixed.
Beta
A pre-release version of a program. OS/2 was subject to one of the widest beta tests ever, with many copies being shipped to customers. Beta products are often unstable and usually contain many bugs (qv), but allow the user to test out the product ahead of its release.
Bug
A problem with a piece of software that causes it to operate incorrectly.
CPU
Central processing unit. The part of the computer that does the work. OS/2 runs on computers containing Intel (qv) 80386, 80486, and Pentium CPUs.
CSD
Corrective Service Diskettes. The same thing as 'Service Pack' (qv).
DOS
The Disk Operating System. This was the operating system (qv) shipped with the original IBM PC in 1981. It has since gone through seven major releases.
Fixpack
Yet another name for a Service Pack (qv)
FReq
Fidonet term. File Request. A netmail (qv) message sent directly to a BBS system requesting files from them.
FTP
file transfer protocol. A method of transferring files from a remote machine to your machine over the internet. For details of how to use it, type 'man ftp' or 'help ftp' on your local system.
FUD
Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Term used to describe certain unscrupulous marketing techniques whereby large amounts of incorrect information are disseminated to the public in order to aversely effect sales of a product.
GA
General Availability. The GA release of a product is the first 'for sale' release.
GUI
A Graphical User interface. This is a method of interaction with the computer (usually using a mouse - an electronic device used to move a cursor around the screen) that is theoretically more intuitive than the command line interface used in DOS, because it uses graphics to represent various tasks to the user. Sometimes described as a WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers) system. Windows (qv), and OS/2's Workplace Shell are both graphical user interfaces.
HTML
Hypertext markup language. Confusing piece of jargon that is used to describe the language in which World Wide Web (qv) documents are written.
HTTP
The hypertext transfer protocol. Another confusing piece of jargon that just means that a World Wide Web (qv) document is in the standard form for Web browsers (qv).
IBM
The International Business Machines corporation, manufacturer of OS/2.
INF
A file extension used to denote IPF files readable by the VIEW program supplied with OS/2. INF files have the form <filename>.INF. The VIEW program presents these files in a user friendly and intuitive manner, allowing the user to manipulate the information contained easily.
Intel
A manufacturer of CPU (qv) chips.
Netmail
Fidonet term. Private mail transferred between Fidonet systems.
Operating System
The software that allows a computer to run other programs.
OS/2
IBM's (qv) Operating System/2 (or OS/2 for short) is an advanced 32 bit Operating System (qv) for IBM PCs and compatibles with an 80386, 80486, Pentium, Pentium Pro, or other compatible processor, and also the PowerPC (qv). Amongst the advantages of OS/2 are pre-emptive multitasking, DOS and Windows compatibility, an advanced object oriented GUI (qv), multimedia support and much more.
PowerPC
A new kind of PC based on a CPU (qv) developed jointly by IBM (qv), Apple and Motorola.
PSP
Personal Software Products, the division of IBM responsible for marketing OS/2.
Recursion
See recursion (qv).
Service Pack
A collection of OS/2 bug fixes that are distributed together to allow users to get rid of several fixed problems.
SP
see Service Pack.
Teamer
Member of Team OS/2 (qv).
Team OS/2
Informal organisation dedicated to promoting OS/2 at a grass roots level.
Web browser
A piece of software, such as WebExplorer (which comes with OS/2), that is used to access the World Wide Web (qv). Other popular browsers include Netscape and Mosaic.
Windows
A GUI (qv) for DOS (qv). OS/2 was originally designed as the successor to Windows by IBM and Microsoft, but Microsoft have since decided to follow a different path with their Windows NT (qv) product.
Windows NT
Microsoft's alternative GUI operating system intended originally as a competitor to OS/2, but more recently marketed as a high end server platform.
Windows 95
Microsoft's latest upgrade to Windows (qv) and replacement for DOS (qv) including some of the features and improved stability of Windows NT.(qv)
Workplace OS
A portable version of OS/2 that will run on several different types of computer, currently being designed by IBM.
World Wide Web
Term used to describe a way of providing linked information over the Internet. OS/2 (qv) now comes with software that enables users to access the web.
WWW
Abbreviation for World wide Web (qv).

Appendix A

Revision History

Version 2.4 contains more updates (mostly IBM contact information) plus a new question (again about Team OS/2 and other OSes). Since I no longer moderate the Fidonet Team OS/2 echo, I've handed over maintainance of what used to be Appendix A (information specific to that echo) to the new moderator. As a result the Revision History now becomes Appendix A. Exciting, eh?

The long overdue version 2.3 involves a few cosmetic changes, a load of updates (sigh, the world moves too fast for me), and a complete translation to HTML. The text version is now generated from the HTML version. (anyone who has an HTML to IPF source converter would make my day if they'd send me a copy). I've also added a couple of new questions (on other operating systems, and appropriate topics in the Fidonet Team OS/2 echo). OneStop Software was also added to the software sources list.

Version 2.20 is an attempt to make the information contained here more current.

Version 2.10 updates some information that has become out of date since version 2.01. The section on sources of information has been greatly expanded (thanks to Byron Huang for this info), and a new section on the history and versions of OS/2 has been added. Question 1(a).5, dealing with Teamers and Windows, is also new. OS/2 Internet mailing list details are now included, in section 2(a).2.

This document is intended to be a universal source of Team OS/2 related information, but does contain a few gaping holes, notably relating to electronic networks that I do not participate in. In particular, I must apologise for the US/anglocentric focus of this document, as these are the areas for which such information is readily available to me. It is my hope that individuals with knowledge in areas that I lack would send it to me for inclusion in the next release. Thank you.


Team OS/2 FAQ v 2.4 / Christian Scarborough / christi@teamos2.com