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December 1999

View From the End (User)

By: Don Eitner (freiheit@tstonramp.com) The 13th Floor - http://www.tstonramp.com/~freiheit/

IBM Quietly Readies "Merced" OS

A company insider who asked not to be identified has revealed to The 13th Floor that IBM has been quietly preparing a new operating system for Intel's upcoming 64-bit "Merced" platform.  The source leaked information detailing IBM's marketing drive to kill off the OS/2 brand name so as not to carry any unnecessary baggage into this new, vastly improved version of the former 32-bit operating system.

According to this company insider, the project code-named "Phoenix" is slated to be the first commercial operating system available for the 64-bit Merced platform when it debuts in the latter part of Y2K.  The secrecy about the project and the public stance of easing OS/2 into oblivion was carefully crafted to coincide with the findings in the Microsoft anti-trust trial with the US Department of Justice and 19 states by helping to ensure that industry focus was kept away from "Phoenix" until it is ready to be unleashed.

Some features of this new 64-bit operating system include full support for existing 32-bit OS/2 software in a "virtual machine" similar to the way previous OS/2 releases handled DOS and Windows 3.1 software, the familiar WorkPlace Shell graphical user interface, and complete support for 32-bit Windows applications thanks to IBM's long, intimate involvement with Windows 95/98 and NT API's (application programming interfaces) and a special application loader which accommodates the differences in binary formats between OS/2 and Win32.  The new OS will also support new 64-bit OS/2 applications being quietly developed by industry leaders in productivity and internet software with development assistance from IBM who wishes this new OS to come onto the scene ready to roll with a variety of popular software titles, which is where former OS/2 releases often fell short.

Phoenix will continue to support the HPFS file system for backward compatibility but includes an enhanced version of the Journalled File System (JFS) introduced in 1999 with OS/2 Warp Server for eBusiness which now supports booting the system from JFS volumes and a number of performance enhancements for the server market where both Merced and Phoenix will debut.  But realizing that a server is no good without a client, IBM will develop in parallel a client release of Phoenix with the server-specific bells and whistles removed and the official release of Netscape Communicator 5.0 provided as a WorkPlace Shell enhancement for true cutting edge web integration with the desktop.

Pricing for the new client and server have not been disclosed nor have specific names of third party applications being developed for them.  The anonymous source at IBM requests that all loyal OS/2 users unite and send IBM a very direct and meaningful message that we want this to be the real future of OS/2 and not just something I wrote up in the middle of the night for laughs.

Oh yes, and all trademarks mentioned in this farce belong to their respective companies.

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