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Chris' Rant- by Chris Wenham
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What I Like About/2

I didn't try OS/2 because I already knew what it could offer me, I tried it because I was impetuous and I had the luxury of doing so. At the time, if you asked me what was special about OS/2, I would have said "32 bits..." and stopped. I mean I really didn't know much about it, all I wanted to do was try something different. Now I'm sold, but why?

First I have to recognize that there are very few features in OS/2, the operating system, that are unique. It's not the only 32-bit game out there, it's not the only one with crash protection, it's not the only one with a solid file system, and it's not even the only one with an object-oriented Desktop. In fact going down a feature list you must agree that there's precious little that sets it apart from others like the Unixes, Windows NT, Be, and what-have-you.

If I were to single out any one feature, it'd only be a matter of time before some other OS matches it in some way.

While I'm at it, I should also push aside the, "it's not Microsoft," mentality. Have some sympathy for the devil; Microsoft came to riches through being smart and their competitors being dumb. That's all there really is to it. Instead of waving our double standards around and snorting at their use of "per processor" licenses we should ask, "Why didn't somebody else do that first?" and, "Why isn't someone taking notes?"

I don't let my love of one platform depend on hate for another.

I was about to say that the phenomenon of OS/2, the history of underdog fighting the status quo, that seductive air of being part of an exciting movement, was the unique draw for someone with stars in his eyes. But the Amiga had (still has?) that same spirit too, just like the Mac and Linux of today.

That movement is very seductive. There are things around the corner that could make OS/2 a very exciting place to be in a few months, if all turns out well. But it's not unique to us.

I almost became stuck, wondering what on Earth it was that keeps me rooted here. I was about to write it down to personal whim.

Then I fell over and hit my head, knocking sense into myself at last.

I like it because it has everything I just described all in one place and was available at just the right time. It was the packaging! (No, not the box, silly.) A rolling together into one place of all that makes a platform great. It's been a hotbed of new techniques and technology. All things considered, I'm enjoying the ride. OS/2 has provided more fun than anything else.

(And besides, the Workplace Shell kicks ass.)

I'm interested in your ideas too. What made you switch? What's your killer app? Send your thoughts to me at chris@os2ezine.com and if I get enough replies I'll put them into next month's column.

* * *

Chris Wenham is a freelance web designer, writer and Englishman who now lives in Endicott, NY. In the past he has written comedy, sci-fi, Pascal, Rexx, HTML and Gibberish. He has been using OS/2 exclusively for the past 2 years.

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