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OS/2 Warp
The Warp Wishlist

Last updated: December 26, 2004

As of October 6, 2006, there is now a Wiki on for The Warp Wishlist

This is a list of operating system and application enhancements that current eComStation and OS/2 users believe are worth paying for.  It was originally created by Steve Wendt and is maintained by Kris Lake.  For reference, the earlier wish list from 1999 is still available.  This page may be subject to Steve's editing, so feel free to direct flames to him!

Our OS of choice has benefited from the hard work of a lot of people.  It may be that neither IBM nor Serenity Systems, as the sole OS/2 OEM, will be able to provide us with the desired enhancements at an affordable price.  By offering potential third-party developers ideas about OS/2 projects they might create, a number of gaps in the library of OS components, middleware, end user applications, and programing tools could be filled.

As you can see, many of our wishes have already come true!  There are links below to software for OS2/eCS which delivers a great many of the requested enhancements either today, or will do in the near future! An indication of the status (freeware / shareware / commercial status) is given in many instances. Your help with links and in identifying other OS/2 software that may fulfill the wishes of different readers is greatly appreciated!

Due to the sustained efforts of dedicated, skillful OS/2 contributors such as Knut St.Osmundsen, Ulrich Möller, Daniela Engert, Sander van Leeuwen, Klaus Staedtler, Vincenzo Venuto, Eberhard Mattes, Eugene Romanenko, Platon Fomichev, David Webster, Stefan Neis, Sebastian Wittmeier, Chris Wohlgemuth and Yuri Dario in Europe; Aaron Lawrence in New Zealand; Maeda Haruyuki and Takayuki Suwa in Japan, Brian Havard and Peter Moylan in Australia and a whole galaxy of talent in North America (such as Darwin O'Connor and Rich Walsh) - the value and quality of OS/2 and eComStation based systems and software is increasing every month.

Have some ideas to add to the Warp Wishlist? Please send them to me. Your name and e-mail address will NOT be listed unless you specifically request it. Changes to the wishlist below will be shown in red.

The Top Ten Wishes
The Programer's Cauldron

Our platform of choice needs constantly improving tools.  The very sophisticated cross platform wxWidgets GUI application development framework is a good example of what is available for OS2/eCS.  Other steps forward may include :

Mind Your Language

The OS2/eCS platform is well supported by languages and associated toolsets today and, due to the generally thankless work of many gifted OS2/eCS programers, the available choices are constantly improving.  Languages and application development tools ready for your next OS2/eCS project include :
Must Have - Features and Applications

Much of the best software available for OS2/eCS today is available at no cost under open source licences.  However, large commercial users often prefer to pay for a commercially licenced product (eg. StarOffice) rather than use free software of equal quality ( 1.2 ), perhaps because of the legally enforcible obligations commercial software licences may place on software vendors.  Having such choices is great !  Whether "running native" or utilising the very sexy Odin subsystem, there are some standard / mainstream applications that OS/2 and eCS need to support in order to offer aid and comfort to Windows survivors taking those hesitant first steps toward a brighter, less costly x86 alternative.

Some Priority Applications for Porting
Kernel Desires

Not so long ago, OS/2 was arguably less crash prone than other x86 choices (notably Win9x), but in more recent times WinXP and some Linux distros have reversed this lead. Key GUI architecture decisions taken over ten years ago by the designers of PM and the WPS make it impossible to terminate some failing processes, including the WPS and PM themselves.  If OS2/eCS is to retain support from its current users, let alone attract new users, increased stability for PM and the WPS and a bullet-proof process killer are essential OS enhancements.

System Security "Out of the Box"

There have been at least four products or projects which delivered multiple-user functionality (eg. desktop prefs/settings are determined by a user's login ID) to OS/2, but none of them has ever been distributed as a part of the base OS, in the way that Microsoft has for Windows since at least 1995. For lack of distribution with the base OS, this product category has stagnated on OS2/eCS.  The lack of even the most basic multiple-user features "out of the box" makes OS2/eCS almost unique on x86 - but not in a good way !  A number of valuable projects will let us eliminate this deficiency :

File System Support
Drivers R Us The Front Office

Few business or home users would consider OS2/eCS worth buying as as an alternative general purpose platform without a choice of high quality Office productivity software ready to go.  Happily, our preferred platform offers a wealth of alternatives in this area and our choices are getting much better in 2004 !

Servers for Every Purpose

IBM Warp Server for eBusiness (WSeB) was great, once, but has fallen far behind the pace and is unlikely to ever be substantially enhanced by IBM (it also costs a lot, for what you get).  The modern open source server software for OS2/eCS included in the list below offers so much performance and value. . . perhaps we will one day be able to buy a commercially supported OS2/eCS ServerSuite from eCS resellers ?  Until then, you can be up and running with some of the great free and commercial server software below !

Improved Multimedia Support
System Utilities
Just Browsing

There are a number of good native PM and CLI web browsers available for OS2/eCS, some bulky, some slim, some older, some startlingly new.   What I wish was on my own desktop right now is an "eComStation themed" browser  based on the latest Mozilla or KHTML code (used by Apple's Safari-web browser for OS X, by KDE in its Konqueror browser for Linux and in ABrowse for Atheos) - with integrated multimedia helper applications to smoothly handle PDF and Flash content.  This sought-after browser would, ofcourse, provide by default bookmarks, including for the eCS updates site, OS2/eCS developer sites, news pages and free / commercial software provider sites.  For the here and now (or yesterday if you prefer) try these six choices - all of them have their own strengths and weaknesses :

User Interface Enhancements

The WPS and PM "are OS2/eCS" to most users.  To replace either of these two elements of the OS2/eCS platform is to lead users to choose a whole different OS, like Red Hat, MacOSX or FreeBSD.  If OS2/eCS becomes "more like Windows" (as is happening with many Linux distributions) we would be losing one of the key advantages our favorite OS platform retains - its unmatched user interface.  That advantage can be increased yet further - here are some ways :

Warp Legacy OS Sub-Systems - the Next Generation

OS/2 has a long, proud history of supporting legacy software such as 16-bit DOS and Windows. Several teams have done amazing work to enhance DOS, the 32-bit DPMI DOS environment, Win16, GeOS and other legacy software environments for which OS2/eCS already contains built-in support.  Yet relatively little of this work has so far been made available in a form usable by ordinary OS2/eCS end-users.

Many OS/2 users say "Let those who want it, pay for it".  Removing MDOS and WinOS2 from the base OS2/eCS product and offering a seperate Legacy OS Sub-System CD to interested buyers, might be the fairest way to fund a very extensive refresh of DOS, DPMI and Win16 support.  This CD would provide end users with a "single-click" installation of the original WinOS2 sub-system, plus an eCS-themed GUI (perhaps using the Calmira II technology) plus Win32s 1.25, plus-Paragon DOS or the newly released DR-DOS 8.0 (for their speed, ongoing development status and features eg. FAT32 drivers) plus all of the patches and fixes available for the OS2/eCS DPMI host (0.9x and 1.0) for 32-bit DOS apps.

Other Wishes for OS/2 and eComStation

This page is maintained by Kris Lake.