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OS/2 Will Run Windows Applications Again

Connectix's Virtual PC for OS/2 will let OS/2 users run Windows and Linux applications.

InformationWeek Staff

October 9, 2001

2 Min Read

IBM's OS/2 operating system was once lauded for its ability to run DOS and Windows applications. But, since the release of Windows 95, 32-bit Windows applications haven't been supported. That situation may change soon.

Connectix Corp. Tuesday unveiled Virtual PC for OS/2, along with product development and marketing help from software developer InnoTek Systemberatung GmbH and the distribution support of Serenity Systems. The software promises to let corporate users run both Windows and OS/2 applications on one PC. Using Connectix's virtual machine technology, any x86 operating system can be loaded under the "host" operating system. Multiple operating systems can run simultaneously, enabling corporations to move forward while supporting legacy applications, according to Mitch Cipriano, Connectix VP of product management.

InnoTek will develop and market Virtual PC for OS/2, as well as jointly develop with Connectix enhancements to Virtual PC for Windows, to integrate it seamlessly with OS/2. Serenity Systems will be responsible for North American technical support, and also intends to integrate Virtual PC for OS/2 into its own eComStation business desktop computing environment.

Virtual PC will give enterprise users greater investment protection, explains Achim Hasenmueller, InnoTek's executive director. Because Virtual PC will equally support OS/2 running on Windows, and Windows (or Linux) running under OS/2, companies can better integrate their operating systems. "In one scenario, an OS/2 customer needs to add Win32 capability to its desktops or servers," says Hasenmueller. "In another, the customer is moving off OS/2 but still has legacy OS/2 applications that need to be supported on the new platform." Even though the main audience is enterprise OS/2 customers, the company will also sell a shrink-wrapped retail version.

At least one customer is anxiously looking forward to the software, which is due to ship in the first quarter of 2002. "This makes the application indifferent to the operating system," says Jeffrey Race, president of telecom manufacturer Cambridge Electronics Laboratories. "We'll be able to run the rock-solid operating system we know best, and also use applications from any GUI."

International Data Corp. analyst Dan Kusnetzky says Virtual PC for OS/2 may be a viable option for companies struggling with a transition from one environment to another. "IBM is urging companies to move away from OS/2," says Kusnetzky. "This attempt may simplify the path while maintaining investments in OS/2 applications." But, he cautions, IT departments may need to carefully examine upgrade costs if Virtual PC for OS/2 requires significant system resources, because many existing OS/2 installations run on older hardware.

Can a product like this really make the application indifferent to the operating system? Do you think it matters? Share your view in the Listening Post Talk Shop.

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