Arca Noae is modernizing OS/2 Warp for 21st century PCs
Lewis Rosenthal talks about why some companies still need to run OS/2 today – including on UEFI and GPT hardware
Retro Tech Week Although the creator of OS/2 now owns Red Hat and has other fish to try, OS/2 lives on. The Reg spoke with Arca Noae's Lewis Rosenthal about the issues of updating OS/2 Warp for modern PCs in 2023 – and beyond.
OS/2 has had a long and sometimes troubled history, which The Register looked at in depth when the OS turned 25. IBM stopped selling OS/2 Warp back in the early part of this century, but that wasn't the end of the line for this indomitable OS.
After IBM stopped selling even the server version, eComStation continued support, and later offered their own updated version, and had plans for further modernization.
After that, Arca Noae picked up the baton with what was originally codenamed Blue Lion. It went on to offer it for sale as Arca OS 5.
The current version, Arca OS 5.0.7, can boot directly and install from a USB key, which is a first for the OS/2 family – and a significant help.
On 64-bit hardware, Arca OS can use PAE to turn memory over 4GB into a large, very fast RAMdisk. Version 5.1 is currently in beta testing, and will support installation on UEFI-only machines and onto GPT disks – meaning that it can support media over 2TB in size.
For Retro Tech Week, The Reg FOSS desk spoke with Rosenthal about what the company was doing with OS/2 today. He told us about what Arca Noae had to do in order to allow this 32-bit OS to install and run on current-generation hardware, including modern browsers, Open Office, Samba for SMB networking over TCP/IP, and more.
He also told us about what kind of customers need Arca OS today, and how useful it can be to DOS and 16-bit Windows software directly on modern hardware. ®