I used to be an OS/2 zealot. You hear about Mac bigots and Linuz zealots, well, let me tell you just how bad of an OS/2 zealot I used to be -- I can recount various key moments in my younger life based on their proximity to the release of IBM's OS/2 2.0 (March 31, 1992).
"When did you and your wife meet?" is a common question. My brain pages through the records and goes "Ah, it was just after the release of OS/2 and therefore it must have been in Spring of 1992."
Birthdays, anniversaries, whatever, I have trouble remembering. But OS/2 2.0's release date is burned into my mind. And for the subsequent 6 years, I devoted nearly every waking hour to making OS/2 succeed. It wasn't about money. It wasn't about business. It was a cause. OS/2 was my cause. It was a better way of doing things. Some people get wrapped up in ideologies. Other people go on religious crusades. I was on an OS crusade.
And we lost. Badly.
Another date I remember well was Fall of 1996. That was when Microsoft release Windows NT 4.0. And within a year, the OS/2 market died. Microsoft's effective FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) combined with IBM's unwillingness to strongly back OS/2 made it ripe to be toppled over by Windows NT 4.0 which, while not as good as OS/2 Warp 4, was "good enough" and had good industry support.
By 1998, our once thriving company was laying people off and struggling to survive. And I wasn't a 20 year old college student anymore. I was 26, married, with a young son. I had responsibilities to my family and my employees. We limped our way into the Windows market, tail between our legs. Nowadays, we're a pure Microsoft shop. .NET solutions across the board. Microsoft SQL. Microsoft Office. Our company makes a great demonstration of Microsoft solutions now. Which is pretty ironic since we were once OS/2 zealots. I'm not a Windows zealot today. I'm not even a Windows advocate really. It's just business.
The romanticism of OS technology has warn off and there's nothing as relatively cutting edge as OS/2 was back then. So now I don't really think of the OS choice much beyond market share and what makes good business sense. Now it's about the software WE make. I am still dedicated to a cause -- making stuff that enables people to use their computers however they want. And I want to make software that is cool and useful. That's where software like Object Desktop and now ThinkDesk comes in.
So today IBM and Microsoft announced that they're closing the books on that uglyness that was OS/2. Almost 10 years after Windows 95 was released, Microsoft is paying IBM off to not sue them over all the "unpleasantness" that Microsoft was involved in to ensure that 95%+ of you are using Microsoft Windows instead of IBM OS/2. We'll never know if we would have been better off if OS/2 had won out instead of Windows. But at least IBM got to recoup some of their costs for trying.