24th jan, 2008

IBM rejects open sourceing OS/2

OS/2 is a dead operating system…or almost dead that is. The operating system is getting life support from a band of devoted followers. One of the problems the followers are facing is that they do not have access to the inside of the OS. 


Thats why they asked IBM – the systems creator – to open source the OS. IBM has refused, citing 

“a variety of business, technical, and legal reasons we have decided to not pursue any OS/2 open source projects” 


Some debaters on Danish Computerworld suggests that IP could be the cause of some of the problems. Patents are probably not at the root of any IP problems, should there be some. The OS was developed in the 1980´ies which means that the patents are lapsing these years if still valid (the average lifespan of a software related patent is 8 yrs.). Searching the USPTO database I found around 40 patent citing OS/2 directly…which is impressive since patents of computer related inventions where restricted until the 90´ies 


Probably IBM does not want the bother of open sourcing the software and face a competitor to their preferred OSS system Linux. 


As wikipedia tells us the OS was created by IBM and MS in a joint venture which could lead to IP-trouble if they didn´t anticipate a break up.

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