IBM to release OS/2 migration packs

In a move to help corporate users accelerate migration away from the OS/2 operating platform, IBM this November will release two upgrade packs containing many of the Java and Internet-related development technologies dribbled out the last three years for the nearly forgotten operating system.

The two Convenience Packs, one for the OS/2 Warp 4 client and the other for the OS/2 Warp for e-Business Server, will have support for Java 1.1.8, the 4.6.1 version of the Netscape Browser for OS/2, and a variety of Internet-based communication capabilities.

All of these technologies ascribe to IBM's Application Framework for e-Business programming model, intended to enable porting of OS/2 applications over to Windows 2000, the top-selling Linux distributions, and Unix.

"We have been encouraging all users, whether they are OS/2, NT, or Unix to convert to this programming model. It not only helps them enable their application for use over the Internet, but allows them to gain independence from the client OS," said John Soyring, IBM's vice president of e-business, operating systems solutions, in Austin Texas.

The business value of porting and Web enabling in some cases decade old applications for e-commerce could be high and for a relatively low financial investment. It also allows users with non-PC devices such as smart phones and palm-top devices to now access an older OS/2 application.

Soyring said many of IBM's corporate users have been asking for some time for an upgrade that collected together all the upgrades for OS/2 Warp that go back to September, 1996, as they move towards adapting OS/2 applications for e-commerce.

"Not only are we integrating all the functional upgrades and fix-it packs together from the last four years, but we are testing them as well, which saves users and developers time," Soyring said.

While he declined to state how many corporate Web sites are interested in porting their OS/2 Warp applications, Soyring said he believes there are hundreds of interested accounts.

As one example, IBM is now wrapping up a project with the European Patent Office that is converting an OS/2 application with five million lines of code using Java. This will enable the Patent Office to run the application on both Windows NT and OS/2, or provide the flexibility to migrate completely over to NT.

What will take up a lot of IBM's time in readying the Convenience Packs is the new installation program it is writing that makes it easier to install and configure it with several different systems, according to Soyring.

The new server upgrade will also make it easier for users to take advantage of the upcoming upgrades for the Java Virtual Machine, TCP/IP, the open-source versions of Netscape and Mozilla browsers, and USB support.

For more information about the Convenience packs users can contact www.software.ibm.com.

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