That same shoebox I mentioned the other day also contained three plain cardboard 3.5″ floppy boxes with a set of disks that look like this:
Once again, despite the plain-looking labels, these are mass-duplicated floppies, which is handy because Kryoflux can tell if they had been modified. And they hadn’t.
DAP stands for IBM’s Developer Assistance Program, that’s the easy part. But what’s a “DAP Kit”? Is it some kind of a pre-release? Semi-public beta? Or an actual release shipped to developers early?
There’s nothing obvious on the floppy labels or on the floppies themselves that answers the question. So… time to start digging.
IBM announced OS/2 1.2 Extended Edition on May 16, 1989 in Announcement Letter 289-217. Said letter says OS/2 1.2 EE was to be released in November 1989. Given that those DAP floppies are from mid-October, it could easily have been the actual release.
Indeed the installer logo screen shows no hint of this not being the final release:
But… hang on a sec. The first screen that briefly flashes by during boot looks like this:
Okay, that sure looks like some sort of a pre-release. Now, the base OS (that is, IBM OS/2 1.2 SE) actually was released in the fall of 1989, so that would not be a beta. But the Extended Edition bits might be.
The entire DAP kit can be installed, although during installation there are hints that it’s probably not a final release. For example, there are floppies numbered 6 to 14 and then disk 19. There’s no disk 15 to 18 and the installer never asks for any of those.
A message also briefly pops up saying something to the effect that the LAN Requester is not selectable during installation. Looking closer at the floppies, LAN Requester is really not there. A further sign that this is a pre-release. There are several Ethernet drivers (3Com EtherLink II, Western Digital WD8003) and a NetBIOS driver, but no SMB client.
On the other hand, the Communications Manager and Database Manager are all there:
Okay, so this is definitely a pre-release, but why is it so incomplete when it’s from October 1989 and OS/2 1.2 EE was supposed to be released the following month? Well… nailing down the actual release date was a little tricky; initially I only came across one InfoWorld article from February 5th, 1990 stating that 1.2 EE was to be released on March 30th, after finding several older articles which talked about OS/2 1.2 EE being released late 1989.
Armed with that information, I found an IBM announcement from December 5th, 1989 stating that OS/2 1.2 EE release date was indeed shifted from Nov ’89 to the end of March ’90. Reading between the lines, it was because IBM LAN Server 1.2 was released at the same time, and unsurprisingly the LAN Requester couldn’t be released much earlier. Presumably it was simply not ready in November ’89.
There’s also the final IBM Announcement Letter 290-150 from March 20, 1990. It re-states the OS/2 1.2 EE release date as March 30, 1990. At that point, it’s highly unlikely that the release date would have changed again.
The 1.2 EE DAP Kit thus pre-dates the final release by about five months, and it is very much a pre-release.