OS/2 6.304: Who Has More?

Yet another interesting item that I recently ran through a Kryoflux is a set of 30 floppies labeled “IBM OS/2 Version 2.0 Pre-release Evaluation Copy – 6.304”. In this case, there’s no mystery as to what it is: 6.304 was the last beta of OS/2 2.0 released in February 1992, very shortly before the official GA release of OS/2 2.0. Very late in the game, this pre-release among other things introduced a new storage subsystem with familiar DMD and ADD drivers.

IBM OS/2 2.0 Pre-release 6.304 (1992, fragmentary)

The trouble with this disk set is that it’s very incomplete. My estimate is that there should have been 32 disks in the set, possibly a little more. I have thirty, so it should be almost complete… except it’s not at all because a) there are duplicates of several floppies, and b) some of the floppies had been overwritten a long time ago.

The first missing disk is System Diskette 1, which together with the Installation Diskette is required to boot OS/2 at all. System Diskettes 5, 6, 7, and 8 are in the set, but overwritten. System Diskette 14 (the last of the system floppies) is missing. System Diskettes 2, 3, 9, 10, and 11 I have duplicates of, which does not really help.

There was a set of six printer driver floppies, of which I have all but one, but they are not that useful without an OS to install them on. There were also eight Toolkit floppies, plus another three Toolkit Debug floppies. Of those 11 there are only three in the set, but those aren’t essential.

The entire package should have consisted of the following:

  • 1 Installation Diskette
  • 14 System Diskettes
  • 6 Printer Driver Diskettes
  • 8 Toolkit Diskettes
  • 3 Toolkit Debug Diskettes

That’s 32 floppies. It is possible that there might have been more, but there are no gaps in the part number sequence of the disks, so there’s a good chance 32 was the total.

All in all I have 17 usable floppies, just over half of the entire set. The real problem is that six of the 14 system diskettes are missing, including the first system diskette which contains the core of the OS installer and which is required to boot anything at all. What I actually have is the following:

  • Installation Diskette
  • System Diskette 2-4 and 9-13
  • Printer Driver Diskette 1, 2, and 4-6
  • Toolkit Diskette 1 and 7
  • Toolkit Debug Diskette 2

All the floppies have a sticker “Souvenir of the SCOUG OS/2 Museum, Warpstock ’97”. If my recollection is correct, I got the floppies as a gift on a visit to the SCOUG (Southern California OS/2 User’s Group in Los Angeles) about twenty years ago. The set was already incomplete and partially overwritten.

So… does anyone have more of these disks? Perhaps even just one or two? Will it be possible to reconstruct this OS/2 2.0 pre-release, or at least enough of it to install the base OS?

This entry was posted in Archiving, IBM, OS/2, Pre-release. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to OS/2 6.304: Who Has More?

  1. ths says:

    I’m in awe of your meticulous work once again 😉
    I remember I had a full set of 6.177 beta release, but the diskettes are long gone, together with all paper and books. The set also contained a prerelease of the IBM C/2 compiler.
    Sorry I can’t help with 6.304, I never possessed that particular version.

  2. Mats says:

    It hurts when I think that I had these disks from the pre-releases you mention. I remember this one very well. But the disks are gone.

    One of them 6.304 or was it 6.177 that was very buggy. Or am I confusing things?

  3. Michal Necasek says:

    6.304 should not have been too buggy since it was almost the final OS/2 2.0 release. Then again if you didn’t have IBM hardware, it was probably iffy anyway.

  4. Michal Necasek says:

    I have the 6.177 floppies for the base OS, but nothing else. I know there was the Toolkit and a compiler, basically a full development kit.

    IBM got that compiler out rather quickly after (I guess) Microsoft took theirs away and went home.

  5. In retrospect putting stuff on CD-ROM was such a better idea. Oh well who knows maybe one day it’ll surface

  6. I have the complete set of 6.304. I think I tried last year to make backup’s of the entire set using savedskf and got error reading disk on most all of them. I will find my set and try some other windoze ISO maker program to see what I can recover.

  7. Michal Necasek says:

    Make sure you don’t have a dirty drive. My experience is that if there’s dirt on a drive head, it may a) not read any disk properly, and b) damage whichever disk you put in the drive. I used a Kryoflux to image mine but any old USB floppy drive should do the job, the OS/2 disks (except for Warp XDF ones) are totally standard.

    Getting at least some of the disks I don’t have would be cool, it would be great if we could put together enough to at least install the OS.

  8. Daniel Lundh says:

    I seem to remember those betas shipped with a version of Tetris that didn’t make the grade for the GA release.

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