OS/2 Videos, 1987

In the summer and fall of 1987, Microsoft organized several developer conferences for prospective OS/2 ISVs (Seattle, Jun 2-4; New York City, Jul 7-9; LA, Sept 21-24; Dallas, Oct 20-23). Seats at these conferences were included in the price of the infamous $3,000 OS/2 SDK.

Among other things, the OS/2 SDK owners received a set of eight VHS tapes with pre-recorded presentations, as well as a hardcopy of the presentation slides. A quarter of a century later, the OS/2 Museum made the tapes available in digitized form for viewing in HTML 5 video format (H.264 and WebM).

After more than two decades, some of the presentations are more interesting than others. Steve Ballmer’s introduction (segment A) may be the most historically significant, though Manny Vellon’s Windows vs. Windows Presentation Manager (segment M) is also worth watching and may include the first demonstration of Windows 2.0, months before its release. Anyone interested in the history of Microsoft’s networking products shouldn’t miss Darryl Rubin’s LAN Manager presentation (segment O). One of the speakers was also Gordon Letwin, the chief architect of OS/2 at Microsoft; his presentations are fairly technical and explain much about the design of OS/2. The individual talks were presented by Dennis Tillman.

It’s not entirely clear when these tapes were recorded; it was likely around June 1987. The technology used (VHS tape in NTSC format), and to a lesser extent the age of the tapes, limit the resolution, sharpness, and color accuracy of the videos. Nevertheless, the audio is clear and the video quality is sufficient for the presentation slides to be legible.


Conference attendees were given two ring binders with a hardcopy of all presentation slides, about 700 pages total. The printouts included ample space for taking notes.

Microsoft OS/2 Developer’s Conference, Volume 1
Microsoft OS/2 Developer’s Conference, Volume 2

Tape 1

A. Introduction (Steve Ballmer: 37:50)
B. Overview of OS/2 (Mark Mackaman: 42:40)

Tape 2

C. System Foundation (Gordon Letwin: 56:51)
D. I/O Services and the Family API (Anthony Short: 46:56)

Tape 3

E. Introduction to the User Interface (Manny Vellon: 42:48)
F. OS/2 Device Drivers (Mark Zbikowski: 31:50)

Tape 4

G. OS/2 Programming Model (John Pollock: 32:00)
H. Application Architecture (Mel Kanner: 57:50)

Tape 5

I. OS/2 Design Concepts (Gordon Letwin: 42:00)
J. Building Your Application—The Mechanics (Mel Kanner: 62:27)

Tape 6

K. OS/2 Application Services (John Pollock: 42:00)
L. Support Services (Kent Sander: 17:54)
M. Windows 2.0 vs. Windows Presentation Manager (Manny Vellon: 55:06)

Tape 7

N. Device-independent Graphics for OS/2 (John Butler: 118:34)

Tape 8

N. Device-independent Graphics for OS/2 (continued) (John Butler: 21:00)
O. LAN Manager (Darryl Rubin: 77:00)

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