OS/2 Warp, PowerPC Edition

The PowerPC adventure—by far the most exotic release of OS/2

In December 1995, after unexpectedly long development (but is that really unexpected?), IBM finally “shipped” OS/2 Warp, PowerPC edition. For brevity, this release will be further referred to as OS/2 PPC. Following years of hype and high expectation, the release was very low key and in fact marked the end of development of OS/2 for PowerPC. The product was only available to a limited number of IBM customers and was never actively marketed. OS/2 PPC may not even had a box, although there were nice looking official CDs.

The Hardware

OS/2 PPC only supported an extremely limited range of hardware—IBM Personal Power Series machines. Those were desktop models 830 and 850, and OS/2 PPC probably also supported the Power Series ThinkPads 820 and 850, though that can be only inferred from the fact that the graphics chipset employed by these ThinkPads was on the very short list of supported devices in OS/2 PPC.

The IBM Power Series computers were IBM’s rather short lived foray into the PowerPC-based desktop personal computer market, circa 1995-1996. The PowerPC CPU aside, the systems were very similar to Intel based hardware of that era. They were designed around the PCI bus, but also included ISA expansion slots and on-board Crystal Audio ISA PnP chips. The desktop Power Series machines were IDE based, ThinkPads used SCSI disks. The computers had standard serial and parallel ports, as well as most of typical PC hardware such as interrupt and DMA controllers. The desktops had onboard S3 864 video, ThinkPads used Western Digital flat panel chipsets. Several optional graphics cards were supported, notably Weitek P9100 based accelerators. The desktops also had onboard Ethernet chips (AMD PCnet).

The Power Series systems were closely related to certain IBM RS/6000 workstations. The RS/6000 Model 43P-7248 was nearly identical to the Power Series 850. They used the same motherboard, only the RS/6000 had on-board SCSI controller. Unlike the RS/6000 systems intended for the workstation market and running almost exclusively IBM’s AIX operating system, the Power Series systems were designed for “regular” personal computer users. The machines were supposed to run OS/2, Windows NT, AIX, or Solaris. OS/2 PPC was only semi-finished, and the Solaris for PowerPC port (version 2.5.1) was similarly short-lived. Microsoft dropped PowerPC support in 1996, not long after the Windows NT 4.0 release. Most of the Power Series systems ended up running AIX, which supported them until version 5.1. Linux also supported the Power Series to some extent. Windows NT was clearly the closest competitor of OS/2 PPC.

For this article, OS/2 PPC was installed on a Power Series 830, installed by its previous owner in a RS/6000 43P case. The CPU was a 100MHz PowerPC 604 with 256KB L2 cache, and the machine was equipped with 192MB RAM, which was the maximum it could handle. The graphics was an on-board PCI S3 Vision 864 with 2MB video memory and true color S3 SDAC. The machine was equipped with 2.1GB IDE hard drive—AIX can handle up to 8GB and Linux can utilize even larger disks, but OS/2 and NT were not happy with anything over about 2.5GB. The 830 was originally sold with either 500MB or 1GB disks and 16MB RAM. The Power Series 850 systems were equipped with 100 or 120MHz CPUs, slightly more RAM and larger disks.

The Software

OS/2 Warp, PowerPC edition was delivered on two CDs. The first CD contained the operating system and BonusPak, the second CD was an application sampler with several demo applications.

Installation was surprisingly easy and painless. The CD was bootable and there were almost no choices to make during installation—only the disk partitioning was user selectable. The PowerPC operating systems (OS/2, NT, AIX and Linux) generally did not coexist as there was no real equivalent of a boot manager and each OS wanted to install its own boot loader. The OS/2 installer re-partitioned the disk and overwrote any other operating systems. The boot partition had to be FAT. It was possible to create HPFS data partitions, but the HPFS support appeared to be somewhat unstable and likely a last-minute addition.

After the OS was copied from the installation CD-ROM and the system booted from fixed disk for the first time, the user was greeted by the following screen:

The 'Introducing OS/2' tutorial program

Indeed, OS/2 PPC really looked just like OS/2 Warp, at least at first glance. The system booted up in 640×480 mode with 256 colors, using the accelerated S3 driver. The desktop right after installation looked like this:

Still very much like OS/2 Warp, except for that little Systems Management folder. This feature was not present in the Intel OS/2 Warp release, although it was added later. After installing the BonusPak and a few other additions and changing the resolution, the desktop still looked like plain OS/2 Warp, with the exception of the background bitmap of course (click on the picture to see full size screenshot):

The system was now running in 1024×768 resolution, but still with 256 colors. The graphics chip supports 64K colors at this resolution, unfortunately the software used to take screenshots (a demo version of Impos/2) was unable to take any screenshots at this resolution. 256 colors it is then, and time to more closely examine the operating system. The README file is a good starting point, and it was quite long in OS/2 PPC. It consisted largely of a list of unimplemented or incomplete features.

For example, notice the word “Connect” in the screenshot. OS/2 Warp, PowerPC Edition, doesn’t have any connectivity to speak of. Networking support, in a nutshell, didn’t exist. No LAN Server client, no TCP/IP, nothing. There was just HyperAccess Lite and CompuServe Information Manager, which worked (in theory at least) over a modem. The product name itself seems to have been a last minute change. Programs and documentation in many instances refer to OS/2 Warp Connect, PowerPC Edition, but the final product was called just OS/2 Warp and not “Connect”. One of the README files explains the name change and alludes to networking support in “future versions”.

For development versions of OS/2 PPC there was TFTP support which talked directly to the microkernel Ethernet or Token Ring driver and entirely bypassed OS/2. This transport layer also supported remote debugging. This is in sharp contrast to Windows NT which fully supported networking (TCP/IP and SMB file sharing) on the same hardware. Networking was obviously planned for OS/2, but the project was killed before this part was done.

Not everything was so blatantly unfinished though. The DOS support in OS/2 PPC was a pleasant surprise:

On a closer look, it’s clear that OS/2 PPC included a full-fledged PC emulator, which supplied a virtual x86 CPU as well as common PC hardware. Interestingly, the DOS support in OS/2 PPC was based on PC-DOS 7 and not the outdated DOS 5 level code that OS/2 on Intel was stuck with. The OS/2 PPC DOS boxes thus had for instance the DOS E editor (very similar to TEDIT) or REXX support. Why IBM never updated the DOS support on the Intel side is a mystery. OS/2 PPC supported both windowed and full screen DOS sessions. The full screen sessions always ran in graphics mode, even when the emulated DOS application was using text mode.

Not satisfied with “just” DOS emulation, IBM also supported Win-OS/2, both full-screen and windowed:

It is difficult to judge how stable the DOS and Win-OS/2 emulation really was, but whatever little utilities came with the OS/2 system seemed to work well, including wave audio in Win-OS/2, and the performance was surprisingly good. IBM must have spent a lot of effort on the x86 emulation support. Documentation hinted at a possibility of future support for native OS/2 x86 applications via emulation.

IBM also obviously spent a lot of time on the multimedia support in OS/2 PPC. The multimedia support worked unexpectedly well, especially when contrasted with the problems common on Intel machines.

The system played video and audio without problems, with MIDI support either via a software synthesizer or an OPL3 compatible chip (the software synthesizer sounded far better). The application sampler CD came with several videos, mostly ads for OS/2. The PowerPC Toolkit also came with a beta version of OpenGL support, which shared code with IBM’s AIX workstation grade implementation.

OS/2 PPC was a hybrid halfway between Warp 3 and Warp 4. The user interface looked like Warp 3, but many of the features of OS/2 PPC later showed in Warp 4 on Intel. One of them was the not very popular Feature Installer:

OS/2 for PowerPC Feature Installer

The Feature Installer was used to install the BonusPak, several tools and games, and curiously enough, also the Command Reference which for some odd reason wasn’t part of the base install. Here’s one of those games:

OS/2 for PowerPC Klondike Solitaire

Again, there is no real difference from the Intel version, except for the about box text (notice the “Connect” text). And finally the IBM Works text editor—again there is no discernible difference from the Intel version:

OS/2 for PowerPCs System Overview

OS/2 PPC was a strange OS. In many ways it was exactly identical to the Intel version, yet in other ways it was completely different. The user interface was the same and the entire API practically unchanged. Among the differences were the addition of full Unicode support and 32-bit console API (Kbd/Mou/Vio). The largely unchanged API was the reason why it was relatively easy to port existing OS/2 software to PowerPC. The biggest difference was not even the CPU but rather the compiler—IBM used the MetaWare High C/C++ for PowerPC development (it was allegedly cheaper for the IBM OS/2 division to contract MetaWare rather than IBM’s own compiler group). The MetaWare tool set was only used as a cross compiler hosted on x86 OS/2 systems. IBM used MetaWare’s compiler for embedded PowerPC development in general (IBM’s involvement with MetaWare goes at least as far back as AIX for PS/2), and MetaWare also marketed an OS/2 x86 product. Watcom was at the time working on PowerPC version of their compiler, but OS/2 PPC was killed before that project was finished. The last IBM Developer’s Connection release which contained OS/2 PPC material also included a beta version of IBM’s VisualAge C++ compiler. No release of a compiler (or a debugger) running natively on OS/2 PPC is known.

The OS/2 PPC development tools were quite different from their Intel counterparts. To begin with, instead of the LX executable format, OS/2 PPC used the industry standard ELF. Several tools were completely unchanged (IPFC for instance), many were entirely new (linker, librarian, resource compiler). The ABI (Application Binary Interface) used in OS/2 PPC was based on the UNIX SVR4 PowerPC ABI. One notable difference was that OS/2 of course ran in little endian mode, unlike PowerPC UNIX ports but just like Windows NT.

Delving deeper into the kernel, OS/2 PPC had precious little in common with the Intel version. The product was based on the IBM microkernel, which was a refinement of the Carnegie Mellon University Mach microkernel. The microkernel bore no resemblance to the Intel OS/2 kernel whatsoever and it was also very different from most other operating systems of the time (NeXTSTEP was also based on the Mach microkernel).

The initial grandiose plan was to build the Workplace OS, the One Ring to Bind Them All of operating systems. Workplace OS (or WPOS for short) was supposed to be built on top of the Mach microkernel and support multiple “personalities”. The personalities would implement existing operating systems such as OS/2, AIX, Windows NT and perhaps even Mac OS. In the end this never happened and the only supported personality was OS/2. This was somewhat similar to Windows NT where the the non-Windows personalities (environment subsystems) eventually withered away.

The initial plan was still tangible in OS/2 PPC. The OS/2 personality was implemented in the “OS/2 Server” and there were certain “personality neutral” services. Most device drivers were personality neutral and worked directly with the microkernel. This included disk and network drivers. A notable exception were the display drivers, where OS/2 PPC introduced the GRADD model (later ported to Intel OS/2). Documentation on OS/2 PPC internals is somewhat sparse and the online books shipped with PowerPC Toolkit were in many cases either incomplete or simply unmodified copies of OS/2 for Intel documentation. A good source of information is the Redbook titled “OS/2 Warp (Power PC Edition) – A First Look” published by IBM International Technical Support Organization in December 1995, document number SG24-4630-00 for those interested.

OS/2 for PowerPC Impressions

What was OS/2 Warp, PowerPC Edition like? An unfinished product, rough around the edges but simultaneously technically very interesting and advanced and showing promise. Even though the OS/2 PPC release wasn’t called a beta, it was obvious that this was a beta level product (if even that in some respects). Many features were unfinished or completely missing, notably networking. The kernel code didn’t look much like a production build and printed out quite a lot of debugging output on a serial console, if one was attached. The HPFS support was very unstable, and the stability of Win-OS/2 left a lot to be desired. There were too many clearly unfinished parts of the product—documentation, missing utilities, etc.

On the other hand a large portion of the system worked well. The user interface and graphics subsystem in general didn’t exhibit any anomalies. Multitasking was reliable and all things considered, responsiveness quite good for a 100MHz CPU and code that was not likely to have been performance tuned. The multimedia subsystem worked much better than expected. Many things were much improved compared to Intel OS/2—internationalization, graphics subsystem, updated console API, and so on. The system seemed to have enough raw power, even if it wasn’t harnessed too well. Boot time was rather long but once up and running, the system was snappy (with some exceptions, notably the CD-ROM driver). To reach true production quality, the OS would have needed at least additional six months of development, perhaps more.

How useful was OS/2 PPC? Not very. In fact, it was almost completely useless. It only ran on three or four models of rather rare IBM machines and supported almost no additional devices. The OS was clearly unfinished and not entirely stable. Worst of all, there were about zero applications. Because OS/2 PPC was never truly in use, PowerPC versions of OS/2 applications were never sold, although several OS/2 ISVs ported their applications to OS/2 PPC as evidenced by the application sampler. Porting wasn’t very difficult and tools for building PowerPC applications were available, but since there was no demand for them, there was little point in porting.

OS/2 for PowerPC was undoubtedly an interesting experiment, albeit a failed one. It is impossible to tell whether this failure was caused more by shortcomings of OS/2 for PowerPC or the failure—perhaps just falling far short of expectations—of the PowerPC platform as a whole.


Without the generosity of Mike Kaply and Chris Graham, this article could not be written.

Some of the above information was derived from IBM documentation and Redbooks, which may have been inaccurate due to the evolving nature of the OS/2 PPC project. Most of the remaining text is the result of observation and conjecture.

If you have any additional information, corrections, or interesting stories about OS/2 for PowerPC, please post a comment.

46 Responses to OS/2 Warp, PowerPC Edition

  1. Pingback: OS/2 Museum | Fun with virtualization

  2. Daniel Lundh says:

    According to official records the PC 830 and PC 850 were available June 1995 and withdrawn in March 1996 (IBM PC Institute Personal Systems Reference IBM PC 1994 to 2000 – withdrawn, November 2000 – Version 212 (DWbook.pdf) available from Lenovo.com.

  3. Hey, Mike!

    Been a long time… 😉

    I’ve had on my Amazon wishlist for quite some time a copy of IBM’s Official Guide to Using OS/2 Warp Connect: PowerPC Edition, but so far, I’ve had absolutely no luck tracking it down. Even other sources on the net for hard to find tech books seem to come up empty.

    I’m not sure if you donated the working PowerPC we have in the physical OS/2 Museum collection (currently housed in New Jersey), but it was (is, as it should still be quite functional) quite an impressive little machine. Compared to the contemporary Intel systems, the video was remarkably smooth, and as you say, the parts of the port which were more polished did function quite well.


  4. michaln says:

    Hi Lewis!

    I wonder if the Warp Connect PowerPC Edition guide was ever published. The (more or less) released PowerPC OS/2 version was not Connect; it was supposed to be, but at some point relatively close to the release the networking functionality was dropped. Some documentation referred to Connect, but the actual product wasn’t.

    I did not donate the PowerPC, I was very lucky to get the one I have 🙂 It was nice hardware, but x86 was too entrenched and by the time the Pentium Pro arrived, sufficiently powerful…

  5. Robert says:

    I owned an IBM model 43p with a 604e. It’s my understanding that you could run os/2 and nt on this system unit with a little hacking. never tried even though I own nt 4.0. It sounded fairly logical, but I never seen a copy of os/2 for PIC. very nice machine never the less. I could boot Linux with gnome with 256 mb ram (Machine supported a gig). Anyway really nice article.

  6. michaln says:

    Windows NT for sure, OS/2 for PowerPC I don’t believe so. The RS/6000 systems had very different firmware compared to the Power Series models, even though the hardware was nearly identical in some cases. Windows NT was supported on the RS/6000 via ARC but OS/2 was not. I am not aware of anyone ever managing to run OS/2 for PowerPC on one of the RS/6000s.

    I personally have seen OS/2 for PowerPC boot on Power Series 440 and 830, but never a RS/6000.

  7. hwertz says:

    Not really related to OS/2 (which I ran back in the day and thought was great…) but I test ran a Linux distro or two a few years back (like 2010?) on a 43p and they ran fine. The PowerPC distros that are left don’t just run on PowerMacs, they run on 603, 604, and some POWER chips too 😎

  8. michaln says:

    Yes Linux supports PowerPC, and supported (past tense, I believe) the PReP architecture. It is certainly possible to run certain Linux versions on both the RS/6000 style PowerPC systems as well as the Power Series systems with different firmware.

    While we’re off topic, I also ran Solaris 2.5.1 on a Power Series 440.

  9. Andrew Brehm says:

    Which version number did OS/2 for PowerPC return (in command line with ver command and via API)?

  10. Yuhong Bao says:

    And the funny thing is that MS later ported WinNT to PowerPC, which means that has MS stuck with OS/2 NT, the whole project likely would not have been even needed.

  11. Pingback: » PowerPC 615 a dávné plány na ovládnutí platformy PC » NotebookBlog / Postřehy a zkušenosti ze světa mobilní techniky

  12. Carlos Osuna says:

    Browsing thru old Byte magazines I found an October 1995 one, which featured a full page ad, introducing the IBM Personal Computer Power Series 800 and Personal Computer (sans Power) 700 Super Clients.

    Both machines look astonishing, as if designed in the 2000’s. Only one had PowerPC, the other had Pentiums.

    It appears neither saw the light of day, maybe entangled into IBM corporate world.

    Kinda they are like the Microsoft Courier of the 90’s, lost in an internal battle between what IBM knew (PCs, Midrange and Mainframes) and what it wanted to do (RS/6000, PowerPC, Workplace OS).

    Here’s the identical ad in Computerworld, courtesy of Google.


  13. Michal Necasek says:

    The “Power Series 800 Super Client” looks just like the actual Power Series 850 desktops which IBM did sell. But clearly they didn’t sell a lot because I can’t find a single actual photo of the system! Here at least is drawing which I believe comes from the maintenance manual. So yes, that machine did see the light of the day, but didn’t do very well.

  14. Andy Oxenreider says:

    The PC 700 Super Client looks just like a PC 750 desktop of the era, the one with the swappable PCI/ISA and PCI/MC risers. In fact, I wonder if there’s any difference, at all. In *fact*, I wonder if this wasn’t just an ad campaign for the existing hardware to take advantage of ‘client/server’ being THE buzzword of the time.

    It’s a bit sad and also a relief to see the state of OS/2 PPC. I almost, aaaaalmost bought a 850 at the time, since it would be the hottest hardware running the most-cutting-edge version of OS/2, naively expecting it to be properly updated. Ended up with a Dell P120 that soldiered on for quite some time. And yes, it ran OS/2 quite well.

  15. Michal Necasek says:

    Yes, it is probably a PC 750 and yes, “super client” was just a fancy name for a desktop PC…

    Honestly with the 850 you would have been screwed pretty much regardless of the OS you used. Solaris only lasted a few months, although it was IMO in a better shape than OS/2. NT worked well, but there was next to zero software for it and support was dropped pretty quickly too. AIX might have worked okay, and was probably the only OS officially supported for a while. Linux worked too… if building your own patched kernel and the like was your kind of thing.

  16. Andy Oxenreider says:


    Fully agreed! I likely wouldn’t have been able to get my hands on the hardware anyway, as it turned out. I must admit I just found this site last night and haven’t read through fully, but I seem to recall that OS/2 PPC was going to have a voice-driven virtual agent, bit like Siri minus 18 years. I guess that was *pure* vapor.

    …and that reminds me of my VoiceType Dictation/2 setup. That was one heck of a piece of soft/hardware. Wonder if any of the DSP cards are still floating around.

  17. Michal Necasek says:

    It was probably not pure vapor, just mostly so. Warp 4 was released not much later (1996) and it did have voice navigation. Nothing like Siri, but straightforward voice control. The PowerPC should have been powerful enough to handle it in software.

    When you talk about VoiceType Dictation/2, that’s the older system which used a dedicated add-in board with a DSP, right? I think those came out around 1992 or so, very futuristic tech at the time. Nowadays no one bats an eyelid when people tell their phone who to call.

  18. Andy Oxenreider says:

    As I recall, the agent was going to go far, far beyond the Warp voice commands – and they were touting it as being software-only on the PowerPC. Found a reference to it, (http://ow.ly/BIbRF) but I recall there to be a lot of of talk on the newsgroups about it in more detail from IBMers.

    I’ll have to see if I can locate any of my old VTD/2 stuff. It was the DSP card-enabled version (ISA or MC of course), and it was amazing for the time. I recall watching it while dictating, and running at about 3% CPU utilization on a 486DX/33. Training required a few hours of sample crunching of course…

  19. Sebastian Blanco says:

    I have try to find information about the alpha version off ibm workplace OS.
    Its os/2 powerpc and workplace OS the same thing ?.

  20. Michal Necasek says:

    Yes and no. OS/2 for PowerPC is a very scaled down version of Workplace OS. Basically it’s Workplace OS with a single personality (OS/2). But there’s a Mach microkernel and all that stuff. I believe a lot of the earlier documentation referred to WPOS.

    So no, OS/2 for PowerPC is not the Workplace OS IBM talked about in ~1993. But yes, it’s the closest thing to Workplace OS that ever existed.

  21. John Cole says:

    I have tried several times to install OS/2 PPC on my 7248-100 with no success. I’m curious to know what iso files you used for your disks for them to actually boot.

  22. Michal Necasek says:

    I didn’t try it on a 7248-100. There’s really just one OS/2 PPC release CD/ISO. Does your system have SCSI onboard?

    The problem with the OS/2 PPC CD is that it’s essentially hardcoded to support a few IBM Power Series systems. On anything else it fails, with more or less incomprehensible errors.

  23. John Cole says:

    I have SCSI and am trying to boot from the SCSI CD drive. The system just hangs. There is an apparent hang booting the AIX install CD as well but it doesn’t last long. I’d hoped you had a better copy of the media. When I examined the ISO I didn’t see the same boot setup as the AIX CD and thought the ISOs I found were perhaps not bootable.

  24. MiaM says:

    Minor bug report:

    Some of the links to show the screen shots in full resolution shows the wrong screen shot (within the set of screen shots for this article).

    (I always middle-click to show them in a separate tab, if that makes any difference).

  25. Michal Necasek says:

    That is not going to work. The boot CD just wasn’t designed to boot on the SCSI-based desktops. As I said, it only support a very small number of Power Series systems. Like four or so.

  26. Michal Necasek says:

    MiaM: I fixed two of the screenshots, hope there aren’t more.

  27. Sean McDonough says:

    Something I’ve never understood: why did neither IBM nor Sun nor Microsoft ever bother making the PowerPC versions of their operating systems bootable on Power Macs? Even Microsoft, who kept PPC support in their OS the longest (all of two versions), and who were (at the time) essentially solely a software vendor, with no PowerPC PCs of their own that would be competed with, never released a version of WinNT useable on the only PowerPC platform to actually have any significant market share. Sun, unlike Microsoft, was a hardware vendor – but not, IIRC, a PowerPC hardware vendor, and, thus, would likewise, seemingly, have nothing to lose by releasing a Mac version of Solaris. And, although IBM were trying to sell PPC-based systems of their own, a Power-Mac-compatible version of OS/2 could have been very useful in drawing Mac owners over to OS/2 – and could, thereby, potentially, even have helped sales of IBM’s own PowerPC systems, by providing a userbase who would now be able to keep their operating system, their applications, the vast majority of their software (they’d need new drivers, but who, moving to a new machine, doesn’t need new drivers, at least to some extent?), and only be buying new hardware (and, of course, its associated drivers).

    What gives?

  28. Michal Necasek says:

    IBM was first and foremost interested in its own PowerPC hardware; once that bombed, the software was uninteresting. Microsoft is less obvious but I must assume that they did not support NT on Power Macs because Apple didn’t want it (or possibly Microsoft didn’t want it); either way it was no doubt a political decision, not technical.

    With Sun it was always weird that they made a PowerPC version of Solaris at all, and I’m honestly not sure why they did.

  29. MiaM says:

    Having Solaris or OS/2 or Windows NT running on MAC PPC hardware would rather had been a path to switch fromm OS/2, NT or Solaris to Mac OS, especially at the time when Mac OS X had been released.

    Microsoft seems to almost always had wanted hardware vendors to pay them money to support their hardware. almost no matter how popular that hardware was. For PPC Macs it was probably a matter of Apple not paying Microsoft for supporting that platform.

  30. Sean McDonough says:

    @Miam: In 1995/6, Mac OS X was still years in the future.

  31. MiaM says:

    @Sean: Good point! It seems thogh that Apple had planned to release a new generation OS (Rhapsody?) several years before OS X, but that project failed and were replaced by OS X. So the decision-making at Apple could had been based on the assumption that their then new OS would not fail.

  32. Sebastian Blanco says:

    Hi, can you do a DD dump image from the ide drive you have os/2 powerpc installed ?.

    Please pleas please

  33. Michal Necasek says:

    If I can find it and if the drive still works, yes.

  34. Flavio C Buccianti says:

    Who is interested in having a installable CD of the OS/2 PowerPC, there is one CD image available of the OS/2 PowerPC SDK Beta V1 from 1994. Just download it and burn your own installable CD. The documentation tells that it comes with the install models for OS/2 PPC


  35. Michal Necasek says:

    Yep, that’s the archive I uploaded.

  36. Sebastian Blanco says:

    Are you using the onboard video or a gxt 150 video card ?.
    Are you using an ide cdrom ?

    Also do you happen to have an image of your hard disc install 🙂 ……. please please please. ……..

    Have AN RS/6000 43P (power personal system) firmware 1.11 and can’t boot this damn thing (nt 3.51 powerpc works great). Got even the same ide mitsumi x4 cdrom and have the same problem the computer try toa boot the cd and then it ask for the sms floppy :(.

  37. Sebastian Blanco says:

    Finally was able to install it on my RS/6000 43P, the secret was in the drive.
    Installing the same Mitsumi 4X ide drive that the personal power systems included from factory allows to boot from the disk and install fine, also an ide hard disk to install into.
    So now is confirm that the 43P can also runs it.
    Doing a raw image from the installed ide hdd to any new drive allow to boot and no need to grab the hard to fine and very fragile mitsumi cd drive, if someone need it please let me know.

  38. Michal Necasek says:

    Very cool! So what exactly is the model of the working Mitsumi CD-ROM drive? And which drives didn’t work?

  39. Sebastian Blanco says:

    Is the MITSUMI CRMC-FX400 the one that was preinstalled on the personal power series and will show up correctly as a cdrom drive on the firmware.

    Modern ATAPI cdrom drives will not be detected by the firmware they will show up as 0 mb ide hdd, so you can’t boot from them.

  40. MiaM says:

    Afaik there were two versions of the Mitsumi FX400, one with and one without headphone jack (and maybe headphone volume control). Not sure if the difference were even detectable by software – most likely not as it would be a pure analogue difference.

    The one without headphone jack has an eject button that is molded as a part of the front plastic. A key hole shaped cutout which springs where it is still attached in the part that is the furthermost away from the round part of the keyhole shape. The part that is supposed to spring is prone to break, so if you see a CD-ROM with a broken eject button with this shape then it’s likely a FX400.

    The one with a headphone jack has a much more generic look and would thus be harder to spot if you just look at a picture.

    As a side track anecdote the FX400 were were at a time in the second half of the 90’s the cheapest atapi cd-rom in my area, and it was also my fist CD-ROM drive. I actually ended up buying another one after finding out that it really was fully ATAPI compatible, to have one in my PC and one in my Amiga. (The CD-ROM manufacturers never made any proprietary drivers for the Amiga, and iirc there never were any third party hardware/software things to use those, so before ATAPI the only way to use a CD-ROM was SCSI and that seemed too expensive to a hobbyist, especially since at the time you would probably only have less than a dozen CD-ROMs).

  41. Michal Necasek says:

    The CRMC-FX400 was one of the early (1994) ATAPI CD-ROMs. It’s possible that the firmware specifically checks for this model, but it’s also possible that FX400 behaves differently from later ATAPI CD-ROMs in some aspects. ATAPI was very new when the Power Series and their sibling RS/6000 models came out.

  42. Sebastian Blanco says:

    I have the FX400 model that have the front audio jack, not sure if there’s any difference at the controller level.
    Anyway, if someone doesn’t have the CD-ROM drive I have done a raw disk image from a 700MB ide drive that has the full os/2 ppc install.
    Confirmed that can be written to bigger newer drives 40GBtested and booted fine.
    If someone likes to use this to install let me know.

  43. Chris M. says:

    One thing that kept alternate OSes off Power Macs was the fact that they were setup to be big endian machines like the 68k platform they succeeded. The PowerPC ISA at the time was bi-endian and Windows NT et. al. were setup to expect little endian architecture.

  44. Ares says:

    @Sebastian: could you please share your exact 43P model?

  45. Alexander Huemer says:

    I have a 7248-100 on which I would like to install OS/2, though I can’t get the CD to boot.
    I’ve tried writing the .iso to an actual CD-R and have also tried a ZuluSCSI emulator.
    Unfortunately the firmware isn’t very explicit about what’s going wrong. All I can say is that it doesn’t boot.
    Which specific .iso did you use? I assume you worked with a physical drive?

  46. Sebastian Blanco says:

    @ares is a System RS/6000 7248-120 43P
    Uploaded the hard disk image from my system to archive.org:
    Can be used to install if you don’t have the correct ide cdrom drive.

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