Ham/2, Amateur Radio, OS/2 and eComStation

What's Ham/2?
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What's this Ham/2 thing all about?

The Ham/2 page is a service to the Amateur Radio Operator who uses the OS/2 operating system or eComStation in the shack. Ham/2 is also for the promotion of OS/2 or eComStation as a useful tool for the Amateur Radio Operator.

Traditionally the Amateur Radio Operator has used one of three operating systems: MS-DOS, Windows, or Linux. Each of these have their strengths and weaknesses but, OS/2 users have known that OS/2 is a great operating system and there is a large group of Ham Radio Operators among them.

Why use OS/2?

Why use OS/2? It's a well written operating system. It's been a production multitasking 32 bit system since 1991. Linux only became production several years later and we all know that Windows 95/98/ME is still struggling with both the 32 bit and the multitasking. In fact the ME has sacrificed DOS compatibility to achieve somewhat stable multitasking with questionable results.

OS/2's Workplace shell (WPS) is a configurable, truly object oriented Graphical User Interface (GUI) that is intuitive and consistent but OS/2 is not limited to the WPS! Unlike a MAC, text mode software is possible. Both OS/2 and DOS programs run under OS/2. OS/2 runs almost all Win 3.1 programs and with Project Odin, newer 32 bit Windows software written for Win9x/ME/NT/2000 is now becoming available. JAVA software is also available for use and OS/2's JAVA implementation is fast.

Like Linux, OS/2 is stable, It rarely crashes (Unlike some commercial operating systems) but unlike Linux OS/2 is relatively easy to work with. OS/2 is a single user system, configuring file ownership and permissions is extra work on a work station used by one individual, OS/2 is a simpler solution for the home user.

OS/2 provides the Amateur with the opportunity to run much of the software written for many platforms. Much of the Useful Ham Radio Software is MS-DOS software. The ability to multitask this software with other MS-DOS, OS/2, Win 3.1, Win 32 and ported Linux/GNU software is itself a great feature unmatched by any other Operating System.

There are no known OS/2 viruses on the Internet! There are tens of thousands of Window viruses, trojans and worms. If you need your system up and running which is the better bet?

That's fine, now tell me the problems with OS/2?

OS/2 is not for everybody. There are pitfalls:

  1. Even though it's easy to use, there is a learning curve. If you're comfortable with computers and are not afraid to try something new then OS/2 is a good choice. It's definatly easier to use than Linux and in my opinion it's easier than Windows. But beware if you are familiar with Windows and expect everything to work exactly the same, you're in for a suprise. Windows users often abandon OS/2 in a short while only because it's different. Those who stick with OS/2 for a while often never go back!
  2. OS/2 does not have loads of software waiting on the shelf in your local computer store. While there is lots of native software as well as DOS, Windows and Ported Linux/GNU software for OS/2. Only some of it is comercial and only some of that is available anywhere but the Internet. There is software of almost any concievable type available for OS/2. This includes Ham Software. But don't expect Microsoft to make Word or Excel for OS/2 though. There is Lotus Smartsuite as well as Star Office if you must have an office suite.
  3. Microsoft apologists will try and convince you that you are missing something, they may even resort to name calling. First you can still have Windows or Linux or BSD or MS-DOS or PC-DOS or Beos or whatever on the same computer as OS/2, so you need not miss anything. Running OS/2 does not prevent you from running something else on the same machine. I run PC-DOS and Windows NT4 along with OS/2. When these people try to stop you from running OS/2 ask yourself why they are doing that. You should have a thick skin and be prepared to explain why you use OS/2. Most people ask simply out of lack of knowledge, and a polite description of the benifits of a stable efficient operating system will often lead to more questions!

Who uses OS/2 for Ham Radio? Visit the OS/2 Enabled Hams List and see for yourself.




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