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Revisiting OS/2

Just for fun (because I have a warped sense of fun), I decided to revisit some of the old OS/2 software I wrote almost 30 years ago. But first, I needed an OS/2 development environment.

So I started with a clean install of IBM OS/2 1.0 in the 8Mhz IBM PC AT machine below, by booting from the “IBM OS/2 1.0 (1.44M Install)” diskette in drive A and reformatting the machine’s 20Mb drive C.

Next, I installed the MS OS/2 SDK 1.02. This SDK was released in December 1987 along with Microsoft OS/2 1.0. I don’t have all of the printed documentation that came with the SDK, such as the Installation Guide, but I do have the Microsoft® Operating System/2 Programmer’s Toolkit documentation from March 1988, thanks to the OS/2 Museum.

Aside from Microsoft Macro Assembler 5.00A (MASM) and Microsoft C Compiler 5.10 (Beta) (CL), the SDK included some other useful tools, such as the SDK Editor (SDKED), which was essentially an OS/2 port of Mark Zbikowski’s full-screen editor (Z) that was used internally at Microsoft for many years. It was renamed to the Microsoft Editor (M or MEP) with the release of Microsoft C Compiler 5.10, and it was later integrated into Programmer’s Workbench (PWB), the text-mode Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that came with Microsoft C Compiler 6.0.

With the introduction of graphical IDEs, such as Visual BASIC in 1991, Visual C++ in 1993, and Visual Studio in 1995, this stand-alone, text-mode editor became obsolete, but in the 1980s, it was a valuable tool. You can learn more about SDKED on the MS OS/2 SDK 1.02 page.

Our IBM OS/2 1.0 demo machine (shown below) has the MS OS/2 SDK 1.02 pre-installed, so check out the Documentation and then write some code!

[PCjs Machine "ibm5170"]

Waiting for machine "ibm5170" to load....

Jeff Parsons
Dec 27, 2015