offer - OS/2 for the PDP-11

Guy Sotomayor ggs at
Wed Jan 2 13:14:17 CST 2008

Folks, there was *no* OS/2 for anything other than the x86 and the PPC.  
I was on one of the early IBM task forces for the definition of what was 
to become OS/2 (they didn't listen to me but then that's another story) 
so I think I can say with some authority what was going on.

The x86 kernel code was all written in assembler.  Hell even the 
interfaces were defined as x86 structures with x86 registers.

The PPC code was based upon the Workplace OS project (of which I am 
*intimately* familiar being one of the original 6 people at IBM on the 
project).  The PPC version shared almost no code with the x86 version of 

For those counting, Workplace OS consumed something on the order of 600+ 
engineers and $2 Billion over the course of 4 years.

So there was no possibility of OS/2 being "ported" to the PDP-11.  It 
just wasn't possible.

Zane H. Healy wrote:
>> I have a WNT Alpha box (i.e. cardboard with CD and docs inside) in
>> view as I type this. PPC also had an NT port. I'm not sure the MIPS
>> one ever made it out of Redmond, but it did supposedly exist.
>> Note that those are all 32-bit or 64-bit platforms and the PDP-11
>> was only 16 bits.
> I fail to see what Windows NT has to do with anything.  OS/2 was originally
> 16-bit, and ran on the 80286.
> I believe the first version or two of Windows NT shipped with x86, Alpha,
> PPC, and MIPS hardware support (at least I think those were the 4 listed
> architectures).  Somewhere I should have a box that says it supports all 4.
>> I guess an MS-DOS or OS/2 port to the PDP-11 would be technically
>> possible, possibly even feasible.
>> I very much doubt that it ever crossed anyone's mind to even try:
>> the PDP-11 was dead well before OS/2 was ever thought of. OK, the
>> last DEC PDP-11s were announced in the early 1990s and Mentec carried
>> on for a while beyond then, but who in their right mind would
>> consider porting OS/2 to the PDP-11 at that stage?
> >From Wikipedia, development of OS/2 started in 1985, and V1.0 was released
> in Decmember of 1987.  This pretty much agree's with what I remember from
> that timeframe.  As V1.0 was text based, and 16-bit, it is possible that a
> PDP-11 port could have existed.
> Please note, I am not saying that this is OS/2 for the PDP-11, just that
> such a port would have been possible in that time frame.  I can't see why
> such a port would have been done.
> On a related note oddly enough at least a partial port of CP/M-68k to the
> MicroVAX 2000 exists.  I believe one of the list members is the one that has
> done it.
> Zane


TTFN - Guy

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