This one comes from the wacky files: Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is calling on IBM to release the source code for its OS/2 operating system so that users will have a "viable" alternative to Windows. Nader, who knows as much about computers as I do about Corvairs, seems to think that IBM can follow Netscape's lead and gain back marketshare by giving away its technological crown jewels. IBM, which once positioned OS/2 as a "better Windows than Windows," has since backed off on promoting the operating system as sales fell through the floor. At this time, it's not compatible with any Windows operating system made after 1991.
"We wouldn't give away \[the OS/2 source code\]," said Stephanie Rasmussen, a spokesperson for IBM. "We've invested a lot of money into OS/2 and it's a product we continue to sell to our customers today."
Well, sort of. OS/2 has changed dramatically over the past few years and its now targeted as a server connected to Web terminals. IBM isn't even trying to sell the OS to consumers anymore.
"We don't see the natural order of things being that everyone gets their OS from Microsoft, especially with all the alternatives that are out there," said Nader crony James Love, director of the Consumer Project on Technology. "People do have choices, and they do have to be asked why they believe they can only buy a computer with Windows on it."
Because we want to run software, James, that's why