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NMSU shuts down ancient OS/2 archive

by on30 January 2024

End of a systems error 

US uni NMSU will close its Hobbes OS/2 Archive on April 15, 2024.

For more than 30 years, the archive has been a vital source for users of the IBM OS/2 software and its follow-ups, which once battled hard with Microsoft Windows.

An NMSU bod said: "We have made the hard choice to stop hosting these files on I can't say more, but we had to weigh up our options and decided to end the service."

Hobbes is run by the Department of Info & Comms Tech at NMSU in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

In the official announcement, the site reads, "After many years of service, will be scrapped and will no longer be there. As of 15 April, 2024, this site will be gone."

The oldest record we've found of the Hobbes archive online is this 1992 Walnut Creek CD-ROM collection that packed up the contents of the archive for offline use. At about 32 years old, at least, that makes Hobbes one of the oldest software archives on the web, like the University of Michigan's archives and ibiblio at UNC.

For those who came in late, OS/2 was an operating system that was born from a joint venture between IBM and Microsoft in the late 1980s. It was designed to replace MS-DOS and Windows and to run on IBM's new line of personal computers, the PS/2. OS/2 had advanced features such as 32-bit processing, multitasking, and a graphical user interface.

However, OS/2 faced fierce competition from Windows, which became more popular and user-friendly over time. Microsoft and IBM parted ways in 1992, and IBM continued to develop OS/2 on its own. OS/2 tried to catch up with Windows by introducing new versions, such as OS/2 Warp, which had improved performance and compatibility.

Despite its technical merits, OS/2 failed to gain a large market share and was mostly used in niche markets such as automated teller machines (ATMs). IBM stopped producing OS/2 in 2005 and ended its support in 2006. OS/2 has been licensed to third-party vendors, such as Serenity Systems and Arca Noae, who have continued to sell and develop it under different names, such as eComStation and ArcaOS.

Last modified on 30 January 2024
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