Archive: Computer Collector Newsletter / Technology Rewind, Jan. 2004 - March 2006

Click here to return to archive

Warpstock 9 conference report

by Mark Dodel

For something a bit different at the 9th annual Warpstock OS/2 user conference held this year in Hershey, Pennsylvania from October 5-9, we put together a small museum of near-vintage hardware running versions of OS/2 from the past. We tried to get as many different versions as possible, from 1.0 through the last official commercially available release, OS/2 Warp Server eBusiness. The systems were acquired from donations, eBay, and volunteer Aron Eisenpress.

We had the following running hardware at the OS/2 Museum at Warpstock:
- IBM PS/2 Model 50Z with OS/2 1.0 Extended Edition (1987)
- IBM PS/2 L40SX laptop with OS/2 1.31 Standard Edition (1990)
- PS/2 TV unit attached to IBM PS/2 model 70 also running OS/2 1.3 Standard Edition installed and with TV overlayed on a VGA monitor
- Another L40SX PS/2 laptop with 2.0 (1991)
- PS/2 model 57slc Multimedia PC also with OS/2 2.0.
- PC 300GL with Warp Beta II (1994)
- Netfinity 3500 tower system with Warp Server 4.0 (1996)
- Dual Pentium Pro 200MHz with Warp Server for eBusiness (1999)

Our keynote speaker was IBM's Mike Kaply, a lead developer of IBM's contribution to the Mozilla open source browser project, who brought several Warp Beta II CDs which had "Prepare to go to Warp Speed" printed on them but were never released because Paramount Studios sent IBM a letter to stop using the term "Warp" to mean speed. The CDs were put up in a silent auction with many other artifacts in memory of James Taylor, who died about a year ago. Taylor was a main developer of the WorkPlaceShell, the first truly object-oriented computer desktop for the Intel compatible platform.

Perhaps the prize of the collection was a Power Series PC model 830 with OS/2 PowerPC Edition (1995). This was obtained from Hollis Blanchard of, Vicci Conway of IBM, and Michal Necasek and Oliver Mark for helping with the software. Kaply said that just a few weeks before our event, IBM destroyed several thousand copies of OS/2 PowerPC edition that had been in storage for more than a decade. So we only had burned images of the OS/2 PowerPC software.

Other contributions included a shrinkwrapped OEM copy of Microsoft OS/2 1.0 for Amdek computers, Microsoft Multiplan and Word for OS/2, the original Lotus Smart Suite for OS/2, and a large collection of IBM OS/2-related videos which we played in the exhibit area.

I never did get my PS/2 model 55SX working and Aron spent quite a bit of time taking that and two dead Model 70s apart to see if he could get them working. But the OS/2 Museum still seemed to be appreciated by quite a few attendees. People were playing with the running machines, some for the first time, and others who had run these same machines more than a decade ago and were reliving a little bit of the past. The plan is that this collection will find a more permanent home as a small part of the new computer museum being formed by the MARCH organization (Mid-Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists) in Wall, New Jersey (

(Thanks to Mark Dodel for this report. Mark is president of Warpstock Inc. at and is an editor of the Virtual International OS/2 Consumer Education at -EK)

Also see these web sites for more OS/2 historical information: