While IBM is huge Open Source backer, when it comes to a legacy piece of their own proprietary code, Open Source apparently isn’t an option.
OS/2 backers have sent a petition to IBM (actually their second such petition in the last few years) to get OS/2 open sourced. IBM isn’t biting.
As stated in our response to your September 2005 letter we have
considered the positioning of OS/2 and open source several times in the
past, and for a variety of business, technical, and legal reasons we
have decided to not pursue any OS/2 open source projects.
IBM has service offerings that continue to be available for customers
who need ongoing support for OS/2, although IBM has no plans for
Though it may seems like a long time since OS/2 was a viable option, it really hasn’t been that long. It was only two years ago that IBM officially (and finally) pulled OS/2 from the market. At the time IBM noted that they would continue
standard support until December 31 2006 and, beyond
that as a separate Service Extension fee-based offering.
How much IBM still makes from those OS/2 service contracts is unknown.
IBM since 1999 however has puts its bets on Linux and on its own AIX Unix OS. If an open source OS/2 were to emerge who is to say that developers could improve it and make a third choice?