Project: REXX/OS

The develpers community proudly announces a new project called REXX/OS, intended as the brand new incarnation of the IBM operating system OS/2, being completely realized using the widely known and proven REXX scripting language. As Adrian Gschwend, founder of states, the project has already reached its first milestone. The kernel, currently hosted in a virtual OS/2 session, successfully boots and basic device drivers are available.
A first public preview is available for download from the website. Considering the potential of this revolutionary design for the OS/2 community, is prepared to handle the expected several dozen downloads of this preview.
Several screenshots have also been posted.

The new operating system overcomes the limitations of the current kernel and the graphics subsystem (PM), for example the single input queue.
For the first time the kernel and the graphics engine take advantages of REXX on operating system level, namely the easy extensibility by end users and system administrators. This also includes system security services as well as including additional hardware support into existing device drivers.

Timur Tabi, multimedia specialist for OS/2, already adapted the new paradigm, offering hands-on sessions for the upcoming Warpstock event. "Having the REXX language interface available", he stated toward, "we now can hook into subsystems like for example the multimedia services easily. This greatly extends the base of supported hardware as well as supported file and streaming formats withouth the hassle of requiring much programming efforts. For the very first time this can be done on this level by end users, even without extraordinary programming skills!".

This is backed by recent surveys done by among OS/2 end users, which indicated that that most of them have been waiting for too long for this opportunity to contribute to the development of their favourite operating system, giving it the much-desired boost again. Mike Colinshaw, inventor of the original REXX language and advisor during the development process of the new project, said that the main goal of the project is providing an easy-to-use interface for low-skilled programmers, finally bringing the residual development potential of the OS/2 community to a match with the operating system itself.

Mike Kaply of IBM immediately became enthusiastic of this project as well and promised to try to pursuade IBM to fund a REXX Mozilla port. "This is a great solution to the C++ compiler woes we've been having for too long", he stated.

In other news, Knut St. Osmundsen was very pleased when he found out that it is finally possible to write device drivers in REXX too. "Even though debugging tools like ICAT have made device driver development easier, allowing them to be written in REXX will ensure that device support remains up to date even for OS/2 in the future because writing device drivers becomes much more accessible," Knut said.

Also widely noticed is a recent announcement from Ulrich Moeller, author of the famous XWorkplace package, providing a transformation of his Workplace Shell classes to the new platform. This will allow for extending existing and creating completely new Workplace Shell classes by using the object oriented version of REXX, which was first introduced with OS/2 Warp 4.

This will revolutionize the way that companies can customize their workstations at will, to whatever requirement that can be thought of in the future. "Removing the obscure binary interfaces makes WPS programming much easier", Ulrich said. "By basing everything on RXSTRINGs, interfaces are much less opaque. I will also soon remove the remaining limits so that the REXX WPS will be able to work on files larger than 256 bytes." Ulrich Moeller also announced that he is working on new folder interfaces which will be able to display thumbnails, using ASCII representations of all graphics formats supported by MMOS/2.

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