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Thousands back petition to open source OS/2

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Nearly 10,000 people have signed a petition calling on IBM to publish the source code of OS/2.

IBM announced last week that it will discontinue OS/2 products by the end of this year and will withdraw standard support for OS/2-related products at the end of 2006.

Since this announcement, a petition on community site OS/2 World calling for IBM to make the source code of the operating system publicly available has been gathering e-signatures. The site plans to send the petition to IBM soon, according to a recent posting on the site.

The site claims that making OS/2 open source will benefit IBM customers that want to keep the operating system, or want to migrate to another operating systems. IBM was unable to comment on whether it would consider making OS/2 open source in time for this article.

There are various reasons why IBM may be reluctant to open source OS/2, including the potential risk of exposing another company's intellectual property and the cost of cleaning the code. Also, IBM is already heavily involved in Linux, so would prefer customers to migrate.

OS/2 World staff claimed that IBM could avoid intellectual property issues by only releasing parts of the source code: "We know that IBM faces a problem of making OS/2 open source because of the private sources from third party companies. What we ask of IBM is to release as much of the source as possible and list the OS/2 components that need an open source replacement. With a list of components that need to be replaced companies interested on OS/2 or individual developers can create open source software to fill this "holes" in the OS."


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