Taligent

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An operating system that was being worked on by IBM and Apple Corp. in the early 90's, intended for 32 bit i86 and PowerPC processors and to replace OS/2 and the Macintosh System. Originally an in house development by Apple called Pink but they went on to found a company called Taligent in co-operation with IBM that took over the development of the system.

Amongst the unique features it offered at the time were:

  • Object-Oriented from the ground up, everything written in C++ including hardware abstraction layers and drivers.
  • Full CUA91 compliance
  • Full Unicode support
  • Legacy emulation of older operating systems as personalities.
OS/2, DOS, Windows 3.x and AIX from IBM
Mac Finder and possibly Apple II Finder (II Gs) as well from Apple.
  • Environment aware audio sub-system

The system was never delivered but parts of it were used by both Apple and IBM and licensed to companies such as HP, Sun, Netscape and Oracle. IBM had hedged its bets by continuing work on the Workplace OS and delivered it in the form of OS/2 PPC that in addition to having a native PPC OS/2 personality offered the Windows 3.11 and DOS personalities originally developed for Taligent.

Some features of Taligent OS like the support for componentware and environment aware audio sub-system have not shown up in any operating system so far, other have only limited implementation, Mac OSX is referred to as an object-oriented operating system, but actually the O-O is only there as far as the windowing system and portions of the API are concerned, OS/2 has partial CUA91 support and MW Windows supports some CUA91 features but extremely limited. So far only Microsoft Windows has anything resembling full support for Unicode, and even there it is not complete, the Unicode support on OS/2 and to an even greater degree the various UNIX like systems such as Linux and FreeBSD ranges from partial to laughable.

Publications

  • Taligent: Taligent's Guide to Designing Programs: Well Mannered Object-Oriented Design in C++ - Addison-Wesley 1994, ISBN 0-201-40888-0 - available online
  • Sean Cotter; Mike Potel: Inside Taligent Technology - Addison-Wesley 1996, ISBN 0-201-40970-4 - 2 chapters available online
  • Taligent: The Power of Frameworks for Windows and OS/2 Developers – 1995, ISBN 0-201-48348-3

Personnel

  • Mike Potel (Vice President, Technology Development)