IBM is preparing various future versions of OS/2, but tends to keep such developments private, at least compared to the sort of hype which preceded the release of Windows 95. Of most immediate interest is "Merlin," the code name for the next version of OS/2 Warp for Intel-based PCs, which should be available in late September or early October, the last I'd heard. OS/2 for PowerPC has recently been released. This version may eventually be ported to the Intel platform. IBM should begin a wide beta test of Merlin within a couple of months, with a retail release a few months after that. Questions about and discussion of beta versions of OS/2 is best restricted to the comp.os.os2.beta newsgroup. There is a FAQ on beta versions of OS/2 available at http://www.students.uiuc.edu/~kwilas/.
Deciding whether to buy OS/2 is a complex decision to make. A potential OS/2 user should have a clear understanding of why s/he wishes to use OS/2, know what software would be run under OS/2, and have a good idea of whether his or her hardware is capable of running it. Failure of analysis in any of these three areas is likely to lead to frustration, wasted time, wasted money, and possibly wasted net bandwidth on flame bait and/or flames. In other words, look before you leap. (Any OS/2 newbie who's read this far is presumably attempting to do so -- good for you!)
The bottom line in deciding on an OS must be to select one which will allow the user to get his or her work (or play) done. OS/2 will fit the bill for some users, but not for all. It's my hope that the above tome will help some people to ascertain which category they fall into.
Please feel free to comment on this document. I'll incorporate what changes I can when time allows.
Many thanks to Jack Tan, who provided the list of supported CD-ROM drives and SCSI controllers, both of which I edited for brevity. Thanks also to JdeBP@donor2.demon.co.uk for providing the names of some FidoNet-accessible FAQs.