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January 2000

Welcome to Year 2000

An editorial view from Mark Dodel, editor of the VOICE Newsletter editor@os2voice.org

Welcome to the Year 2000. I assume that if you are able to read this, then we haven't realized the worst nightmares of the Y2K debacle. Or perhaps you are running windows2000 and no longer have any computer related problems in your life, though I see the first win2000 Virus has been discovered. Those virus coders are faster then microsoft's own. As for myself, I plan to continue to run OS/2 for the foreseeable future. It appears there are still a few stalwarts like myself that appreciate stability and productivity over glitz. work continues at a feverish pace on two projects devoted to cloning OS/2 - Warpicity - http://forumsa.compuserve.com/GVForums/MsgBrowse.asp?SRV=IBMForum&HMN=0&AREA=Msgs&SEC=18 and http://www.os2voice.org/logs/V122099.LOG.html and the FREEOS project - http://www.quasarbbs.com/daniel/freeosidx.html. The FREEOS project has a very active mail list which you can access through egroups - or via mail at freeos-subscribe@eGroups.com

OS/2 appears to have come through the Year 2000 roll over with minimal of problems. You can view a listing of reported problems at http://www.os2voice.org/Y2K/y2klist.html. Many fine folks from the OS/2 community banded together to help fix at least one of the applications with some nasty Y2K problems. Pronews/2 has been abandoned by it's developers for over a year now, so when it encountered the problems after the 1st of the year, it looked like it was curtains for it. Instead several people on comp.os.os2.apps got together and began patching it. If you use Pronews/2 for a newsreader, then head on over to http://www.tavi.co.uk/os2pages/oldsoft.html#ProNews and get the fixes. And a hardy Hurrah to the guys involved - Bob Eager, Trevor Hemsley, Iain Allen. Also Oliver Poggensee who came up with a quick workaround to the problem when it was first discovered.

The biggest complaints continuing to plague OS/2 are lack of newer applications and lack of driver support for newer devices. Project Odin http://www.netlabs.org/odin/ is beginning to bear fruit in answering the first problem at least in part by allowing OS/2 users to run some of the existing win32 applications. As to hardware support, the fact is that OS/2 will never have much support for low-end devices, or esoteric high-end hardware. Too many users have been driven away from the platform to support much if any new development. Though this past month has seen to release of Sundial Software's Junk Spy, CDS's BackAgain/2000 and Peter Nielsen's PMView 2000, as well as a steady stream of updates to other shareware/freeware OS/2 applications.

What we do have is a guarantee that video displays of the future will be well supported by Scitech's Display Doctor for OS/2 http://www.scitechsoft.com/, and Crystal http://www.cirrus.com/drivers/ and ESS http://www.esstech.com/Technical/drivers/downloadable/drivers/driver.htm continue to provide decent support for sound cards. As to windows host devices, buy a real printer or modem and it should work under any operating system. Hopefully the rumour about IBM's developing full DVD multimedia support actually comes to fruition which should help. As to OS/2 support for RealAudio and Flash, unless the formats are opened up I don't think we will be seeing these working well under OS/2 anytime soon. The biggest problem I see will be for scanner support as there are less and less SCSI scanners to be found and IBM's support of USB is spotty at best, let alone for devices like scanners. An Israeli based company, KRF Tech http://www.krftech.com/, which has a multi-platform Device Driver Kit, has recently listed a beta version for OS/2 on their web site. Hopefully we can learn more about this last option in due course, as I hope to have an interview with them in a future issue.

It appears that Don Eitner's End(User) column in last month's newsletter ('IBM Quietly Readies "Merced" OS') generated a fair amount of activity on several OS/2 mail lists and Usenet as well as letters to the editor. It was meant as a farce, and Don said so at the bottom of the piece. However as is often the case in real life, it appears that perhaps Don's ironic vision may have more truth to it then even he could imagine. It appears IBM is working on a Research project that sounds sort of like what Don wants for Christmas - http://www.research.ibm.com/K42/. Who knows, maybe Santa Blue will have a present for us by Christmas 2000. Don's response to all the brouhaha can be found in the Followup to the 64-Bit OS/2.

On December 20th, VOICE had a Speakup IRC event with Peter Nielsen, the author the now released PMView 2000. http://www.pmview.com The transcript for which is at http://www.os2voice.org/logs/V122099.LOG.html.

Coming up in January, we have a General VOICE meeting on Monday, January 17th, 8PM EST(01:00GMT). As always, please be sure to check out the updated VOICE Future events Calendar in this newsletter or on the VOICE website at <http://www.os2voice.org/calendar.html> for more details on future VOICE events.

To start this month we have Richard Clark's review of theArco DupliDisk IDE RAID Controller and OS/2. Nice to see that some products not only work with OS/2, but their manufacturer states it on their documentation and web site. Hopefully in an upcoming issue of the newsletter I will have a review of the Promise FastTrak IDE RAID controller which also has OS/2 support.

Next up Wayne Swanson does a profile of OS/2 utility author Henk Kelder in Freeware... a big deal? You bet!

What is DSL? Daniela Engert (the author of the replacement DANIS506 and DANIADSK drivers, has a good answer in her short article explaining the pros and cons of this burgeoning broadband Internet access method.

Ernie Fisch gives us a great review of the Java home finance app Moneydance 2.0.3. Now if only someone would write a native OS/2 small business application with payroll support.

Finally Don Eitner returns with a new End(User) column. This month Don looks at the previous years good and bad for OS/2 in The Year That Was and The Year That Could Be. Things may not be quite what we would like see, but we still have the best available from the existing world of computer operating systems, so like Don, I'm not planning on abandoning OS/2 quite yet. How about you?

Just a reminder that we now have a full Newsletter Master Index page. All the feature sections of the current and previous issues can now be found on this one page. Additionally, we have added a Java based search function to this master index page. It will allow you to search all past issues for a specific word or phrase. So try it out and let us know what you think. If you have any ideas for improvements let me know at editor@os2voice.org.

That's it for this month. We are always interested in your thoughts and views on subjects related to OS/2, and would like to see opinion/editorial pieces as well as hardware/software reviews. To that end, and because of several recent requests, we have added a Guidelines for Article Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter.

Mark Dodel
Editor, VOICE Newsletter

If you want to express your feelings on the way IBM has abandoned OS/2 users in it's quest to appease bill gates, please write a letter to the US DOJ and tell them how you feel.

Joel I. Klein
Assistant Attorney General
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
601 D Street, NW
Washington, DC 20530

The email address is antitrust@justice.usdoj.gov, however I believe a written communication has more effect then electronic.

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