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I cannot let your article in the latest VOICE newsletter without giving you some
feedback about what I was thinking when reading it.
What you mostly describe is a possible evolution from a volunteers based initiative
to a more and more professional organization, something that would be a center for
every request and problem related to OS/2 and mainly focussed on the SOHO user community
which is orphaned by IBM more and more.
You mention the fact that a number of volunteers based initiatives already exist,
also that there can be problems merging the different offers. I liked when you underlined
the fact that you are not seeing these initiatives as "competitors"! Both
these issues deserve some reflection in my eyes, and they are related.
To make my points clear, I may start with mentioning the few addresses I mostly
use when looking for a certain type of support or information (excluding commercial
sites like IBM and BMT Micro etc.); so these are "must have" sites for
- Hobbes - http://hobbes.nmsu.edu and LEO - http://www.leo.org: These are the first places
to go if you need anything that can be downloaded.
- OS/2 Netlabs - http://www.netlabs.nl: This
initiative focuses on the problem of getting written new good quality applications.
- Notebook/2 - http://www.os2ss.com/users/DrMartinus/Notebook.htm:
As a "Notebook only" computer user, this site is also a "must have"
- TeamOS/2 Germany - : Their www.os2.org
site is already a bit a general purpose help center for many possible questions.
These are all _very much_ different in their way of offering support, and their
success is arising from the fact that they are! And they all rely on the working
power and initiative of one or very few person(s)! If you see it from a "marketing"
point of view, you could say: They found their respective "niche market",
but this is only half of the truth: If you see it from the point of view of the
volunteers doing the work you can also say: They rely on the fact that volunteers
don't want to be the slaves of a big boss, but they want to do things the way they
want it to do with nobody telling them other than on a dialogue basis! Most volunteers
would stop working if it cannot be done this way. So the different style is also
a result of the characters of the different persons doing the work, not a "marketing
If WarpDoctor is going to be a success, it will be because you did not try to
"embrace everybody" but because you found (or better: will find) your
proper "niche"! This can still be what you describe, i.e. for example
"the first address for looking for any kind of information", but then
leading to others that are more specialized in certain domains. A link list with
just 100+ entries with 3 words of comments is almost useless, as you say, but one
with a few dozen entries which is sorted in an understandable way and commented
so that people really see if the site is what they are looking for is invaluable!
I am sure there is also a certain barrier for people to join a user group like
VOICE if you are on another continent and if on this continent already exist different
groups that are busy with comparable aims, so I'm afraid this will not work out
quickly. Again this is not just a marketing issue: I do e.g. like to support initiatives
like OS/2 Netlabs _also_ a bit because of the fact that Adrian Gschwend lives just
a couple of kilometers (or 10's of km) away from me and not e.g. in California!
I can communicate with him in my own language, even if we switch to English if e.g.
a Swedish developer is part of the discussion. But of course this is no competition
to VOICE at all!
Ok, maybe I a becoming less and less clear the more I write, so I may conclude
a few points for now:
- I doubt it that there is an easy way to make a transition from a volunteers
based organization to a professionally paid one: This changes the way people are
working together, and "intermediate stages" can be very dangerous from
a social point of view!
- I think scalability must make use of the fact that there are already many initiatives
that would probably never "merge" into one (which would have to be a "professional"
in character because of its size).
- Your "market niche" could be to be "the first address",
but maybe not to be "everything for every need".
Author of "PmAs - Astronomy for the Presentation Manager"
I read the article of Don Eitner about "IBM Quietly Readies "Merced"OS".
The last scentence of this article means that this is just a funnystory?
"Oh yes, and all trademarks mentioned in this belong to their respective
This kind of stories makes the OS/2 community a bit crazy. Wouldn't be nice to
write articles which would come true for sure? I would love to see this happen,
but I think everyone knows this is TOO nice to be true isn't it?
Huub de Groot
Yes it was entirely fictional. Don was writing what he wanted to see happen.
Another clue was in my editorial:
"Finally Don Eitner returns with a new End(User) column. This month Don
reveals some top secret info from his deep blue contacts in IBM Quietly Readies
"Merced" OS. If only it were true."
After three years of publishing the newsletter, this one article seems to have
generated more attention then any of the reviews and articles in the past. I wish
it were true. For more on Don's article see his "Followup
to the 64-Bit OS/2" in this issue.
I think that the OS/2 community is worth it. Only thru some other concentrated
and organized efforts will OS/2 become a grass-roots operating system and therefore
competition for Linux. We already know that OS/2 is what Linux is trying to become.
Let's keep up the fight with the core supporters and get it into applications where
it works well.
Great article about the PCI sound card, BTW. I have been fighting with OS/2 sound
ever since I started using it.
Thanks for the letter. We need your support. The Warp Doctor team meets on IRC
every Wednesday 09:00pm EST (Thursday morning 02:00 GMT / UT) On the WEBBnet IRC
network, #voice channel. If you have never used IRC a great place to start is VOICE's
meeting information page - http://www.os2voice.org/meetinginfo.html
I understand that you are trying to form an IBM OS/2 stockholders group in the
hopes of influencing shareholder meetings in OS/2's favor as mentioned in an VOICE
Also noted that you only had 4 or 5 interested parties. Have you tried posting
on the newsgroup. If you haven't, you should. I didn't know about this as I don't
read VOICE newsletters all that often.
In any case, I am very much interested. I am planning on buying some IBM stock
anyway later this month.
BTW, I think someone last year has suggested doing something of this idea.
I thought about starting something like this year.
Let me know how this comes out.
Dave Dobson's reply follows:
Thanks for your interest. Regrettably there has been hardly any response
at all..I have never participated in a newsgroup and haven't the slightest idea
of how to start..It would seem that we users are just that. I still think that
even a handful of stockholders can be effective at the stockholders meeting..what
we need is someone who is familiar with the mechanics of how to go about it...will
keep you informed if anything happens.