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January 2000

Letters, Addendum, Errata

December 16, 1999 - A letter regarding Lynn Maxson and Abel McClendon's article on - WarpDoctor: An OS/2 Watershed Event - http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL1299H/vnewsf2.htm


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 my needs:

- 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" for me.

- 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 strategy"!

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".

Cornelis Bockem=FChl
Author of "PmAs - Astronomy for the Presentation Manager"

December 17, 1999 - A letter from Huub de Groot about Don Eitner's December End(User) article - IBM Quietly Readies "Merced" OS - http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL1299H/vnewsfe.htm:

Dear Mark,

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 companies"

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?

Kind regards,

Huub de Groot
The Netherlands

Editor's Response:

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.


January 3, 2000 - A letter regarding Lynn Maxson and Abel McClendon's article on - WarpDoctor: An OS/2 Watershed Event - http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL1299H/vnewsf2.htm, along with a comment on
Brad Kell's Crystal Clear: A PCI Sound Card for OS/2 -http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL1299H/vnewsf4.htm:


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.

Peter MacFarlane
Network Administration/Programming

Editor:s response:

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


January 4, 2000 - The following letter is from Bruce Scandariato, regarding the letter from Dave Dobson in the November 1999, newsletter - http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL1199H/vnewsfl.htm, about trying to start an OS/2 User IBM shareholder fund.

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 newsletter article.

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.

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