Update on Current Warpdoctor Status
Date: 4 January 2002
Brief History of WarpDoctor
As many of you know, the Warpdoctor
project is a revival of the defunct Warp Pharmacy project from the early days of
OS/2 Warp. Warp Pharmacy was a database of tips and useful information, organized
in a manner that made it easy for the OS/2 user who had a specific problem to browse
its contents until he or she found something that would help him or her with the
problem. There are probably few OS/2 old-timers around who haven't benefitted from
some of the tips they found in the "Pharmacy". However, as its creators
drifted away, and the number of OS/2 users decreased, the Pharmacy began to fall
More recently, in late 1999, some leaders of VOICE felt the loss of the Warp
Pharmacy, and sought to revive it. You can read these discussions on the Warpdoctor mailing list archives. Some of these leaders
were Lynn H. Maxson, Mark Dodel, editor of the VOICE Newsletter, Abel McClendon,
VOICE1 System Administrator, and last, but certainly not least, the late Dan Casey.
These archives date from November 4, 1999 until Dec 31, 2001. Current discussions
can be read by joining the Warpdoctor mailing list.¹
Between November 1999 and early 2001, a fair amount of information was collected--for
example the entire set of EDM/2
electronic magazines--but little progress was made in the structure of the Warpdoctor
product. This was apparently due to a basic split amongst the Warpdoctor team members
both in how meetings should be conducted and in how the database engine should be
paid for and/or licensed. Unfortunately, discussions on these issues continued without
resolution for many months, and almost killed the Warpdoctor project itself.
Then, in early 2001, Judy McDermott, and Mark Dodel made a second attempt to
kickstart the Warpdoctor project by challenging the present writer to take on the
responsibility of Co-ordinator. After considerable soul-searching, I agreed to accept
The early days with me as Co-ordinator were not easy, either. The old disagreements
quickly surfaced again, and these gave rise to personality clashes and hurts. Several
times I thought I had bitten off far more than I could handle. However, to their
credit the VOICE Board of Directors stood behind me, and made it clear that the
Co-ordinator title actually meant something; thus we finally put the seemly age-old
questions of licensing and database direction behind us. Sadly, however, we lost
some very talented people, some because of personality disagreements, and some apparently
because their business load became too heavy. Doubtless other people left because
they were fed up with the continual wrangling.
Fortunately, that wrangling is a thing of the past, and it is now a pleasure
to meet with the Warpdoctor team each week. When there are strong differences of
opinion, each person is given a full opportunity to present his or her views, and
if consensus cannot be reached, a vote is taken to reach a decision. Everyone on
the team now is enough of a professional to respect this decision, put his personal
feelings aside, and continue to work on the project in the indicated direction.
The difference in atmosphere and progress between now and only a few months ago
can hardly be over-stated. If you are one of the many who left the Warpdoctor team
who left because of the wrangling or lack of progress, I urge you to join the Warpdoctor
mailing list, or join us in the IRC chat room on a Sunday afternoon to see the difference.
For the biggest hindrance to our progress now is the number of skilled people on
Warpdoctor Project Structure
The current structure for Warpdoctor
can be broken down into four components or sub-projects:
User Interface, or Web Site
Team leader--Jeremy Workman
Team co-leaders -- Doug Clark & Charles McCluski
Wilson (Bill) Rook
DB2 Engine to Web Site Link
Doug Clark & Jeremy Workman
Individual Components such as the Hardware
Compatibility List and the Ceilidh®
Headed by individual members of the team.
Some of these "components" have been around for a very long time, and
the task is to integrate them into the new Warpdoctor structure. Others are new,
created out of the minds of team members for a variety of reasons.
The HCL and Ceilidh are both good examples of new components of Warpdoctor. Here
is a brief overview of each.
Hardware Compatibility List
The HCL was conceived and developed by Leonardo Alcantara with some assistance from
Jeremy Workman. Basically it is an attempt to list all devices that are compatible
with OS/2, and their drivers. Drivers will be saved in two ways: first, by using
links, and second, where the copyright permits, by storing the driver code itself.
Because this is an impossible task for a small number of people, we will be depending
upon input from OS/2 users and driver writers. Our hope is that users or developers
will be able to complete a simple online form, press a SUBMIT button, and the Warpdoctor
DB2 engine will automatically do the rest. Although we are a long way from a complete
system, a simple form already exists.
is a web-based message, or discussion, forum. It differs from Weasel, of course,
in that Weasel and other such products are email-based.²
Ceilidh differs from all other web-based message boards in that it is multi-platform
and has an OS/2 version. A major weakness of email-based messaging systems is that
they don't allow for multiple subjects. The professional version Ceilidh is multi-threading,
eliminating this weakness.
When I first started working with VOICE/Warpdoctor, it bothered me that we were
the only "user group" on the web that didn't have a good discussion group.
Before joining the Warpdoctor team, I worked as a Guide for About.com and one of
its strengths was a good discussion forum. Two of the weaknesses of the forum were
first that it was advertiser-driven, and hence slow, and second that it was a rented
service located on another company's servers. VOICE is fortunate to have its own
server, and now that we have paid what I consider a paltry, one-time, fee, we have
the code located on our server, with no advertising messages. Moreover that fee
allows us to create up to 5 separate forums.
Second, as I write articles, like this one, for the VOICE Newsletter, I am going
to encourage readers to respond, or discuss differences, using a forum instead of
emailing me privately. In this manner, everyone can have the benefit of their ideas.
I found this type of feedback valuable at About, and to be frank, I miss it. Other
writers, of course, are free to do as they choose. The multi-threaded nature of
Ceilidh Professional should permit multiple authors to share one forum.
Third, as we developed the Warpdoctor project it became clear that it would be helpful,
at the very least, to have some means of controlling who could access the product
we were building, at least in the beginning. Ceilidh fits the bill very nicely,
because it has several means of restricting access to certain users.
OS/2 Treasury (aka Focus on OS/2)
It is with considerable sadness that I must report that the articles written while
I was at About.com still remain on my hard drive, and have not become a component
of the Warpdoctor project. In fact, no real progress has been made in this respect.
The fault is primarily mine, because I have become involved in so many other activities,
mostly at VOICE, that this has remained undone. What I need is an assistant to help
me convert the About.com - based URL's to something Jeremy can use in one of his
magic templates. Anyone want a job for a few weeks?
The Warpdoctor Team
I know it is always risky mentioning certain people, because some worthy people
are inevitably missed. However, I cannot leave this article, without giving credit
to the Team who have done the real work.
Mark Dodel -
Always available with ideas and encouragement;
- Server1 Sysadmin. He was instrumental in setting up space for my articles, and
getting DB2 and Ceilidh started.
McCluski - DB2/x86 Network expert, who donated his personal copy of DB2
Workgroups to the project.
- The real muscle and bone of the project, especially for many weeks while others
were leaving. He completely rewrote the web site, without even being asked
- Comes to us from Mexico, and encouraged the Team leaders to let him build the
Hardware Compatibility List--even though we told him we couldn't spare any manpower--until
we gave in!
Wilson Rook -
Owner/Founder & CEO of Internet Walkabout, the company that physically houses
Server1. He popped into one of our fall IRC meetings, got involved, stayed, and
has given the project a badly-needed shot in the arm.
- A tower of database strength, he has taken over the position of DB2 Team leader.
This has given the project yet another shot in the arm.
To any whom I may have left out: I ask your forgiveness.
That gives a fairly brief, yet complete picture of the current Warpdoctor status.
The current Team consists of a few people, but they are strong and a pleasure to
work with. However we badly need some more people to help with such basic things
as HTML coding and collecting drivers for the HCL, just to name two. If you think
you can spare two hours a week, please consider joining us one Sunday afternoon.
For instructions on how to join our chats, please click here.
I always welcome feedback from my readers. If you have any comments you would
like to share with everyone, please go to the new VOICE Feedback
forum. Private messages can, as usual, be emailed to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org .
¹To join this list, send the
following message to email@example.com : "SUBSCRIBE WARPDOCTOR
youremailaddress END" (without the quotes). The subject line may contain any
text or it may be left blank.
² Ceilidh can also be used
in a mixed mode like Yahoo
Groups so that users can choose how to send or receive the messages--email or
web--but at the moment we are working out the details of interfacing its email interface
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