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February 2002

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Update on Current Warpdoctor Status

By Walter Metcalf © February 2002

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 into disarray.

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 challenge.

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.

Current Situation

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 the team.

Warpdoctor Project Structure

The current structure for Warpdoctor can be broken down into four components or sub-projects:

  1. User Interface, or Web Site

    1. Team leader--Jeremy Workman

  2. DB2 Engine
    1. Team co-leaders -- Doug Clark & Charles McCluski
    2. Wilson (Bill) Rook

  3. DB2 Engine to Web Site Link
    1. Doug Clark & Jeremy Workman

  4. Individual Components such as the Hardware Compatibility List and the Ceilidh® forums.

    1. Headed by individual members of the team.

    2. 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.

    3. The HCL and Ceilidh are both good examples of new components of Warpdoctor. Here is a brief overview of each.

      1. 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.

        • Ceilidh® 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 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.

  5. OS/2 Treasury (aka Focus on OS/2)

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.

  1. Mark Dodel - Always available with ideas and encouragement;

  2. Abel McClendon - Server1 Sysadmin. He was instrumental in setting up space for my articles, and getting DB2 and Ceilidh started.

  3. Charles McCluski - DB2/x86 Network expert, who donated his personal copy of DB2 Workgroups to the project.

  4. Jeremy Workman - 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 to.

  5. Leonardo Alcantara - 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!

  6. 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.

  7. Douglas Clark - 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 .

¹To join this list, send the following message to : "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 with Server1.


The Warp Doctor Project -
VOICE Forums -
Warp Doctor Mailing List -
Warp Doctor Hardware Compatibility List -
Warp Docotor IRC Meetings -
Ceilidh -
EDM/2 -

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