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February 2005

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XP can't do UDF

An editorial view from Mark Dodel, Founding Editor of the VOICE Newsletter.


Normally, when I write an editorial for VOICE it's about what's right or what's wrong with OS/2 or eComStation or IBM or the OS/2 user community. What has me ticked off lately is the latest incarnation of Microsoft's latest piggy platform Windows XP. Bear with me as this is really related to why I use eComStation.

We are always complaining about what is missing in OS/2, but my complaint today is about what is missing in Redmond's latest and supposedly greatest. My wife uses Quickbooks for her business. Intuit, yet another predatory monopolistic organization like Microsoft, has decreed that they will no longer support the Quickbooks 2002 she has used for the past three years. That forced us to buy a new Dell computer running a spanking new Windows XP (Service Pack 2), since Quickbooks 2005 does not run on Windows 95. Do these guys get a cut from Dell and Microsoft for forcing people to buy a new machine they don't need?

So what could I possibly find lacking in XP? Well, silly me has been using UDF built-in to the last few versions of OS/2 to write files to CD-RW media. I assumed that the bloated XP would have that simple ability that's been in OS/2 since the release of Warp Server for e-Business in 1999. But guess what? It isn't there. Believe me I was surprised when I directed Quickbooks to save to the CD-RW drive and the damn thing kept changing the directory to something named "CD burning" on C: drive. Nothing I could do to get it to write to the UDF formatted CD-RW disk. Yes, XP allows you to format a CD-RW disc as UDF, but it won't let you use it. At least not directly.

Alright, so what's the big deal? The big deal is that we bought this new Pentium 4 Dell system to include a CD-RW drive so my wife wouldn't have to keep backing up to four floppy diskettes anymore. I had assured her that writing directly to a CD-RW shouldn't be a problem. What do I know? I use eComStation.

Asking on the Dell support forum got me a pointer to a Microsoft support page where they freely admit that XP has no support for packet writing to CD-RW. They give three workarounds, all of which add at least one or two steps to the simple process of backing up data, require you to do something outside of Quickbooks, or require the purchase of some add-on CD writing utility. These workarounds, of course, make it less likely that a backup is successful.

So to all the Windoze trolls that keep taunting OS/2 users about all the nifty stuff they can do with their toy operating system I say, "Why can't I just write files to a CD-RW disk just like I have done in OS/2 for 5 years now?" There are a lot of other things that tick me off about Windows but this is a particularly galling lapse at the moment. I continue to use eComStation because it let's me do what I need to do, the way I want to do it, on the hardware I want to run.


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 and HowTo articles. If you have an idea for an article, why not write one. It's one of the best ways, short of programming native OS/2 applications, that you can help the OS/2 Community. And anyone can do it. Few of our writers are professionals. They are just OS/2 users trying to help other OS/2 users. Please send me your ideas or, better yet, a draft of an article to Please note our guidelines for submissions to the VOICE Newsletter. There you find suggestions for topics, hints on content, structure and formatting, as well as the legalese.

VOICE Online Update: This month the general member meetings are scheduled on February 5 and 19 at 3PM EDT (20:00 GMT). Everyone interested in OS/2 or eComStation is invited to attend either or both of these sessions in #VOICE on the Webbnet IRC network. For more information on attending online VOICE IRC meetings please see the VOICE Meeting Information page -

If you have an idea for a Speakup event, please submit it to, and we will schedule something. As always, please be sure to check out the updated VOICE Future events Calendar in this newsletter or on the VOICE website at for more details on future VOICE events.

This month, Teruel de Campo goes to show that the situation of multimedia on OS/2 is not all that bleak. Read more in Video capturing and DVD recording under OS/2.

Since its introduction with Warp Server for e-Business, LVM has been a source of confusion for users. Walter Metcalf has set out help you with Troubleshooting LVM problems.

Access to databases via ODBC has been a problem with OS/2. Recently, however, that has changed. Wolfgang Draxler explains how to install and make use of the new UnixODBC driver.

Several years ago, IBM worked on a variant of OS/2 for the PowerPC architecture but never released it. The story of this has been dominated by rumours ever since. In Whatever happened to OS/2 for the PowerPC?, George W. Archer tries to shed some light on what actually happened.

Finally, we have our OS/2 Tips and Letters, Addenda, Errata pages. If you have any OS/2 or eCS tips you've uncovered, please send them to If you have any comments or suggestions about the newsletter or articles in it, please send them to

That's it for this month.

Christian Hennecke, Mark Dodel, Marckus Kraft, and Jason R. Stefanovich
VOICE Newsletter editors

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