Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

February 1998


Previous Page | Index | Next Page

View From the End (User)

Hands Across The Marketshare

By: dON k. eITNER (

At last October's successful Warpstock '97 event, Brad Wardell (Stardock) set forth some ideas to create a central OS/2 ISV (Independent Software Vendor) website where those ISVs could advertise their products more efficiently to their target audience and users could come to ask questions, participate in discussion forums, and so forth. The site would be a win/win scenario for everybody because it would help to bring OS/2 ISVs and users closer together to further our joint cause--the promotion of OS/2 as a viable home/SOHO operating system. Brad's preliminary name for this website was WarpCaster, but personally I feel this would confuse more people than it would help as a result of similarity in name to the WarpCast mailing list. Wouldn't a name like The Hub be somewhat more appropriate for what this site is meant to do?

In last month's End User, I pointed out some of what I consider to be the best OS/2 resources on the internet. Taking that one step farther, The Hub should borrow ideas from all of the best resources--we work together, we are one. I would like to lay out a few ideas on how this can come together and how we, OS/2's users and software developers, can help one another at the most intimate level by bringing our various knowledge to the same table.

The Hub will need to be a stable, efficient place for users to access the information they need. I suggest perhaps a Lotus Domino server to handle discussion forums similar to what I and the original VOICE members experienced on David Both's website (Millennium Technology Inc. - a year ago. Topics of discussion forums would range from general OS/2 help among users to forums related to a specific ISV where users could post questions/comments/concerns they have with that company's products and receive answers directly from a spokesperson (hub--spokes--get it?) who is the Moderator of that forum.

Then there is the need for OS/2 users to find software to fit their needs or to show their non-OS/2 using friends and associates just how much software is available for OS/2 and thereby help them to upgrade to a fully native OS/2 system. I have what I believe to be the largest continuously maintained collection of links to OS/2 products ( (see screenshot below), but it's not as good as it could be. If I had a database engine backing up the site, it would be very easy to keep one list of all OS/2 products, a link to information or download for each, and a list of every category (ie. scanning, multimedia-audio, e-mail client, e-mail server) which that product falls into. Then either all this information would be output to a static webpage and placed on The Hub's server or the data could be compiled at "runtime" when a visitor requests the page. This would further support the notion that OS/2 software is vastly powerful by pointing out products which do more than one thing effectively (ie PMView does photo manipulation/format conversion and it does scanning).

Screenshot of

Further continuing that same thought, there could be more than one way to view the list of OS/2 applications. Currently I have rough categories only. With the single database file listing all the applications, the data could be output also in a "by this developer" fashion or on the basis of shareware/freeware/commercialware. For me to do this now would require manually updating each different view's links and that's neither cost-effective nor my idea of a fun way to spend the next decade, but this is a perfect application for a database engine.

Advertising would be the ISV's primary concern on The Hub, and each page of the site could have something akin to the Link Exchange but using only internal (contributing) ISV's banners. There could also be a more general "List o' Links" to other internet resources for OS/2 including the ISV's homepages. Naturally the huge listviews of OS/2 applications (see above) would serve as advertising, as the links would be directed to each ISV's page for information on that product.

No one need give up their current website to make all this happen--they would just more accurately direct marketing money into The Hub which would have its own official Link Exchange banner. Each ISV would put forth a fraction of The Hub's total operating cost (server hardware and software, registering the domain name, administrators, advertising The Hub to the outside world), rather than going broke trying to keep their own ad banners in the public eye all alone. Ten people giving 80% each in a joint effort usually accomplish more than ten people giving 100% each for their own individual sakes, and if OS/2 is to remain a viable platform for the home and SOHO markets, it's going to take a joint effort of people giving all they can. In the end the benefits can be reaped by all and a better world will exist.

Who would actually maintain The Hub? Obviously the best internet minds of the OS/2 community; the HTML authors and server administrators and database engineers that the web has to offer. Since this would be a funded project of all the ISVs, each providing only a portion of the whole, rather than another non-profit user group, the positions of webmaster, network administrator, and so forth could be paid positions responsible for answering to the heads of all contributing ISVs. I suppose you could say The Hub would be a business unto itself, or a conglomeration of the current companies.

So this message goes out now to the ISVs who would be paying for this site and its continued development--the matter is primarily in your hands now. We users have and will continue to do our part with our own websites and postings on various discussion forums and newsgroups, but if The Hub is to take over as the primary vehicle for OS/2 awareness it's going to require your approval. Discuss these ideas amongst yourselves and contact me as necessary. Even if I'm not the first choice for the webmaster position, I would like to submit my ideas and resources to further the cause.


Previous Page | Index | Next Page