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March 2003

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Letters, Addenda, Errata

Translation: Christian Hennecke

If you have any comments regarding articles or tips in this or any previous issue of the VOICE Newsletter, please send them to We are always interested in what our readers have to say.

Feb 5, 2003 - Our first letter of the month is from Ed Durrant in regard to Eric Baerwald's January 2003 article on »TCPA« and »Palladium« - another step towards immaturity or a step towards emancipation?:
Hello Eric,

Thanks for the article on palladium in the Voice newsletter. I was thinking, another "advantage" for Gates of the Fritz chip is that it can also force an "update" to the latest product version. Since not only non-Microsoft products can be stopped but also older versions of microsoft products can be stopped. One big issue MS have is the amount of people using Windows NT4 (client and Server) and old versions of MS Office. Implementation of palladium + Fritz allows Gates the ability to reject old versions (read reason = security/virus vulnerabilities - real reason more money for Gates).

Eric replies:
Hi Ed,

Yes, you're right. I didn't mention this "advantage" because in my opinion those users, who are working with older versions of the MS-Trash, currently don't have PC's with the Fritz-Chip inside. In a few years of course this will probably change if the evil strategy of Gates and his villains will take place.

I believe it is very important to tell as many people as you know about this development. Most of the "gaming-boys" don't know what happens here and because of their lack of knowledge it's easy to oblige them to use those "crippled" machines. If freedom of information is a serious wish, Gates and his villains must be stopped!

Keep warping!


Feb 5, 2003 - It seems that Eric's article produced some interest from outside the OS/2 world. Here is a letter from Martin Brügger:

Dear Mr. Baerwaldt,

with great interest I have read your article on TCPA and Palladium, which I accidentally found on the Internet.

I am an administrator of a GenoBank which is also working with OS/2 - and for that reason I can understand many of your points very well. We are probably up to a migration to another operating system, unfortunately.

Since I found your article to be very insightful, I have taken the liberty to post the article - furnished with comments regarding its origin - in an internal discussion board for administrators of several mutual savings banks. I hope that I haven't violated your copyright that way.

If you don't agree with my posting, please reply.

If the - hopefully arising - discussion should result in any interesting aspects, I could provide you with them, if you wish.

With kind regards and wishes for a happy new year 2003

Martin Brügger

Feb 6, 2003 - Our next letter is from Seth Berkowitz about Doug Bissett's February 2003 article on Quick and Dirty Firewall:

Thank You. I have been meaning to setup a firewall on my cable connected PC, and never knew where/how to start. Now I have it setup, and I even was able to tweak a rule to permit an FTP upload.

Your article was clear, and concise, and didn't assume the reader had prior knowledge. Thanks again.

Seth Berkowitz

Feb 10, 2003 - Our final letter is from Marten Feldtmann about IBM's Passport Advantage Program we discussed in January's editorial page The Editors of VOICE speak out: No surprise: Retail versions of OS/2 withdrawn from marketing.:
The Passport Advantage (PA) is a typical cash cow for companies to get money from the customer. It's as worse as the new license contracts from Microsoft, where everybody complains about - but actually IBM made that deal pretty much earlier and nobody complains.

We were using VisualAge Smalltalk for OS/2 and we bought it on a regular way, but then the product became a PA software product and prices went up very much.

The bad thing is, that you get a contract, which is a personal contract between you and IBM. You can not sell this contract to another person or from another person. This is perhaps not very interesting, when your product costs around $200 or that - but it's interesting, when you buy products for around $5000 from IBM or even more. If your company goes out of business, then you loose the support contract.

The idea behind PA is to keep the customer close to IBM. You have to pay a higher price to become a member of the PA program and in general a lower the price the next years. It therefore forces you to pay each year the fee !

If you do not pay the money your PA product contract finishes and you have to reenter it - starting at the high price again.

For example our pricing scheme became:

   Enter PA       2nd        3rd
for old        year       year

   $5000         $1500       $1500 

instead of

   $1500         $1500       $1500

The costs increases(for the product I mentioned above) was about $3000 ... and guess what: our company went out of business and now I've the CD-ROM (from that company), but actually no real chance to reenter the program again and to get updates and all that stuff.

For me it seems, that when a program is ONLY available via PA, then the software seems to be targeted ONLY to companies or the software is going to be killed by IBM over the next years.

The biggest problem is, that IBM destroys the reseller market - the companies out there, which in general pushes the usage of that product. Because only special IBM contractors are allowed to sell you the PA program !!

For off-the-shelf software (all that Java stuff), IBM is not able to win anything in the commercial market, when offering the software only via PA - therefore Java stuff is also sold without PA.

On the other hand, I can not imagine, that IBM makes it that hard for a low-budget product like OS/2 - perhaps they lower the rules of the PA for that product.

PA is a cash cow .... that the main idea behind it.


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