Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

March 1998


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The President of VOICE speaks out

Well, another month has gone by and I thought that surely I would have received a significant amount of mail from last month's column. As far as I know, only one person responded, which I find somewhat depressing.

I expected outrage and anger and all I got was apathy. After all, who more than OS/2 users should get upset when I talk about the demise of OS/2 in the SOHO market?


I saw an OS/2 advertisement this month. Have any of you seen it? I only saw it in one place, but the thought of and advertisement with OS/2 at its heart is mind boggling considering IBM's tendency to ignore OS/2. At least it seems to us OS/2 users that IBM ignores OS/2 - and us.

A recent issue of a hard copy trade magazine had a picture of the Olympic speed skating rink in Nagano, Japan, and a couple people were sitting in the foreground with IBM laptops in front of them. Although you cant tell from the screen contents, the text talks about the fact that the Nagano Olympics were an Information Technology success using "...your software." It went on to talk about OS/2 and its role in the IT infrastructure of the Nagano Olympics. OS/2 was mentioned several times in the text in very specific context of its many roles.

I was floored. You could have knocked me over with a zero bit. All of these years we groan and complain about IBM not advertising OS/2 and now, just when we have given up all hope, we find one which does many of the things we wish that IBM had done with advertisements for OS/2 years ago.

What is going on?

The real story is that OS/2 is not dead! I don't think that any of the other trade rags have picked up on that, though.

No - IBM has plans for OS/2, and it is starting to announce that to the world, although somewhat quietly. Don't get too excited: I don't see any large scale OS/2 ad campaign down the road.

I do see this as a statement from IBM that OS/2 plays an important role in many large enterprise solutions. After all, the large enterprise is what IBM - and OS/2 - does best.

Having spent the last couple years protecting its foothold in its largest customers, IBM is now becoming a little more aggressive. Java is mature enough and WorkSpace On Demand is popular enough that IBM wants to begin to expand their reach a little. I think we will see a little more aggressiveness on the part of IBM when it comes to IBM solutions and OS/2.

Oh, I don't think that IBM is ever going to lead with a statement to an IT executive that they have come to sell an OS/2 solution. That will not happen. But when IBM sells solutions, it just might happen that they work best on an OS/2 platform, like WorkSpace On Demand, or that OS/2 is an integral part of the solution.

Don't forget that IBM is now the largest NT solutions provider. And they have been very quiet while the government investigates Bill Gates and Microsoft. Don't get the idea that IBM is going to stop providing NT solutions, because I don't see that happening. After all, being the largest NT solutions provider, as well as the only OS/2 solutions provider, makes IBM the largest solutions provider in the world.

This is a very interesting power position from which to play. Microsoft does not like IBM very much and, conversely, IBM does not like Microsoft very much. For right now, at least, these two behemoths cannot live without each other Their fates are intimately linked for the foreseeable future.


I have seen a marked increase in shareware activity for OS/2 recently. WarpCast (see below) has had an increasing number of messages related to new or upgraded shareware for OS/2. There has also been an increase in the number of commercial software announcements made on WarpCast.

I think that both of these things are good, but the increase in shareware activity is especially gratifying. Nothing else provides a better indicator of end user interest in an operating system than the amount of shareware activity.

I believe that we are going to see a resurgence of OS/2. It will not be aimed at the SOHO or home user, but I don't care. So long as my favorite operating system is alive and well in any form, I am happy.


I like WarpCast, and appreciate the information I get from there. I get the individual announcements, and it adds up to a lot of mail. I think it is worth the time to browse through it all, though. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or for more information on WarpCast, visit:

Try it - I recommend it very highly.

David Both


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