VOICE Home Page: http://www.os2voice.org
April 2001

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The Power of "Thank you"

An editorial Opinion by Jason R Stefanovich. (This editorial first appeared 4 months ago in our letters page. We felt that the opinion deserved a better venue, so it is re-published here on the editorial page).:

Freeware, Opensource and Shareware (FOS) are important to OS/2 users. This is more true now than ever because many ISV's and software houses consider the OS/2 market too small to develop commercial applications for. FOS software occupies critical spaces in the OS/2 software inventory and without it OS/2 would be a much less usable OS. As a user, think about the programs that you use. What percentage of them are FOS? On my desktop the percentage of FOS software is roughly 90% and I suspect that this typical of most OS/2 desktops.

The typical FOS author works on their software in their personal time at home. There are several motivating factors for the FOS author. Often a FOS program is initially written to meet a need of the author's. Sometimes the author wishes to gain personal glory or recognition for his work. More rarely, the author expects direct compensation for their work. Regardless of the motivation, in many ways being a FOS author is a "labor of love". This is even true for Shareware authors. Many times the money they receive from registrations is of negligible compensation for the amount of time and money spent building a program. This tends to make recognition the most important factor for many FOS authors.

Authors want to know that people are using their programs and appreciate the work that went into them. In some cases the belief or hope that people are using an author's software is the only reason that a project may be continued. Unfortunately it is very hard or impossible to measure the number of people using a piece of FOS software without user feedback. This is because there is often no set distribution control for this software. People get FOS software from archive sites, personal homepages and friends. Think back again to the percentage of FOS software on your desktop, now think about how many of those authors you have written and said "Thank you" to. For many users the number of "Thank you" notes would be surprisingly small.

I have talked to several OS authors who have either stopped development of software or have seriously considered it just because of the lack of feedback. The amount of "abandon-ware" one can find on Hobbes or LEO is an illustration of this. This is a major problem for the user and the author. Why should the author spend their valuable time developing software that *nobody* is using? Where would the user be without the software the author developed? There is a simple way to resolve this conflict and help ensure continued development of quality FOS software for OS/2. What's more, the resolution is so simple that anyone can do it.

The next time you use a piece of FOS software, ask yourself if you've ever said "Thank you" to the author. If it's freeware or opensource, write a letter to the author expressing your appreciation. If it's Shareware, register it. I propose that all users do this once or twice a week. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the power of "Thank you".

VOICE Server Update: We continue to work on providing new services on VOICE1. Unfortunately we were thrown for a loop on March 19th, when our ISP for the past 2 years or so decided to close down and the new owner wanted to do major renovation of the site where VOICE1 was located. We had been in the process of finding a new home for VOICE1 when this happened. For about 2 days we lost internet access.

Voice1 is now safe and secure with Wilson Rook of Internet Walkabout (http://www.walkabout.org) in New Era, Michigan. Wilson runs a mix of operating systems, and he is quite comfortable running an OS/2 server. A big thank you to Wilson for stepping in to offer us a new home.

Right now would be a really good time to volunteer your help. The VOICE Board of Directors is now down by two positions as Abel McClendon has taken on the task of System Administrator for our server and no longer has the time to function in the capacity as Secretary. And as stated last month, our President of the past 3 years, Dan Casey, has passed away. If you can help either by nominating yourself for one of these positions or just by offering to help with some of the new server services or the VOICE web sites, please send an email to webmaster@os2voice.org. We can always use people to write/edit content for the Warp Doctor site, or help with editing the Newsletter. If you have some time, please consider volunteering.

We have updated the Guidelines for Submitting Articles to the VOICE Newsletter in both English and German and added a link off of the main Newsletter page to this information. In addition Christian Hennecke has written a small page About the VOICE Newsletter. We are very proud of how far we have come with the Newsletter, and we will continue to serve the OS/2 community as long as there is a need and people to help.

Our News service continues to grow at a fast pace. As of March 30th we had over 600 subscribers to the VOICE News list. To subscribe to the VOICE News list send an email to majormajor@os2voice.org with the following text in the body of the email:

If you wish to make a comment regarding a post, please reply to feedback@os2voice.org. If you wish to discuss a topic, please join the VOICE General Discussion list by sending an email to majormajor@os2voice.org with the following text in the body of the email:
Also note that anyone subscribing to any of these VOICE lists, that have any anti-SPAM mangling of their FROM: address, will never receive any mail from the list since it uses that for the subscription address. Instead subscribe as
SUBSCRIBE NEWS me@here.com
To get help on what commands are available from our mail list server, send an email to majormajor@os2voice.org with the following text in the body of the email:
If you have any announcements you would like posted to the VOICE News list, please send it to submit@os2voice.org. Please include a valid reply address and a real contact name.

We have been working on creating a web archive of all news posts. Currently we just have an archive of about four years of Warpcast messages http://www.os2voice.org/warpcast/index.htm. The VOICE News archive should be up soon. We also have a new search engine for the VOICE site to help locate information. You can get a preview of it at http://www.os2voice.org/search/www-gtw.cmd?. Things we would like to see added to it would be more refined area search (ie, just News posts, just Newsletter pages, just German pages).

If you have any thoughts on this or other services, please let us know. Either attend a meeting, or send your thoughts and ideas to http://www.os2voice.org/contact.html. If for some reason we do experience any more down time, you can also access our pages including the newsletter at our mirror site - http://os2voice.ibmforum.com.

Also as a reminder, VOICE offers several other mailing lists open to the OS/2 Community. A Meeting Announcement list, General Discussion list, the Warp Doctor list and the Help list. These are all currently under utilized, and volumes are low. You can subscribe to all or any by going to the VOICE OS/2 Mailing Lists page - http://www.os2voice.org/mailinglists.html. The VOICE Help list doesn't require subscription to use it. just send your question to help@os2voice.org and people who are subscribed to the list will respond if they have an answer.

In March we had a Sundial Speakup event on March 5th. Sundial unveiled their latest version of Junk Spy. If you missed it, you can read all about it in the transcript at http://www.os2voice.org/logs/V030501.LOG.html. Congratulations go out to Jim Nichols (XRange), who one a free license for Junk Spy 2.0 by coming closest to the correct answer to the trivia question. Please remember that the Sundial Speakup series will continue every two months from now on. So the next Speakup with Sundial Systems on IRC is now scheduled for May 7th at 8PM EDT(00:00 GMT, 02:00 Berlin). No topic has been set yet, but these sessions with the Sundial guys are always informative and entertaining. There will be two general meetings on April 2 and April 16th at 8PM EST(00:00 GMT, 02:00 Berlin).For more information on attending online VOICE IRC meetings please see the VOICE Meeting Information page - http://www.os2voice.org/meetinginfo.html

If you have an idea for a Speakup event, please submit it to liaison@os2voice.org, and we will try to schedule something. Also on the VOICE Calendar are weekly Warp Doctor team meetings every Wednesday at 8PM EDT (01:00GMT, 02:00 Berlin). As always, please be sure to check out the updated VOICE Future events Calendar in this newsletter or on the VOICE website at <http://www.os2voice.org/calendar.html> for more details on future VOICE events.

To start off April's issue we have an article on OS/2 Warp 4 Merlin Convenience Pack, by Isaac Leung. See what Isaac thinks of IBM's latest and greatest release of OS/2.

Next we have the second and final in a series of articles on Emacs 20.6.1 under OS/2 - Part II , by Oliver Heidelbach. In this article Oliver looks in more detail at setting up and configuring Emacs.

Next Eric Landrieu tells us about Using the Toshiba PDR-M4 Digital Camera with OS/2 via USB. This was something I always wondered about, using the IBM USB storage device drivers to access a USB camera as a drive. Eric tells us how he was successful in doing just that with his digital camera.

With a title like Snakes and Hammers: Ogg Vorbis you have scratch your head and wonder what in the world the author is talking about. But Christian Hennecke fills us in on a new audio format and how it is supported under OS/2.

Seems networking is becoming more and more the norm even for the casual home user of OS/2. Alex Taylor gives us a Visual Guide to Networking FixPaks under OS/2 Warp. It can be very frustrating to have to figure out which updates to apply to bring your networking up to the latest version. Alex breaks it out into networking components (MPTS, TCP/IP and NETBIOS/LAN networking) and gives us a diagram for each, outlining when to apply which update.

Klaus Staedtler von Przyborski is back this month with his Free Files column. For April we have Vol. 6 We make Music - Part 2. Klaus compares the SBLive and Terratec DMX X-Fire 1024 sound cards, and talks about some software to use for recording and some he'd like to see ported to OS/2.

Finally we have the VOICE Newsletter OS/2 Tips page and the Letters, Addenda, Errata page. If you have any OS/2 or eCS tips you've uncovered, please send them to tips@os2voice.org. If you have any comments or suggestions about the newsletter or articles in it, please send them to editor@os2voice.org

Just a reminder that we now have a full Newsletter Master Index page. All the feature sections of the current and previous issues can now be found on this one page. We've made a few subtle changes to the Newsletter layout in terms of font size and re-arranging the header. If you have any ideas for improvements or comments on the new look, please let me know at editor@os2voice.org.

That's it for this month. So far, coming up in May, we have a review of FreeCiv, as well as a look at USB Film Card Readers and OS/2 by Eric Landrieu and an article on Formatting, Reading and Writing DVD RAM Disks under eCS by Lothar Frommhold.

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. If you can help by writing an article please contact me at editor@os2voice.org. Guidelines for Article Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter.

Mark Dodel and Christian Hennecke
Editors, VOICE Newsletter

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