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April 2005

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Keeping OS/2 up-to-date

An editorial view from Christian Hennecke, Editor-in-Chief of the VOICE Newsletter.


Time moves on, and so does the world of computing. Lately, however, it has become more and more apparent that OS/2 has stayed behind. New and updated standards like ACPI and SMB cause problems with hardware support and LAN access. Ongoing development makes tools and available information outdated or obsolete.

While the first kind of problem is mainly tackled by developers, the second also requires contributions by end-users. Developers need users for testing their applications and providing information. We cannot expect freeware and shareware developers to buy loads of hardware to test their new drivers, for instance. Neither should they spend countless days locating small bits of information that others have ready at their hands. The same applies to maintainers of project documentation or informational web sites. This is where end-users can, and should or even have to, help and relieve developers and maintainers so they can focus on their area of expertise.

You can contribute to many projects. The lists of OS/2 compatible hardware need constant updating, for instance. If you buy any new hardware that works with OS/2, see if it is already listed and provide the list maintainers with information if it is not. Have a look at the documentation of the freeware and shareware you use. If you find anything missing or unclear, tell the developers or project maintainers about it. Or even better, fill in the gaps of freeware documentation yourself.

Two projects that are especially effected by ongoing development are XWorkplace and ConfigTool. Both rely on lists of drivers and programs to provide help to end-users about the content of CONFIG.SYS. XWorkplace also provides information about WPS classes. Both need to be updated with each new driver, program, or class, and when parameters have changed. Especially XWorkplace suffers from lack of updates in that area which makes it less useful for end-users.

In most cases, it does not take much to help. Information about drivers that you have installed is easy for you to get and contribute, for instance, but to find it can be hard for others who don't have the hardware. Please consider donating a little of your spare-time.

This issue includes a description of how you can Help to keep XWorkplace up-to-date. It's really easy.


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 April 2 and 16 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, Peter Brown takes a look at the Canon PIXMA iP4000 printer. Printer manufacturers stopped writing OS/2 drivers long ago and it has become increasingly difficult to find ink jet printers which deliver decent results with the drivers provided by IBM. Read about Peters findings in Current printers? One that works, the Canon PIXMA iP4000.

OS/2's built-in clipboard has rather limited functionality but there are tools to extend it. Keith Merrington reviews ClipView 2.9 by David Saville.

Innotek has made Acrobat Reader 4 available for OS/2. While it supports newer PDF version it also takes a long time to load. Harry Travis has set out to change that. Read more in Stripping down Acrobat Reader for quick loading and browsing.

Over the years, using the LAN Requester and Peer components in heterogenous networks has become increasingly difficult due to ongoing development, Microsoft breaking standards, and Unix solutions adapting the broken ones. A while ago, Netlabs decided to take the challange. Paul Smedley gives the new Samba server for OS/2 a first look.

Some parts of XWorkplace have become outdated. Christian Hennecke has assembled some instructions that make it very easy for you to Help to keep XWorkplace up-to-date.

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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