Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

April 1998


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CeBIT 1998

Editor's note: The following article is a report on CeBIT 1998 by Martin R. Hadam. For those unfamiliar with CeBIT, it is billed as the 'World Business Fair'. It is held in Hannover, Germany and is particularly of interest to OS/2 users since Europe and the German market in particular has in the recent past been a success story in the promotion of OS/2. Plus we like reporting on OS/2 news in all parts of the global OS/2 community. :-) For more information on CeBIT -
In German:
In English:

By: Martin R. Hadam,

During the past three days, I've been wandering around CeBIT. Here are a few impressions:

There's practically no OS/2 presence at IBM. Two machines with WSOD and one with VAC++ on regular OS/2 display; here and there some other machine may be seen; no OS/2 ISV is represented. This is at the spot where all the OS/2 activity has been in the past. Very few, if any, OS/2 stickers. Overall style on the IBM booth has reverted to the business-type of guy with arrogance abounding. (well, after dusk you might actually see many of the TEAMers who have been hiding somewhere...)

Highly accurate rumor has it that there is a large German insurance company on OS/2 and VoiceType (with some special vocabulary) which urgently requests ViaVoice/2 to be released (wasn't there some notion about "no requests" for such a product?). Its existence (only IBM inhouse quality control is lacking) is not denied by anyone.

Lotus is fact had even a single computer with Smartsuite for OS/2 in German. Release was something like "four weeks after the release" of the US version. Oh, they are really allergic to that "four weeks after" statement.... <veg>. Won't run on Warp 3 which makes most of their large German customers admittedly quite unhappy (since they will not upgrade to Warp 4 just for SS/2). Lotus is working on a "solution"....

On a brighter side, expect CFM to improve their support for Epson Scanners in the not too distant future.

As to Epson printer drivers, the situation is difficult, though not hopeless. I am not supposed to pass on what I heard - but on a more general note it may be helpful to send requests for driver support to the Epson headquarters at Japan (as with every multinational company, there is little saying in the periphery).

OS/2 Inside is literally folding in - starting with the next issue it will only be available to subscribers as a supplement to the newly released BYTE Germany. If this change has been thought out as a means to push the starting circulation of Byte, they better provide a damned good supplement. Otherwise, bye bye Byte. There is still c't around in this country - chances are they increase their OS/2 coverage... (Actually OS/2 Inside dies of lack of advertisers - the number of subscribers has been pretty stable in the recent past).

StarDivision has been moved to hall 5 - previously is was located in hall 2 just in between Microsoft and IBM. This year, Corel happens to have gotten this place and some say there has been some intervention.... In Corel's backyard, Microsoft has quietly expanded and now directly faces the IBM booth.

StarDivision had its v5 of StarOffice on display; scheduled for release end of April. I was told that the English version would be on display at Sun's booth (Sun seems to be involved with the international distribution) - I've yet to check this. There are some news which may explain (in part) some of Star's actions. With v5 the cross-platform library used to make SO is not any more StarView but something called "Uno". The difference mainly is that with "Uno" everything down to system dialogs is coded by Star and available for the cross-platform port. As a result you may see in the OS/2 beta on display 100% Windows dialogs (to be changed until release <g>). Speed is also said to have improved for OS/2 in particular. This change to "Uno" has been necessary to cope with some limitations of StarView and to speed up cross-platform development which should be down to ca 4-8 weeks for a new platform. My guess is that this change is also the reason for not releasing the prior versions internationally.

As to new features in v5.0, maybe you will want it: The vector tool StarDraw now includes an capable OpenGl engine which is surprisingly fast even without hardware acceleration. Looks extremely good. It also features all the tools required for making exquisite flow charts. I've not checked the other modules thoroughly - but there is a host of other features. To me. the graphics are a real improvement and provide features not available anywhere else on OS/2. There has been a comment on the c't newsticker that Star will also provide modular access to all of StarOffice's features via JavaBeans or COM.

If you're familiar with German, you may want to check the c't Newsticker for a comprehensive listing of CeBIT news.

Martin R. Hadam
Kinderklinik - Medizinische Hochschule
D-30623 Hannover


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