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May 2000

"The IBM Two Step"

An editorial view from Mark Dodel, editor of the VOICE Newsletter editor@os2voice.org

Not a big surprise to me at least that shortly after releasing a new stealth client upgrade via fixpack, IBM posts their latest "OS/2 Strategy" document http://www-4.ibm.com/software/os/warp/strategy/. This new one is not quite as negative as the leaked one of a year and a half ago, but it doesn't do much to promote OS/2 either. At least not to those who have to make a decision as to whether to continue, or perhaps make a change to OS/2. Would you want to use something when the maker keeps saying that the only hope is to change to their competitors product? IBM speaks about transitioning OS/2 users to IBM's "vision of e-business as the Application Framework for e-business" whatever that is. They want everyone to be running Java apps and XML. After all these years how many Java apps do you run regularly? I run 1 such application myself - QuoteGrabber. Some folks may run a java finance app, or an app to communicate with their palm pilot or an email program, but it's not like Java apps have replaced all the OS/2 native applications that IBM killed off.

If they really want to kill off OS/2, then they need to be more like microsoft and go for the throat. They need to attack the very active freeware/shareware OS/2 development community. These are the folks who keep OS/2 viable. Perhaps Lou can find out how bill would handle these trouble makers like Netlabs. OS/2 has long been a great platform for running legacy DOS and windows apps. With XFree/86 and EMX we can also run many *NIX applications as well, and Netlabs EverBlue promises to make that support even better by making it seamless on the OS/2 desktop. There is also great progress being made with the Odin project. I can now reliably run RealPlayer 7 Basic on my OS/2 desktop though it's stability is still a problem. Of course that seems to be an issue with all the programs I have tried that were ported from windows. Maybe IBM can make a buck off of OS/2 from people running crappy windoze apps on it?

They have been trying to transition us since 1995, when it became "clear" to them that microsoft's stranglehold on the desktop couldn't be defeated, at least not as long as microsoft maintained it's monopoly on pre-loads and application tie-ins. IBM has had quite a bit of success, since they have driven almost all OS/2 commercial developers either out of business or at least to abandon OS/2 development. But we hang in on the hope that someday someone at IBM would come to their senses and actually try to promote OS/2 as the superior desktop operating platform that it is. of course the fact that there really isn't anything better to migrate to is a major reason why I still only run OS/2. I run the best operating system for the personal computer. Anything else is a downgrade, why can't IBM see that? You'd think by now they would just give up, and leave us be.

Many of you run multi-boot setups. Why don't you do as IBM directs and move to windows or Linux completely? Is the WPS that compelling that people refuse to give it up? What about all these new folks I see asking for help on Usenet or the mail lists? Why are they trying OS/2 now? Haven't they heard that it's "dead"? Not hundreds, but certainly 10's of folks every month. Perhaps we are so far out now, we are becoming popular again? :-) IBM has to do something to get us to surrender. What can they do? They are now planning on charging us for fixpacks, Java updates and a new browser. Things which everyone else well get for free. Should we pay for these, or move on? What do you think? Should VOICE consider offering a group discount on Software Choice to it's members?

I just applied Fixpack 13 to my main workstation. Not only does it report itself as a new version ("The Operating System/2 Version is 4.50"), but it seems snappier then it has for ages. FP13 is not just a bug fix, it adds new features to the OS/2 client, especially the now merged kernel from Warp Server eBusiness. I even see in Usenet directions on how to add SMP support to Warp 4 after applying FP13. So IBM can continue to drive away business. For me I'll stay with what I have and what I know. At least with OS/2 I don't have to feel paranoid that my operating system may be sending secret transmissions to the mothership about me. I know IBM doesn't care in the least about me, and personally I like it that way. But why do they have to say anything about OS/2? As my mother always said "If you don't have something nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all." So IBM just shut up.

Your ambiguous announcements don't make things clear, just muddy the waters further. Kindly tell us poor stupid small-time non-persons (who also happen to be your customers) what we can really expect for our two year Software Choice subscription, not half-baked e-nonsense ending with "Change the operating system". Will we in fact get two years worth of updates for our money? What new features besides those everyone else gets for free can we expect? Will there really be a second convenience pack or is that like the "new client" the folks who first subscribed to Software Choice never received? What does "Unique SYSLEVEL information" mean in the latest Software Choice Convenience Pack announcement? These are the things I want to hear IBM speak about. Maybe someone will from IBM will actually say something at WarpTech2000 to clear all this up? So IBM speakup. :-)

So it's one step forward and one step back. The IBM Two Step dance.

I suppose it's just me, but none of this makes any sense. Why would IBM commit to 7 years more support and now new client updates with new features on a regular basis, if they wanted to kill it off? Why kill off something that actually makes them money, especially when it does so without a stick of promotion? This is worse then even the most bizarre Machiavellian plot. Is IBM as screwed up as they appear?

Of course we don't have the benefit of their first hand knowledge. Maybe winows2000 and Linux are so good that we should all abandon OS/2 like IBM wants us to and migrate to these. Maybe IBM has gotten pigs to fly in their developmental laboratories? I can't say. I do see that "IBM offers fee-based transition services and product enhancement services." Gee isn't that nice that they will charge you to move off of their own products onto a competitors. Will the USDOJ ever look further into this wonderful colaboration between IBM and the monopolist microsoft that came to light during the Monopolist's trial? My feeling is that the microsoft anti-trust trial only touched on the tip of the iceberg in regard to microsoft's extortion against IBM's OS/2. If you want to let the USDOJ know how you feel, then click here.

If you haven't done so yet, but are ready to do so now, joining VOICE has been made a bit easier if you are outside the US. Mensys has added the VOICE memberships to their online store - http://shop.mensys.nl/cgi-bin/db2www/mns_art2.d2w/report?artname=VOICESUB&username=&i1=&o=&x=86904.73096. As before you can also join VOICE online via our BMT Secure order form at https://secure.falcon-net.net/BMT/order0308.html. Please consider joining VOICE now. Every membership helps make us stronger in our support of the OS/2 community.

This month, we have a Speakup session scheduled with Ulli Ramps of R.O.M. Logicware. If you read last month's newsletter you know that R.O.M. Logicware is the developer of Papyrus. The Speakup with Ulli Ramps is Monday, May 15th at 8PM EDT(00:00GMT). On Monday June 5th 8PM EDT(00:00GMT) we have a Speakup with Sundial Systems. the Sundial topic is scheduled to be a wrapup of WarpTech2000. If like me, you couldn't be there, then be here to find out some of what we missed. In June there is a General Meeting scheduled for the 19th at 8PM EDT(00:00GMT). If you would like to hear from someone in particular or 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 (00:00GMT). 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.

Looking for an SSH Client to run under OS/2? Then you are in luck. This month starts with a review of a Java SSH client, MindTerm 1.2 SSH Client Review, by Alex Taylor. Next up, we have TeXnical stuff for OS/2 - First steps by Stefan Schwarzer. Stefan goes into great detail on how to setup and use LaTeX for desktop publishing under OS/2.

Tom Nadeau writes about The Borland/Inprise "Dance of Death". It appears Borland bet on the wrong horse when they decided to get into the race on microsoft's own racetrack. Course I could have told them that, but they never asked me.

People keep asking me how to get RealPlayer 7 running under OS/2, so I decided to write all about my experience to date with it. The article is RealPlayer7 and Odin. Not quite ready for production, but it works. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Finally this month Don Eitner tells us all about his quest for the perfect (sound)wave, in his article The Search for Quality Audio in OS/2 .

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. Additionally, we have added a Java based search function to this master index page. It will allow you to search all past issues for a specific word or phrase. So try it out and let us know what you think. If you have any ideas for improvements let me know at editor@os2voice.org.

That's it for this month. 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. To that end, and because of several recent requests, we have added a Guidelines for Article Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter.

Mark Dodel
Editor, VOICE Newsletter

So who says OS/2 is dead now? We have better display driver support then ever, WinDriver to help with new device drivers, and now a new version of OS/2. Too bad IBM isn't announcing this as such. Could they still be afraid of the monopolist in Redmond?

If you want to express your feelings on the way IBM has abandoned OS/2 users in it's quest to appease bill gates, please write a letter to the US DOJ and tell them how you feel.

Joel I. Klein
Assistant Attorney General
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
601 D Street, NW
Washington, DC 20530

The email address is antitrust@justice.usdoj.gov, however I believe a written communication has more effect then electronic.

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