Last month I ranted about IBM's anti-OS/2 policy. This month I'd like to focus
on some good things happening with OS/2 recently before going into a further diatribe
on the Bad. That's not to say that we shouldn't keep the pressure on IBM since that
is the only way we will get them to see the error of their ways. However if we only
see the bad, we'll just be seen as miserable whiners.
The good news is that after years of waiting Lotus has finally released a Generally
Available version of their Smart Suite for OS/2 4.0. And unlike the half-baked Smart
Suite 96 for OS/2 version released a year or so ago, this version contains most
of the Standard applications available for years to windows users. Lotus is very
interested in promoting this product to OS/2 users and they were very cooperative
with Rob Burton who reviewed Lotus Smart Suite for OS/2 Warp 4.0 GA for this issue.
Lotus has priced LSSOW4 very reasonably for the whole suite of apps. Unfortunately
Lotus won't sell them separately. The competitive upgrade price though applies to
just about anyone, since IBM Works included with Warp 4.0 counts toward the upgrade.
For more information on this check out Rob's review and Lotus's website - http://www.lotus.com/home.nsf/welcome/smartsuiteos2
Another new game release (OK an update, but significant) is Galactic Civilizations
Gold from Stardock. Brad has fixed lots of bugs, improved the IA and added a second
gaming scenario - playing on a world environment instead of a space one. I'm involved
in a game now and it's addictive. Brad also states that Stardock will be releasing
an update to Object Desktop soon, but didn't get into details other then to say
it won't be an expensive upgrade, and it will be for both OD and OD Pro versions
in one. Also Entrepreneur, Stardock's corporate startegy simulator is now available
in most computer software chains. So if you are looking to buy something shrink
wrapped in a store, now's your chance. I can't wait until I can look a clerk in
the eye and say "I'm going to run this game under the best OS around - OS/2
Warpstock is the other bright light in the OS/2 world. This year there will be
two events. The first is in Chicago, October 16-18, 1998 - http://www.warpstock.org.
The second event is to take place on December 18-20 1998 in the town hall Osnabrück,
Germany - http://www.buntspecht.de/warpstock/en/warpstock_en.html.
These are two opportunities for OS/2 users to meet other OS/2 users and learn more
about our favourite personal computing operating system. As Esther Schindler said
on the Warpstock mail list,"Microsoft can't buy grass roots support" whereas
OS/2 users have been giving it to IBM for free for years. Now what we really need
at Warpstock is a class for IBM executives on what to do with all this enthusiasm.
The IBM DDPAK Online site is accumulating lot's of new drivers these days. If
you plan to install one of those new monster IDE drives, check out http://service.software.ibm.com/os2ddpak/html/index.htm.
In addition there are new installation disk updates that include the new greater
then 8.4 Gig IDE driver support, new IDE CDROM Support and PIIX PCI Busmaster
/ Ultra DMA Support for Warp at http://service.software.ibm.com/os2ddpak/html/os_2comp/installa/index.htm.
Now as to the Bad and Ugly. The US DOJ is focusing it's efforts entirely on the
wrong issue in trying to restrain Microsoft's monopoly in the personal computer
software market. (I hate to mention Microsoft in this newsletter, but bear with
me for a moment). They are trying to unbundle IE because by giving it away for free,
Microsoft is driving Netscape out of business. OK fair enough, but the crux of the
issue, should be why is Microsoft in such a dominating position in the industry
that they can snap their fingers and get 26 big name toadies to sign a letter begging
the DOJ to lay off of Microsoft because it will hurt their business?
The answer to this is simple. PRELOADS. Try to buy an Intel based computer from
IBM with anything other than windows on it. You can't. (Seems like I am fixated
on this issue, eh?) Why not? Is it because there is no market for OS/2 or Unix or
Linux preloaded on an Intel compatible personal computer? Nope, as I stated last
month I want to buy a Thinkpad with OS/2 preloaded and supported by IBM, but they
refuse to sell it to me.
OK, then is it because windows (whatever flavor of the year) is the best damn
computer operating system so why bother fooling with anything less? Well according
to some trolls in comp.os.os2.advocacy that is the case. These folks are of course
wrong. On it's best days windows can't come close to the stability, multi-tasking
ability and resource utilization of OS/2, Unix or Linux. It can however run the
'Interactive Barney®' doll, so in that regard it is superior for a 4 year old.
So what is it? It's the preload contracts. Yes, that's the ticket. After Microsoft
was told to stop charging for windows for every cpu a hardware manufacturer shipped,
whether windows was installed or not, their lawyers came up with a new anti-competitive
plan. Just force the hardware manufacturers to sign a contract saying that they
will only get windows real cheap if that is the only operating system that is installed
period. No need to charge per cpu, just charge per copy of windows since that is
all they are allowed to install.
So if IBM installs it's own operating system on it's own computers, they violate
their contract and have to pay Microsoft significantly more for every copy of windows
they install. That would cost them hundreds of millions of dollars. The only way
to break out of this mess is for someone to wake up and outlaw this nonsense. At
least with the per cpu tax to Microsoft, companies were still allowed to preload
other operating systems, they just had to also pay for one they didn't use. The
US DOJ made this mess now it is up to them to clean it up. Outlaw these monopolistic
If you would like to let IBM know that you want them to support OS/2 or anything
else send an email to:
John Stenson firstname.lastname@example.org
Network Computing Software
According to John, even though IBM Management does not see all letters of praise/complaint,
they receive reports documenting all complaints. Mr. Stenson relayed to me that
about 85% of the complaints he receives are about IBM's OS/2 policy.
Finally if you want to let Lou Gerstner's office know how you feel you can do
so by pointing your favorite web browser to http://www.ibm.com/cgi-bin/email-lvg.pl
And lest we forget, there is still not a state of true nirvana in OS/2 land.
There is still the issue of IBM not pre-loading OS/2 on their own systems. I have
included a copy of the letter I have sent to the
US DOJ in this issue of the newsletter in the letters, addendum, errata page.
Here is the address of Joel Klein, the US Assistant Attorney General handling the
Federal government's Microsoft anti-trust case for those interested in writing a
letter of their own.
Joel I. Klein
Assistant Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
601 D Street, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Editor, VOICE Newsletter