Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

May 1998


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Letters, Addendum, Errata

Editor note: When I wrote my editorial last month titled 'Something is Rotten in Armonk" I wasn't sure how it would be received. Perhaps I am just late to realize how bad IBM is treating it's loyal OS/2 users, because I was surprised to have only received a few letters about. Of course I have not heard from IBM about the editorial, though one reader did send the URL to IBM's Suzette Minorini, Network Computing Software - Marketing. I assume she was to busy marketing OS/2 to IBM's Fortune 100 clients to bother reading it. Though she did write back to the reader (T.T. Chua) "We, as well as our customers, are very excited about the direction OS/2 is taking, as it enables medium to large size customers to migrate at their own pace to a network computing environment." Just gives me warm fuzzies all over to know that someone is excited by IBM's attempt to flush their product down the hopper.

Hi Mark!

You've just worded quite a few of my thoughts about IBM's ineptitude and gross mismanagement of their investment in OS/2.

Although official figures are hard to find IBM's $ investment in OS/2 is often quoted to be around 2 billion dollars. That is an awful lot of money. To maintain OS/2 is cheap compared to it's development cost. The client side of OS/2 mostly needs additional device drivers to keep up to date since it seems that their future intention is to have a common kernel between server and client. They could easily make good on their investment by maintaining it and get the PC Company and other IBM subsidiaries to support OS/2. At least get all IBM hardware to maintain OS/2 support. No matter how much IBM denies rumours that OS/2 is dead if one can buy an MWave that does not support OS/2 one gets another impression. It's the same with VTD that was starred in OS/2 only to leave and be developed under a different name under a competitor's OS under Via Voice with no hope of seeing it's enhanced version under OS/2.

IBM now says it aims OS/2 only at Fortune 5000 corporations. They fail to recognize the fact that small fish will eventually grow. If today's small fish are only raised under MS OSs, I don't think IBM stands much of a chance to garner them once they grow bigger. Warpx (web site for Warp5/6) also mentions his fright that IBM might rise the price of Warp5 to 500$ which would put it out of reach of SOHO users. I wouldn't be surprised to see IBM do that just as they have already increased OS/2 prices substantially as well as reduced their OS/2 maintenance costs by now getting it done in India. (I now consider this true since I heard it from 2 IBMers who love OS/2). I surely hope the device driver team does not lose Sam Detweiler who might get fed up with the workload and IBM's attitude!

When I think of OS/2, I'm amazed at it's vitality considering the constant new stuff on Hobbes or the WinOS232 project. If I think of IBM and OS/2, the future seems bleak because of IBM. The other part of IBM that needs a spanking is Lotus. They only give OS/2 lip service. I was repeatedly told by IBMers that Lotus is real stubborn and does not really want to support OS/2. They were forced to do it and it shows. This impression comes from internal IBM newsgroups discussions that were revealed to me. My IBM internal sources request anonymity...


Gilbert Lefebvre

Response from the editor:
I don't think IBM wants OS/2 to grow. I believe they have cut a deal with Microsoft and all they want to do is sit back and let the money roll in on all those NT service contracts and software deals. This will dramtically improve their bottom line in the short run, but no one gets the better of Microsoft for long.


I agree with you so much... I will be writing these people you have listed... When I finally decided to switch from Win95 to OS/2 the person selling me Warp 4 didn't even sound like he wanted to sell it to me... And I bought it directly from IBM... I just kind of thought that was kind of funny... Then when I found out they dropped support for end users (which the sales person did not tell me) I was very unhappy... I had to learn a whole new OS from scratch.. I was lucky that I was familiar with dos and command line stuff... and not to mention the friend that I had that been using OS/2 sense ver. 1.0 And then and now all my friends tell me I made a huge mistake switching but... I am the one they call when there Winbloze 95 systems crash!!!


Corey Lambert

Response from the editor:
I guess your friends would think me really dumb then since I bought into IBM's OS/2 since the 2.1 days and I still can't see a reason to abandon it now. The thing is it works and works well. There is no real reason for IBM to abandon it either, except for some secret deal with Microsoft.

People know better then to ask me with help with windows.

Dear Mr. Dodel:

I agree with your editorial that the situation with IBM's handling of OS/2 is pitiful. However, the user community has been writing to Mr. Gerstner and OS/2 management with little success. I myself have written letters to IBM regarding OS/2. If I received a response, it was a "canned" reply that did not address the concerns outlined in my letters. In my opinion, IBM will only respond if the OS/2 community can adversely affect its reputation or potential for revenue.

In view of this opinion, I think that the OS/2 community must begin writing to IBM's Board of Directors and indicate that we will cease to purchase and recommend IBM products. This decision will be due to IBM's unwillingness to support its existing customers that purchased its products based on product strategies, "Statements of Direction", and marketing campaigns.

If this letter writing campaign fails to elicit improved support for OS/2, then I would recommend the creation of one or more web sites that detail IBM's "bait and abandon" treatment of its customers. These web sites would have to have domain names such as "" and be registered with the major search engines. The sites must provide a succinct, professional analysis that documents how choosing IBM is a bad and risky choice.

While I am not pleased about pursuing a "scorched earth" policy, I feel that the OS/2 user community has been backed into a corner by IBM and must respond accordingly.

Gary Drag

Response from the editor,
I don't think any approach, no matter how organized and how large, by the single/small business user will draw much attention from IBM. They just don't care about us, at least for the moment. The point of my editorial was to point out the anti-OS/2 policy of the IBM PC Co. This in itself is not news, as they have always seemed to make it harder for OS/2 users, but now they have made it near-impossible. I now read that M$ has it's eyes set on the running it's software on the MVS as well as UNIX platforms in a big way. These are IBM's cash cow platforms. Perhaps someday it will finally dawn on someone at IBM that their treatment of OS/2 users has been shabby at best, and certainly detrimental to the companies long term financial health.

I agree with you about contacting the board of directors, though most likely they have been convinced that there is some sense to IBM's current windows only on the desktop direction. Perhaps taking the message to IBM shareholders might be an even better method of effecting change at IBM. All I know is that now it is almost impossible to by a PC without an operating system that Microsoft has a stake in. Hence my suggestion to contact the US Department of Justice. That was the main focus of my editorial. You are absolutely right about contacting Mr. Gerstner and IBM. You will just be told politely to get lost, in a standard form letter format of course.

I'd like to thank you for a great page and coloumns you have in VOICE. I'm a SOHO user in South Africa and came across and started using OS2 whilst studying an IT course at Wits Technikon in '94. Ever since then I've used and upgraded to now OS2 Warp 4.

The biggest problem I have here is that I can't find any software retailers selling OS2 products - even from IBM SA, otherwise I'd happily pay for the product cash up front. I don't require much special business software and have ended up using MS Works and a few other Dos based apps. Because I run only a small business, I have to say that honestly - I play a lot of games in my spare time (and now 24 years old-good reason for playing computer games when you're not on a night out on the town). Anyway, I'd like to subscribe to voice to get updated information and be able to put out my views as well. Definitely hoping for a good driver for possibly a HP colour printer that I'm considering to get in order to do some desktop publishing along with native OS2 app -any suggestions?

Thanking you,

Response from the editor,
Thank you for the letter. It's nice to know that there are people all over the world who appreciate quality over quantity. As to OS/2 software in South Africa, have you ever been to ? I have that site bookmarked and I've been waiting for someone in that area of the world to ask for it for a long time. :-) Most OS/2 software I register anymore is shareware anyway though I did just buy Smack!, a label program for OS/2 (reviewed in our newsletter a few months ago) and I plan to get the Lotus Smart Suite Upgrade soon (and our newsletter should have a review of the GA version soon). As to printers, I am extremely satisfied with my Epson 1520 Color Stylus. Great output at up to 1440x720DPI with the Epson Germany beta driver under OS/2. I also have an HP 550C, but that is a rather old (in pc terms anyway) model. I was extremely pleased with it but wanted something that could print photo quality color, hence the reason I bought the Epson. Most of the high resolution HP inkjets I've looked at seem to be windows host printers. These will only work under Windows 3.1 or 95. They won't run in DOS or NT let alone OS/2. The basic Deskjet models are fairly well supported under OS/2 though - check out
for a list of currently supported HP printers.

Keep on Warping.

My letter to the US Department of Justice:

Friday, April 10, 1998

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

Dear Mr. Klein
I am writing to you today to lodge a complaint about the lack of choice in computer operating systems. Specifically the fact that IBM will no longer pre-load their own operating system OS/2 Warp on their own computer systems.

I complained to IBM about the fact that IBM's Thinkpad laptop computers and Aptiva line only have a choice of Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows NT for operating systems. An IBM spokesman said they are no longer focusing OS/2 on the desktop market. Whether this makes sense or not is not the issue. They have a desktop operating system in OS/2 Warp which is a more stable, and a technically more highly regarded platform, then their competition, yet they refuse to promote it to the point they won't even install it on their own hardware when requested. This also means that though they provide free support for Microsoft operating systems, they refuse to provide the same support for their own operating system on their own hardware.

It is my firm opinion that there is some kind of anti-competetive deal between Microsoft and IBM PC Co. which is severely limiting my choice in personal computer operating systems. Is this something that the Department of Justice can investigate?

Mark Dodel

Finally from Gilbert Lefebvre, Montreal OS/2 u.g. co-founder and present treasurer's an "update" to Dan Casey's article last month on motherboard chipsets.

"The Sis5571 has a max of 64MB. I know since it is what I have in my MTI Mustang 534F (sept 97)."


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