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May 1999

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

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

Sigh, this should be an upbeat, positive article this month. Aurora is now OS/2 Warp Server for e-business. By the time you read this it should be available (Here is the link to the IBM announcement <http://www.ibmlink.ibm.com/usalets&parms=H_299-100>). So far as I write this there have been few mentions of this in the computing press. Our friends at OS/2 e-Zine have a review of the new Warp Server e-business <http://www.os2ezine.com/v4n6/>. There was a very brief article from PC World on CNN's site - <http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9905/06/os2.idg/> and another on ZiffDavis's UK site - http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/1999/18/ns-8038.html. This appears to be another stealth marketing venture by a reluctant IBM. To make matters worse the price for Warp Server e-business is a significant deterrent in itself. The IBM list price is $1,699(US) and the actual price set by retailers so far is only a bit less then that (Indelible Blue has it listed $1374(US)). That is a big price for an Intel based server operating system. No more entry level version it's now the whole enchalada or nada. Instead of a real launch for OS/2 Warp Server e-business, there is just a small video on the Aurora web site - http://www.software.ibm.com/os/warp/products/aurora/videos/. At least they created a Bamba version so OS/2 users can view it without having to boot to windows.

For those of us who were heartened to see IBM include SMP and JFS support in the Aurora beta this is a tough situation as IBM still remains silent on release of a new client, but it appears that even if we get one, those features are considered server only. Rumours continue to fly, but it appears that IBM may have found a way to squelch pressure for a new client from it's large OS/2 accounts by letting them use Warp Server e-business on their clients. If this is true then it appears we may have to slog on with Warp 4 since IBM doesn't give a damn about it's non-corporate OS/2 users.

The good news is that applying updates to OS/2 is becoming easier with fixpack CD's from BMT Micro <http://www.bmtmicro.com/catalog/fixpak.html> or Indelible Blue's new WarpUP CD <http://duanec.indelible-blue.com/warpup/>. IBM could make our lives much easier though with at least a code refresh of the existing Warp 4 base, but since they seem to prefer that we all just go away, I wonder if we will ever see a new workstation version. In the mean time I plan to buy a copy of WSe-b and give it a try. IBM will have to wait a bit longer before this OS/2 user throws in the towel. And if/when I do it won't be to go to another IBM solution. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Recently in ComputerWorld there was a brief article on "OS/2 users seek new device drivers" <http://www.computerworld.com/home/news.nsf/CWFlash/9905112os2>. IBM states that they are just targeting their corporate clients with OS/2, yet here is an instance where over 30,000 requests were logged for device support from individual OS/2 users. Yet IBM still chooses to ignore us. One has to wonder what the motivation is for IBM to turn it's back on a product that people are begging for help with. Yes there may not be much profit in supporting something that works, but don't they have any sense of pride? Don't they feel dirty promoting an inferior platform over their own? Anyway our thanks go out to TeamOS/2 Deutschland <http://www.teamdv.de/> for their unflagging devotion, and for getting positive press for OS/2.

IBM refuses to promote/actively support their operating system, then organizations like TeamOS/2 Deutschland and VOICE becomes even more critical. We at VOICE have taken up the challenge and have decided to help resurrect the Warp Pharmacy site. For you folks new to the OS/2 platform, the Warp Pharmacy was at one time the place to go when you had a problem installing or running OS/2. If you want to view the existing site <http://www.zeta.org.au/~jon/pharmacy/WarpPharmacy.html> but it has been in stasis since February 1996 so at this point the information there is stale to say the least. Please join us in making this a reality. We need all the help we can get to undertake this large project. There is now a mailing list devoted to this project now dubbed the Warp Doctor. To subscribe - <http://mailer.falcon-net.net:8080/guest/RemoteListSummary/warpdoctor>.

In May VOICE will welcome Armin Schwartz for a speakup session focusing on his House/2 X-10 computer interface software. We have had two articles in the newsletter in the recent past on using this application including last month's X-10 remote control with HOUSE/2 and House/2 in the March issue. So this speakup is a timely followup for people interested in home automation and OS/2. And on June 7th we host another Speakup with Sundial Systems. This will be a "general Q&A, tips-n-tricks" type of Speakup on all the Sundial Systems products (Clearlook, DBExpert, Mesa 2, Relish, and Rover Pack). 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 VOICE events.

And to one of the brighter spots, VOICE is beginning to gear up for WarpStock 99. We need to hear from VOICE members as to who is planning to attend. We also need someone to co-ordinate the volunteers at WarpStock. Please send your information to abraxas@os2voice.org. If you are not yet a VOICE member, now is a great time to join. VOICE needs your support, so we can continue to provide the support that IBM refuses us.

And before we go into this month's newsletter features, I just wanted to put in a small word for Chris Graham's latest OS/2 programming effort - "South Park Speaks". If you are a fan of the TV mature cartoon series South Park, then you may find this cute, if not then perhaps a bit aberrant. It is not going to make you any more productive, but it can help you waste time when you need to. :-) Best of all it's free. Please see http://www.warpspeed.com.au and select the miscellaneous link at the end of the page.

In this issue of the VOICE Newsletter we begin with an article by Elton Woo on his success with running LS-120 drives and OS/2 Warp 4.0 . Next up I review PillarSoft's WarpZip v2.2, a nice GUI frontend for Infozip. Then Louis Muollo offers "A different perspective on Warp". Wrapping things up in the VIEW from the End(User), by Don Eitner .

Mark Dodel
Editor, VOICE Newsletter

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