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June 2003

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Letters, Addenda, Errata

Translation: Christian Hennecke

If you have any comments regarding articles or tips in this or any previous issue of the VOICE Newsletter, please send them to We are always interested in what our readers have to say.

Errata - There was an error in Christian Hennecke's article "Installing XFree86/OS2 4.3.0" from the April issue. Near the end of chapter 6, "Configuring X for your hardware", it says:
If the log file shows no errors and the detected hardware matches your real one, copy the file from your HOME directory to Y:\XFree86\lib\X11.

It won't work that way. Instead copy to Y:\XFree86\lib\X11\XF86Config. Thanks to Gerrit Schoenmaker for pointing this out.

May 2, 2003 - We received several letters this month in regard to Christian Hennecke's editorial "The Future of the VOICE Newsletter" in the May 2003 issue of the newsletter:

First is from Ed Durrant:

For what it's worth, here's my opinion of what could be done:

Point 1: Create two e-zines not one. this at first hearing sounds terrible, however wait ... Most technical German speaking people can also read English, so they will be able to read both e-zines. The articles written in German, often are relevant more to German technologies / telecoms etc (not always I accept) and there are some English (such as myself) who can also read German. Perhaps you could do a survey of your readership to find how many of your German readers can also read English, if this is a high figure, drop the German edition completely. The key point in either of these solutions is to remove duplication of effort across the two different language versions.

Point 2: Support only one format - HTML (with CSS if it makes it easier). Drop the INF format, the extra work doesn't warrant it.

Cheers/2 - Tschuess/2


Christian's response:


things are not quite that way over here.

Many of the technical people have problems understanding English, too. For some the reason is that they just have forgotten too much "school English". And many, many people just never learned English at all, namely those from the former German Democratic Republic. Russian was much more "en vogue" over there. What you said is mainly true for the young, but the majority of OS/2 users is quite a bit older. About 20 to 25% percent of our readers choose to read the German issue.

Another thing is that the German edition created a valuable source of articles for us, namely those authors who don't feel comfortable writing in English. And not to forget those who joined VOICE because of it.

I don't see that a larger number of the articles written by German authors cover topics which are relevant for the German-speaking nations only. Looking back, I can really only think of one article - the one that covered Little Business Helper.

We are going to shut down the German edition, if it can't be avoided. But I'd rather try something else first.

Next is from Bart Bremmers:
I, for one, just read the html version. So not having an INF is ok with me. Also, I think people have to be encouraged to upgrade their browsers if the www is going to evolve. It's hard to imagine anyone still using Web Explorer but a friendly pointer to Opera, Mozilla or Netscape (for those with SWC) would actually improve their browsing experience throughout the www. CSS is an integral part of the future of browsing, so by all means use it (and of course javascript). My 2 cents, no reply needed

Don't give up, I appreciate your efforts!

Here are some comments from Isaac Leung:
- I agree we should keep OS/2 VOICE and OS/2 e-Zine separate.
- Getting writers is a problem. At first I wrote for VOICE, then did a bit of both, but recently, more regularly with OS/2 e-Zine. Nothing in particular, I don't know why I switched, but I don't have time to contribute to both.
- Ditch the .INF version. Yes, it's cool. But I have never downloaded it at all. As long as the HTML versions remain on-line always, that's fine.
- I don't know why preparing the articles should be so much work. (Except translation). I submit in HTML. I assume only minor tweaking is needed to make it fit the magazine format. Even text should be easy to make it fit. What are most people submitting?
- I volunteer to proof-read :-) Honest. (English only). That part's easy for me.
- Allow shareware authors to contribute. It's in their best interest to promote their own product. Surely they can put together a small description or better, a TUTORIAL showing what you can do with their product.
- I found out when I wrote a couple of "How-to" articles for OS/2 e-zine: There are a lot of OS/2 users hiding out there! (I got lots of feedback). They're just waiting for nice articles...good things to talk about, etc.

- As for VOICE meetings....on-line is a bad time due to the world-wide time difference. I don't think it's as much due to declining users.


From Chris Wormuth:
Hi Christian,

I would recommend dropping the inf version. I love inf and I'm as traditional as they get, but if there's X amount of time but 2X amount of work the thing to do is drop the frills. In the past, with the awful browsers OS/2 has had since the death of WebExplorer this would have upset me, but now ... between Mozilla and Phoenix, OS/2 has as good a viewer as anyone. We wouldn't be missing that much but the editors should be saving a *lot* of time, yes ?


chris wormuth

From Heiko Poppe, who also offered his help:


From the start I've been reading the HTML version exclusively. So shutting down the INF version wouldn't bother me at all. Wasn't there a poll at some point whether this version was being read at all? My suggestion: Shut it down, unless you can find a new "maker" for these pages (or there is a significant number of readers who are not willing to switch.)

Regarding CSS and the browsers used: Who is still seriously using IBM's WebExplorer today? I have stopped doing to with the release of Netscape Navigator myself, as already at that point there were too many pages which it couldn't display. Meanwhile I have parted with Netscape for daily work, too. In the Windows world nobody is considerate of that. Now I think, the OS/2 world doesn't need to join in this practise. My suggestion is to agree to use Netscape 4.61 at least. To my knowledge it also has some problems with some CSS pages, but to me this seems to be dependent on the program which was used to create the pages. Or you come up for discussion with using Mozilla/Opera as standard browser. Here you should balance the effort (of creating the Newsletter) against the gain, also in the sense of the "makers'" spare time.

Finally, one sentence regarding meetings: I have never attended either, for several reasons: I've never tried IRC so far, the meeting time of 2AM isn't exactly my thing, and then there is my English knowledge...


May 11, 2003 - Our next letter of the month is from Gerrit Schoenmaker in regard to Christian Hennecke's article on "Installing XFree86/OS2 4.3.0" in the April 2003 issue of the newsletter:
I have installed XFree86 4.3 on my computer (Athlon XP 2000+, Matrox G450) and it's running just fine. Your VOICE article was used as manual for the installation and I want to give some comment on that.

1. For a working installation you'll have to create manually the \usr\adm\ subdir at rootlevel of your XFree86 drive, otherwise the XFree86.0.log cannot be created! You have forgotten to mention that.
2. At paragraph 6.0 you are talking about copying the file to the \xfree86\lib\X11. This has to be: copying to \xfree86\lib\X11\xf86config!!!!!!

Furthermore I should like to ask you, is there a tool available to create the necessary fonts.dir and fonts.scale files in the TrueType font directory. It should be possible now to use Truetype fonts without having installed any fontserver. Everytime after copying TrueType files into that directory you have to update fonts.dir and fonts.scale. I know there is a special REXX script to do the job for Type1 fonts.

Here is Christian's response:

Let me check this. NO, creating \usr\adm by hand was required for previous beta versions, but now this is done automatically when you extract the archive.

Regarding fonts, there are mkfontdir.exe and mkfontscale.exe to do this for the
traditional font engine. Unfortunately they don't seem to work correctly, or XFree86/OS2 misinterprets the resulting files. So far I haven't been able to use the new method. I've told Frank Giessler about the problem and he's going to investigate.

What *does* work is the new Xft font stuff. See \XFree86\lib\X11\doc\README.fonts. But so far there are only very few applications which are able to make use of it.

May 7, 2003 - Edgar Scrutton wrote the following to Mark Szkolnicki about Mark's May 2003 article Virtual PC - Now We Can Have It All!:
Enjoyed your article in Voice. I have used it since Warpstock in Austin and am moderately happy with it's ability ... shortcomings of sound and usb support noticed. Don't install Window's Update SP3 or you will be out of business with VPC and W2000P. It just goes into a continual crash and reboot cycle. Solution.. Wipe it out ... including VPC and start over again. Of course you loose all you data saved in Windows ... but one should expect that and save their data on the OS/2 drive ... where it is safe ... safer anyway.

R. Edgar Scrutton
Allison's Travel Agency Ltd

Mark's response:

Thanks for the kind words.

Your tip about SP3 under VPC is interesting. I haven't tried it myself - using the original install WIN2000 under VPC (I figure if it ain't broke I don't fix it).

I save all data on either the host machine or on another drive on the physical network, for the reasons you describe, as I've found it relatively painless installing the VirtualPC switch.



May 15, 2003 - Here is some added information about USB cameras and OS/2 from Nicholas Lysaght, as an update to an article by Eric Landrieu, Using the Toshiba PDR-M4 Digital Camera with OS/2 via USB in the April 2001 issue:
I hope this posting is of some use to other OS/2 users out there. Please edit it to your liking and feel free to post it on to "OS2Voice".

I bought a "Vivitar" Vivicam 3610 on special from "Big W" for Mother's Day.

After laboriously installing all and sundry Windows applications that came with the camera, in the Windows partition, it suddenly dawned on me that there was a simpler and more direct approach to downloading the images from the Camera to the hard drive.

I looked in the OS/2 Voice archives, and there is an article at <> which described how the USB Mass Storage Device should work with regard to digital cameras. I also went to <> for some tips. Both sites are highly recommended, and make a very good "jumping off" point.

I made sure that I had the latest USB MSD Drivers installed.

I am now downloading images from my camera using the following method:

  1. Connect the USB Cord from the camera to an USB outlet on the computer.
  2. Bring up the "Drives" object and select "Refresh Removable Media". An extra Drive will appear.
  3. Drill down into that Drive until the picture icons appear. Copy or move them to the directory of your choice.
  4. When operation complete, be sure to remember to right click on the new Drive, then press "EJECT". It appears to be OK to remove the lead from the camera, after the Drive has disappeared.

If using command line, or File Commander /2, the command: "lvm /RediscoverPRM" may be used to make the USB link between camera and computer, and "Eject <Drive Letter>" to break it, when complete.

It appears the built-in Image Viewer or PMView has no problems determining the image, but it is probably better to remove the images to a temporary directory before any serious image manipulation takes place.

I notice that Vivitar's Website has information regarding the downloading of images. It may vaguely point to a solution to other brands of Digital Cameras and their compatibility to IBM-eCs-OS/2 MSD. Perusing other camera sites it seems that the MSD method appears to be gaining popularity against proprietary Windows software, however extreme caution and much research should be employed before making that "final choice." I thought it was important to show that at least one model of one brand of Digital Camera is working well with eCs-OS/2....maybe there will be more.

I hope this helps someone.

Nicholas Lysaght

May 16, 2003 - Regarding Tim Sipples' article on the IBM Thinkpad T30 in January 2003 Newsletter here is a letter from Christian Kunz:
Thanks much for your detailed information about the Thinkpad T30!

I'm very interested in buying its successor called T40 but I'm afraid of
this Security Subsystem that is TCPA-compatible. You wrote that it was
possible to deactivate it in the BIOS of the T30. Do you know if it's
still possible in its successor?

Thanks much
christian kunz

Tim's reply:

I don't know, but I would assume so.

As I write this, I don't see any T40 models listed without the IBM Security Subsystem, although none of the R models have it (for example).

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