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An editorial view from Mark Dodel, Founding Editor of the VOICE Newsletter.
Recently I got to thinking about the problem with abandoned software and updates. I saw someone post a request for the last update for PMFax Pro on Usenet. They own a valid license for PM Fax Pro, so it's not like they are looking to get something for nothing. They also are not asking for someone to provide support, just to make available an update file that already exists.
I checked my own file dump to see if I had it and couldn't locate it at first. Someone came up with a link to an FTP site that had a version of PMFax Pro on it. I downloaded it and it's a full install or update release from June 2000. Comparing it to the last update on my own system (it helps to know the file name), this is newer by a few months. I have no idea if there is an even newer update.
The problem arose in this case because the company (CDS) that took over support for PMFax after the developer Keller Group folded, was itself absorbed by another company. The newest company, Intradyn, had no interest in any of CDS' OS/2 products and announced they were abandoning support for both Back Again and PrimaFax (a windows and Linux fax program they also acquired from CDS) at the beginning of 2005. They never even mentioned PMFax and have removed all mention of PMFax from their web site.
Frankly I believe when Intradyn bought CDS they assumed the liability that CDS acquired when it took over support for PMFax. I sent an email to Intradyn asking them to make the last updates publicly available somewhere; if not on their site, then on a public download site such as Hobbes. This shouldn't cost them anything, especially if they put it on a public download site. The response I received was not at all helpful.
First they stated that "we had announced earlier this year that PMFax would no longer be a supported product. Unfortunately there is no alternative that we can recommend to you." Don't you love when people state the obvious and don't actually answer the question you asked? Then I replied stating I wasn't asking for support, just either the last PMFax update file or at least permission to have the file uploaded to a public download site assuming I could find someone that has such a file. They quickly replied "We do not have the rights to that product and cannot give you any authorization." So first they said they had discontinued support for PMFax and now say they had no rights to the product. Basically they just didn't want to be helpful. Here they can gather some good will and it wouldn't cost them a dime. Instead they just refuse to help in this small way. That is sad. With this attitiude would you trust Intradyn for support of any of their products into the future?
So the question is: who does have the rights to PMFax? If not Intradyn, then who? I've sent yet another email to Intradyn to ask if they have any idea who this might be. Their response was "We cannot help you further on this matter." If there is no one left then no one should care if the update is available for people who have valid registrations and still use the product. Just because a developer gives up the ghost, or doesn't want to be bothered supporting a small user base, it doesn't mean that everyone who has paid for the product should not be allowed to at least have access to the last update. Anyone have any ideas on this? Is the June 2000 file available on the Russian FTP site the last available update for PMFax? Please let us know at email@example.com if you know any more on this.
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 and HowTo articles. If you have an idea for an article, why not write one? It's one of the best ways, short of programming native OS/2 applications, that you can help the OS/2 Community. And anyone can do it. Few of our writers are professionals. They are just OS/2 users trying to help other OS/2 users. Please send me your ideas or, better yet, a draft of an article to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note our guidelines for submissions to the VOICE Newsletter. There you find suggestions for topics, hints on content, structure and formatting, as well as the legalese.
VOICE Online Update: This month the general member meetings are scheduled on June 4 and 18 at 3PM EDT (20:00 GMT). Everyone interested in OS/2 or eComStation is invited to attend either or both of these sessions in # VOICE on the Webbnet IRC network. For more information on attending online VOICE IRC meetings please see the VOICE Meeting Information page - http://www.os2voice.org/meetinginfo.html.
If you have an idea for a Speakup event, please submit it to email@example.com, and we will schedule something. 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.
This month, Robert Henschel fills you in on the OS/2 and eComStation Developer Workshop 2005 in Dresden, Germany.
Scanning and doing graphics can be complicated on OS/2. Bryann Melvin, a professional graphics artist, points us to a different approach. Read more in Scanner use in OS/2 and XFree86/OS2.
Meanwhile, Innotek has released version 1.1.4 of OpenOffice.org. Keith Merrington takes a short look at the new package. Read more in OpenOffice.org upgrade for OS/2 and eComStation.
After a long absence, Thomas Klein is back with part 14 of his series DrDialog, or how I learned to stop worrying and love REXX. This part deals with using external custom controls.
Finally, we have our OS/2 Tips and Letters, Addenda, Errata pages. If you have any OS/2 or eCS tips you've uncovered, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any comments or suggestions about the newsletter or articles in it, please send them to email@example.com.
That's it for this month.
Christian Hennecke, Mark Dodel, Marckus Kraft, and Jason R. Stefanovich
VOICE Newsletter editors
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