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August 2000

Choices to Make!

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

Choices to Make! Something microsoft users generally don't have to worry about as all their thinking is done for them by Redmond. OS/2 users are always plagued with decisions. IBM, in it's quest to abandon OS/2, has decided not to extend the Warp 4 client End of Life beyond it's current January 31, 2001. That leaves OS/2 users with a new decision.

Here are the options as I see it:

1. Do nothing. This seems to have worked for many of the Warp 3 users. They live in a veritable time warp; but just because Warp 3 is no longer supported doesn't mean their computers stop running. But eventually more and more new things won't work. Odin runs better on Warp4, with the latest fixpacks. Lotus Smart Suite now requires at least Warp 4.

2. Take IBM's advise and move to windoze or Linux. Well ethically, even if microsoft's latest operating environment wasn't a hack job, I still couldn't consider that direction. That would leave Linux. Perhaps in a couple of years, but it's still just too much work.

3. Buy IBM's Software Choice subscription, and hope that IBM continues to provide value as well as updates. Up until recently, there has been little of value on Software Choice for the small time user. We are now promised at least one Convenience Pack upgrade, Java 1.3, updates to TCP/IP, a new as yet unamed web browser. It will not contain VoiceType, or any of the Bonus Pack Apps, so if you use those, make sure you keep your Warp 4 CD's. IBM has now announced that the next version Visualage Java will no longer be supported on OS/2. In another bomb shell, announced on Warpcast, IBM plans no new versions of Visual Age C/C++. Neither of these indicates much hope for IBM to continue much if any OS/2 development beyond fixing reported problems for customers with support contracts.

4. Buy eComStation from Serenity Systems. The Managed Mobile Client, which is the non-networked version of the Managed Client/WiseManager setup, and which Kim Cheung showed off at Warpstock99. This new version based on the upcoming Convenience Pack will allow you to install off a CD. Kim promises Drag and Drop application install with the included WiseMachine, an abbreviated version of the Wisemanager product that is used to load and control whole networks.

I've already made my choice. I'm buying 3 copies of eComStation(eCS). Besides WiseMachine, and the OS/2 Convenience Pack, eCS is slated to include VoiceType, the Bonus Pack apps from Warp 4, PM Fax Lite and a copy of Desktop on Call. That last is to allow you or a support person to control your machine remotely. Also Serenity Systems is a licensed distributor with Sun Microsystems for Star Office. True, Star Office is currently frozen at version 5.1a, but Sun has announced that the 6.0 version will be open source. Not only has Serenity stated they will support the porting of SO 6.0 to eCS, but they are also actively considering supporting a DVD multimedia app for eCS as well. There has also been talk about writing improved USB drivers. Need to run Windows' applications? Then you will have a couple of choices/solutions under eCS. The Odin project, which provides a software solution to run win32 apps, or the Freedom Card, which is a pc on a board, which will allow you to run both eCS and Windows on the same machine at the same time.

Speaking of support, Serenity has lined up several distributor's to sell and support eCS. They include Indelible Blue in the U.S.; Mensys in Europe; Orion Solutions in Australia; Mati in Mexico; and JBS Jacaranda Systems in Canada. And for the enterprise corporate support, IBM's Rapid Deployment team has been certified in installing eCS.

There are three distinct flavours of eCS.

Costs start at about $149 for the eCS Entry as an upgrade from an existing Warp 4 license. Prices and some packaging of the components will be left up to the distributors. So check with your regional distributor about specific prices and any special promotions. Hopefully Serenity or at least one of their distributors will be at Warpstock 2000 in Philly, in September to show off this new PC operating system.

It's your decision. You make the choice. I like the idea of supporting someone who isn't afraid to support me and my choice of operating systems. If you wish to discuss this further with me, stop by the VOICE booth at Warpstock in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the weekend of September 9th and 10th.

Speaking of Warpstock 2000, how many of you VOICE members plan on attending? Anyone out there want to help out at the VOICE Booth? We need a few folks to do 2 hour shifts in the booth to answer questions about VOICE. We are also trying to setup an OS/2 pc clinic for Warpstock 2000. If you can help us out please contact me at editor@os2voice.org. For more on Warpstock 2000 please see my article on the host location, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in OS/2eZine's July issue - http://www.os2ezine.com/20000716/ws2000.html. There are already lots of great sessions scheduled, and more in the works. If you are in or near Philly and can help out help out the Warpstock 2000 organization as a volunteer please sign up at the Volunteer page - http://www.warpstock.org/2000/volunteers.html. If the Warpstock web site is still experiencing problems, please try the mirror site at http://www.ibmforum.com/warpstock/. The direct link to register for Warpstock 2000 online is http://shop.mensys.nl/cgi-bin/db2www/mns_art2.d2w/report?catname=WARPST2000&username=&i1=&o=&x=9874.435

If you are not yet a member of VOICE, we can use your support. If you haven't done so yet, but are ready to do so now, joining VOICE has been made a bit easier if you are outside the US. Mensys has added the VOICE memberships to their online store - http://shop.mensys.nl/cgi-bin/db2www/mns_art2.d2w/report?artname=VOICESUB. As before you can also join VOICE online via our BMT Secure order form at https://secure.falcon-net.net/BMT/order0308.html. If you prefer to just mail in a check, we take those as well. :-) For more on mail in memberships see http://www.os2voice.org/membership.html. As always we will be taking membership renewals and new applications at Warpstock 2000 as well. Please consider joining VOICE now. Every membership helps make us stronger in our support of the OS/2 community. And right now the OS/2 community needs all the help it can get.

In July we tried something a little different. We had two Speakup sessions with Serenity Systems' Bob St. John. A wide ranging discussion on their new Managed Client, which was officially announced at the Speakup. The logs of these two sessions can be found at http://www.os2voice.org/logs/V070300.LOG.html and http://www.os2voice.org/logs/V071000.LOG.html

In August there is a Speakup scheduled with Sundial Systems, on the 1st at 8PM EDT(00:00GMT). No topic as of yet, but these are always a learning experience, with the folks from Sundial, one of the most active OS/2 ISV's around. There is a General Meeting scheduled for the 21st at 8PM EDT(00:00GMT). If you would like to hear from someone in particular or have an idea for a Speakup event, please submit it to liaison@os2voice.org, and we will try to schedule something. Also on the VOICE Calendar are weekly Warp Doctor team meetings every Wednesday at 8PM EDT (00:00GMT). 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.

For August, Timothy Howe looks at the current state of the next generation web browser for OS/2 in Warpzilla Today . Tim also interviews one of the primary developers. You may be surprised who that is. Next up Christian Hennecke continues to inform you how to raise the needle on your system speedometer in How to Supercharge OS/2 Warp, Part 3. This month Christian looks at memory usage.

Some guy named Mark Dodel reviews his challenges in installing a big new drive and controller in The IWill SIDE-Pro 66 Ultra ATA66 IDE Controller Card.

Finally, we have Louis Moullo with a review of RSJ CD-Writer for OS/2 3.05, that we last looked at in the July 1999 issue of the VOICE Newsletter http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL0799H/vnewsf2.htm. Louis fills us in on what has changed with RSJ in the past year.

Also be sure to read the Letters to VOICE, addendums, Errata section, which has updates on past articles on Odin and the IBM Wireless LAN kit.

Next month we have a review of the Lexmark Optra E312 Laser printer, Part 4 of Christian Hennecke's How to Supercharge OS/2 Warp, and more. And if everything works as planned, our German readers should be able to read a version of the September issue in German. Hopefully this addition to the VOICE family will help spread the word that we are truly an International OS/2 organization. Stay tuned for further announcements on this project.

Just a reminder that we now have a full Newsletter Master Index page. All the feature sections of the current and previous issues can now be found on this one page. Additionally, we have added a Java based search function to this master index page. It will allow you to search all past issues for a specific word or phrase. So try it out and let us know what you think. If you have any ideas for improvements let me know at editor@os2voice.org.

That's it for this month. 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. To that end, and because of several recent requests, we have added a Guidelines for Article Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter.

Mark Dodel
Editor, VOICE Newsletter

So who says OS/2 is dead now? We have better display driver support then ever, WinDriver to help with new device drivers, and now a new version of OS/2. Too bad IBM isn't announcing this as such. Could they still be afraid of the monopolist in Redmond?

If you want to express your feelings on the way IBM has abandoned OS/2 users in it's quest to appease bill gates, please write a letter to the US DOJ and tell them how you feel.

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

The email address is antitrust@justice.usdoj.gov, however I believe a written communication has more effect then electronic.

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