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August 2002

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Interview with an OS/2 SOHO-user

By Eric Baerwaldt © August 2002, Translation: Christian Hennecke

Barbara Tichy-Tchapeou lives in Heilbronn/Baden-Württemberg in Germany and has been working as a freelanceg instructor of foreign languages and translator for English, French, Italian, and Czech languages for over ten years. Among other things she and a colleague have translated the book »Firewalls for Dummies«, which has been published by mitp-Verlag, to German. In her spare time, Mrs. Tichy-Tchapeou gets involved with development projects in the third world, primarily on the African continent.

VOICE: Mrs. Tichy, you are using OS/2 Warp by IBM. Could you please describe in short what sorts of business you handle with the computer and which hardware you are employing to do so?

Mrs. Tichy-Tchapeou: I have been working as a freelance instructor for foreign languages using the suggestopaedic method (a "super-learning" method of teaching foreign languages), mainly for corporate customers, and as a translator of four foreign languages for publishing houses. Recently I have translated a book on firewalls together with a colleague that is now available in book-stores. Using the computer I handle any sort of business. First of all this includes word-processing, but also internet, e-mail, and online-banking. In addition I utilize the computer for annual tax preparation and of course for accounting.

I use an IBM machine, type PS/2 77. This is an 80486 machine with a color monitor, also from IBM, and a Canon BJC 250 color ink printer. I am connected to the outside world with an USRobotics modem. As operating system I am using version 4.5 of OS/2.

VOICE: Do you take care of all the mentioned tasks with OS/2 and that machine?

Mrs. Tichy-Tchapeou: Yes. Though some DOS programs are employed, I mainly use Lotus WordPro for word processing - besides WordPerfect for DOS - and Moneyplex by Matrica for online-banking. The dictionaries as well as the software for annual tax filing however are run under DOS. This is going to change in the foreseeable future, since - as I have heard - there is going to be software for OS/2 for tax filing. I don't have any computer besides the PS/2 77. I had a second hard disk added to it - in all these years the computer has never shown any defects so I am really pleased with it.

VOICE: When did you begin working with OS/2 and how did things lead to the decision for this operating system? Were other operating systems, like Linux, interesting for you, too?

Mrs. Tichy-Tchapeou: I have only been working with OS/2 for about two years. Before that I had only used DOS programs. Since these programs weren't developed any further and partially they neither were year 2000 compatible nor designed for the Euro, I had to switch to another platform. My IT consultant suggested OS/2, because it is very stable and I can work very efficiently with it. Several customers and colleagues with whom I discussed the matter always advised me to use Windows, but I have informed myself thoroughly after my IT consultant had explained that this system is the worst technically and that the manufacturer had been convicted of criminal actions on top of that. I did not want to deal with such a company - supporting Microsoft didn't seem and still doesn't seem justifiable to me morally. Some of the students of computer science whom I teach at the vocational college also knew OS/2 and could report that it is an outstanding system. My colleagues and customers, who are using Windows themselves, also partially admitted meekly that every now and then they were experiencing sometimes severe technical problems. I am just a user and I can't always call an expensive technician when the computer does not work correctly.

Of course I have read a lot about Linux, but my students at the vocational college advised me against it, because Linux requires a substantial period of skill adaption training and for me as a user the problem again would have been that I would have had to always call a technician, if something did not work. Moreover I rely on the ability to exchange data with Windows system after all the most of my colleagues are working with it. WordPro allows this exchange to run trouble-free. And finally no suitable software exists for Linux in many cases - I wouldn't have been able to do the accounting and tax preparation with the computer any more. Such a half done system I couldn't do with at my workplace in the professional area. For these reasons I have decided to use OS/2.

VOICE: And have you ever come to regret your decision?

Mrs. Tichy-Tchapeou: No, I am very pleased with the whole system. From customers and students at the vocational college I always hear that they have been infected by computer virii or that the computer has crashed again. This has never happened to me - simply great! Even though I often surf the internet...

VOICE: What technical innovations or additional software would you wish for in regard to OS/2?

Mrs. Tichy-Tchapeou: I don't need any technical innovations at the moment. My IT consultant has mentioned the recent release of eComStation that is said to look less rustic than OS/2 - but for me it is important that the system runs "sound". I have no use for crashes when I am working on a longer translation, for instance, and I have not had any problems with OS/2 and the IBM computer in that regard. As to my knowledge eComStation is based on OS/2, I don't have anything against a slighty more colorful appearance though. On the spur of the moment I'd wish for special dictionairies for computer-related terms in French and Italian as additional software.

VOICE: Do you know other users of OS/2 in your vicinity?

Mrs. Tichy-Tchapeou: Yes, the Sparkasse Heilbronn [Translator's note: the savings bank of Heilbronn], the largest local bank, is using OS/2 in all areas. The screen looked a bit strange to me when I noticed it, but I was told that it wasn't OS/2 Warp version 4 or 4.5, but Warp Connect version 3, a fairly old version. The Swabians are simply thrifty and don't need some new callow hogwash every two years! [Translator's note: This is a pun. Austerity is a characteristic that the Swabians are generally accredited with.]

VOICE: Mrs. Tichy, thank you for this interview.

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