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September 2000

Letters, Addendum, Errata

If you have any comments regarding articles or tips in this or any previous issue of the VOICE Newsletter, please send them to editor@os2voice.org. We are always interested in what our readers have to say.

August 1, 2000 - Following is a letter from Stephen Eickhoff in regard to my article in the June newsletter on the IBM Wireless LAN Kit:
Thanks for your VOICE article on the IBM Wireless LAN. I picked up a kit on
Ebay from the same guy and got it working in a few hours. I actually had
English driver diskettes and manuals (and one Spanish manual with UK English
drivers *grin*). This was actually unfortunate, because I tried to use the old
software and it didn't work. It was probably not compatible with v4, because
the readme mentioned it wasn't compatible with Lan Server 4 either. The latest
drivers worked fine. I'm paranoid, so I set mine up with full encryption. I'm
wonder if it's software or hardware based, because it could be killing my
performance. A real concern, because the base is a P90 and the laptop is a
486-25! Let's face it, nothing is fast on a 486 anyway :-) But I can browse
the web downstairs without wires, and my communications are probably safer
than on my cordless phone, so I'd say $80 was worth it.
A note: if you update MPTS, you'll have to "update" the workstation driver
from the original disks again. Seems that the MPTS fixpacks overwrite your MAC

BTW, tried the WFW drivers on Win95 just for kicks. Nope, they don't work :-P

August 3, 2000 - Following is a letter from Gilbert Lefebvre, on the Team OS/2 List in regard to my editorial in the August newsletter:
I also sent your editor's note URL to all the Montreal OS/2 user group. I believe
most people from this list would also benefit from reading it:


Thanks for the useful information about our future choices in running OS/2!
People can also read your backing up to a large drive article by going to the
"features" option.

August 3, 2000 - Following is a letter from Walter Metcalf, on the Team OS/2 List in regard to my article in the August newsletter, The IWill SIDE-Pro 66 Ultra ATA66 IDE Controller Card:
Hi Mark!

Interesting article about your IWill card. I just went the DMA66 route
myself, but with a much smaller drive.

I noticed you had trouble getting access to the the iwill US site; I had
the same problem getting into the WDC site. Seems that our friend BG
bribed them to (er...politely requested that they) keep out every who
didn't use his browser. Anyhow there's a fairly simple solution for
that problem. You can find it on my site at
http://os2.about.com/compute/os2/library/bltips000321.htm, although it's
certainly not original with me. :-)

Good luck!

August 14, 2000 - Following is a letter from Janeira St. Clare in regard to a tip about drivers for the ATI Rage 128 card in the August newsletter, OS/2 Tips:

Per the recommendations of two of your readers, I have written letters to both Sun (re: Star Office open source) and ATI (re: Rage 128 drivers). I found the response of ATI to the reader quite interesting in its candor. I wonder who it is they will get in trouble with if they appear to support OS/2. Is it Micro$oft? Is it IBM? Maybe the Justice Department or EU should hear about this.

Or perhaps they don't want to admit that they don't want to support OS/2 anymore, though that seems contradicted by their very blunt "No New Drivers" statement on their tech support site.

Thanks for a great newsletter.

My reply:
Thanks for reading the newsletter. It does seem weird that they have a driver written, but refuse to publicly acknowledge it. How much of that is a result to please microsoft, and how much it is because IBM is totally messed up is beyond me. I have been calling on people to write to the USDOJ to ask them to investigate the anti-competitive deals between microsoft and IBM for a couple years now. Just look at IBM's OS/2 Warp News page to see IBM's latest idiocy. http://www-4.ibm.com/software/os/warp/news/ The only news item they list is the InfoWorld article that calls the Convenience Packs "Migration Packs". With all the positive spin articles around on this topic they pick the most negative.

Not only that, but instead of placing it under the News Stories category, they put it under "Release Information" to make it look like this is an official IBM Statement of abandoning OS/2. "IN A MOVE to help corporate users accelerate migration away from the OS/2 operating platform, IBM will release two upgrade packs containing many of the Java and Internet-related development technologies dribbled out the last three years for the nearly forgotten operating system." Are these guys clowns or just trying to drive away what's left of the OS/2 Community?"

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 and give them facts.

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

For the European Community it appears that the place to write is:

European Commission
Directorate-General for Competition
rue Joseph II / Jozef II-straat 70
B-1000 Brussels

Their website is http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/index_en.html, but
I couldn't find a direct email address for them.

Editor's note: August 16, 2000; IBM removed the offensive post from the OS/2 Warp News page two days after it was first noticed and reported on comp.os.os2.misc and one day after my reply was written and sent to Janeira St. Clare. Guess I will have to start saving all this evidence in the future.

August 21, 2000 - Here's a letter from "an OS/2 developer somewhere in New England":

It's a shame, but OS/2's life *is* ending, and IBM won't extend it for some very good reasons. I say this as a dedicated OS/2 user and programmer, and someone who will miss (but not mourn) OS/2 when it is gone.

IBM has announced "end of support" for Warp 4. End of support for Warp Server for e-Business follows a year later. Both announcements reflect something other than IBM's support for the o/s: they reflect a lack of programming talent working under OS/2.

Developers have abandoned OS/2 for M$ Windows, Linux, or MacOS (yes, MacOS support is actually *growing*!) Recently, when looking for OS/2 talent, I was tapped by my current employer via another company. The reason that they gave was that they couldn't find any talent locally. That wasn't (and still isn't) strictly true: OS/2 programmers still exist, but they are not *broadcasting* OS/2 as one of their skill sets.

OS/2 developers aren't suicidal. Unfortunately, saying you are an OS/2 programmer is like saying "I use old operating systems and specialize in obsolete programming techniques", rather than saying "I use Linux and write software for M$ platforms, especially in Java and XML". And, in the eyes of many, saying the former means "my skills aren't current", while saying the latter means "I'm doing bleeding-edge work".

So, if IBM can't find developers willing to admit their OS/2 skills, they won't push OS/2 *no matter how good it is*. IBM promotes its "support" for operating systems as a selling point to corporate customers, and it is corporate customers that make IBM successful.

It then follows that, since IBM can't find new programming talent/applications for OS/2 because programmers think that OS/2 is "too old and obsolete" to use, IBM will then terminate OS/2 because it is "too old and obsolete" to support. Likewise, companies *using* OS/2 will follow IBM's lead and convert their applications to a non-OS/2 base... and then advertise the "new, improved, cross-platform" version of their code.

OS/2 will continue to exist, but in a much more discrete manner. IBM supports many operating systems *far* beyond their "usable life", but for an appropriately priced support fee. And this is what keeps many of those "obsolete" operating systems on-line. At least, until the applications are ported to a new platform.

Please don't quote me by name or by company: I'm a contractor here and my opinions are strictly *my own*. And, I want to keep my job... :-)

Editor's response:
There are a lot of reasons why OS/2 is no longer in favor by almost any developers. IBM has certainly made it much more difficult to develop under OS/2 then microsoft has for windows. IBM has been sending out signals for years that they want OS/2 users to go away. Why they don't want to support their own product has always been a mystery, though the USDOJ-microsoft trial did open a small window into some of the pressure that was placed on IBM to force that to happen.

IBM at first tried to declare OS neutrality, no longer favoring OS/2 as a preferred platform. Most likely in a bid to gain brownie points with microsoft. That lead to another round of "OS/2 is dead" pronouncements, but OS/2 continued to live on. Even IBM's recent announcement that they will continue to support OS/2 beyond the end of life of Warp 4 via the Convenience Pack for at least the next two years, was somehow turned into a pronouncement of death by the OS/2 haters. With bizarre logic, InfoWorld renamed it Migration Packs. And IBM remained silent and even put a link to the article on their OS/2 Warp News page.

Yes IBM has stopped budgeting any new OS/2 system development unless it is paid for by customers. They do continue to fix any problems though. And have actually released a new version of the client via fixpacks, since they are obviously afraid to put out an announced new client version. So OS/2 does continue to be advanced, just not without much in the way of funding and certainly without any sort of promotion. So there is no counter to the anti-OS/2 FUD. At least none from IBM.

Last month we heard that ATI had new OS/2 drivers for it's Rage 128 card, but refused to make them publically available for "marketing reasons". Now that is bizarre. They saw a market for and paid for the development of OS/2 drivers, but then didn't want anyone to know they had them. What are they afraid of?

IBM has recently announced that their VisualAge Java would no longer be developed for OS/2, and their VisualAge C/C++ would no longer be developed for OS/2 or windows. That leaves OS/2 with only already well-aged development tools and a few shareware/freeware development packages that are still maintained.

When was the last time IBM released an application that had equivalent OS/2 version other then the recent SmartSuite? I subscribe to Developer Connection (which has just been renamed to IBM DeveloperToolbox). Almost everything new on there is for platforms other then OS/2. And to make room for all the Linux and windows junk, OS/2 resources disappear. In their devloper's magazine only windows and Linux are discussed. So I think it's pretty apparent that IBM, despite their "platform neutrality" mantra, are fixated on Linux and windoze, which are far from neutral.

The bright side is that Serenity Systems has breathed new life into OS/2 with the upcoming eComStation release. They are actively talking about OS/2 platform development and promoting OS/2 applications. This includes sprucing up the appearance of the operating system, and new driver development and even some multimedia updates as well.

Lastly, your company hired you to do OS/2 development, so there must be a reason that. We have heard that despite all the pronouncements of OS/2's death, it still keeps selling. Someone keeps buying it, so there must still be value in an old workhorse that actually works, despite the past 10 years of obituaries. It seems OS/2 is a much more viable product in the network thin client area then it's competitors. So maybe there is still a few years left in the old gal yet. Maybe OS/2 is actually ahead of it's time.

Perhaps in two or three or more years there will arise a decent alternative to OS/2 for me. At the moment there is none so I'm not near ready to give up.


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