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September 2002

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Letters, Addenda, Errata

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.

July 11, 2002 - First we have an update from Lothar Frommhold regarding his article on DVD RAM Disks and eCS, OS/2 from the May 2001 issue :
Some individuals may be interested to know that the DVD-RAM part works better with the latest UDF update - at least for the old DVD-RAM drive I use (Hitachi GF2050). A year ago, writing speeds were extremely slow, about 100 kB/s, but with the latest update I get 650 kB/s. This is still not breath taking, but it helps me a lot. (Advertized writing speed is 2.6 MB/s or so.) It was straightforward to install the UDF update and it worked at once; commands such as DIR, COPY, DEL are executed as if it was a hard disk (only more slowly). I hope to be able to test the Panasonic LF-D321U DVD-RAM drive soon.

Thus far I was unable to write CDs, the R or RW type. Don't know why. I use BASEDEV=3Ddanis506.add /A:1 /U:0 /BM /V and added the latest daniatapi.flt, but when I try to format the CD I get a message "CD write-protected." Any clues?

August 1, 2002 - Oops. James Luzenski pointed out a problem with a file listed in Peter Brown's ThemeManager - "How To" Modify existing Themes and Add New Themes in last month's issue :
Is the file available anywhere else? The link in the ThemeManager article doesn't work.
Mark Dodel's response:
Sorry about that. Alex Taylor the author of that theme had removed the file from the site since he had put it there as an example for a Usenet post and thought no one would want it. I just spoke with him in the Serenity Systems VOICE Speakup on IRC and he has put the file back up again. The link should now work.

August 9, 2002 - Pete Hinckley's letter refers to Mark Dodel's review of the The IBM Travelstar 8E PCMCIA drive in last month's issue :

On the advice of your article, I went out and got one, although I couldn't quite find as gooda deal as you got. Yes, it works fine with W4 fp 15. I had to format x: /FS:HPFS in my laptop in order to make the thing visible to OS/2. Then I had to remove that SCSI CF card reader and re-install the PCMCIA card reader in my destop because the SCSI pcmcia slot couldn't see the thing. In the process, I put the PCI card for the PCMCIA reader in slot 1 as you suggested, and things do seem to work a little better that with the previous arrangement. I was a bit leery of putting it in 1 because this shares some resources with the AGP slot, and the card reader likes exclusive use of IRQs. Once I (re-)assigned it IRQ 5 on Daniela's driver, everything was OK. On my system it acts just like an exceptionally large CF card. I insert it, wait for the beeps and the drive icon to show up on the card services button, and voila, drive M: 8gb.. To remove it, I use the eject command on the menu, the push the eject button. That's all there is to it. Doze crashes every time I try the reader, but this could be because of the rather extensive card re-arrangement. But who cares if doze can't read it?

August 17, 2002 - Here is an update from Tim Sipples on a VOICE news post regarding IBM's withdraw of support for Communication Server for OS/2 which appeared in the News pages in last month's issue :
I read the OS/2 VOICE newsletter item just now that says that Communications Server for OS/2 is no longer available.

That's not entirely true. The standalone Communications Server licenses were indeed withdrawn. However, there's another way to get Communications Server licenses: in the so-called "WebSphere Host Integration Solution."

If you sign up for the IBM Passport Advantage program (which anyone can do), then buy the WebSphere Host Integration Solution Passport Advantage part number(s), you get rights to Communications Server for any platform, including OS/2. (WebSphere Host On-Demand is also included in Host Integration Solution, among other products.)

You have to buy at least 10 of these Host Integration Solution user licenses to get 1 Communications Server server license, but Communications Server user access licenses are included.

What will become difficult over time is getting Communications Server 6.1 for OS/2 CDs, since those will be withdrawn soon. And IBM telephone technical support for CS/2 will be ending as well. There's no legal restriction that I know of on sharing the CD if you're legally licensed, so that's something the Internet user community can handle no doubt. (And I'm sure if Big Company X asks their IBM representative for a CS/2 CD, it will arrive wrapped in a pretty bow. :-))

What happens when there's a new version of WebSphere Host Integration Solution? Not much. IBM's Passport Advantage program terms give you rights to any prior version(s). So when the new Host Integration Solution comes out, you can still buy that and still get rights to CS/2. As long as WebSphere Host Integration Solution is around as a vehicle, and as long as the Passport Advantage terms give prior version rights, you can legally buy CS/2 licenses.

Many of your readers are probably wondering, "What is Communications Server?" If you don't have a mainframe or midrange (iSeries or AS/400) system, it's not something you need. Communications Server is an enduring, classic piece of software that acts as a gateway between clients and large systems. Usually it acts as a networking protocol converter, to put it simply.

Even if you do have a mainframe or midrange, there are two basic reasons why you may not need Communications Server:
(1) the mainframe and midrange systems have had more PC-friendly networking support for years, including superb TCP/IP support;
(2) PCs can now access mainframe and midrange systems directly using TCP/IP and other protocols. "Middle tier" servers like Communications Server (and for that matter Cisco CIP) are becoming less fashionable now, since they introduce a potential point of failure in the network. Novell has already withdrawn its NetWare for SAA product, for example, which provided identical function on that platform. And, in related news, IBM recently announced the withdrawal of certain mainframe front end processors, such as the 3745 Communications Controller, again for similar reasons.

The announcement letter unfortunately forgot to mention the most direct "replacement product": Personal Communications for OS/2. Personal Communications includes support for Enterprise Extender. IBM Enterprise Extender lets you carry all those mainframe networking protocols (SNA family protocols) over a TCP/IP connection. (Yes, all of them.) The mainframe itself has had Enterprise Extender support for many, many releases of OS/390 (the mainframe operating system) and now zOS. Also, Personal Communications provides API support for client-server applications. And naturally "PComm" provides terminal emulation -- something CS/2 didn't do -- with encryption support. PComm is likely a great substitute to link your OS/2-based client-server applications to your mainframe, without losing capabilities, and probably for less money than Communications Server.

I've been meaning to send this information along, since I knew the CS/2 withdrawal announcement letter would lack a lot of details. Sorry it took so long. I hope this helps put the announcement in context.

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