Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

September 1998

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Interview with an OS/2 User

Our third and final interview of the month is with Duaine Hechler, who has been using PC's since the 2nd original IBM PC with 640K and two floppy drives. Duane has been a Systems Programmer for 14 years supporting VSE for 14 years and VM/VSE for 8 years.

VOICE> Can you please describe your current use of OS/2 at home? What kind of hardware and software are you using for OS/2? Do you run DOS/Windows apps under OS/2?

Duaine> I use OS/2 for just about ** everthing **. Publishing family newsletter; neighbor's business flyers, labels, brochures; personal taxes; started on a family tree; flyers/brochures for family members, our church; resumes; all letter correspondences; phone book of technical numbers; Netscape; desktop publishing (my mother's 3 poetry books); video tape labels, cassette tape labels; plus all the items below and many others I can't think of right now.

I run several DOS apps under OS/2.
* AMTAX - Personal Federal & State Tax software (They refuse to write a
windows version)
* BASIC Compiler 1.0 (1983) for some of the software that I wrote many years ago. (My favorite is my Player Piano Player (1986) that draws a Player Piano on the screen, scrolls down the player piano roll, plays the notes, read from the screen, to the PC speaker and moves the appropiate keys up and down with the notes)
* Computer Associates' BPI Accounting II for my neighbor's business.
* DOS based mainframe training programs
* PFS: First Publisher (1990) - Published family reunion newsletters (converted to OS/2), also, just, recently, I used it for the necessary drawings for a patent I am working on.
* GW-BASIC - some old file conversion utilities that I still use but not very often
* DOS version of KEDIT by Mansfield software (equivalent to VM's XEDIT)
* PC-FILE - to keep compatible with friends' simple Name & Address database

I run NO windows apps under OS/2 (I have had to re-install OS/2 too many times)

VOICE> How and when did you decide to use OS/2? What features attracted you to try OS/2? What previous experience did you have with other operating systems?

Duaine> This one is easy. I decided to start running OS/2 at home when I was forced to use Windows 3.1 at work. I started running OS/2 at Version 2.1.

It wasn't really any particular feature that attracted me to OS/2, it was the stability and that it seemed to use a lot of concepts from the mainframe OS's especially VM (ie. each OS/2 "window" was like it's own virtual machine so OS/2 had it's own crash protection that Windows 3.1 lacked.
I've had experience with Win 3.1 (user and installer) and now at work with Win NT (user).

VOICE> What other operating systems if any do you use and if they are networked, how well does OS/2 work with these other systems? What percentage of your time is spent running OS/2?

Duaine> I am not on any kind of a network. I have Windows 3.1 for my sons' games (Monopoly, etc) and PrintMaster. I spend about 99.99999% using OS/2

VOICE> Do you think you will continue to use OS/2 at home, or move to another platform in the future?

Duaine> I will use OS/2 until it dies or until I'm forced into using something else. Ex. I have dozens of old 78's that I want to put on CD's but I need a software package to perform the recording BUT to AUTOMATICALLY take out the hissing, pops, scratch noise, etc. I have recently found one that only runs under Win NT.

However, I'm finding it harder and harder to stay with OS/2 only !

VOICE> Are there any changes that you would like to see to OS/2 that would facilitate your continued use or expanded use of OS/2?

Duaine> First, JAVA and all the internet utilities can go to @#!$@%^#. Don't get me wrong, other people can use them BUT they are not helping me at all. I need "core" apps for Desktop Publishing (like PageMaker), family tree (non-shareware version that I can count on *being* there 10 years from now), PrintMaster look-alike, etc.

Secondly, I've already sent this idea into IBM and got their canned response back that "that's not our direction" BUT maybe it should be !!! My idea was to make OS/2 Server like VM's CP and OS/2 Client like
VM's CMS. Basically, build OS/2 into a VM for the PC/Server that would allow you to install and run, concurrently, any major OS that's on the market today. IBM wins by developing something that *everybody* will want and use. We win by keeping OS/2 client alive.

VOICE> How have IBM's statements that they are targeting the medium to large business sector affected your decision to continue using OS/2?

Duaine> This is a very interesting question, because about 3 years ago, I tried to start my own business promoting OS/2 for the home users and small businesses desktop of choice. I WAS GETTING NOWHERE. All I got was, where is the OS/2 version of Word, etc. "I'm not changing", etc.

I officialy gave up my business venture when IBM finally admitted they lost the war with the home user OS.

As I stated above, I will stay with OS/2 until it dies or until I'm forced to use something else (ex. Win 3.1 for "popular" games like Monopoly).

VOICE> If IBM licensed another company to sell the OS/2 client to home/SOHO users, would you support this product?

Duaine> Let's put it this way, I would probably try and start my business up again -- trying to get home/SOHO to switch to OS/2.

VOICE> Have you tried to use OS/2 in your workplace? If so, what problems did you encounter that led you to stop using OS/2 or to fail to get OS/2 running in your business?

Duaine> At ONE of my jobs, I was allowed to put OS/2 on my PC while the rest of the business was Win 3.1. And, that was because, there was one small server, in the corner of the shop floor, running an application that only ran on OS/2 at that time and they need someone to take over that server.

I tried everything to get OS/2 in the rest of the business including anonymously publishing to upper management "crash" stats between Win 3.1 and OS/2. I got the same answer back everytime -- "Where is IBM's support?" and "Outside of you, where are the OS/2 trained personnel we can hire?"

In closing, until "we" (as in, dedicated OS/2 user community) can get the marketing, the "core" apps (Word, Excel, etc look-alikes for OS/2) and the placement on the store shelves, we are fighting a loosing battle.

* In my business venture, I was constantly told "I don't want to switch from Word to Smartsuite (or Excel to Lotus 1-2-3). I want a version of Word (or Excel) for OS/2".
* A little over a year ago, I was in my local COMP USA and, supprise, they had no place on the shelves for OS/2. I asked them were is the base OS/2 system package boxes, they answered "We don't carry it anymore, it's special order". I sent an email to Lou's mailbox stating this and I got an interesting reply from IBM. They asked me to send them the phone number and address of the store and they would contact them to be sure they do carry OS/2. About a month later, I went back in and, magically, there were 6 boxes of OS/2 (but on the bottom shelf and on the shelf above was Win 95 boxes).
* COMP USA only stocks Lotus Notes and Smartsuite for Windows and not for OS/2. I even asked the salemen "Where's the OS/2 version?". He said "OS/2, what's that, never heard of it!". Then he said, "Well.... if it's not on the shelves, then we don't carry it and it would have to be special ordered"
* Aside, COMP USA is even cutting down on the MAC software shelves.

These are the kind of things "we" have to overcome, if "we're" ever going to get OS/2 recognized and getting people to switch.

I know, someone start a chain of software stores for OS/2 only ! ! !

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