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The King Is Dead, Long Live the King

by Christian Hennecke, © October 2006

The Editor in ChiefChristian Hennecke is the Editor in Chief of the VOICE Newsletter. While being a geographer originally, he runs an IT consulting and service company.

When it comes to OS/2, the saying “There's life in the old dog yet!” applies rather well—at least for a certain number of users. In view of the dwindling user base, the question of how long this remains to be true arises. In this context possibilities for prolonging the remaining period are worth considering.

The number of users depends on several, partially interacting factors: support for current hardware, available applications, communication and information, numbers and qualifications of developers. Among these, the communication and information area has a key role. Besides intra-community communication, which has been dealt with in the previous issue, the contact with the outside world must not be neglected either. Those who have never heard of eComStation will have drawn certain conclusions from IBM's proclamation of last year. Those who are not familiar with the resources of OS/2-related information will hardly come across the terms OS/2 and eComStation in an active context. Once again, the image is that of an operating system without further development, without applications, without a future. Thus, a system that users had better avoid rather than embrace.

There are different approaches that lend themselves to correcting this warped image. The classic advertising campaign is disqualified by current financial restraints, and a rather low expected return on investment. Advertising may be reasonable if done selectively and for specific target groups at best.

Other, more subtle methods appear more feasible and promising. Spreading information about our preferred operating system the most broad-based way is desired—not by beat of a drum that soon fades away, but by a steady flow of information which slowly pervades awareness. In doing so establishing a link between the OS/2 and eComStation terms is of utmost importance. Cross-platform offerings pose the most suitable point of application.

Suitable press releases, newsflashes, and articles can be offered to print and online media, especially announcements about improvements to the system and well-known applications, and about events that show an active user base. The probability of one such story being published may be rather low but it increases with the number—maybe even in more ways if the editors notice a growing interest. All in all, the odds are better for newsflashes and short articles, albeit OS/2-friendly publications like C&L Publishers (Germany) are also interested in more detailed and specific ones. Visitors of Warpstock Europe can hear for themselves.

Ported software is another factor that should not be underestimated. To make it easy to find, it is usually made available via the well-known archives or widely announced via the usual OS/2 news services. It would also be worthwhile to make them available via the project web sites. Each link on such sites that points to an OS/2 software package shows a wide audience that OS/2 still exists and that up-to-date applications are available. One should also work towards patches that are required to compile something for OS/2 being included in the project source code. Not only would this improve the base for cooperation between OS/2 developers and help successors to take over maintenance of a project, but also display activity to developers of other platforms.

Basically, everbody can contribute within the scope of the efforts described above, even the standard user. Because what matters here is how often we knock on other doors. For all contributions, complying with the respective standards for form and level is mandatory! Basic information is provided on the sites listed under “References.”

Editing: James Moe

Writing Effective Product Announcements, by Esther Schindler: http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL0301H/vnewsf2.htm
Care & Feeding of the Press, compiled by Esther Schindler: http://www.netpress.org
How to Write a Press Release, by Alan Zeichick: http://www.camdenassociates.com/samplepr.htm/
The Well-Tempered Press Release, by Daniel Dern: http://www.dern.com/welltemp.shtml