Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

October 1998

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Interview with an OS/2 User

This month VOICE interviews two business OS/2 users. Our first interview is with Antony T Curtis, who works at a small company based in Amersham, UK. Mr. Curtis is also the creator of PowerMOD/2. "However, what I write here is not any official statement but simply my opinions." OK Anthony let's hear your opinions.

VOICE > What kind of business are you involved in?

Anthony > Consulting, computer retail, software development, networking.

VOICE >Can you please describe your current use of OS/2 in your workplace? What kind of hardware and software are you using for OS/2? Approximately how many pc's are running OS/2 at your site?

Anthony > The company has 10 PCs in total. 5 PCs have OS/2 installed: Two are running OS/2 Warp Server 4, one of them dual boot between Windows 98 and OS/2, and the other two are dedicated OS/2 machines. The hardware is mainly Intel Pentium based desktop machines, with one Pentium Pro and one 486, and a Pentium Kalmath based notebook.

VOICE >How did you decide to use OS/2? What features were considered important for this project(s)? What previous experience was there with OS/2 and other operating systems?

Anthony > Part of it was familiarity, the other part was stability. In house, we also have experience in Windows95/98/NT, Linux and FreeBSD.

VOICE >What other operating systems if any were under consideration or are used for your business? If you use OS/2 in conjunction with other OSes in any form of a network, how well does OS/2 work with these other systems?

Anthony > Based on our OS experiences, the choice for our own servers was between Linux and Warp Server. Warp Server won simply because of it's better integration with other operating systems and ease of administering.

VOICE >Do you foresee continued/increasing use of OS/2 in this fashion?

Anthony > As a server operating system, OS/2 is excellent. However, due to the lack of commercial kitchentop applications, it would not be desired by the majority of the general public. However, this does not stop me from using only OS/2 on my own PC.

If IBM keeps on top of the JVM and Java servelets become a significant aspect of computing, perhaps IBM can keep OS/2 alive for a couple of years longer.

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?

Anthony > Secure administering out of the box over TCP/IP networks. Better telnet daemons, perhaps even a PM to X interface layer. C2 security would be useful. Also, the directory structure could do with tidying up.

VOICE >How have IBM's statements that they are targeting the medium to large business sector affected your work or your decision to continue using OS/2 for this/these task(s)?

Anthony > As a company which has purchased products from IBM directly, they seem quite enthusiastic to supply OS/2, provided the quantity is sufficient. However, I believe that the statement by IBM that they intend to target medium to large companies indicates that they realise that they have lost the desktop war.

However, it does make our job difficult: When customers ask us for advise as to what systems to use, it makes it more difficult for us to recommend OS/2 and with Win98's fate sealed and NT's future doubtful (NT5 is vaporware until it goes gold and is potentially plagued with bugs) it is hard to see what we should be selling. Linux is simply too immature for general desktop use and suffers from the same problem that OS/2 has - not enough kitchentop commercial apps.

VOICE >If IBM licensed another company to sell the OS/2 client to home/SOHO users, would it affect your usage of OS/2 (would you use more OS/2 clients for your work, etc)? If this company could add features, what features would you like to see added?

Anthony > If there was suitable promotion and support, then it could be used to turn our customers. Unfortunately, Microsoft's name is synomious with personal computers so much so that attempting to promote it would be difficult at best. A better bet would be for the third party company to licence OS/2 but not call it OS/2, Warp or anything like that - present it to the world as something completely new, integrate Win32 executable support and simplify (and protect) the configuration... And it could work for a while...

Personally, I do not see the long term future of any desktop operating system, be it from IBM, Microsoft or otherwise. Something completely new needs to arrive to revolutionize the way we see computers. OS/2 has the benefit of a relatively small and well proven kernel - perhaps OS/2 will exist in some form in the future but large monolithic systems like WindowsXX are simply doomed.

VOICE >Would you be interested in a refreshed version of OS/2 Warp 4.0, that is a new install package that included all fixes and new enhancements as well as new harware support since the original release?

Anthony > It would help greatly if there was a refreshed release of both the client and server versions of Warp 4. To set up a new server with the latest service levels involves installing over 50MB of fixes after installing Warp Server. The latest fixpacks for Warp4 client is over 20MB plus nearly 10MB for updates to the requester. Plus add in the time spent to install it, and hunting for drivers...

VOICE >Has your business been contacted by IBM about the potential use of Work Space on Demand? Do you see any use for that product in your business?

Anthony > No - our operation is too small to really benefit from WSOD. However, it may have potential with some of our customers. We intend to wait until they realise that they may have a problem with their legacy NT systems.

VOICE >Do you know of any other sites using OS/2 in your industry?

Anthony > Around our immediate area, we are not aware of other industries which actively use OS/2. Although, we have heard that in the geophysical industry, OS/2 is being picked up for use in real-time data acquisition systems.

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