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October 1999

Through the Looking Glass Yet Again!

An editorial view from Mark Dodel, editor of the VOICE Newsletter editor@os2voice.org

Why is it I feel as though I'm Alice and I'm stuck in Wonderland? Up is down; doze is not DOS; Startup to Shutdown. Perhaps that is why most people prefer the windoze world, they don't have to think about the ridiculousness of why most of the world uses an inferior computer operating system and declares it the standard that all others have to meet. I'm sure these paradoxes would inflict great pain on the average personal computer user if they allowed themselves to think about it, so they don't. In keeping with that we have ibm who declares that the finest workstation PC operating system existent is in fact not a workstation operating system, but only a server. And now they have latched onto Linux, which is an excellent server, but they see it as a workstation to be supported on some of their hardware.

Maybe it's just me, but my Warped workstations are still chugging along quite nicely today, even though ibm continues to fire away at OS/2 users with insane ideas equal to the best of Tweedle-Dee ( or perhaps Tweedle-Dum would be more apropos ). Their latest idiocy includes the pronouncement that as of January 1, 2000, all access to Software Choice will be by subscription only. This on top of the recent decision by ibm to reject the Stardock client proposal, has led to a large number of OS/2 users to say they just don't want to fight anymore.

Is ibm happy with their current direction to abuse their loyalist customers? How does the largest of ibm's customers, who are the reason that ibm even feigns support for OS/2 anymore, how do they feel about all the continue pronouncements that OS/2 is dead? Are they migrating to other less, reliable platforms to get away from this nonsense? I wish I knew the answers. I don't. I just know that I tried NT4 for a while and I got tired of that voice in my head head screaming "This is STUPID" everytime I tried to do anything in NT. I could make it look like OS/2, but the cobbled together nature always shone through.

Trying to get OS/2 users to pay for Software Choice is actually a great idea if ibm would actually develop some new useful features that are worth paying for. Like full DVD support, complete USB support, better multi-media support. Maybe put the full version of the Scitech Display Doctor drivers on there as well. Instead they only promise (and state that these things may or may not be delivered) that there will be Java 2 and a new Browser (most likely based on Mozilla 5) available for Warp 4 licensees. Oh they will be free for users of all other platforms, just OS/2 users need to pay. Perhaps this is the kickoff of a new marketing campaign 'We charge for things that everyone else provides for free'. If ibm is serious about giving us a new OS/2 client via Software Choice, then give us some useful features. One point to note is that updates to Netscape for OS/2 4.61 will remain free, just not access to the 'New Browser'.

So why do I still plan to use OS/2? Simple, it works well, it's not as brain-dead as the competition, and ibm keeps on supporting it despite their protestations to the contrary and their idiotic attempts to drive us away. Fixpak 12 for Warp 4, and FixPak 42 for Warp Server and Warp SMP (based on Warp 3, wink-wink) have just recently been released <http://ps.software.ibm.com/softupd.html>, and ibm hasn't figured out a way to prevent us from access yet. For an operating system that is dead, it seems it's scant user base managed to crash the FTP server at Boulder. According to IBM's Mike Kaply, "boulder put netscape on their fastest server and y'all crashed it! So they are moving to a server with many times more the capacity. That's really the answer. We underestimated demand.". Me thinks the bean counters at ibm have underestimated the tenacity of the OS/2 user community as well as the longevity of "the Little Engine that Could".

Then to continue to confuse us, IBM ("OS/2 is a server only") went and licensed a basic version of the Scietech Display Driver for OS/2 <http://www.scitechsoft.com>, and they will add this to DDPak Online as a free download. So server's need to run all these new-fangled video cards? Well confused or not, thank you IBM for helping keep OS/2 viable on the desktop for years to come, as OS/2 users won't have to worry about OS/2 support for new video cards.

I can't say whether I will spring for Software Choice in the future, but for now ibm has not given me a good enough reason to do so. Java is their direction of the moment (or is it Linux now, seems like it was only a short time ago NT was the king), but I won't pay for it. I do plan to remain with OS/2 for the foreseeable future though. We still have options in the OS/2 world, that even ibm can't close out on us, what with StarOffice, and the host of software available at BMT, Mensys, Hobbes and other internet sites. Nothing has changed for me, despite the latest incoming from IBM. They will just have to try harder to shake me loose.

Well enough of that. On to better things. And if you see an IBMer at Warpstock, don't take them to task for this nonsense as they are the good guys. September is over and so is the first major OS/2 festival of the year. Read all about it in Peter Skye's: One Man And One Step At A Time: Worldwide Communication At Warp Expo West. Now it's October and Warpstock Europe is done and we are on the brink of the start of Warpstock 99. Christian Hennecke gives us a review of the happenings at Europe's first Warp love fest known as Warpstock Europe 99. We will have first hand reports of Warpstock 99 in our November issue. Be sure to tune into live reports and interviews as they happen on #voice on WEBBnet - October 16th and 17th throughout the day. Should you need more information on using the webbnet and IRC assistance is available at http://www.os2voice.org/meetinginfo.html 24hrs a day. A web interface can be found at http://www.webbnet.org/server.html ... It's as easy as clicking on either one of two "Live Chat" circles below the WarpStock banner. If you are attending Warpstock, please stop by the VOICE booth and say hello.

On September 20th, VOICE was happy to have Mike Kaply and Jeff Kobal of the IBM Communicator/2 team as guests. That was the same day Communicator for OS/2 4.61 went GA. talk about great timing! The new Communicator is a great improvement over previous versions, and the OS/2 Drag'nDrop support is back as well as Communicator finally beng relatively stable. There are still a few problems, as with any complex piece of software, but this definitely represents yet another advancement for the OS/2 Desktop user. For the transcript of this event see - <http://www.os2voice.org/logs/V092099.LOG.html>

To help re-invigorate the Warp Doctor project, there was a VOICE/SCOUG sponsored Speakup event on Saturday, October the 2nd. If you are unfamiliar with Warp Doctor, it is a revivial of the venerable OS/2 Warp Pharmacy, which was a web site dedicated to helping people install and trouble shoot problems with OS/2. For the log of this session go to - <http://www.os2voice.org/logs/V100299.LOG.html>

Then on October 4th, our friends from Sundial were back with a general chat about their whole spectra of OS/2 products and what we could look forward to seeing at Warpstock 99. For the transcript of this meeting check out <http://www.os2voice.org/logs/V100499.LOG.html>

Coming up in October, we have a General VOICE meeting on October 18th at 8PM EDT(01:00GMT) on IRC in WEBBnet. Please attend if you can. VOICE needs your input and involvement. Also on Monday, November 1st, 8PM EST(00:00GMT) we have another General VOICE meeting and another on Monday, November 15th, 8PM EST(00:00GMT) . As always, please be sure to check out the updated VOICE Future events Calendar in this newsletter or on the VOICE website at <http://www.os2voice.org/calendar.html> for more details on future VOICE events.

This month we also have an article by Timur Kazimirov, Back Side of the Moon, where he discusses ICQ and presents his case for a big security security risk in using ICQ. For Object Desktop 2.0 users we have The Revised Young Person's Guide to Hacking the Stardock Object Desktop 2.0 Windows 95 LNF, 2nd Edition by The Rev. Andrew Graham. And as a followup to my article last month Choosing a laptop for OS/2, this month is installing Warp on a Toshiba 2545XCDT.

Don Eitner is taking a well deserved month off. Hopefully he will be back next month with a new End(User) column. He has been a great help to getting this newsletter out every month. Don is also our News Editor and this month he has added a News page for OS/2 related Employment. If you know of any postings for OS/2 employment please send an email to freiheit@tstonramp.com.

Just a reminder that we now have a full Newsletter Master Index page. All the feature sections of the current and previous issues can now be found on this one page. Additionally, we have added a Java based search function to this master index page. It will allow you to search all past issues for a specific word or phrase. So try it out and let us know what you think. If you have any ideas for improvements let me know at editor@os2voice.org.

We are always interested in your thoughts and views on subjects related to OS/2, and would like to see opinion/editorial pieces as well as hardware/software reviews. To that end, and because of several recent requests, we have added a Guidelines for Article Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter.

Mark Dodel
Editor, VOICE Newsletter

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.

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, however I believe a written communication has more effect then electronic.

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