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October 1999

Warpstock Europe 99

A Review

By: Christian Hennecke (christian.hennecke@ruhr-uni-bochum.de)

It's all over now and all in all it has been quite a success. There were about 500 visitors from all over the continent (Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Germany) so it really can be spoken of as a European event. The overall impression of visitors and exhibitors was good.

Several representatives of mid-size companies (it's hard to translate the german term) already using OS/2 or interested in doing so attended the fair to gain information and this was noted by the IBMers present (business target group!). We hope that more will decide to attend the next Warpstock Europe now that they've seen that it is not a gathering of pot-smoking, hippie-like, die-hard OS/2 fans.
Over the course of the next week or so there should be other reviews, photos and comments appearing on Warpstock Europe's homepage and OS2.org .

The exhibition

As always some things were subject to change. Deckarm who originally had planned to come with an IBM e-business booth instead only had a normal software booth and also were clearing their OS/2 software attic (which contained some jewels BTW). The IBM booth had turned out to be too expensive. R.O.M. Logicware offered their new Papyrus Office suite at a good price and from what I have heard it sold very well. Their good presentation in one of the lectures surely helped to convince some customers. The people from Mensys brought us a wide range of OS/2 software both new and old (like Warp 3 and 4 client, Visual Age for Java and Speedsoft Sybil)  with some very nice offers for the OS/2 gamers and also some Linux software (Yuck!). Another software vendor who also provided us with a lecture (on security of OS/2 systems) was Norman Data Defense. They showed their anti-virus networking package. The publishers C&S presented a new german book on Warp Server for e-business and other books. S&T sold receiver cards for the European time broadcasting service with OS/2 software.

C.E. Fischer publishers who were the very first exhibitor to appear on the list canceled their exhibition last minute so we got no chance of having a look at the upcoming Xelia software or a new edition of OS/2 Only! magazine. Well, considering their announcements/releases until now a lot of people get the certain notorious "vapourware" feeling about Xelia. I sincerely hope that the skeptics will be proved to be wrong.

The German TeamOS/2 clubs provided a helpdesk where users could get help to solve their problems and information about applications, an OS/2 museum with version from 1.3 up to WSeB, an information desk for people searching for local OS/2 groups or needing help in founding such; sold a new CD with fixes and tons of freeware, a CD containing the lecture presentations and souveniers. Christoph Vogelbusch from the OSK project had a ton of free software running on his machine and also demonstrated the capabilities of a XFree86/OS2 system with GNOME. The guys from OS2.org presented their site and allowed us to have a look at what's behind that what can be seen in the browser window.

Last but definitely not least EPSON showed a very well working graphics workstation with scanner and printer running great software like SANE, CFM, PMView and others. A very big thank you to the EPSON team for all the help and support!

The lectures/workshops

I personally have attended only seven lectures. Most of the lectures went well, especially the ones on the Odin project, Embedded OS/2, XWorkplace and Open Source. You can expect some very interesting things to be released in the next months. The folks from the Odin project have reworked a lot from scratch and are incorporating WINE code that already helped to solve some incompatibility problems with OS/2 and Windows resources. XWorkplace is the new name for the successor of XFolder. I guess Ulrich Moeller changed the name because the program really became something bigger than a simple folder extension. This is now an OS/2 Netlabs project. The next release will bring some very nice enhancements! Other visitors told me that the workshops on problem determination and device driver development also were very good and useful. Hopefully we will see some more new drivers in the future.

Holding a lecture in a foreign language can be quite difficult, especially if you have to use lots of technical terms. This clearly showed in some of the presentations and is the main reason why I didn't prepare a lecture myself. So the advice would be to practise more before the event.

Looking back at organization

I had a longer chat with Olaf Cichewicz, the man-behind-the-scene at the university. Where to begin? The whole thing got much bigger than what was planned for. This resulted in too few people having to do too much work, not being available when needed and getting almost no sleep. This problem already showed in the time before the event itself. A lot more could have been done, if more people had been available. Beyond that the flow of information between the people involved could have been better and faster. The university proved not to be the best place contrary to what was thought before. We had a lot of problems with network and phone connections, the security service, getting power for the computers and other things thanks to the sluggishness and forgetfulness of some university bureaucrats. Additionally the rooms got very crowded on Saturday and Sunday. Next year we will need something bigger!

Evaluation of the whole event will start this week, so next time things will certainly run more flawlessly.


Big thanks go out to the people who made all this possible: the sponsors, the exhibitors, the ones which helped in any way (especially our contact at IBM) and of course the visitors! I hope you'll come back next time. 

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