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|By Mark Dodel © November 2004, Translation: Jürgen Gaida|
(Click any image for a larger view.)
The eighth version of Warpstock is now over. This year's event was held October 21 through October 25 at the Sheraton Denver Tech Hotel in Denver, Colorado USA. The view of the Rocky Mountains with snow capped peaks was breathtaking. Unfortunately the mile-high city of Denver was difficult for a few of our attendees who were not used to the thin air at such high elevations. This year we only had about 60 to 65 people in attendance. There were actually a few who had never heard of Warpstock before this year or had never had a chance to attend before, but most folks had been to a least a few events in the past. And there were at least a couple of other attendees besides Stan Sidlov, Warpstock Inc. Treasurer, who have been to all of them.
There was a glitch with printing the badges in Word Pro where mail merge just wouldn't. So there really wasn't any registration until later on Thursday, but people started right in on the classes. Sam Little (who was part of last year's event) helped Stan get the badges printed in StarOffice; we got everyone registered and they picked up their event guides and any shirts they had pre-ordered. This year the shirts came out really nice and we sold out of just about all of them except for a few really large sizes (guess we are slimming down as a whole). Stan will order some more shirts if people place any more orders on the web site and a few people said they would when we told them we were out of their size.
We collected a survey on Sunday of attendee's satisfaction. These will be summarized later, but a quick glance through them it seems the 4 day format was really a hit. People really liked having 4 hour classes on Thursday/Friday, though a few people suggested just a 3 day event with a mix of classes and 90 minute sessions.
I didn't get to many of the sessions or classes, but Lewis Rosenthal's wireless class was a major hit. Considering the low number of people attending this year, we had to repeat it 3 times to have everyone happy. Lewis discussed setting up access points, the different wireless standards (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11a), as well as the many different security options available.
Solveig Haugland gave us a general overview session on OpenOffice.org, which was well attended and really good as well. Solveig went over the basic feature set of the OpenOffice.org suite of applications. One item I found particularly interesting was the Visio-like diagramming abilities of the Draw and Impress applications. After her session, Solveig was gracious enough to stay around and answer several additional questions that were a bit too specific to cover during the session.
No one was there from IBM at all this year, so there was no hardware compatibility session. But Chuck McKinnis, Alex Taylor and Roderick Klein made up for it a bit with their eCS installation sessions.
One of the other popular classes was the one on SVISTA by Robert Henschel. Serenity Systems was giving everyone that attended Warpstock this year a license for SVISTA. That was probably the loudest point of the weekend when that was announced at the Sunday Giveaway session. During the SVISTA class, Robert outlined some of the plans for the future including support for sound, file sharing with the host, and USB support. The plan for USB support is as a passthrough device, so the host would not have to necessarily support the specific device. It would just pass the USB communications to the VM and the guest would have a device driver to support the device. So if this comes to pass, then support for some non-standard devices like scanners would be possible. Robert went on to list some planned releases. He stressed that the timetable and the feature sets may change.
SVISTA Feature Release 1 is due out by the end of this year. It should have better Pentium M support, ring 0 and ring 3 optimization, as well as caching some of the virtual machine's own code. Support for up to 2GiB of RAM should also be in this release, support for Windows3.1/98/ME, and better acceleration of WindowsXP. There will also be shared clipboard support in the Linux host (this already exists in the OS/2-eCS host). This version should also have USB support but Robert warned that they still were not sure what if any problems they may run into on the OS/2-eCS host for USB support.
SVISTA Feature Release 2 should be out sometime in the second quarter 2005. This release should have enhanced IDE support (up to 4 IDE devices), support for suspend to disk, and shared folder support. There will also be enhancements to network support. Beyond Feature Release 2, they plan to address better virtual machine (VM) Advanced Power Management (APM) support, Advanced Multi-head configurations, Virtual SMP (Symmetric Multiprocessor) support, well defined host and guest interfaces, and a management API to add custom devices and controls to the VM.
We made good use of having Jan van Wijk, of DFSee fame, present when Stan accidentally formatted the windoze partition on his laptop. Normally not a big deal, but since our bank requires windows to access the administrative end of the online store, it complicated onsite credit card processing. Jan managed to at least get most of the data files back, but XP was hosed. (How one can tell that from its normal behavior is beyond me). Jan's sessions on LVM and DFSee were very popular also.
There were so many other great sessions (like Chip Davis' REXX class, Andy Willis' GCC class and Odin sessions, Chuck Berghorn's OS/2 HiFi session, Doug Clark's DRDialog session, Paul Curtis' REXX/C interface class, and a bunch more) that I would have liked to get to, but couldn't because of scheduling conflicts. I did get to Arne Blankert's "Supporting Netlabs" session and I'm very pleased to announce that one of the attendees made a $1,000 pledge to help support Netlabs.
I also attended the Innotek product presentation where Oliver Stein stated, among a lot of things, that Flash 7 (or above) for OS/2 will be released as soon as Macromedia's lawyers get done changing the license, which currently only allows the product to legally run on windoze. He seemed confident that this would be changed for the next major release.
I enjoyed Edgar Scrutton's session on using scripts with Mesa2. I've been using Mesa2 for almost 10 years now and still learned a lot that I had no idea it was capable of doing until then. Edgar gave out CDs with examples of all his scripts for all attendees.
I made it to part of Roderick Klein's session on eComStation 1.2. One of the new features that he showed off that didn't make it into 1.2 was bootable JFS. (You can click on the image at the left to see a bootable JFS partition listed in LVM.) I missed the eCS Roadmap session, so I can't fill you in on Serenity's plans. Hopefully someone who did attend can let us know what I missed. Roderick Klein of Mensys was there and they were giving a 20% discount on the purchase of any eCS product, so I loaded up on an eCS 1.2 upgrade, eCS App Pack upgrade and Software Support for both.
One of the most impressive sessions was Doug Clark's WarpDoctor. Using DrDialog, VAC and REXX he has developed an incredible support application in his WarpDoctor plugin. It runs a PM app in a browser window that allows people to add items to the WarpDoctor DB (DB2 running on OS/2 of course), with all kinds of neat features like supporting drag and drop and shadowing of links. It even has the ability to allow local access to a particular file if the original site disappears. If this was written for windoze, it would be hailed as a fantastic, must-have support product with an expensive price tag, but he's done all of this for the OS/2-eCS user community for free. People should check it out at http://www2.warpdoctor.org
As I said before, the 4 day format with a mix of 4 hour classes and 90 minute classes seemed to be really well received. A big thanks to Paul Curtis (The 2004 event Presentation Coordinator) for scheduling all this. One point that was raised was that maybe more people might have come if the schedule had been available sooner, so we will work on that for the future. But what classes and sessions we had seemed to me to be a good mix of technical (like all the programming classes and Lewis' Novell Networking session) and end user sessions (like Chris Clayton's home networking session, Chuck Berghorn's OS/2 HiFi session, the product demos and the eCS install help sessions).
There were two social events this year. On Friday we had a bus ride into downtown Denver where I walked from one end of 16th St to the other, had a glimpse of Coors field and walked back. I had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (all these years and I had never been in one) with a guy who was attending for the first time and had never heard of Warpstock before a few weeks ago. He was pretty happy to have found out about it since he thought he was one of the last programmers around who still used it and he learned all about eComStation there.
On Saturday we had what many felt was one of the best socials ever. A bus to the Denver Museum of Natural Sciences where we had a fabulous buffet dinner (a carving station with Roast Beef and Turkey roasts, a pasta station with freshly prepared Tortellini and Penne pastas with two different sauces and an antipasta table as well). The well designed facility gave an impressive atmosphere to the whole dining experience. We then went as a group to see an IMax film called "Bugs" (hosted by Terminix, a joke a few had to explain to some of our non-U.S. guests). What a view of bugs munching on bugs, luckily it was after dinner. Then after a dessert of cookies, chocolate brownies and coffee and tea, we were off to see the mineral and Dinosaur exhibits. Doug Clark did a great job organizing both social events. I think everyone attending will remember this year's event for some time to come. It will be difficult to top this next year.
Sunday afternoon came way too fast. I had expected to be sick of hearing about OS/2 after four days, but honestly was sorry to see it end. This year we had the giveaway session early on Sunday so people who had early flights home could attend. People had to turn in their survey to get a ticket for a chance at the giveaway items. There were quite a few nice things including a few wireless routers, a USB print server, a small network hub, a copy of eComStation 1.2 from Mensys, a license for Maul Publisher ( thanks to Peter Koller of Maison Anglais) a couple licenses of DragText (thanks to Rich Walsh), licenses for FileStar/2 and Unimaint (thanks to Jim Read), several licenses forJunkSpy (A big thanks as always to Randell Flint and Carla Hanzlik of Sundial Systems), and a copy of RSJ CD Writer for OS/2 (thanks to Sandra Seywald of RSJ), several books (though we let the guys from Netlabs take what they wanted first) and an assortment of older OS/2 software.
We had the usual closing session. We discussed possible reasons for the decline in attendance (last year's event had over 100 attendees) and what if anything we could do about it. There were several suggestions for possible locations and possible changes to get costs down for 2005. But looking around the room, it was difficult to imagine our attendees staying in a dorm room. But the possibility of using a University's facilities with a nearby hotel was a suggested possibility. As bad as the numbers might seem the people there really felt it was important to keep Warpstock going so we are open to bids for at least another year. Though we stressed we would prefer an East Coast location as it's been a while since Warpstock has been East of the Mississippi, any sites are welcome to bid. It was pointed out that even if a site wasn't chosen for 2005, it would be great to announce the 2006 location at Warpstock 2005, so having more then one bid would be really great.
Finally, since we had a vacancy on the Warpstock, Inc. board (Luc Van Bogaert asked to resign from the board and stay on as an advisor), we asked Sam Little to join the board and he accepted. I believe our tax problems are now behind us though the IRS still hasn't finalized three of the past six years, but the 1998 return was accepted and that was the oldest and only significant profit, so the others aren't of much concern at this point. We also asked all three of the principal Denver event team members to be advisors and at least two (Doug Clark and Andy Willis) have accepted.
That's about all I can think of at the moment. There are more photos of the people and events at Warpstock 2004 at http://www.warpstock.org/2004/pictures/pictures10212004.html.
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