The final question that comes to mind is "Just what is meant by a Warp 5 client?" This will be the topic of my next View From the End (User) article in December, 1998.
Quite a few people have asked just what is meant by a "client" operating
system, and in relation to the forthcoming IBM Warp Server for e-Business (beta
codename: Aurora) the question of a Warp 5.0 client has become the focus of many
OS/2 user groups and many potential OS/2 users.
Did I say potential OS/2 users? Oh yes, I've been asked many times in IRC (Internet
Relay Chat) whether there would be another OS/2 release. The people asking are almost
always Win95 or Win98 users who have grown tired of Microsoft's repeated broken
promises and laughable upgrade cycle (ie. paying $100 to have 3,000 existing Win95
bugs fixed). The problem is that many of said users are stuck on the idea that new
shrink-wrapped software is the sole measure of a program's usefulness. While growing
tired of exactly that mentality, it's all they're willing to consider.
So will there be a new OS/2 release other than Warp Server for e-Business? The
21Warp campaign hopes so, and apparently part of IBM hopes so, as well. Indelible
Blue had a survey on their website asking what price point people would be willing
to pay for a Warp 5.0 client operating system, etc. The survey was said to have
been brought to them by a group of IBM employees who were, essentially, looking
for support in their own efforts to make that release.
What's in a client? Well this is the easy part of the overall question. The client
(also called workstation) version of OS/2 Warp is that which has historically been
sold on the retail market. OS/2 Warp 3.0 and OS/2 Warp 4.0 were client versions,
while OS/2 Warp Server 3.0 and OS/2 Warp Server 4.0 (and now Warp Server for e-Business)
have been the print/file/application servers for use in networks. The client version
can be used on a standalone PC or as a workstation on the network which is being
controlled by the server.
An OS/2 Warp 5.0 client, then, would be the standalone or workstation version
of the operating system which would include end-user tools and applications without
any (or with very limited) network control capability. OS/2 Warp Server has also
historically been marked by a more powerful HPFS driver (HPFS386) which allows for
disk cache sizes above 2 megabytes, as well as symmetric multi-processing (SMP)
capabilities to make use of more than 1 CPU in a single system.
Obviously people have different tastes and requirements, and so the outcry for
an OS/2 Warp 5.0 client release has been mixed. Some want the SMP support built
into the client, as SMP capable systems are becoming not only affordable but standard
(any Pentium II system should be capable of running with 2 CPUs, for instance).
Others wish HPFS386 or the new (in Aurora) JFS, which is a journalled file system
that maintains a log of all disk activity--in the event of a system crash, the log
is simply played back and the disk is back up and running in a relatively short
time. JFS also increases the maximum size of a single file from 2 gigabytes to,
I believe, 2 terabytes while also increasing the maximum partition size from 64
gigabytes to 2 terabytes. This allows for a single file to fill the entire disk
Many OS/2 users have agreed that out-of-the-box year 2000 compliance is a major
issue for any forthcoming OS/2 Warp client release. Warp Server for e-Business will
have it (along with support for the new Euro currency standard), and so it is widely
felt that a Warp 5.0 client should have this as well.
Now what will most likely not be in an OS/2 Warp 5.0 client, if indeed
we ever see one? The Indelible-Blue survey mentioned a likelihood that we would
not see an Application Sampler CD nor a BonusPak CD. So out go such applications
as IBM Works, HyperAccess Lite, and FaxWorks Lite. I believe the survey also mentioned
no VoiceType Dictation and Navigation. In essence, I think we can expect to see
a 1 CD install for the base operating system and possibly (but not guaranteed) another
CD for the Device Driver Pak, though with that now being available on IBM's website,
they're probably not going to pay for all those CDs to be pressed, labeled, and
shipped. And yet most of the price ranges the survey suggested were in the range
of two to three times the cost of Warp 4.0 (which I could have bought for $120 in
late 1997). IBM taketh away (marketshare) and then IBM raiseth the price which taketh
away still more marketshare.
Here's one guarantee I will make -- if the cost of a 1 CD OS/2 Warp 5.0 client
exceeds $200, I won't be buying it. I'll continue to use my purchased-used copy
of OS/2 Warp 4.0 as long as I realistically can, but IBM has all the power to drive
me away from OS/2 by hiking the price up to the point where it simply becomes ridiculous
to even consider it. I can buy an entire PC for under $1,200, why would I spend
another 1/4 of that just on a stripped-down operating system?
IBM needs to wake up and pull its collective head from Microsoft's nether regions.
IBM Warp Server for e-Business (Aurora): http://www.software.ibm.com/os/warp/products/aurora/
Indelible Blue: http://www.indelible-blue.com