From the Editor
Written by Larry Salomon, Jr.
I started putting together this issue, I realized that this section of
the magazine duplicated the function of the From the Editor section of the
web site. So, I've decided instead to collect all of the weekly
installments for the last month from this section, update the items where
appropriate, and present that as the monthly comments. I hope you don't
think that I'm taking the "easy way out," even though I am - if I attempted
to write only new things here, you would have a pitifully small amount of
Also, the "Letters" and "Announcements" sections have been removed from the INF version of the magazine.
I'd appreciate your feedback regarding these policy changes. Send me email at email@example.com.
Finally, due to an injury to his shoulder, Gordon is unable to type much at all, so his column will be absent this month while he recovers.
On a whim, I sent out email to the EDM/2 mailing list asking for feedback on what the preferred native format of the issue it. INF was never in the lead, but the amount by which HTML lead has varied. The numbers ended up somewhat near the following: HTML (59%), INF (38%), and Other (3%).
An estimated 1/3 of you have expressed concerns about abandoning INF altogether and/or the not having the ability to read the magazine offline. We are aware of the latter problem and will have it solved before taking any action regarding the format of the magazine. More likely will be that INF will still be produced, albeit delayed a bit, as is being done with the October issue.
From the Newswire
Did anyone notice the "little" side-effect of the IBM-Lotus merger which gives to IBM Lotus' previously acquired rights to WISE (Windows Integrated Source Environment). If I understand this correctly, IBM - by virtue of this - again has access to the Windows 95 and Windows NT source code.
In a related note, there was a rumor (started in Spencer the Katt's column) that IBM would announce Windows 95 binary compatibility at COMDEX in November. I didn't believe this at first, but could decide after hearing the item mentioned in the previous paragraph. IBM did not announce this, however, so don't worry.
I'm still feeling the fallout from the New York Times' articles on "IBM Abandoning OS/2." This usually takes the form of email from former OS/2 supporters and developers stating how they have seen too much (or too little, depending on whom you are watching) and decided to head off to greener hills. This always brings to mind the unbidden question: why are you (me) still in the OS/2 camp?
Your answer, I am sure, will be different than the "next Joe."
This is dangerous ground to be discussing publicly. However, I will answer this in a truthful but very humourous way.
I'm lazy. That's right - you heard it here first folks. I'm l a z y.
I've spent, lessee, 1, 2, 3...6 and a half years writing OS/2 applications and have earned a fairly decent reputation because of it. The last thing I want to do is throw that away and have to claw my way up again from square 1.
This doesn't even consider the fact that no one would take me seriously if I started writing Windows applications. [grin]
What A Facelift!
The second week of November marked the birth of the new and improved EDM/2 web site. We made several changes to the site and many more will be occuring over the next several months.
The first significant change is the elimination of the concept of an "issue" of the magazine on the site. Instead, we would prefer that this site is considered as a repository of information about OS/2 development. This information takes the form of articles, columns, announcements, and Gotchas. Additionally, there is a section for items that don't really belong in any of the other sections, Miscellany. A couple of other sections have since been added as needs arose.
The second significant change is the reorganization of the sections that existed in our ancestor. We have tried to flatten out these sections so that they are easier to use. Along with this reorganization is the addition of page connectors at the bottom of each page that allow you to navigate the site more easily.
If all goes well, we will update the Announcements section weekly, so that you are kept abreast of the new products and services that become available which you might be able to use in your OS/2 development. If you haven't stopped by this section, I highly recommend doing so; it is organized by date and by company, so you can more easily find what you are looking for.
The Articles and Columns sections will continue to be updated monthly before. These, in conjunction with the From the Editor section, the Announcements section, and a new Letters section will be used to build "issues" of the magazine. These issues will be distributed, albeit with a slight delay, in INF format, as well as a collection of links which will appear on the server for those of you who still prefer to remember EDM/2 as a monthly publication.
We hope you enjoy the new look!
Bugs in (Gasp) Windows 95
Infoworld last month ran a story on bugs that are starting to surface in Windows 95.
Tell us something we didn't know.
The article was interesting. Apparently, there is a problem with the long file name section of the file system architecture of Windows 95. As the screen shot in the article illustrates, new "aliases" (Microsoft's moniker for the short version of a long file name) are created regardless of whether the alias exists already. So, if you have "Report for October.XLS" and "Report for November.XLS" which have the aliases "REPORT~1.XLS" and "REPORT~2.XLS", but you copy them to a blank floppy in reverse order, the alias names are reassigned to "REPORT~2.XLS" and "REPORT~1.XLS". This will cause problems when you copy them back, because it will overwrite - yes, file operations are done based on the alias instead of the long file name - existing files which aren't the correct ones to be overwritten.
"Hey, folks," I thought as I read the article, "why don't you use, uh, what's the word?
A REAL OPERATING SYSTEM WITH A REAL FILE SYSTEM!"
I think I was slightly overwhelmed by David Barnes' OS/2 demo at ColoradOS/2.
Further along on our Infoworld tour, page 101 of the November 13 issue had an interesting, full-page advertisement. It seems that a group of ISVs - no one we don't know about: Stardock Systems ("Object Desktop"), CDI ("Back Again/2"), and Indellible Blue - finally got fed up with waiting for IBM's mythical "marketing blitz" and decided to take things into their own hands.
What we have here is a case of VA: Vigilante Advertising.
It looked good, even if the advertisement is a bit crowded. The message that it has is "while other operating systems promise 32-bit power and true multitasking, OS/2 Warp delivers it." It also indirectly shows that there are ISVs that support OS/2 contrary to what others believe.
I feel that, while this is a good start, when you compare it to the multitudes of advertisements of Windows products, the 32-bit Alliance looks more like a group of companies that couldn't afford a full-page advertisement in Infoworld by themselves so they teamed up to split the cost. (Don't fool yourself, folks; full-page advertisements are expensive.)
Online Publications Abound
Have you noticed the recent flury of electronic OS/2 publications that have recently made their debut on the Internet? The latest one is OS/2 e-Zine!. These magazines are, for the most part, directed towards end-users, which means that segment will likely get crowded soon if it isn't already.
Miller Freeman will soon be putting OS/2 Developer on the web. Slated to begin on November 15 (I don't have the URL), they are hoping to carve a niche in online publishing.
Looks like I have no choice but to eat them alive. [grin]
The Bottom Line
The bottom line on our balance sheet, when you add up the previous items, is that the time is ripe to take the initiative. I'm reminded in particular of the "spoken" part in Pink Floyd's Sheep on the Animals album, where the sheep rise up and "make the buggers' eyes water." There is an opportunity here to catch the used and burned Windows 95 people on the rebound and introduce them to the wonders that OS/2 gives to them. If they're an end user, point them to OS/2 e-Zine! or the other OS/2 publications on the web. If they're a programmer, bring them here or to OS/2 Developer.
Below the Bottom Line
Of course it would help if IBM would be a help instead of a hindrance. On November 9, IBM decided that they were going to "surplus" (IBM's term for "lay off") Janet Gobielle, who was the IBM liason for TeamOS/2. Janet fought long and hard hours for the benefit of both OS/2 and TeamOS/2 and we're going to miss her sorely. Vicci Conway and the rest of the IBM side of TeamOS/2 were also "surplussed."
Glimpse of the Future
Be excited! I know I am!
On Thursday, "Jeff" came in an told me that his cable company in Nassau county (on Long Island, New York) is the first cable company in the country to beta test the delivery of Internet access via the cable box. Jeff's box was installed on Wednesday night.
For the curious (which should be you by now), what he got was a black box which converts the 500 KBit connection to Ethernet and a Zenith Ethernet card (ISA). Additionally, he has his own Internet address, but they don't yet have him in their DNS tables.
I live 20 minutes from Jeff, but I'm in the next county, so I have to look into getting Time Warner Cable to do the same as soon as possible. I can only wonder how long it will take until this technology makes its way around the country and even the world? I can't answer that, but I have a strong feeling that this is hot technology which will definately advance the dream of a "computer in every household."
"Lou Gerstner" Makes a Cameo on #os/2
For those of you who weren't on the #os/2 channel on IRC, someone joined the channel on Friday with the nick LGerstner (GERSTNER@intgate.raleigh.ibm.com). Of course, no one believed it was really IBM's CEO, but it gave us something to laugh about.
"The Web is Now Safe"
As if I needed convincing, my wife finally found a use for the web last night. As I gave her a tour (using my newly- acquired PPP account), we found a site that interested her in a big way:
The Official Melrose Place Web Site
And I thought I needed to "get a life!" [grin]
David Barnes is Leaving?
According to a recent PC Week article, David Barnes is rumored to be leaving IBM soon. While I am trying to confirm this independently, the author of the article told me that several IBM officials unofficially confirmed the rumor. My sources have not (yet) given me definitive answers, but one added to the rumor by saying that he will be forming his own company and then contracting himself back to IBM.
If the rumor turns out to be in fact reality, it will be a serious blow - an "I told you so" from the Windows community - to the OS/2 advocates in the world who, I am sure, point to Mr. Barnes as their fearless leader (excepting the scenario pointed out above where Mr. Barnes would become an IBM contractor). I will be sorry to see him leave, if it is true, after having seen the high-powered demo of OS/2 that he gave during the closing session at ColoradOS/2.
If you haven't already, check out Club OpenDoc at IBM. It's a very interesting site which has been set up to promote OpenDoc. 'Nuff said.
ColoradOS/2, The Press, and 1996
If you needed any indication that the press has influence, consider the following:
Wayne Kovsky, who is responsible for ColoradOS/2, has always forecast the attendance of the next conference (held annually) based on the attendance growth of previous conferences. So, given the ever-increasing popularity of the conference, it made sense that he should have expected a larger audience at this past year's conference.
And then August 2 came around and Lou Gerstner "conceded the desktop to Microsoft."
Wayne told me that, as soon as that article was released, many people cancelled their registrations and that the rate of new registrations slowed to a trickle. Furthermore, he indicated in the closing session to the attendees that it was questionable whether or not there would be another ColoradOS/2 due to the fact that Kovsky Productions barely covered their expenses.
Well, I asked Wayne about this last week. He assured me that there will be a ColoradOS/2 conference this year and said that they will soon be updating the web site with the new information.
I cannot stress enough that the quality of this conference is excellent! I had been to enough conferences to have a frame-of-reference, but I had never before seen the level of committment that Kovsky Productions put into insuring a high- quality conference.
This goes above and beyond throwing a couple of parties, like "they" do at other conferences. I am talking about having hot topics that you want to explore and not a lot of sessions that no one cares about. This supercedes the creature-comforts that were present - this is, after all, a conference aimed at the development community.
Yes, this does sound like a shameless plug, but I do truly believe these things. Maybe I'm biased beyond any ability to present an objective opinion (what an oxymoron), but you have to see it yourself to speak with the conviction that I have.