OS/2 eZine

16 June 2000

Richard R. Klemmer has been using OS/2 since 1995. He currently works as a programmer for the Department of Agriculture. In his spare time he works for WebTrek L.L.C, an Internet consulting company.

If you have a comment about the content of this article, please feel free to vent in the OS/2 eZine discussion forums.

Previous Article
Next Article


For the second year in a row, the OS/2 community will have more than one conference dedicated to our favorite operating system. The first conference this year was the OS/2 Technical Conference entitled WarpTech, put on by the Phoenix OS/2 society. This was a three day conference spanning the Memorial Day Weekend, concentrating on the technical aspects of OS/2. Through a bit of creative financial and time management, I was able to make it to Phoenix for this inaugural event.

As promised, this conference was packed full of technical sessions spanning a wide range of subjects that were relevant for everyone including large Corporations, developers and the home users. The sessions covered everything from OS/2 programming, REXX, Java, networking, Warp Server configuration and Internet technologies such as XML and XSL.

I was only able to make it to a small fraction of the sessions, but the ones I attended were worth the price of the trip alone. I missed the Odin session, but from what I heard the team has made great progress and shows great promise for the future.

Of the sessions I did attend, Bill Schindler's XML and XSL presentations were among the highlights. The Extensible Markup Language, or XML, is a universal format for presenting documents and data on the World Wide Web. As Bill was able to show us, XML can be used for more than the Web, however. This is a subject that everyone involved in Web, and document, publishing should become familiar with. Those who weren't able to attend WarpTech, but are planning on making it to Warpstock in Philadelphia this year, might want to write to Mr. Schindler and suggest that he give his XML and XSL presentations there as well.

Some of the other interesting sessions I attended were Pillarsoft's Wayne Swanson's VisPro REXX Tips and Tricks and Kevin E Peterson from Data Representation's presentation of Simplicity for Java Professional. Wayne showed us some quick ways to add advanced functionality to applications developed with VisPro REXX. Kevin's presentation consisted of developing a high powered database application right before our eyes. While the price tag of Simplicity Professional may be steep for a hobbyist programming, I would recommend that anyone who wants to develop cross-platform database applications give it a serious look.

There weren't as many exhibitors at WarpTech as there were at last years Warpstock, but there were still plenty of opportunities to spend money. Sundial System was there with their full line of applications including Relish, Mesa, Clearlook, DBExpert, Rover Pack and Junk Spy.

Other exhibitors included Data Representation, Warpstock, SCOUG, xPackage.com and Serenity systems. Pillarsoft was there selling their suite of products, such as the recently updated WarpZip archiving utility. Perfect Niche had their Smack Labeling software for sale, as well as the just release "Down to Earth REXX" book by Bill Schindler. This is an updated version of "Teach Yourself REXX in 21 Days."

Over the last two years, one of the highlights and any OS/2 Conference has been Sundial's Warped Jeopardy. At WarpTech we had the User Group edition, with celebrity guest Bill Schindler representing POSSI, Steve Schiffman representing SCOUG and Wayne Swanson representing VOICE. Since I'm a member of both POSSI and VOICE I had a tough time deciding for whom to cheer. I decided the democratic way and cheered for whomever was in the lead. It was a hard fought battle, but in the end Wayne Swanson was able to pull out a victory.

Okay, I'm sure that everyone who knew the Steven King, manager of the IBM'S e-business Operating Systems Solutions services (e-boss) area, was the keynote speaker at WarpTech wants to know what he had to say. Personally, I was encouraged after listening to him speak. He didn't really say anything different than we've been hearing from other sources, but he was able to clarify some of the more confusing reports coming out of Big Blue in regard to OS/2's future. I'll go over some of the more interesting things he talked about.

According to Mr. King, not only did OS/2 exceed the projected revenue for 1999 as has been reported before, but it far exceeded the projections. I thought this was important. It may not be a difficult thing to exceed projections, if the projections are low (I do not know what the projections for 1999 were, I am only speculating at this point), but to far exceed them, no matter what, is a great accomplishment.

Mr. King stated that support for specific enhancements for OS/2, as requested by their large customers, would continue at least into 2008. He stressed the platform independence issue, but without making any comments about switching platforms. According to Mr. King, if IBM's customers wish to stay with OS/2, that is fine with them.

He said that Hardware and Device driver support would continue at least through 2004. Software stack support, which includes UDB, Websphere, Communications Server, Domino and Host on Demand would continue at least through 2006 and fee based support would continue through 2006.

For those who are interested in Websphere, Mr. King stated that it has been transferred to the e-boss and the standard version is currently being enhanced. He said that when this is finished, they would look into the possibilities of creating an OS/2 version of Websphere e-Commerce.

He said that Java 1.3 is targeted for release on OS/2 in July. Also, the new browser will be based on Mozilla, will have an open Java interface, support for XML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HTML 4.0.

Another issue Mr. King discussed were the Convenience Packs. According to him, there will "most likely" be multiple years of Convenience Packs beyond the two already planned . He also tried to clarify the recent misunderstandings regarding the defect support for OS/2. When a convenience pack is release, the defect support for it will continue until December 31st of the following year. Since IBM has officially announced that there will be two Convenience Packs, this means that defect support will continue at least through December 31st of 2002. This doesn't mean that support will end in 2002 either. Also, this doesn't even address the issue of Serenity Systems eComstation product. For more information on that, see this Months interview with Bob St. John.

After all the negative press that OS/2 has been receiving the last few Months, I was left with a positive feeling after Mr. Kings speech. I still feel that IBM is making some mistakes with their positioning of OS/2, even from their stated Enterprise Customers only position. For instance, Mr. King stated that their customers have not been asking for full multimedia DVD support and other multimedia enhancements. That may be true, but there are other "potential" Enterprise Customers that do need this support, along with the reliability that OS/2 offers, that currently have to use a lesser solution.

The bottom line is, WarpTech was a wonderful event. It was more than worth the money and time spent. Hopefully POSSI will continue this conference on an annual basis. Until then, I'll just have to wait until September and Warpstock. Hopefully I'll see you there.