Chris' Rant- by Chris Wenham

Et Tu Brute?

It takes a while to tell if something is really for you.

That's why couples get engaged before they get married, or why shareware authors give you 30 days to try out their programs. At first everything may be peachy, but for some reason or another you may find that your needs are different and it's time to go elsewhere.

Most of us shrug, say "heigh-ho", and get on with business as usual.

Now why is it that in this far-too-political world of operating systems there are so many journalists who feel like they have to leave a blade in the chest of a platform when they go?

I am talking about a few individuals, who's names I shall not mention, that used to be good OS/2 journalists and advocates until they decided that they'd had enough of the race. They switched their platform or closed their shop as anyone would do when faced with the crunch, but marked their exit with a line of self-indulging tripe that stinks to high-heaven of unwanted pity.

"Goodbye OS/2, the platform that could have been..." blah blah blah "...David and Goliath..." waffle waffle waffle "...IBM dropped the ball..." blah blah blah "...Ann Landers..." etc. etc. etc.

Oh boy.

Folks, these are very premature obituaries. The death of OS/2 has been greatly exaggerated. When I told a friend that I wrote for an online OS/2 'zine he said jokingly, "So you're getting ready to write a eulogy, eh?" To which I replied, "No, I'm too busy evaluating and reviewing all the new OS/2 software I keep getting." An automatic response, yes, but seconds later I pleasantly realized that it was true. The market is alive, well, and even picking up. Yet somehow we're supposed to think that the ship is still sinking even when it wasn't taking on water to begin with.

Let me ask those ex-Warp journalists, "just what did you gain by stabbing a colleague in the back?" Well gee, what a shame, OS/2 isn't bringing you the hordes of adulating fans that Windows journalists have. Strange, I always wrote for the benefit of my readers, not for the benefit of myself.

This complaint doesn't apply to all, I concede, but it applies to many. I wouldn't mind if they didn't want to carry on for whatever reasons they had, but it hurts us for no good reason at all when they announce OS/2's demise as fact. To those journalists: we're trying to make a success out of OS/2 and we are succeeding. Microsoft needs the competition we're giving them and there are many users who need the power and flexibility they can't get outside Warp. But you're hampering our progress for nothing much more than your own personal satisfaction and selfish gain. You're doing it at our expense and, surprise surprise, we resent it as much as we'd resent a knife in the back from a person we thought was a friend.

I shall never write a eulogy or obituary for OS/2 for the simple reason that it is rude, unnecessary and doesn't help my readers (not to mention that it is wildly inaccurate). I know they (my readers) are intelligent enough to decide what operating system they want by reason, not hype and I know they'll be intelligent enough to tell if the software they have now doesn't serve their changing needs.

Self importance is a fatal flaw in any journalist. Journalists can be wrong. Bill Howard of PC Magazine, however important he may be or is perceived to be, was wrong when he said OS/2 will be gone by the end of the year. There will be a new version of Warp before the end of 1996 and I, along with many others, will be at the forefront of its wave, informing the people who need its new features.

"Goodbye OS/2" essays and premature eulogies don't help anyone. We read OS/2 related magazines to learn how to use OS/2 better, not to read whiny, depressing letters from someone who's looking for an excuse to cop out or jump ship. These letters don't make us sorry for Warp, they make us sorry for those who couldn't think of anything better to write. I lose respect very quickly for someone who loses track of what their publication is supposed to be about.

Here's a personal request to any OS/2 journalist who wants to write a "Goodbye OS/2" letter--Don't.

I don't feel that Windows 95 is aimed at a person like me (someone who needs real power and flexibility), so why must I have to fight until my teeth are bleeding to counter the ugly propaganda that threatens to bring down the only operating system that serves my needs?

I know who I am, I'm a "power user" who wants more control, more customization, and more flexibility in an operating system. I am a programmer with an appreciation for what goes on underneath the desktop in the guts of the software. I don't mind if there's a learning curve at the beginning because I know the consistency of the interface will make it smooth-sailing from then on. I know what I want and I know what I need.

To these journalists: please, why do you have to make our work so hard?

End of rant.


Chris Wenham is a Team OS/2er in Binghamton, NY with a catchy-titled company--Wenham's Web Works. He has written comedy, sci-fi, HTML, Pascal, C++ and now writes software reviews.

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