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Glasnost!- by Kel Brown
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Glasnost is a Russian word and it means openness. If IBM can embrace this idea as policy in time for the release of Warp 5.0, OS/2 might be its biggest release yet.

Warp 5.0 is still a long way off, so why is its release on my mind? Because NT 5.0 and Windows '98 are on my mind. Both of the Microsoft products are still a long way off but the press surrounding their respective beta testing is nothing short of phenomenal.

I want to install something. I want to see cool new icons on my Desktop and use all 22 of the new functions that have been built into the system clock for the first and last time. I want to be excited again about how much OS/2 is going to improve the way I work and the way I play. More than anything, I want to be able to stick it to all the Windows users and tell them over and over again how pitiful their OS is compared to the power and elegance of "the new OS/2".

If we ignore PC Computing (which has had the imminent release of Windows 98 on its front cover for 6 months) and Windows Magazine (which escapes by virtue of its intended bias) and concentrate only on the more general computing monthlies, we still find ourselves drowning in a sea of articles itemizing the lists of features found on the Windows 98 desktop. Articles about how it is guaranteed to dominate. Articles about Internet Explorer 4.0.

Where does the impetuous for the press come from? I am sure Microsoft encourages up-to-the-minute press on '95, '98 and NT, but magazine editors also know that readers are rabid for every tidbit about the next greatly insane operating system to come out of Redmond. But where, in all this frenzy for the up-to-date and great, is news of Warp 5?

The fault is not with the editors and writers of OS/2-oriented publications. If the editor here at OS/2 e-Zine! had solid information about a new release, you would be reading about that here, ad nauseam, instead of wading through my pitiful ravings.

With that in mind I can only conclude that IBM does not want any advance press on the next version of Warp. The reasons why Big Blue does or doesn't do something could fill whole seasons of X-Files episodes so I won't put myself through the frustration involved in speculation.

Without something to look forward to in this "newer is better" industry, Warp 5 could suffer a death by apathy before it gets a chance to prove itself. Proposed feature lists, the personalities and politics involved, anything, even the reasons for delays would be better than the infernal, eternal wall of silence.

In their defence I must say IBM has been trying to connect to the user. Their monthly web newsletter, Warp FM, has made it past the experimental stage and Mike Lawrie (PSP Division's General Manager) seems to be taking an active role in seeing it, and OS/2, succeed. The effort is appreciated and needed but it's still a little too quiet.

How can we coax IBM into opening their doors further? IBM can only profit by using Microsoft's policy of tantalizing users with what's to come and constantly refocusing that vision in response to user's reactions. OS/2's technological lead is eroding quickly and the more I know about how insanely great Warp 5.0 will be, the more ammunition I will have to fight its detractors. And maybe even bring a few more of the faithful into the fold.

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Kel Brown is a Math and Computer Science major at Saint Mary's University. He is an avid OS/2 supporter and a member of Team OS/2.


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