reetings all, and welcome again to OS/2 e-Zine! 's monthly news update. This column is designed to go over certain topics that e-Zine! 's own News Folder might have missed, or only glossed over.
We still believe our News Folder can't be beat when it comes to up-to-the-minute, accurate information, but it usually contains more "official" things like press releases and such. This column will include a bit more detail about things we think are of interest to OS/2 users everywhere. Grassroots support, off-the-record news and updates -- stuff that other sources may have missed -- you name it, we've got it!
Well, Netscape's released the source code for Communicator v5, and OS/2 coders everywhere are getting busy. There are at least two separate efforts going on to port the code: The Warpscape project at the OS/2 Netlabs, and the Warpzilla project at mozilla.org. The Warpscape project is in the process of porting a version for XFreeOS/2 first (OS/2's port of the XFree86 windowing system -- see the XFreeOS/2 page for more information), then they'll convert that into a version native to OS/2's Presentation Manager. The Warpzilla project seems to be doing something similar; they plan on using an XFree86 front-end (interface) to help test the back end (underlying OS/2 code), and once this is finished will tack the back end onto an OS/2-specific front end.
It seems likely that the Warpzilla project will progress faster than the Warpscape project, for two reasons: Warpzilla seems to have some members who have actually worked on the current Navigator and Communicator projects, and the Warpzilla project seems to have more members overall. Then again, Warpscape currently seems to be a bit more organized in terms of "who's doing what", whereas at the moment it seems there's a bunch of people doing the same things in the Warpzilla project. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see who comes out with a usable product first.
On the subject of Netscape, recently someone uploaded the latest 128-bit secure Netscape Navigator for OS/2 to a site in Europe so that all OS/2 users worldwide can take advantage of it. (IBM has limited distribution of this version to users in the United States and Canada due to some aggravating U.S. munitions export laws) The site, ftp.replay.com, is the same site which housed (and still houses) an earlier build of the 128-bit Navigator for a number of months. Note that it's illegal to download and use either of these browsers if you're not a citizen of either Canada or the U.S.A., and we here at e-Zine! do not recommend you do so. One really wishes that the U.S. government would remove web browsers from these ludicrous restrictions; browsers with secure encryption are not designed to be 'munitions' as these restrictions claim; they're designed to benefit the general public.
Thankfully, others agree. Farrell McKay, an employee of the Australian company Wayfarer Systems Pty. Ltd., has created an add-on for Netscape Navigator which will it give it the ability to use strong (128-bit) encryption. Since the program, Fortify was developed in Australia using Australian resources, it doesn't fall under U.S. export laws, and can be legally used by anyone. Most importantly, Fortify is also available in an OS/2 version, which works with OS/2's Netscape 2.02+.
To get more information on the product, or to download a version of Fortify and give your Navigator 128-bit encryption, check out the Fortify web site. If you find Fortify to be useful, or even if you don't use it but support unrestricted encryption, be sure to drop McKay a note to thank him. (For the OS/2 support especially! <grin>)
Sam Detweiler of IBM Device Driver Development was recently interviewed in an IRC session organized by VOICE (Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education). Among all the questions were a few interesting points about upcoming features for OS/2:
To see a full transcript of the IRC session, or get more information about VOICE in general, see http://www.os2voice.org.
Stardock has released another update for their latest game, Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur is a cross-platform game of cutthroat corporate strategy and warfare -- outsell, outresearch, outmaneuver competitors every chance you get; crush your opponents into the ground without mercy... Just like real life. <grin> For more information about the game, see the Entrepreneur web page at Stardock.
The update, which will bring your copy of Entrepreneur to version 1.1b, corrects a floating-point problem experienced on some (mostly non-Intel) machines, as well as correcting an occasional exit hang. Note that to apply the 1.1b update, your version of Entrepreneur must already be at version 1.1a -- if it's not, you can get both updates from Stardock's Entrepreneur update page.
In other Entrepreneur news, Stardock reports, "the game is now in most retail stores -- a first for an OS/2 game." Brad Wardell tells us that not even the amazingly popular Galactic Civilizations made it into as many stores as Entrepreneur is now in.
And for those of you who crave diversity, Stardock has released a bunch of new free maps for Entrepreneur. Finally, while the map converter for Entrepreneur was originally created for (and available for) Win32 only, Brad Barclay has successfully used the Win32-OS/2 converter program and turned it into an OS/2 program.
Some updates to OS/2 itself that users may be interested in:
The owners of BocaSoft's WipeOut screensaver for OS/2 have released the program to the public domain, intending to release the source code for the program in the near future as well. If you have access to CompuServe, you can download the two required installation disks from Compuserve's OS2AVEN forum in Library 10 -- the files are WO20DSK1.ZIP and WO20DSK2.ZIP (expect both to change to "real" DSK files soon). You can also download the program from the Hobbes OS/2 archive as the file wipeoutss.zip.
Note that to install the program, it requires two floppies, which must be labeled as 'WIPEOUT20 1' and 'WIPEOUT20 2'; the installation program checks the floppies for these labels and won't work correctly without them. Also note that an update has been released which is required for WipeOut to allow it to function under Warp 4; the WipeOut Warp 4 update can also be downloaded from Hobbes.
That's it for this month. If you have a tip that you want followed up or a news item you think should be reported, don't hesitate to let us know!
Ryan Dill is a student in Computer Science at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS and OS/2 e-Zine! 's Assistant Editor. He is reported to be relieved that, with the advent of Warp 4, talking to your computer is no longer considered a sign of mental instability.
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