reetings, all, and welcome to News from the OS/2 Community, a column which provides OS/2 users with info on some of the latest happenings in our Warped world. Remember, if you have news of interest to OS/2 users, drop us a note!
We'll start off this month with some updates to programs we have previously mentioned.
SouthSoft, makers of the PMMail email client, have released a pair of updates to the program recently, bringing the latest version up to v1.96a. (Those using the older v1.96 which was released April 16th will probably want to update to v1.96a, since it fixes some bugs introduced in v1.96.) A list of new features and fixes in the latest version of PMMail can be found at the PMMail History page. Stardock has updated their corporate warfare game Entrepreneur once again. This update brings the program to version 1.2, and adds a number of bug fixes, as well as some new Direct Action Cards to enhance gameplay. (See the readme.txt file for full details of changes.) You can download the update from Stardock's Entrepreneur Update page.
Some updates to the OS/2 operating system itself have occurred recently. IBM has updated the IDE driver included in Warp 3 FixPak 35 and Warp 4 FixPak 6, extending support to fixed Enhanced IDE drives greater than 8.4GB, fixing some problems, and adding additional documentation on removable media support. IBM has also updated one of the drivers on OS/2's installation disks to allow for more than 11 local drives on a machine during installation. Both updated drivers can be downloaded from IBM's Device Driver Pack On-Line:
Additionally, IBM has released some new mouse/pointer drivers for OS/2. The Device Driver Pack On-Line now contains drivers for the Microsoft IntelliMouse, the IBM ScrollPoint, and the Logitech MouseMan+.
As a note of warning, owners of the Logitech MouseMan+ have reported no luck getting the drivers to work with their mice yet, though your mileage may vary.
IBM has also been doing a lot with Java lately -- they've recently made available a prerelease version of Java 1.1.6 for OS/2 (see this month's Beta File) which you can download (after registration) from IBM's prerelease software site, and they've updated their NetRexx language, used for writing Java programs in the familiar user-friendly syntax of Rexx. Additionally, IBM's alphaWorks laboratories have updated their Jikes Java compiler and released a number of new Java technologies, including a toolkit for using Java to write installation programs (Install Toolkit for Java), a tool which displays information about a Java program as it executes (Jinsight), and a Java framework for developing networked applications (Shared Data Objects). For full details about the new and updated technologies available, see the Formula section of IBM's alphaWorks.
In terms of third-party applications, Kai Schmidt has updated his Java SurfCompanion program, which is a variety of programs in one, including a web server, web robot, proxy and local search engine. To get more information about "Suco" or to download the latest version (beta version 0.99), see its web page. Java SurfCompanion is feedbackware, so any thoughts or bug reports directed to SurfCompanion@wwz.de are appreciated.
A group of people have recently been working on porting the Bochs PC emulator (originally a Linux program) to the Windows platform. This program is intended to allow Win95 and Linux programs to run under Win95 and/or WinNT. Why should OS/2 users be interested in this, you ask? Well, thanks to the Win32-OS/2 team's PE2LX translation program, a very early version of Bochs for Windows has been converted from a Win32 executable to an OS/2 executable! Now since this is an "alpha squared" program (the alpha PE2LX converting an experimental version of Bochs for Windows), your mileage will definitely vary in testing Bochs for OS/2, but theoretically this will allow you to run Windows 95 or Linux from right inside OS/2. To find out more information on Bochs for Windows, see the main Bochs for Windows web page; the current OS/2 executable converted with PE2LX can be downloaded from a Warp Speed Software (not to be confused with "Warp Speed Computers", the makers of The Graham Utilities for OS/2--these are not the same company).
Note that this is not for the faint of heart -- setting up Bochs for Windows is a rather complex procedure, and therefore setting up this early OS/2 version may be hair-pulling at times. It also requires power; according to Bochs documentation, "..at a bare minimum you should have a Pentium 166 with 32 megs of RAM." As said before, this is an early version built by an early version, so YMMV. Read the documentation at the Bochs for Windows site well before trying anything.
Still, if it works, think of the possibilities!
A bit of news from Lotus. As you may remember, for a time when Lotus was selling SmartSuite 96 for OS/2, they promoted a free upgrade offer for the next version of SmartSuite -- i.e., if you bought and registered SmartSuite 96 before a certain date, you'd get a free copy of the next version of SmartSuite when it came out.
Well, the next version -- SmartSuite for Warp 4 -- is out, and some previous buyers of SmartSuite96 are wondering where their free upgrade is. The word from representatives at Lotus is that when they dealt with the free upgrades for the Windows SmartSuite, a number of problems resulted from the way their upgrade system was designed. Consequently, they decided to redesign the way they distributed the upgrades for the OS/2 version, so that none of the same screw-ups would occur. Unfortunately, this has caused some delays in getting the upgrades out the door.
Lotus says they're trying to get things done as fast as possible. In the meantime, all SmartSuite 96 owners who are eligible for the free upgrade should have received a postcard from Lotus in the mail saying so -- if you don't have a postcard and feel that you're eligible for the upgrade, give Lotus support a call (the number should be in your SmartSuite documentation); they have all registrations on record, and should immediately be able to tell you if you're eligible.
Ryan Dill is a student in Computer Science at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS and 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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