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Chris Wright- by Christopher B. Wright
OS/2 e-Zine!

Christopher B. Wright is a technical writer in the Richmond, VA area, and has been using OS/2 Warp since January 95. He is also a member of Team OS/2.

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Summary: Good news, bad news. The IBM "secret document" whipped up a lot of rhetoric, but why is it important to hear the bad news once in a while too?

The response to the internal IBM memo that was briefly posted on Loren Bandiera's site has been, well, interesting -- especially in certain Usenet groups that tend towards highly emotionally charged rhetoric.

For the most part, people seem to feel the IBM memo did nothing more than confirm what people already thought about IBM's position on OS/2. The fact that IBM seemed to react with embarrassment and dismay did little more than provoke a chuckle among most OS/2 users, as though IBM were finally getting some of their just desserts.

A few people, however, decided to go on the offensive -- against Loren! Apparently, Loren's post really, really bothered a few of our more vocal OS/2 citizens, and they felt it was completely inappropriate. One went so far as to tell Loren that he should hang his head in shame, claiming that by posting that memo, he'd done more to alienate OS/2 users around the world than anything IBM could have done on their own.

Of course, this person was also quick to publicize the infamous fallout between the Warpstock Steering Committee and the Chicago Organizing Committee -- apparently, that wasn't considered bad news. But the seeming hypocrisy of this persons statement isn't what bothered me, it was the idea behind that statement -- that as OS/2 users, we are obligated NOT to talk about any of the Bad News that might be coming our way.


Bad news is not pleasant. It's not what we want to hear. It makes us angry, it makes us feel discouraged, it makes us wonder if its all worth it. But in the end, it also lets us know something important -- that we've got a rather large job ahead of us, and it's time to start working harder.

Some people think that if OS/2 users hear bad news we'll throw up our hands in dismay and move on somewhere else. To Windows, or the Mac, or Linux. This may be true for some people, but remember that OS/2 has a history of getting bad news, has a history of being proclaimed dead, and OS/2 users have a history of being ignored and being perceived as curiosities, remnants of a bygone age. So far, it doesn't seem to have diminished our enthusiasm.

We need to know the bad news, because we need to know ALL the news. We need to see the whole playing field. We also need to know the good news, because sometimes it's easy to forget that there is still good news for OS/2 users.

So, for the record:

In the bad news department: IBM has recognized that they're not really that good at marketing OS/2, and they seem to be giving up on trying to get better. To make matters worse, they're trying to do it in a very cowardly manner, making it look like that's not really what they're doing at all.

In the bad news department: The media continues to portray OS/2 as a product that has absolutely no value to anyone with no future.

In the bad news department: Microsoft Windows 95 is the dominant operating system on the market.

In the bad news department: It's pretty much impossible to get OS/2 pre-installed on a computer bought from a "big name" computer company, like Dell or Compaq or Gateway.

In the bad news department: OS/2 vendors aren't making a lot of money on OS/2, and are having to go cross-platform to survive.

In the GOOD news department: There's this great little thing going on in Chicago called Warpstock, and a lot of enthusiastic OS/2 users and vendors are going to be there to have a good time and buy and sell stuff.

In the GOOD news department: At Warpstock, we should see some interesting software. We'll see Object Desktop v2, which will be formally released by Stardock there. We'll see StarOffice 5.0 for OS/2, which should be released sometime this week or next week. We'll see Papyrus, a voice-enabled word processor with a lot of desktop publishing features built in, debuting in its English-translated version for the first time ever. We'll see Sundial Systems demonstrating a new version of Mesa, we'll see Hopkins:FBI in action, we'll even see software that can automate your entire house from your OS/2 desktop!

In the GOOD news department: IBM will be talking about Aurora, Lotus will be talking about Smartsuite.

The good news for OS/2 can be summed up simply: things are still happening. There's still life in our corner. We won't die off, Microsoft can't buy us out, IBM can't make us go away.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

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October 16, 1998