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1998 Readers' Choice Awards: Utilities - by OS/2 e-Zine! staff
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Disk / File Utility


Winner: File Commander/2
By Brian Havard

This newcomer to the Readers' Choice Awards is a clone of Norton Commander for DOS and provides some powerful file management functions as well as viewing, editing and archive management in the classic two-pane layout that has proved highly popular for years. It may still run in character mode (an OS/2 window), but it's fast and can create WPS objects or cut-and-paste to and from the OS/2 system clipboard.

1997 Winner: Partition Magic

1996 Winner: FileManager/2


Runner-Up: FileManager/2
By Barebones Software

In "Top 40" speak, you could say FileManager/2 dropped off the charts for a while, only to make a comeback later, although perhaps not at #1 like before. What makes FileManager/2 powerful is the fact that it's stuffed to the gills with features and also comes with a number of valuable command line programs such as a HPFS defrag utility. To quote its documentation, File Manager is "a sort of super-Drives object, something midway between the Drives objects and a more traditional file manager."

1997 Runner-Up: GammaTech Utilities

1996 Runner-Up: GammaTech Utilities

Workplace Shell Utility


Winner: Object Desktop
By Stardock Systems

Object Desktop has been the reining king of Workplace Shell enhancements ever since it was released. Being one of the few major OS/2 utilities to make heavy use of the SOM and class-inheritance technology that IBM put into OS/2, Object Desktop blends so well with the desktop that someone dubbed it a "Third party upgrade to OS/2".

Object Desktop was updated recently to version 2.0, one that rolls the standard and "Pro" versions together into one super-enhancement set that handles everything from file management, archive management, user interface improvements and more.

1997 Winner: Object Desktop Pro

1996 Winner: Object Desktop


Runner-Up: XFolder
By Ulrich Möller

XFolder was on nobody's mind until 1998, when it appeared out of nowhere with some killer features. It added menus to every folder on your desktop in a beautifully elegant way: by building them out of the objects you drag-n-dropped into the configuration folder. It also added status bars, a superior alternative to OS/2's Shutdown command, and a DDE link to Netscape.

XFolder entered a new phase of its life late in '98 when the author, Ulrich Moeller, decided to make its source code available to everyone under the GNU public license. With that in mind, 1999 could be a year of much improvement and expansion for the enhancement utility.

1997 Runner-Up: Object Desktop

1996 Runner-Up: NPS-WPS

System Utility


Winner: Process Commander
By Stardock Systems

Process Commander began life as WatchCat, a popular shareware utility that monitored running tasks and killed them when they went astray. Anyone who's had Netscape"black out" on them will appreciate what this software does. Process Commander is the result of the WatchCat team's partnership with Stardock Systems and introduces a GUI front end in addition to the usual "Control-Alt-Delete" fullscreen session, plus the ability to telnet into a machine over the Internet (or Intranet) and control processes remotely.

1997 Winner: UniMaint

1996 Runner-Up: UniMaint


Runner-Up: WPTools
By Henk Kelder

Another one that caught us off guard by its popularity is this set of tools for maintenance of your OS/2 desktop. There's a Workplace Shell backup and restore utility pair, a program for completely resetting your desktop, and another called CheckINI which goes through your OS2.INI and OS2SYS.INI files to find and correct many of the problems that can develop with them. For the Rexx programmer, WPTools also includes a Rexx library for accessing much of the WPS objects' data.

1997 Runner-Up: Process Commander

1996 Runner-Up: Process Commander

Archive Utility


Winner: InfoZip's Zip/Unzip

In the mainstream computer community, there is PKZip and PKUnzip by PKWare. In the OS/2 community, there is Zip and Unzip by Info-ZIP. Both sets of archive utilities are so ubiquitous that there is hardly a person with a computer who doesn't have a copy, but there is a significant difference between the two: Zip/Unzip are freeware. Long the standard in the DOS/Windows world, PKZip was never able to claim similar marketshare with OS/2ers due to Zip/Unzip's great performance, compatibility and price.

1997 Winner: InfoZip's Zip/Unzip


Runner-Up: Object Desktop

By Stardock Systems

Being possibly the smartest way of handling archives such as ZIP files, ZOO files, LHA, TAR, RAR and other formats of archives, Object Desktop's Object Archives has a habit of getting Runner-Up spot behind the main Zip/Unzip utility itself. With Object Desktop, an archive file is considered to be just like another desktop folder. You can copy and move files in and out with regular drag-n-drop, plus you can open files and even programs from within an archive without unpacking the whole archive first.

1997 Runner-Up:Object Desktop

Copyright © 1999 - Falcon Networking ISSN 1203-5696
January 16, 1999