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Loren Bandiera creates and maintains the OS/2 News & Rumors site hosted by the OS/2 SuperSite. A lifelong native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he is a Senior Product Developer for UUNET--Canada, working as a system administrator while developing new products for UUNET's web-hosting clients. An OS/2 user for the past 6 years, he is also the author of Java and JavaScript, in Volume II of the Web Publishing and Programming Resource Kit, available from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=1575212390.)

OS/2 e-Zine! -- What was your purpose in creating your web site?

Bandiera -- At the time, I was an avid OS/2 user and it was difficult to find out what was going on in the OS/2 community. There was no one place to go; you had to read different web sites, newsgroups, etc. One day I came across Steve Wendt's OS/2 Warp News and Rumors page which had just started up and I thought it was pretty cool. At the time, Steve was updating his site every couple of days or so, which was fine, but I thought a site like that should be updated daily, even throughout the day, as news came out.

I thought about it some more, and figured I could do a site like that, so I started up my own. I was already going around reading various OS/2 news on the Internet every day anyway, so I started to collect it and post the news on my site.

OS/2 e-Zine! -- How long has the site been up?

Bandiera -- The site has been up since August 13th, 1997. It was originally hosted on an extra Mac that I had at work; I removed the MacOS, and replaced it with mkLinux.

It was like that for about a year, and then I moved to the OS/2 Super Site, as I had changed jobs and wasn't going to be able to use that mkLinux box anymore.

OS/2 e-Zine! -- What result(s) from the site do you find most satisfying? Why do you maintain the site?

Bandiera -- I get the most satisfaction from knowing what is going on in the OS/2 community. That is why I started the site in the first place. I also enjoy being able to help out people promote their events and/or products, as that helps keep the OS/2 community alive and healthy.

OS/2 e-Zine! -- About a year ago, you posted some documents that were (purportedly) leaked from within IBM which detailed Big Blue's plans to herd most of their present OS/2 user base to Java. Can you give us some background on this? What kind of pressure did IBM put on you to remove those files? Having done this once, would you do it again?

Bandiera -- I got some e-mail one day with the IBM documents and a brief message explaining what they were. The documents came from IBM's Intranet, and was their OS/2 strategy. The plan was basically to kill the OS/2 client over a period of time, and migrate customers to Web/Java based solutions, WorkSpace On-Demand, etc. Warp Server development would continue and it would be pushed by IBM to customers.

It included IBM's plans to achieve these goals, for example, providing Netscape to as many IBM customers as possible, to keep their browser market share above Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

When I first got the documents I was stunned by what I was reading. I trusted the source of the documents, and I believed them to be real. At first, I wrote a summary of the documents and posted it on my site; then, a couple of hours later, I decided to post the actual documents.

It didn't take very long for IBM to notice all of this and they were not happy. They first called Dirk Terrell (who ran the OS/2 SuperSite where my site is hosted) and they asked him to remove the documents. He wouldn't do that, but he put IBM in touch with me.

I was called by Jeff Smith from IBM. At first he just wanted to know how I came to have the documents. IBM's security team thought that someone (possibly me) hacked into their Intranet and stole them. I explained to him that I had just gotten them via e-mail, and as far as I knew, the documents were taken by someone inside IBM who had the necessary access.

The next thing Jeff wanted was for me to remove the documents. He told me that IBM didn't want their strategic plans out on the Internet for their competitors and members of the press to view. I could understand what he was saying, but really, that wasn't my problem, and I didn't want to take the documents down. That being said, though, I got the impression that had I refused I'd be hearing from IBM-Legal and that would not be a good thing.

I told him that since the documents were already posted, I couldn't just take them off my site and pretend that they didn't exist. I also said that the contents of the documents had concerned me and a number of visitors to my page as to IBM's commitment to OS/2.

So we made a deal that he would send me an updated strategy that I could post on my site, and I would take down the current information. I took down the documents and I got Jeff's new "updated strategy" a day or so later.

When I got it, it was not what I was expecting. It was vague and didn't address anyone's concerns. It was basically marketing fluff. That annoyed me, but I posted it on my site anyway. I felt kind of screwed, and I wanted to put back up the original documents, but at the same time, I didn't want IBM legal on my back.

The documents were re-posted in the OS/2 newsgroups ( comp.os.os2.* ) and more than a few people e-mailed me telling me they had saved copies and had given them out. Since the information was back out there, I decided that re-posting the documents on my site would just be asking for trouble, so I let it be.

If this happened again, I wouldn't take down the documents.

OS/2 e-Zine! -- Where do you see OS/2 heading?

Bandiera -- At this point, it doesn't look too good. I see OS/2 being around for a few more years, mostly because of the community. I think you'll see a lot of OS/2 users start to use Linux or some flavor of Windows while phasing out OS/2.

IBM doesn't seem interested in keeping OS/2 up to date in terms of technology, so as a result, there isn't much that would attract new users to the platform or keep current ones from switching to another OS that is being updated.

In a few years, you'll probably only see OS/2 at ATMs and sites of IBM's bigger customers.

OS/2 e-Zine! -- Do you think that the Department of Justice's suit against Microsoft will have any lasting, long-term affects? If so, what are they?

Bandiera -- It will definitely have long-term affects; a few years ago, if you bought a computer, you were getting Windows whether you wanted it or not. Today, more and more vendors are offering Linux as an option or in some cases that is the default.

I think as a result of the suit, you'll see more people become aware that you don't need Windows to run your computer, and that there are other choices. Linux seems to be the platform that will benefit the most from this, and as a result, you'll also see a lot of new markets opening up for business based on selling services for open source software like Linux.

I think you'll see the computer industry become more and more services based, as more and more people become used to the idea of free open source software.

OS/2 e-Zine! -- If you could send a message to the people at IBM who are directly responsible for developing and marketing OS/2 and know that they would read it, what would you say?

Bandiera -- I would tell them in no uncertain terms that they f*cked up and that at this point, they should just release the source code to OS/2 and letthe OS/2 community take over.

I realize that there are licensing issues and what not, but that could be worked out. IBM could still make money selling products/services for a community which developed OS/2.

OS/2 e-Zine! -- What software currently under development do you think is vital for OS/2's continued growth?

Bandiera -- I'd have to say the GNU tools (like emx, gcc, etc.) because right now Linux is really hot, and a lot of development is being done. A lot of that stuff can be ported to OS/2 with the GNU tools, and I think that will be really important to OS/2 in the future.

OS/2 e-Zine! -- Do you think that the current Linux craze will have any affect on OS/2 users? If so, what?

Bandiera -- I do think it will have an effect. On one hand, I expect that Linux will take away users from the OS/2 platform. It's a really good platform and it's just getting more and more popular everyday.

That being said, I also expect that the OS/2 community will take advantage of a lot of the open source software being developed and port that to OS/2. I think that will bring a lot of cool software to the OS/2.

OS/2 e-Zine! -- What gift do you want most for Christmas?

Bandiera -- I've got a lot of people that have asked me that question lately, and honestly, I don't have anything in particular that I want.

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