Warpstock2000 Review

As I drove into Philadelphia Friday night I came up 2nd street, a lane full of strollers and art; theater, mime, music, and dance all within a few blocks. It was a good preamble to my first OS/2 conference, Warpstock2000 At the hotel my first impression of the people mingling and chatting in the lobby was that they were people; my point being, they were humane and pleasant. These people lacked the predatory leer found at virtually every other computer conference I have attended. Obviously; nobody was at an OS/2 conference to get rich quick ;-] (although nobody seemed to rule out a long term comfortable success either).

There was an even distribution of almost every "type" of person; large and small, this sort and that, from here and there, near and far. The common ground was a positive preoccupation with responsible computer systems development. The focus on OS/2 was an orthogonal consequence of a more essential commitment to quality. We were there to share the accomplishments and (some very exciting) advancements in the tools of our technology. Nobody was negative (e.g. no anti-anybody).

Of course there was a strong sense of irony in the air. Irony goes with computer programming and even more so for a gathering of programmers who the rest of the industry has wished dead and gone lo these many years. Yet there was also a fresh spirit in the wind, possibly arising from the idea that "if they haven't killed us yet they never will; IBM not withstanding". The conference was full of (a self-actualized) promise for the future.

The European branch of the OS/2 family, represented by the Netl@bs and Odin teams (and virtually by Mensys' transaction processing), added a special validity to our preference for the reliability, stability and efficiency of OS/2. They were clearly not the curmudgeons we (US) members can be taken for. More on their accomplishments later.

What became clear at Warpstock is that OS/2 is not an end in itself. We are not zealots or masochists attaching ourselves to a flag in order to justify marginal lives, apart that is, from choosing to be programmers in the first place ;-). We are people willing to withstand adversity to exercise our values.

We are long term designers who hope to create something useful that will endure and serve those who follow us. We want to get beyond the monopoly "gauntlet of greed" and get started on the fabulous future we all can foresee. We can all sense the coming quantum leaps that will dwarf the nickel/dime flimflam scams of the present 'sand box' monopoly.

OS/2 people understand scale, efficiency, extensibility, OS/2 people are the 'least fractious' technical community and OS/2 has the most mature engineering science, OS/2 development requires the highest scientific standards of any of the 'below enterprise level' information systems.

Does this translate into an advantage in facilitating the future meta-monopoly world? I will not temp fate with rosy optimism. But if the information highway analogy is correct then sooner or later business is going to come to whoever can build a bridge that will stand up. All it will take is to wait for enough catastrophes the force the imperative of quality on the coprophagous American Mega Market. And, given the high probability of failure built into the monopoly systems, the more the monopoly grows the more catastrophe becomes a mathematical certainty.

I cannot list all the vendors and presenters so I will highlight just some. Firstly Aviar has made a great contribution by serving children's needs on OS/2. Stalwarts like Sundial Systems still have some of the most elegant applications on any system. I think the impact of Simplicity for Java is going to be vast ( and their lead developer does an admirable job of not bursting at the seams, which he has every right to do, he has created a gem). WarpIn takes OS/2 application installation and management from way behind to way beyond any alternatives. All the vendors and organizations that have been doing the hard work for years were on the job as usual.

These were the two future facilitators I focused on:

The Odin team and everyone else has acknowledge the coercive forces that make running monopoly applications necessary. But they never saw this as a reason to abandon quality computing, they took it as a challenge to employ the power of OS/2 to run those monopoly applications natively.

The Odin team has made the personal sacrifices needed to overcome the "first moment of inertia" toward realizing the true potential of OS/2 as the integrated environment. We must help them. For instance cut and paste the following paragraph and mail it to your favorite IBM stock holder:

IBM does not need to use the Windows "operating systems", IBM only needs to run Windows based applications, there is a big difference. Think of the cost of the Win95 seats that are replacing OS/2 seats internally at IBM. THE PRICE OF JUST ONE WIN95 SEAT WOULD BE A GREAT HELP TO THE ODIN TEAM. The price of each Win95 seat at IBM could have been avoided or could have gone to IBM OS/2 sales if they had Odin implemented. Every Win95 dollar is lost IBM profits. IBM WOULD PROFIT SIGNIFICANTLY BY FINANCIALLY SUPPORTING THE ODIN PROJECT. Odin makes OS/2 the platform neutral environment IBM has been telling OS/2 users to migrate to.

Serenity Systems' eComStation is probable the most valuable information systems development yet. A swarm of network headaches are resolved by this flexible managed system. eComStation is going to give Managed Systems a good name. From anywhere on your network you can now monitor and maintain a robust server (or servers) while effortlessly delivering whatever client system you need, whenever you need it, to wherever a desktop is connected. Is this a thin client technology? Yes, if you want it to be. Is this a fat client technology?

Yes, if you want it to be. Is it stand-alone capable? Yes, if you still believe that's possible. eComStation builds on the best of existing technology with Value Add elements that transform the existing technology into a new creature altogether; an easily maintainable, dynamic information system transparently serving a secure, diverse workplace.

Of course Serenity Systems is handicapped by the same limitation that faces all the other OS/2 developers; eComStation is limited by the number of businesses who believe it is possible to have efficiency, stability, profound overhead cost reduction, great equity value, and a transparent and secure workplace that is flexible enough to grow wherever the future brings us.

Brian Hayes

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