Who is Michelinakis, the ServerConfig author?

When visiting Warpstock Europe last year, it was great fun to see how many that actually was working on the applications during the event; either debugging or adding new features to their application. One of them was Dimitri, who actually onsite did some debugging for some of his users! ServerConfig was the first application that I came in contact with that Dimitris 'sehh' Michelinakis is developing for OS/2. I've used ServerConfig for well over two years when configurating Apache on OS/2 servers. Great tool! Now, even better since You're able to use it for remove systems as well. Other application that I came in contact with was WebMail/2, webmail solution for OS/2, coded with Rexx. But, thats not it! Dimitris has couple of more application that he develops.....

Q: First of all, what with the "sehh" in your e-mail?

A: A lot of people ask me that. Sehh is just the nickname which I've been using since the first days that I've made programs and published them to the public. Ofcourse because i used it for so many years, people knew me as 'sehh' since that was the only name which i used, so later on when i started using my real name, i had to stick the two together so people will recognize me.

Q: Where are You located?

A: I work and study in Southampton, England. I'm from Athens, Greece (Hellas).

Q: What is Your occupation/profession?

A: University student/Computer Scientist, or something related to that. I usually occupy myself with my hobbies, which includes my work.

Q: What is Your family status?

A: I wouldn't say single, i have a girlfriend, and she doesn't seem inclined to leave me any time soon, so you could say I'm in trouble :)

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Q: Describe Yourself in couple sentence for the readers?

A: I'm 22 years old and study Computer Science at the University of Southampton. My interests are in motorbikes, skiing (both kinds), watersports and music.

I'm the author of ServerConfig/2, ConfigEdit/2, StockMarket/2 and WebMail/2. I've also done some ports (tacacs for OS/2) and worked on many free open source projects for OS/2. Right now i also maintain the Warpzilla installer.

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If you're running a Apache server on OS/2 System, well ServerConfig is a must have tool!

Q: How long have you been using OS/2 (version and year) and what version are You current using?

A: I've been using OS/2 since the early 90's, i started with version 2.11, which i still have (OS/2 2.11 SMP,7 CPU version), and then moved to Warp3 and Warp4. Right now i manage several WSeB servers, and all my personal systems have ACP installed on them.

I'm also one of these people who get beta versions from IBM, I've used Warp3 beta versions, Warp4 and WSeB beta versions and I'm one of the crazy people who download all the IBM Testcase files and crack the zip files just to take a look at whatever IBM is planning.

Q: Was this also the first operating system that You started to develop for?

A: I think i learned programming in Logo on some BBC-kind of computers, and then learned BASIC for ZX spectrums, but i started real development under DOS 3, doing C programs for BBSes and all kinds of viruses (virii) in assembly, yes i know its a bad thing, but i was 12 years old so I'm excused :)

When i moved my BBS to OS/2 in the early 90's, i managed to start coding under OS/2, which eventually led me to REXX.

I've been doing most of my work with REXX and VX-REXX because i consider REXX to be a language which requires the outmost minimum effort from the programmer. You can develop a VX-REXX application in a few hours when the same application in C/CPP will take you weeks. Ofcourse VX-REXX has its problems and limitations, and something that I'm looking for in the future is Scitech to release VX-REXX as open source, the same thing they'll do with the Watcom compiler.

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This is my work desk, you can see my desktop computer, my laptop, and lots of cables for the network.

Q: Most known application that You develop must be ServerConfig, but You also develop ConfigEdit. What are the tools used for?

A: Indeed ServerConfig/2 is the most known application which I've developed. ServerConfig/2 is a collection of tools for any administrator who wants/likes to use a GUI interface to do his job. You can configure the Apache web server, the IBM Firewall (included in TCPIP 4.1 or later), and the InetPowerServer, which is an advanced ftp/email/web server for OS/2. Right now my plans are to add some special features for the IBM Firewall, and wait for the final release of InetPowerServer so i can finish supporting all its features. I also plan to complete my online .inf help database of Apache directives which many people find so useful in ServerConfig/2.

ConfigEdit/2 is a tool which helps you manage multiple config.sys files in a 'database' way. Rather complicated to explain, but if you manage many config.sys files and do a lot of changes in them, then this is the tool for you. Its not a GUI interface like Tyra/2. It lets you import config.sys entries and then sort them under folders. Then you generate new config.sys files by a few drag-drops of these collections of entries.

Q: Was ServerConfig the first freeware application that You developed for OS/2?

A: No, i think my first application was some BBS Door util which i developed along with Acrobat/2 BBS. Acrobat/2 is a BBS program written in C with the Borland C++ compiler, it was first started by another person and he passed it to me. Then i wrote ADAD/2 and ADCUT/2, both applications written in ADA for OS/2, a programming language which i like a lot. I think all of the above programs still exist in hobbes.

Q: Also know that You develop some sort of stock ticker software for OS/2. Was this for your own interest of stocks that got you into develop this? Or was it users requests?

A: Actually none of the above. I just thought that it was something missing from the OS/2 community so i thought that i should fill the gap, and maybe others will follow. I came in contact with Eric Laeuffer, a guy from France, and he was working on a stocks library for Linux, so i helped along and ported it to an OS/2 REXX DLL, then i wrote a nice and simple PM interface.

Apparently it was an application that was missing from the OS/2 community and so it had great success. People requested more features and so it was kept alive. Right now I'm working on a new version which uses Real Time Quotes, and supports multiple currency symbols.

Q: Are you using any other operating system for development?

A: None, i only program for OS/2, although I've worked under all kinds of Unix systems in the past, and I'm required to work with Java.

Q: Which OS to prefer to develop for?

A: OS/2 only.

Q: What do you think are the most important factors for an OS/2 software to have become a success?

A: From personal experience, I'd say if something is unique then it has a big advantage already. Which is what happened with StockMarket/2. Other factors could be PM and VIO integration. Something very important since OS/2 users use OS/2 in two totally different ways. Even supporting tshell is an important factor for me. (tshell is a WPS replacement, which is... text mode).

So you shouldn't be amazed when you learn that nftp is one of the most used ftp clients. nftp runs under every major operating system and comes in three different versions for OS/2! (PM, VIO, and XF/2)

One of the powers of OS/2 is that it gives the user the ability to choose the environment that he wants to work with. If someone wants to use text mode apps, then he may read his emails with Pine, browse the web with Lynx, listen to his mp3 files with Z!, download files with nftp, connect to the internet with Injoy, manage his files with FileCommander/2, and do his word processing with FTE or Qedit.

IBM understands this, a WSeB system can be completely configured from command line. You can manage your LAN Server product via the 'net' command, manage RIPL clients or your users and the shared resources. TCPIP can also be managed completely from command line, as its nature allows it to.

Ofcourse, all these are fully configurable via the PM, with java interfaces and PM graphical applications.

The Choice is Ours.

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What this? Got into some trouble? Rare picture of programmer in trouble, or?

Q: How do you look to the market for other OS/2 software that exist also for Windows; would they survive without the Windows market?

A: The OS/2 market is bigger than you imagine. There are more than 800 big corporations around the world using OS/2, and all of them would be interested in good software. I've already been contacted by a few of them and i was asked to make my software commercial, which ofcourse i declined.

Remember that OS/2 users are not as few as we think, as a committee member of the OS/2 UK Users Group i uncover OS/2 users in the UK nearly every month.

Although i have to admit that an OS/2 product with a Windowz equivalent version has an advantage over Windowz-only or OS/2-only products. Especially when i look at applications which work under Unix systems also.

Q: You have several application that You develop. Which of them is the most popular?

A: I'd say ServerConfig/2, although StockMarket/2 and WebMail/2 have had much bigger success than i expected. Apparently many people in Australia and in the USA have 24/7 connections to the internet and would like to read their email remotely from a web browser, so WebMail/2 is a simple way to achieve this.

Q: Which of the applications do You feel most for?

A: I love them all. I've worked for so many hours on all of them, that each development project has given me something to remember :)

Q: What tools and utilities are You using during Your daily work?

A: emx and all the unix-kind tools with it, vx-rexx, vyperhelp, fte and others.

Q: Any new project in pipeline?

A: Yes indeed, i started on a new version of ServerConfig/2 which has support for the Squid proxy server, but i never finished it because I've used all my time in the past 6-7 months on WebMail/2.

You may also find some new projects of mine in hobbes, that's because many people ask me to write small rexx programs for their own use, and sometimes they upload them there for others to use.

Q: As hardware freak, I have to ask You what system You're using for Your development?

A: AMD K6-2 380mhz (its oc'ed) with 256mb ram, adaptec 2940uw SCSI, four hard drives, one Plextor cdrom and one Yamaha cd-rw, Matrox G200, yamaha YMF724 sound card.

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This is my desktop computer, you may notice a few weird changes, like the fan which is glued on one of the harddrives, and that the power supply is not completely covered.

And an IBM ThinkPad 600E 366mhz 64mb ram, 6.4gig hd which i use when I'm not at home.

I'm not using any special hardware, or the latest and fastest CPU, since the cost and processing power are not justifiable. Maybe in three years time things may change, but right now my K6-2 is more than enough for all my applications and games.

Q: Any drivers to non supported hardware for OS/2 that You are missing that You would like to see for OS/2?

A: I don't have any unsupported hardware. I check the hardware before i buy them.

Although i was fooled with Xircom. Although they support OS/2, they have such a badly written driver which Xircom shouldn't list OS/2 as a supported platform.

Q: What is Your favourite OS/2 software?

A: File Commander/2.

Q: What application will you like to be made/ported for OS/2?

A: Personally, I'd like to see two applications, Photoshop and AutoCAD.

Q: You attended to Warpstock Europe this Year. Did you get what you expected from this event?

A: Indeed i got what i expected and more. I talked with some very interesting people and met with lots of new people and old friends.

I was impressed by some very helpful people, like this German guy who reported a bug in WebMail/2 and helped me debug it, then he also drove me to my hotel with his car!

Q: Will attend next year as well?

A: Ofcourse.

Q: Anyone in the OS/2 community You think should get mentioned for excellent work?

A: Too many people to list them all. But I'd like to try and mention a few anyway since this is a rare opportunity to thank some people.

I'd like to mention 'dink' for his valuable work in the Z! mp3 player and the Web/2 webserver. The eComStation people for their impressive effort for a new future, the PMView author for such a nice image viewer, Daniela for her fantastic IDE/ATAPI driver, the PMMail guys for a superb email client, Brian the author of File Commander/2 a must-have tool, F/X Communications for the best internet dialer, the SciTech people who made our dreams come true for a universal video driver, the Netlabs people who work on all the Netlabs projects.

And ofcourse all the people who develop OS/2 applications like these:
nftp, SIO, cdrecord/2, PC/2, SysBar/2, SNes9x, flash/2, Apache/2, Weasel, IPS/2, PMBitchX, Squid/2, pm123, ZOC, RSJ, House/2, C-Side, and many many others.

Ofcourse I'd also like to thank Kim for maintaining www.os2world.com, the first reliable OS/2 site which offers a complete set of services.

Q: Any others comments regarding the OS/2 community?

A: eh? OS/2 community? what OS/2 community? we don't exist, we are dead.. go away :)

Actually I'd like to thank all the people who have helped in the development of my applications, those hundreds of people who send me bug reports, feature requests and comments every day for so many years. If i didn't get so many emails from so many people, i would have stopped development a long time ago.

Hint hint, if you use a program and you like it so much, then please tell the author about it. It makes a difference.

Q: And the final question: What is one of the first thing You do when You get up in the morning

A: Eat dinner. Since i sleep during the day. Then i usually go for a ride with my motorbike.

For more informatoin about Dimitris applications, click your way into his home page @ michelinakis.gr/Dimitris/soft.html. Dimitris is also involved with OS/2 UK User Group, their home page can be found at www.warp.in-uk.net . To end this interview we would like to thanks Dimitris for taking his time to make this interview possible. Thanks!

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