EurOS/2 Magazine - Volume 1 Number 4

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The Standards Squeeze

What kind of standards do we want? There seem to be three kinds in computing. Committee based standards take into account the widest considerations and can work well. Would you buy a modem that wasn't V.34 these days? But then again, are you using OSI communications protocols?

Then the Internet seems to have grown standards in a pragmatic way, so that TCP/IP is probably the most widely used network protocol in the world. And the third way is the proprietary, de facto standard much beloved of Microsoft and formerly IBM.

Now that the Internet is inspiring many of the newest ideas for the future direction of computing, which way will it go? Last week, there were two announcements going in strikingly different directions. Microsoft is releasing products designed to establish its own de facto standards for applets. MS applet ideas are based on Object Linking and Embedding custom controls, or OCXs, and are aimed to allow objects to be embedded on a Web page. At the same time, AT&T has dumped the Network Notes products it codeveloped with Lotus in favour of a "more open" Internet based solution.

Will the Internet bring a new openness, or new proprietary dominances?

EurOS/2 March 1996 Meeting

At our 7th March meeting, we looked at IBM's plans for OS/2 in 1996, looked at the use of tape products with OS/2 and discussed CID.

Nick Davis, IBM's OS/2 Product Manager, described how Warp Server had just been launched to provide a fully integrated Network Operating System, along with a high value selection of network utilities. Later this month, IBM will launch "Project Eagle", a bundle of server products including a Web Server and DSS - a new product based on DCE.

Merlin is the code name for the next version of OS/2 Warp, and it is expected to ship around the middle of 1996. It will start from the base of the Warp Connect code with FixPack 17. Other integrated developments include OpenDoc and Developer API Extensions, Security Enabling Service and internationalisation support from OS/2 for the PowerPC. It is also expected that Merlin will include updates to the User Interface, upgraded TCP/IP and new Internet support such as a Java virtual machine runtime environment.

Bob Tarlton and Steve Blakemore of Cristie Electronics demonstrated how Cristie was a European rock of stability in a changing world of tape device companies. They surprised us by mentioning lists of familiar names of tape backup companies - and pointing out that they had all disappeared through failure or merger. Cristie aims to achieve high quality by developing software for a limited range of proven devices. They moved early into the OS/2 market with portable and fixed tape units for backup, and latterly for OS/2 installation.

The world of CID (automated installation of software) can be confusing. Russell Eubanks of Moore Stephens summarised his experiences using CID to automate the installation of large numbers of OS/2 workstations. Bravely, he even demonstrated it operating, while stimulating discussion with his audience.

IBM buys Object Technology International

IBM has consolidated its strong position in advanced software development tools by purchasing Object Technology International (OTI). The base Smalltalk language used by IBM was licensed from OTI, who also developed the Envy repository used in Visual Age (Smalltalk). Envy is a respected configuration management tool for Smalltalk based development projects.

Both of IBM's Visual Age product lines - the original Smalltalk versions and the more recent C++ versions - utilise Smalltalk technology for visual development tools. This purchase gives IBM total control over some of the best tools, that are also significant for their cross platform capabilities.

Pensions Administration Software

Are EurOS/2 Magazine readers needing pensions administration software? One of the market leaders is Profund, and they are currently considering whether there is demand for a native OS/2 version of their product. Please contact EurOS/2 if you may be interested or are already using Profund.

Planned Meetings

The next meeting has been scheduled for 3rd April 1996, time and location as stated below. It is being prepared in collaboration with the Netware Users Association, and will focus on network and server questions in an OS/2 environment - technical strategies, new products, rival suppliers. A presentation on IBM's "Project Eagle" will be an important feature.

In May, we are planning a meeting on software development. If you have particular views on what you would like discussed, please let me know. Marc West of JBA has kindly agreed to organise speakers for this meeting.

At present, meetings are taking place at 4 pm at the Moore Stephens Training Centre, 1 Snow Hill, London EC1A 2EN. Nearest underground stations Farringdon, St Paul's or Blackfriars. Please let me know your fax number for a map or details of local hotels. The formal presentations will finish by 6 pm, but are likely to be followed by extended informal discussions over light refreshments.

If you've any comments or requests concerning meetings or the magazine, we'd love to hear from you - contact details below. Which articles do you like or dislike?

Magazine format

Just a reminder that the Magazine is compiled in HTML format so that you can read it with the Web Explorer, or any other Web browser. This is most conveniently achieved by saving the e-mail as a file with the extension .HTM then dropping the file object on the Web Browser. Not only does this greatly improve the appearance of the Magazine, you can also use the live Web links provided you are connected to the Internet.

I've received further suggestions for anyone who wishes to strip the HTML codes from the EurOS/2 Magazine. David Gaskill was appalled that I was proposing the use of a DOS program (well, it does work under OS/2!) and kindly submitted H2T.ZIP which is now available from our BBS on +44-171-334-0337. He also offered a "Describe" macro (you MUST strip off the HTML tags to use it):

MACRO DeScribeMacro

SET SearchSearch1 TO "<?*?>"
SET SearchConfirm1 TO FALSE
SET SearchIgnoreCase1 TO FALSE
SET SearchDeleteOnFound1 TO TRUE
SET SearchConfirm2 TO FALSE
SET SearchIgnoreCase2 TO FALSE
SET SearchDeleteOnFound2 TO TRUE
SET SearchPatternMatching TO TRUE

OS/2 News Flashes

OS/2 FixPacks

A postscript to the mention of FixPack 17 last time - an important feature of this is the fix for OS/2's problem of having a single input queue. Presentation manager sends many messages to programs as a user resizes or moves windows and other PM controls, and a single bad program failing to remove its messages can halt the system. FixPack 17 aims to consign that problem to history. After installing FixPack 17, you'll also have to put the following line in your CONFIG.SYS:


If you don't have FixPack 17, see the Web section to obtain it from the Internet. But bear in mind that it's the equivalent of 8 floppy disks.

Pentium Pro becomes more attractive

Intel is claiming a 25% price cut will see the Pentium Pro move into corporate desktops by the end of the year. This will be complemented by IBM's intention to move the next release of OS/2 to be optimised for 80486 and Pentium processors, leaving behind the 80386 legacy. The Pentium Pro is well suited to running 32 bit code, so predictions of £1,200 desktop machines with the new chip will be good news for OS/2 users.

JP Software Release Take Command for OS/2

The suppliers of 4OS2 and 4DOS command processors have released the first official version of Take Command, a graphical command line interface. It is available as shareware from Moore Stephens Infoline BBS on +44-171-334-0337.

EurOS/2 Contact Information

We would like to encourage anyone working to achieve successful OS/2 implementations to participate in EurOS/2. All communications are despatched electronically, via Internet, Compuserve or fax. To receive regular information from EurOS/2, please let us know your first name, last name, company, job title, address, telephone, fax, Internet e-mail address, Compuserve e-mail address, and indicate which form of communication you prefer.

EurOS/2 can be contacted in the following ways
  • Internet at
  • Compuserve to Martin Brampton 100303,2007
  • Fax to Martin Brampton, Moore Stephens, 0171-246-6055
  • Telephone Martin Brampton, 0171-334-9191
  • BBS Moore Stephens Infoline, 0171-334-0337
  • Mail to Martin Brampton, Moore Stephens, St Paul's House, Warwick Lane, London EC4P 4BN.

Web Stuff

Ives Development have developed TeamStudio, an industrial strength development environment designed to sit on top of Notes. "TeamStudio leverages new programmability features in Lotus Notes, Release 4" said Nigel Cheshire. TeamStudio is claimed to work by splitting Notes applications down into reusable objects which are stored in a central repository on a Notes database. Future versions will build either Notes or JavaScript applications. For more information, refer to [Ives Development].

SIGS Publications produce a number of important object related periodicals, as well as organising conferences in the US. They offer an online magazine about what is happening in the world of objects. If you are involved in software development, have a look at [FixPack 17].

Yet more for those interested in Java developments. An informative group of web pages has been compiled by Mark Jameso of Three Cat Software as the [OS/2 User Group Home Page].

Problems with Warp? One Web site has accumulated all kinds of helpful information. Try visiting The Warp Pharmacy.