EurOS/2 Magazine - Volume 1 Number 5

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Contents

WHAT'S NEW FROM EUROS/2......

DCE Takes Off

Following years of seeming to be abstruse and over ambitious technology, the Open Software Foundation's Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) suddenly looks a hot topic. Early adopters of DCE in an IBM environment have been enthusiastic about the ability to achieve geniune multi platform networking with security and compatibility. They've also conceded that it took a great deal of hard work to get there.

New products are offering slimmed down versions of the key DCE technology. Some of the early users of Warp Server are experimenting with beta copies of IBM's Directory Security Service (DSS) add on. This extends the security and naming services of LAN Server to a higher level, in some ways comparable with Novell's NDS but using an open and more widely implemented standard. More on DSS in the next edition.

Meanwhile, Transarc Corporation are releasing DCE Encina Light (DE-Light) client for Windows platforms and for Java compatible World Wide Web browsers. "We want to open up DCE on the client side to people who could not have taken advantage of it before" said Gregory Such of Transarc. Client overhead is made small by using the DCE Remote Procedure Call (RPC) facility to implement most functions at the server.

Wider use of DCE seems to be part of a trend toward multi-tiered server environments. Any step that keeps management functions on servers contributes towards cleaner control of network services. With Java enabled Web browsers, DCE's benefits are moved outside to the Web. Perhaps DCE is arriving as a key protocol for handling the problems of scale that are afflicting many networks?

Web PCs and EurOS/2 predictions

Web PCs, Internet PCs, Network Computers, or whatever they're called continue to attract publicity. Sun have now launched a product, but with a price tag of around £1,000 few expect it to have much immediate impact. Although some commentators are convinced that administrative savings make a Web PC at this price a bargain. Hard pressed network managers will be watching carefully.

It will be interesting to see how many of Martin Langley's predictions about IBM's developments in this field (see EurOS/2 Magazine Number 3) come about. At present, IBM are reticent about their plans, but claim to have several projects under way. IBM's IPC line is also thought to span the range from a low end set top box to a high end PC with centrally stored applications and files. Unlike Oracle's NC, the IPC may have a combination of both traditional PC GUIs such as OS/2 or Windows, and a browser interface. IBM has downgraded general availability of new products from year end to "no comment". The company has previously stated that IPC prices could be a third of PC prices.

Exchange of Views

Can you offer comments on your own experiences of OS/2 based server or workstation implementations? Contributions from readers are very welcome, especially in computer readable form. Please see contact details below or mail your ideas right now while you think about it! Or if you want to know something, let us know so that it can be mentioned in future editions.

Document Management, covering both computer generated documents and scanned images, always seems a terrific goal. But how to achieve it? Can anyone describe a functional, OS/2 based Document Management system? Who's made any progress with this?

Has anyone figured out exactly how the cc:Mail desktop objects are configured? What setup strings work with them? Likewise all the objects connected with the CSET++ Compiler and ancillary tools?

It should be possible to run a Warp Server network (or LAN Server) totally across TCP/IP. Has anyone got this running live? How well does it work, and what tricky bits were there?

East Coast Java Day, Washington DC, 15 March 1996

by Dave Winfield

This document is to describe my impressions from the Java conference held in Washington, DC on 15 Mar, 1996. This conference was sponsored by Sun Microsystems.

First Impressions:

The emphasis of the conference was definitely to promote the use of Java as a development language, not just as an Internet language. The overwhelming opinion of these people, Java developers or Javaneers, is that it is a great replacement for C++. Some swear that they'll never code in C again. Sun is aware of, and is attempting to fix some of the glaring problems; these include the minimal AWT support, the speed issues and of course the bugs inherent in the code.

Speed:

Sun is addressing the speed issue in two ways: Just in Time compiler and hardware. Symantec and Borland are offering the Just in Time compiler and Sun is introducing their own soon. This generally provides a 10x speed increase. Symantec's is available now, only in a Windows 95 or NT version. The Borland JIT is currently integrated with the C++ compiler so therefore is only available for the Windows platforms.


Sun's next step of speeding up the system is by putting the byte code interpreter into silicon. They are in the process of building these chips and the alpha's should be out by fall. Sun believes the first chips will be used in accelerator cards and then, they hope, on the main boards of systems. Sun will be producing them and I think others will get involved. Although this will speed up performance, because the byte-code translator will be in silicon, it will probably require a driver. (be warned!)

Development:

As mentioned above the vendors sponsoring at the show where Symantec, Borland and of course Sun. Symantec's product was only for the Windows platform; Borland's is integrated with the C++ package. However, the Borland rep said that it is Borland's intent to provided a Java based package, which would be then available to any platform that has the Java engine. To that end he demonstrated a Java-based debugger. The debugger is available for down load from the Borland web site. Let me know if you get it and or try it.

Sun:

Sun is committed to this language. It sounds like they want to make sure that it stays open and, more importantly, free. They mentioned that they were close to signing an agreement with Microsoft; which I know that they have completed by this writing. This only means that the "industry" doesn't have to wait for the potential Microsoft competitor (Blackbird or whatever...)

Sun is, without doubt, interested in selling hardware to run the Internet. Java, they hope, is the vehicle to exploiting the potential of the net, and therefore the way they can sell more hardware. This also gives them the needed incentive to keep Java as neutral as possible, Also, someone mentioned that the HotJava browser is dead: Sun claims it is still living and will be a shipping product. Now I might have misunderstood them and you have further info then please let me know. Since Netscape is using integrating the Java extensions, then I don't think that Sun wants to piss them off. Also, it was mentioned that Netscape may end up being written in Java. Just was suggested, not an announcement!

Companies: Product

  • Oracle All sorts of things
  • Symantec Cafe, a Just In Time compiler
  • Borland Just In Time compiler in the C++ kit
  • Nando.Net On-line news
  • Home Account Home Banking
  • CyberCash Internet monetary transactions
  • DimensionX VRML (Liquid Reality) and TEA an animator
  • Century Computing Demonstration of a timesheet system for NASA
  • Gamelan A Java Applet registry

Attendees:

  • Eric Schmidt, chief technology officer.
    Stressed the importance of the internet and the current level of exploitation. His opinion is that we are on the verge of the second revolution (the first being the IBM PC ). Cable modems, ISDN and Java's role.
  • John Gage, chief science officer.
    Early development of Java. Where it came from and why. Most of this was already been documented. Attempted to show a demo that turned into a great Mac commercial.
  • Arthur van Hoff.
    One of the early Java team members and currently starting a company with four others. He talked about the development of Java and answered questions. Swears that he'll never write another line of C/C++. Talked much about the interaction of CORBA and Java. He believes that this will exploit the true potential of the Web. I don't know that much about CORBA so if any wants to enlighten me please feel free.
  • Ben Renaud and Frank Yellin.
    Current members of the Java team. Talked mostly about security. Answered questions.

Books:

The list below are books that Addison-Wesley will be publishing soon. I have not read or reviewed them so look for reviews. I also include the authors, ISBN and publishing date. The one or two line description is from the Addison-Wesley announcement sheet. This is additional information provided by the conference.

  • The Java Programming Language
    K.Arnold, J Gosling 0-201-63455-4 May, 96
    Comparable to "The C++ Programming Language" by Stroustrup and "The C Programming Language" by Kernighan and Ritchie.
  • The Java Language Specification
    Gosling, Guy Steele, B Joy 0-201-63451-1 May,96
    These guys are responsible for the Java language as it is today. This book is comparable to the "The C++ Annotated Reference Manual" .
  • The Java Virtual Machine
    T Lindholm, F Yellin, K Walrath 0-201-63452-X May,96
    Provides an insider look at the mechanisms used to provide a portable soft interface to hardware independence.
  • The Java Application Programming Interface
    Gosling and the Java Team 0-201-63453-8 May,96
    Documents the entire Java API.

Conclusion:

I do not currently agree that this language is a replacement for C++. The number one reason is that its development is still in the early, early stages. Second I am of the opinion that languages should be developed to fit less general purposes, much like human language has developed. I think if used properly, that C++ has its place in life. Java, however, is real and will have an influence on the future of computing technologies.

All information above is strictly from my impression from the conference I attended. Any corrections will be gladly accepted. If you have any questions that I can answer I would be glad to try. I am trying to focus on some of the comments that I have observed over that last couple of weeks on this thread. I think OS/2 would make a great development platform and if the promise of cross platform compatibility holds true, then the playing field will be more even. OS/2 has some advantages with SOM, OpenDoc, true 32 bit performance, preemptive multi-tasking and native thread support. It could use real security and better memory management to compete with NT and UNIX.

Thought you might be interested

Dave Winfield

Quick tips on beta Java enabled Web Browser

  1. Obtain ic12657 to patch your TCPIP 3.0. This speeds up TCPIP and improves the memory usage.
  2. Turn off Java access for normal browsing.
  3. When trying Java, be patient and be prepared to rescue your system after trying a few applications. Try cntrl esc a few times to kill off the applet viewer and let your system recover.
  4. The performance problems are possibly related to the Java API beta rather than the browser beta.

Paul Taube, University of Texas-Pan American

More tips on beta Java enabled Web Browser

  1. IMPORTANT: generate an archive copy of your desktop.
    After several system crashes caused by the beta WebExplore, it finally destroyed my desktop. The system showed me a message saying that it can't find desktop directory and gave me a blank desktop with a command window. With desktop archived, there is a chance you can recover it.
  2. After installed the beta WebExplorer, you'd better copy \tcpip\etc\explore.ini (WebExplorer's initialization file) to \tcpip\demo (the directory that beta WebExplorer is installed). And, change the setting of WebExplorer with Java so that the parameter line becomes: - -i \tcpip\demo\explorer.ini. Failing to do this, you will find that your existing WebExplorer keeps showing you some error messages every time it starts. This is because the beta WebExplorer uses the same initialization file by default.
  3. Make sure \tcpip\demo precedes \tcpip\lib in LIBPATH, otherwise wrong version of some DLLs will be used when WebExplorer with Java starts.
  4. Before you try any Java applets with WebExplorer with Java, make sure GridBagConstraints.class, GridBagLayout.class and GridBagLayoutInfo.class are in \javaos2\classes\java\awt. Some Java applets need them.
  5. IMPORTANT: do not load too many applets in one WebExplorer session. Loading too many applets tends to cause WebExplorer with Java to hang and, sometimes, crash the system.
  6. According to IBM, this version of WebExplorer only works with Java for OS/2 1beta1 release.

By following these guidelines, I was able to test all the demo applets in \javaos2\demo. The beta WebExplorer with Java is actually quite impressive as long as you can understand it's a beta (or, should we say, alpha?) release and get a good hand at it.

Kochin Chang

Planned Meetings

The next meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday 3rd April 1996 (usual time and location). It will focus on network and server questions in an OS/2 environment - technical strategies, new products, rival suppliers. It is hoped that a presentation on Eagle will be a feature.

On Tuesday 7th 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?

OS/2 News

"Connect the World with Merlin" is a campaign proposal that started with the Tampa Bay OS/2 Users Group in Florida. They hope to achieve a global electronic link up of OS/2 user groups at the time of the release of "Merlin". EurOS/2 has agreed to participate - more news as it comes available.

Press statements originating with Information Week have claimed that CompUSA stores had set a deadline for OS/2 sales to reach a target level. IBM's John W Thompson has categorically denied this (as have other IBM officials) and asked for a retraction. IBM continues to work with CompUSA to develop sales of OS/2 and CompUSA has just added the popular Object Desktop and Galactic Civilizations to their product lineup.

What is IBM's attitude to OS/2? Jack Woehr writes to OS/2 Magazine with the following interpretation: "IBM is a business. We can't swear we'll die to defend OS/2, because we won't. But it isn't dead yet, despite its failure to dominate the SOHO market. It's a great development platform that is the work of many good coders, good designers, and a few scattered geniuses who brought a 32 bit operating system a little ahead of its time. No good deed goes unpunished, so OS/2 has some public perception problems, but it serves a need and a market that Microsoft is still inept at serving."

If you're running a Lotus Notes Server and also have IBM AS/400 machines, you will be interested to see that IBM is developing a native version of Notes for the AS/400. The port will enable users to run Notes queries directly against the AS/400 relational database and set up joins between Notes and AS/400 files. Shipping will commence in 1997. This joins IBM's earlier Notes integration projects for MQSeries, ImagePlus and FlowMark.

Despite killing off its Network Notes service, AT&T is planning to integrate Lotus Notes into its new Internet service. The company declines to publish a launch date for its Internet service. It also says that it will accelerate worldwide rollout of Lotus Notes - alongside its commitment to global use of Microsoft Exchange. What price an IT strategy these days?

IBM is expected to release 32-bit versions of VisualAge Smalltalk and C++ for Windows 95 and Windows NT in the first half of this year, and will also make DSOM support on MVS widely available with SOMobjects for MVS, now in limited shipment. Reportedly, a future release of VisualAge C++ for Windows 95 will let developers create both OLE custom controls and OpenDoc parts. This isn't directly OS/2 news, but any strengthening of the IBM object technology helps OS/2. At the very least we have more migration options.

Magazine format

HTML stripping.....

A further tip on how to use the "Describe" macro published last time, provided by David Gaskill:

Here is what to do:

  1. Install macro in Describe, (call it HTML).
  2. Import splendid magazine (EurOS/2) complete with tags.
  3. utilities /macros/play/HTML saying magic words, "Be gone damned HTML".
  4. Tags disappear in puff of virtual smoke.

Note: Mr. Gates can't do this...

Alternatively, if you'd prefer to receive a stripped version of the magazine, please mail me to be moved to the appropriate list. If you're getting the faxed version, you might like to switch to the electronic version - just let me know your e-mail address.

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 euros2@ibm.net
  • 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

IBM have now released a beta copy of the Java enabled Web Explorer. Please be warned it is not easy to implement at this stage. If you're interested, visit [OS/2 Information Center] and the [WebExplorer Animation Archive]. Internet e-mail will put you directly in contact with Patrick Wolf

If you're running NetWare servers, the innovative backup and restore tool "Replica" from Stac Electronics is winning great reviews. There is a 30 day trial version available from [the BT Communications Store].

People developing with Visual Age may want to find out about "Document Workbench" from Intelligent Documents. Document Workbench claims to be the only Smalltalk class library to combine rich text viewing and editing with an extensive object API. It also supports SGML and HTML, and is portable across IBM Smalltalk, VisualWorks and Visual Smalltalk. You may like to visit the distributor, [Arbor Intelligent Systems, Inc.] and leave them an e-mail to get further information. A free demo is also said to be available.