Old timbers under the redwood

Virtual PC project (along with Project Odin) at this year's Warpstock in Toronto, Canada, October 6-8. Ecomstation continues to cause a stir. Sometimes the signs of danger are obvious. It could be the sound of gunfire, or the screech of automobile tires. Or it could be images of madmen flying airplanes into buildings, and the responsive crackdowns of security squads and military commandos.

Other threats are less visible and harder to notice. Perhaps it is the rotting of old timbers under the redwood deck behind the house, or the rusting of supporting pillars beneath a stairwell. Or perhaps it is the quiet, creeping decadence of corporate mediocrity, educational incompetence, and moral boorishness slowing eating away at the fabric of society.

As a comic book character used to say, "My spider-sense is tingling."

People are rightly angered and disgusted by the obvious evil inherent in the slaughter of innocents. A single vicious blow gains immediate attention; meanwhile, the quiet nibbling of moral termites goes unnoticed. In view of the unspeakable horror of death, destruction, and fear caused by terrorists, the peaceful quest to promote better products, more alternatives, and more honest dealing in business seems almost puny. Squabbling over interfaces, protocols, and platforms is a luxury that we often take for granted. But tyranny (like fog) sometimes drifts in on little cat feet; it is not always the result of madmen with itchy trigger fingers.

As far as OS/2 is concerned, innovation and creativity continue to rule. Innotek (http://www.innotek.de/) will be presenting its new Independent developers continue enhancing their OS/2 wares, while hobbyists continue creating new and interesting utilities and tools.

However, it is a bit disconcerting to see that the government antitrust settlement negotiations with Microsoft will occur in an atmosphere that is clearly less adversarial than before last month's sinister events. We can only hope that the desire to engage in more intense observation of individual computer users -- spying on endusers for the sake of national security -- does not lead to some kind of Faustian bargain between the U.S. government and Microsoft. Being forced by federal law to use only Microsoft products would not only be repugnant, but it would also guarantee the further erosion of freedom of choice, innovation, creativity, and openness. Hopefully any decision to establish a tradeoff between freedom and security will not come to encompass individual freedom of choice when it comes to software products.

But that may be the least of our concerns for the near future. Perhaps it was philosophical curmudgeon H. L. Mencken who said, "With the advancement of technology and the decline of morality, we will soon live in a world where each person has their own personal nuclear device -- and will be willing to use it at the slightest provocation."

That is really what this is all about, isn't it? The truth is that we live in a world where the individual has a great deal of leverage beyond the scale of one person, to do great good for many or to do great evil to many. This is why the goal of a safe, secure society will more and more become a conflict between individual freedom and collective security.

As long as it is legal to do so, I intend that this website continue to recommend and promote the world's finest desktop operating system. I sincerely believe that product to be OS/2 Warp in all of its flavors and varieties. And I intend to keep speaking freely and openly about it.

Tom Nadeau


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