From the Associate Editor: Its Time for eComstation to be Available on DVD Media!

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From the OS2eCS Organization

With the coming eComStation version 2.0 in the near future, I suggest an option to make eComStation available on DVD-ROM. DVD-ROM drives have recently become relatively inexpensive, with most computers now equipped with a DVD-ROM drive. With DVD-ROMs being able to hold seven times more data than a regular CD-ROM, this opens up some interesting options and offers a superior media for "The Operating System of today"!

One of the most intriguing aspects of producing eComStation on DVD-ROM is that it could contain all the available national language versions. Currently eComStation is available in English, German, Dutch, and Italian. French and Spanish are being worked on and on the way soon! All these versions could fit onto a single DVD-ROM. The new installer would then allow the user to choose which version to install. Also, there would not be a need for a second CD-R as is the situation now with eComStation v1.2R. In fact, the main installer could allow the user to install the bonus applications that are now on the second CD. This would make a simpler and more enjoyable experience during installation and add more value.

Another important consideration is the increased archival lifespan of a pressed DVD-ROM verses a CD-R. Right now CD-R seems to be the media of choice, since small editions can be created less expensively than a real pressed edition; which usually can only be ordered in quantities of 500 or more! Personally, I am not really satisfied with a "burnt" CD-ROM because of CD-R's storage life. I expect my CD-ROMs for Warp 4 to last much longer than my CD-Rs with eComStation 1.1 Although as a side note; Prism DataWorks, a former distributor of eComStation in the U.S.A., offered eComStation v1.0 on pressed CDs. Of course, I could create a backup CD-R of the original CD-R but I don't think that is the user's responsibility. In my opinion, it would enhance the reputation of eComStation significantly if the system shipped on pressed media, like other commercial software does. I recall the reaction of a friend of mine who started to laugh when I told him eComStation was shipped on CD-R. Having real pressed media would add a professional touch for "The Operating System of today"!

The biggest challenge of offering DVD-ROM media is obviously the production costs. It doesn't make sense to produce more expensive media if it will rest in stock and not get purchased. On the other hand though spending just a little more to create a more refined product will go a long way in developing more happy users! Its been said that "the little things make the difference". After all, the best operating platform should have the best media..right? (smile)

The argument could still be made to produce eComStation on CD-Rs, since its easier to produce updated media on demand with the most current software. However, a commercial product should go through extensive testing and have the bugs worked out before a new version is released. We don't want to regress and follow in the footsteps of a famous Redmond company which needs to produce patches as often as some people change socks, do we? But then, there might be some out there that don't change their socks for a very, very long time! (smile)

Because I believe that DVD-ROM's would greatly enhance and provide more value, I have collected some information about production costs. Producing 500 pressed DVD-ROMs for eComStation would cost around EUR 680 for all 500, including a glass master! If the DVD-ROM was offered for additional EUR 15, then only 45 copies need to be sold to cover the raw production costs.

Now to address the technical issue, there is some effort to create a multiple-language boot DVD-ROM. A DVD-ROM could be created as a "large CD-ROM" using the ISO 9660 file system. For example the layout could look something like this:


Obviously, there would have to be some changes to the boot procedure from DVD-ROM with selecting the proper language first. It's hard to estimate how much effort it would take to make this possible, but certainly it wouldn't require a whole year to be spent on this.

Provided, the DVD-ROM included official Fixpaks, it would be an interesting DVD-ROM for those who still prefer to work with an older version of eComStation, but that would depend on how much space is left on DVD-ROM.

Would you welcome eComStation v2 on DVD-ROM? SUSE Linux even now comes on DVD-ROM, but only because its such a bloated operating system, it requires the space provided by DVD-ROM. Perhaps if there are enough users who can see the benefits of having eComStation v2 on DVD-ROM we could convince a distributor of eComstation to produce it? And if users are willing to pay extra for the DVD-ROM, this would certainly cover the expenses!

Why voice this issue before eComStation v2 is even available? Simply, it makes no sense to complain afterwards when the media could already have been created! As for me, count me in as the first user to purchase eComStation v2 on DVD-ROM!