My wishes for Merlin (written before Merlin release in late 1996)

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By Hartmut Frommert

My Wishes for Merlin

Written in early 1996, some time before OS/2 Warp Version 4 (Merlin) was released. OS/2 Warp 4.0 (Merlin) users feel free to check if IBM has fulfilled some of these my wishes.

As IBM has announced the new OS/2 version, Warp Merlin, they called for propositions what you would like to be included/modified etc in this version. Here's something I would like to see (no particular order):

  • Include more information on additional OS/2 packages of software by IBM (and possibly others), and how to obtain this - up to now it was luck and chance when (if anywhen) you found out what you had to buy for making, e.g., online help yourself, or that there is Employee Written Software (EWS) for free, that this is on the Internet, and what is available there, what is in the Developer's Toolkit, or what compilers and databases you can get.
  • Include the IPFC, the IPF Compiler, which is for making yourself hypertexts as the online documentation and online help, in the standard package. There are many potential IPF authors who have little need for the other tools which are in the packages where it is currently offered.
  • An upgrade of IPF to features similar to that of HTML3 would be great !
  • A DLL should be supported which allows IPF to show images in various formats (BMP, GIF, JPEG) in application-controlled viewports, which are loaded on runtime - this to make .INFs smaller.
  • Include the newest version of the Enhanced Editor EPM, currently 6.03. This is much more powerful and comfortable than the old 5.X which came even with Warp Connect, and is 32-bit finally !
  • Update all the EPM toolkit for the 32-bit EPM 6.03 ! Some of the tools and documentation are still only available for version 5.X EPM, and incompatible with version 6.X. Also, please supply an online ERexx documentation INF ! I don't dare to wish foreign-language "E" files, but would certainly appreciate a "german.E" ..
  • Perhaps it would be wise to include the EWS (Employee Written Software) package on the BonusPack CD-ROM for Merlin.
  • Update the EWS software package for Merlin ! Many of the programs were not upgraded since the release of OS/2 version 2.0 ! (ok, some don't need, but..)
  • A Rexx package ("Extended VRexx") for building PM windows with images (at least BMPs, better in various formats including GIF and JPG) would be helpful.
  • It would be fine to have Virtual Floppy Disk objects, similar to and e.g. derived from the image disks, from and to which you can read, write, make and delete directories, and make all the other operations common to physical floppies.
  • It should be possible to create files/objects in folders from the menu.
  • Under Warp, the Floppy Disk Drive object is sometimes not as stable as one would perhaps wish; this seems to be a bit better in Warp Connect. It should be made smarter (or should I say fixed ?), i.e. faster and more reliable, in Merlin.
  • As a minor wish, it would be nice to have the Boot Manager configurable, especially in its colors. This is not a big issue, but once I had an installation with a Monochrome VGA monitor which had extremely little contrast in the forground and background colors used by the BM, so that only a bright rectangle could be seen, and entries had to be guessed (or known).
  • The German edition of Warp has a particularly bad problem for everyone who writes text or code containing the hat character ("^") such as TeX or Pascal: You get a french "Umlaut" or have to type a space after this character, otherwise the next character will appear twice. It is actually a miracle for me how this bug could find its way into the code, and how it could survive for so long; it is still present in Warp Connect. Please, IBM, solve this problem for the German users !