Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by Cameron Tann » Mon, 20 Mar 1995 17:37:05



I have been using OS/2 for 2 1/2 years for better or for worse.  I have
also tinkered with linux and Win95 build 318.  I bought OS/2 because it has
nearly all of the parts a real OS should and it is commercial from a
gigantic corporation IBM.  This fact alone has not been enough to persuade
software houses to write package for OS/2.  The reason that I am writing this
is because I am bored by listening to OS/2 zealots extol the virtues of
native OS/2 applications.  To all OS/2 users out there in OS land, your
native commercial applications are abominations.  Let's take a closer look
at what is available:

Word Processors:

Lotus has brought us Amipro 3.0b native OS/2 wordprocessor.  If you
buy the native line then you are a sap.  This application is a mammoth, and
I thought mammoths were extinct.  Despite is gargantuan size what do you
get?  An application that does nothing to take advantage of OS/2, no
threading, etc.  Further, it is not even up to par with the current windows
version in either speed or features.  Ruling, bloated/useless/shelfware.
Thank you yes, I have tried all incarnations of that product.

Describe 5.0. I was very impressed with version 4.0 and despite its lack
of features was a nicely written application.  Someone really missed the
mark, however.  Describe 5.0 for OS/2 had every opportunity to be what
wordperfect 5.1 was for DOS, an incredibly flexible and powerful
wordprocessor.  Mr. Lalane (?spelling) at Describe had a lapse of reasoning,
perhaps his precriptions of ridlin and prozac expired.  What followed was
paranoia. First mistake, no real equation editor, just what I want is a dos box
to write my equations.  Second, childish take no prisoners approach to
licensing of Describe which scared many potential customers.  Third, over
pricing the product in comparison with windows wordprocessors which are
still clearly superior in nearly every respect.  Forth, must ask for the
equation writer as an add on, do I hear the price getting even higher?
Ruling, manic/depressive/hopeful.  Thank you, yes, I have tried it.

Clearlook.  I haven't seen this one, but it is nice to see a new batter in
the game.  I am considering giving it a try, but not until there is an
equation writer.  Yes, if you haven't realized by now I am an engineer, and
a word processor without an equation writer is like a car without an
engine.  

WordPerfect/Novell.  Well, you can only insult my intelligence once.  
WordPerfect 5.2 for OS/2 not only insulted my intelligence, but rubbed that
insult in my face.  Enough said.  Ruling nonplayer/MS-cowtow/MS-gimp ala
Pulp Fiction.

Now for the one that you may not be familiar with, and yes, I do have a
copy, MS Word 1.1a for OS/2.  Hold on to your keyboards, but guess what,
this program may be out of date, 16-bit, hard to use, etc, but it
is better than any of the above software packages.  It is petite, functional,
and does what the manual says it will do.  It also has an equation writer,
not the fanciest, but with a little effort it does the job for an engineer.
It is what I use.  Ruling, ugly/facelift/good in bed.

I think that about wraps up the wordprocessors available in "native" versions
for OS/2.  Sorry for not including StarWriter in this, but I have no
knowledge regarding the product save its existence.  Perhaps someone
can tell me about it?  The above products do not compare well with
anyting available for Windows.  For you OS/2 zealots who spout out, "Describe
does everything I need it to do."  Good for you, but that doesn't make the
rest of us happy.  Overall, if you need to write a long paper such as a
Ph.D. thesis, the only choice is still some incarnation of wordperfect or
word for DOS or Windows.

Spreadsheets.

Mesa from Athena design.  This one had me salivating for months.  When it
finally arrived it was raw and my apetite was gone.  This program was not
ready for the stage.  People may say that I am taking a cheap shot at
Athena, but this program deserves comment because it is still alpha
quality.  A spreadsheet by nature is supposed to be friendly to people who
manipulate numbers.  Numeric entry is clumsy, page up/down keys are non
functional, etc.  The mouse is the only route for many of mesa's basic
functions.  Perhaps this was done to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
in accountants.  Unfortunately for most people who use spreadsheets
mesa just won't hunt.  Oh, I forgot to mention that mesa corrupts WPS
graphics.  There are two ways of solving this problem 1) reboot as suggested
by people who like and have an interest in mesa or 2) mesa could fix this
problem and mail us upgrades.  Solution 1 is a software vendors de facto
repair for most bugs.  Once again, yes, I own this software and it has
gathered much dust on my shelf since December.  Ruling, help I've fallen
and I can't get up/promising/edsel.

Lotus 123 for OS/2.  Ouch, this one is by far the worst spreadsheet that I
have ever had the misfortune of fouling my hard disk with.  Clumsy, buggy,
bloated, etc.  This program does not even take advantage of OS/2's nicely
done hypertext help system.  123 is just inept.  Ruling, Tammy Fay Baker of
Spreadsheets.

MS Excel 3.0 for OS/2.  Yes, it is another useful product from one of this
century's foulest, basest corporations.  Despite that MS is excel's maker,
excel works well.  This product is 16-bit and behind the times in comparison
to its more up to date windows versions.  This should not disuade you.  If
you need a real spreadsheet and are accustomed to Excel 4.0 for windows
then give this one a try.  Ruling, dead/useful/nondecorative.

That I believe covers every native OS/2 spreadsheet none of which even
come close to current windows versions.

There are not many other types of software that are as important to the success
of an operating system.  If OS/2 is to become mainstream, as is IBM's
expectation, then some quality versions of these two most basic types of
software (word processor and spreadsheet) are a must.
OS/2 will remain a closet OS that cannot be used in basic business or
scholastic settings if we as customers do not start to see some real
software soon.

By the way, would somebody care to do a similar diatribe on the methods of
actually finding and procurring OS/2 native software in the first place.

Good night,

Cameron W. Tanner

 
 
 

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by pcgu.. » Mon, 20 Mar 1995 18:50:27



Quote:>I have been using OS/2 for 2 1/2 years for better or for worse.  I have
>also tinkered with linux and Win95 build 318.  I bought OS/2 because it has
>nearly all of the parts a real OS should and it is commercial from a
>gigantic corporation IBM.  This fact alone has not been enough to persuade
>software houses to write package for OS/2.  The reason that I am writing this
>is because I am bored by listening to OS/2 zealots extol the virtues of
>native OS/2 applications.  To all OS/2 users out there in OS land, your
>native commercial applications are abominations.  Let's take a closer look
>at what is available:

>By the way, would somebody care to do a similar diatribe on the methods of
>actually finding and procurring OS/2 native software in the first place.

Why bother? You've obviously already made your choice. You like Windows
apps, run Windows apps. I have tried all of the products you panned; and,
most of them are adequate, if not stellar, performers. Believe it or not,
there are some of us who DON'T USE word processors or spreadsheets, why
should we care that you like Excel better than 1-2-3?

Phil "Guido" Cava
Help, PC!
Let us help you achieve Warp Speed today!

****  Say it LOUD: I'm WARPED and I'm PROUD!

 
 
 

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by Earl H. Kinmon » Tue, 21 Mar 1995 00:19:05


: Why bother? You've obviously already made your choice. You like Windows
: apps, run Windows apps. I have tried all of the products you panned; and,
: most of them are adequate, if not stellar, performers. Believe it or not,
: there are some of us who DON'T USE word processors or spreadsheets, why
: should we care that you like Excel better than 1-2-3?

Because if you actually <want> OS2 to succeed in the market place, it
is important that it have some really attractive applications that will
attract larger numbers of mass market users.  Moreover, unless IBM wants
to remain in the absurd position of providing a better task switcher for
DOS and Windows applications (many from Micro$haft), OS2 has got to have
some killer applications.

For example, I know people who have bought Macs solely on the basis of
wanting to use a single application (Quark Express is a case in point).
Can you name a single major application that is OS2 specific and so
attractive that any reasonable number of punters (say low six figures)
would be attracted to OS2?

Doubtless you will tell me I'm wrong, but OS2 seems to have basically only
two kinds of users: zealots and those with corporate turnkey applications.
If that continues, and IBM does not drop OS2 entirely, OS2 will end up
in essentially the same place UNIX on the PC is.

: Phil "Guido" Cava
: Help, PC!
: Let us help you achieve Warp Speed today!

: ****  Say it LOUD: I'm WARPED and I'm PROUD!

Unless OS2 attracts more mainstream applications, you may have to
change your slogan:

Just ask BOB, I'm WARPED and out of a JOB!

--
Earl H. Kinmonth, Centre for Japanese Studies, University of Sheffield,

 
 
 

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by Paul Flo » Tue, 21 Mar 1995 03:37:42



Quote:>By the way, would somebody care to do a similar diatribe on the methods of
>actually finding and procurring OS/2 native software in the first place.

And why not?

Manchester, UK has a (metropolitan) polulation of about 2 million.
There are 2 big computer shops I know of and a handful of smaller
ones. I've recently noticed that Warp is now stocked in most of
them. No apps though.

So, to get software, I have to rely on mail order. For that reason,
I really do appreciate demo versions that areavailable by FTP. It
cuts down on the turkeys.

OS/2 2.0 I ordered from the same company that a colleague
got it from - it was the cheapest he could find. 2.1 I ordered
direct from IBM.

The 1st OS/2 package I bought was Backmaster. It's a good program.
I 'phoned "The OS/2 Solution Centre - Specialists in OS/2 Mail
Order". They hadn't heard of it. So I ordered it from Indelible
Blue in the US.

Next I got C Set ++ 2.0, OS/2 2.1 Toolkit, C Set ++ 2.1 and
the docs, all from the OS/2 Solution Centre. They seem to be
quite good for development tools, not much use for anything
else.

The Developer Connection I ordered from IBM in Denmark. I think
that's the only way to get it anyway. They have a thing called
a Shopper CD, which seems to be quite good, apart from the
fact tht it doesn't include any prices. Smart one, IBM.

Two nightmares coming up. I wanted some software that can
plot contour graphs. Excel 4 couldn't, and I'd seen a
demo of Xact, so I decided to order it. At the same time,
I decided to get SmartSuite. Xact I ordered from the
company itself, SciLab, in Hamburg. They were a wee bit slow
[sarcasm], and I had to get Eurocheques to pay for it since
they don't accept credit cards. However, it is a "killer"
scientific graphing package, so I can just about forgive
them.

SmartSuite was another matter. I 'phoned Lotus, and was told
I had to order it from a VAR, and I was give a phone number.
This was all before IBM took over SmartSuite marketing, so
at the time (February last year, there was exactly zero
marketing) I wanted to get the educational price, or more
accurately, I didn't want to pay the insane $700 full price.
I 'phoned the company, they said fax us the order with a some
proof of you being at an educational establishment. The first
of several faxes. I 'phoned to confirm, and was told it should
take about 2 weeks. 2 weeks later, I 'phoned again. "It'll
be here next Wednesday". Company motto, I believe. Well,
I went on holiday for about 12 days, thinking that it might
have arrived by the time I returned. Wrong. There was a
'phone message saying they didn't know what I wanted.
The fax I sent requested "Lotus SmartSuite for OS/2 1.0"
and the salesdork, when 'phoned yet again, said there
was only a version for OS/2 2. Aaaarghhh! How could
anyone be so stupid as to not look up the SmartSuite version.
There was only one version of SmartSuite, how could he get
confused. So, amended fax, "Lotus SmartSuite 1.0a for OS/2
2.1". That was followed by about another FIVE weeks of
"It'll be here next Wednesday", then someone said
"We've got a date for..." which was some time in the
middle of June. I couldn't believe it. I wrote them
a stinking letter, telling them roughly to shove it.
I then sent an e-mail to good old Indelible Blue.
Unfortunately, IB were in the middle of moving offices,
so they were a bit slow as well. Anyway, eventually
I got it. And it cost less, even with airmail and UK
imprt duty and 10 pounds surcharge because the University
was too cretinous to tell me that it had arrived when
UPS told them, it was still cheaper than the UK
educational price.

The company in question was Classical Technology,
Warrington. I hope they are all bankrupt by now.

Quote:>Cameron W. Tanner

--
Paul Floyd, Information Storage Research Group, Division of Electrical Eng.,
School of Engineering, University of Manchester
Edification - the process of changing your name to be "Edward"

 
 
 

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by Brian Sturgi » Tue, 21 Mar 1995 16:48:39



...
: Doubtless you will tell me I'm wrong, but OS2 seems to have basically only
: two kinds of users: zealots and those with corporate turnkey applications.
: If that continues, and IBM does not drop OS2 entirely, OS2 will end up
: in essentially the same place UNIX on the PC is.

You're quite correct, but you left out a major category... developers
... there are a large number of developers using OS/2... especially
DOS developers.  If you add up "zealots" + turnkey apps + developers
you literally have >90% the OS/2 installed base.  Even if you're
crazy enough to believe OS/2 has 10 million copies in use, that
would only leave 1 million "normal" users and < 5 million in
use by people at all (over half of OS/2 copies in use are used
in service-oriented turnkey-style situations).  If you use
a more realistic figure for the number of copies in use like
4,000,000, it is easy to see why there is no mainstream app support.

: : Phil "Guido" Cava
: : Help, PC!
: : Let us help you achieve Warp Speed today!

: : ****  Say it LOUD: I'm WARPED and I'm PROUD!

: Unless OS2 attracts more mainstream applications, you may have to
: change your slogan:
(I suspect that guy will remain, LOUD, WARPED, and PROUD, no matter
the status of OS/2!  :-))

: Just ask BOB, I'm WARPED and out of a JOB!

: --
: Earl H. Kinmonth, Centre for Japanese Studies, University of Sheffield,

--

President and Chief Technical Officer     CompuServe: 70363,1373
Ataman Software, Inc.                      Telephone: (303) 416-9199
749 S. Lemay, Suite A3-411                       FAX: (303) 416-9188
Ft. Collins, Colorado 80524                 FTP Site: rmii.com:/pub2/ataman

 
 
 

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by Glen Fi » Tue, 21 Mar 1995 23:59:27





>....
>: Doubtless you will tell me I'm wrong, but OS2 seems to have basically only
>: two kinds of users: zealots and those with corporate turnkey applications.
>: If that continues, and IBM does not drop OS2 entirely, OS2 will end up
>: in essentially the same place UNIX on the PC is.

>You're quite correct, but you left out a major category... developers
>.... there are a large number of developers using OS/2... especially
>DOS developers.  If you add up "zealots" + turnkey apps + developers
>you literally have >90% the OS/2 installed base.  Even if you're
>crazy enough to believe OS/2 has 10 million copies in use, that
>would only leave 1 million "normal" users and < 5 million in
>use by people at all (over half of OS/2 copies in use are used
>in service-oriented turnkey-style situations).  If you use
>a more realistic figure for the number of copies in use like
>4,000,000, it is easy to see why there is no mainstream app support.

>--


Bzzzzzzzz.  Wrong....  Where do you come up with these numbers ?? They
are purely conjecture, and are more opinion than fact.  Having been a
speaker to several user's groups (and other functions) the mix, IMHO,
is more like.....

corporate+government+homeuser(normal)+turn_key+developer+student+zealot.

The demand for native apps is created if the user does not have any other
alternative.  If I was a developer I would develop for the most common
base.  If I had 'extra' resources I would then develop for a 'native'
platform.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

-- TEAM OS/2                       AOL        : glenfine              --
-- The opinions expressed are my own, and not those of IBM            --
-- An Expert contractor at IBM Boca ................................. --
------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by Dave Polic » Wed, 22 Mar 1995 09:08:04


Cameron Tanner writes

Quote:> Mesa from Athena design.  [..]
>  Numeric entry is clumsy, page up/down keys are non
> functional, etc.  [..]  Oh, I forgot to mention that mesa corrupts WPS
> graphics.  
> There are two ways of solving this problem 1) reboot as suggested
> by people who like and have an interest in mesa or
> 2) mesa could fix this
> problem and mail us upgrades.  Solution 1 is a software vendors de facto
> repair for most bugs.  Once again, yes, I own this software and it has
> gathered much dust on my shelf since December.  Ruling, help I've fallen
> and I can't get up/promising/edsel.

  I'm sorry your copy of Mesa 2 has been gathering dust since December.  
Athena Design released a free update in January -- Mesa 2.0.1 -- that  
fixed the page-up/down bug and the WPS problems you describe. It can be  
downloaded from the following sites:
        hobbes.nmsu.edu: /os2/32bit/demos/mesa201.zip
        ftp.athena.com: /pub/Mesa2/mesa201.zip & mesa201.txt

  We also made it available on CompuServe, through the OS2AVEN forum.
To obtain it:
1. Go OS2AVEN
2. Select Libraries
3. Select the Other Vendors 'group'
4. download the files MESA2.ZIP and/or MESA2.TXT

  I can't find any record of you as a registered user, BTW, which is  
probably why you didn't receive the notification of the upgrade when we  
announced it to all our registered users. (I've been very hesitant to post  
new-release announcements publically to newsgroups, since they are usually  
verbotten.)  

  I recommend you blow off the dust and download the upgrade. I also  

may have (regarding "clumsy numeric entry", etc.). While we try to stay  
a* of the net, it's obviously much easier for us (and any software  
developer) to be responsive to our customers when they contact us  
directly.

  To other folks -- sorry if the subject header is misleading... I don't  
currently have any thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace beyond the fact that  
we're in it and will do our best to satisfy its needs. I just wanted to  
make sure that nobody was misled by Mr. Tanner's inaccuracies.

                                        -dave
--

    Product Development Manager,  Athena Design, Inc.      
    332 Congress Street Boston MA 02210
CLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are those of pretty much  
everyone at Athena Design. You can consider me an official spokesdroid if  
you wish.

 
 
 

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by Earl H. Kinmon » Wed, 22 Mar 1995 07:15:50



: : Doubtless you will tell me I'm wrong, but OS2 seems to have basically only
: : two kinds of users: zealots and those with corporate turnkey applications.
: : If that continues, and IBM does not drop OS2 entirely, OS2 will end up
: : in essentially the same place UNIX on the PC is.

: You're quite correct, but you left out a major category... developers

I'm curious.  What does OS2 offer developers?  That was something that
attracted me to OS2, but I've had so much trouble getting the basic
system to a reliable, stable state, I've not had time to test out the
Borland compiler I bought and have made only limited use of the OS2
version of the MKS Toolkit which I also bought in anticipation of OS2
being a good base for software development.

Since I've put out a fair bit of coin for OS2 kit (I've got OS2 2.1
English and Japanese, IBM TCP/IP 2.1 full bore version, MKS Toolkit for
OS2, Borland C++ for OS2, OS2 Warped English, and OS2 Warped Japaense
on order), I'd love to get something out of it other than blank screens
and the OS2 equivalent of GPFs.

So far, I haven't seen anything in terms of performance or cost that
would shift me away from what I'm doing now -- running various Borland
compilers under DOS MERGE under SCO UNIX or using the cross compiler
supplied with SCO UNIX (it generates Xenix, UNIX, DOS, and OS2 code).

OS2 looks much less expensive than SCO UNIX at first glance, but when
you start adding in a usable set of tools (MKS), a usable compiler
(Borland), full bore TCP/IP with development kit, etc., you are getting
within spitting distance of SCO prices.  And, unless you go to third
party vendors, you don't have any security to speak of in a system
that's being touted for its network connectivity.

Frankly, the only thing OS2 has got going for it in terms of network
security is that it is even easier to crack 1970s UNIX and thus
presents no real challenge to the would be cracker.

As for robustness, so far SCO has the edge.  I've not yet crashed my
SCO UNIX system by running things under DOS Merge, and I've pushed the
system to the limit by essentially working through the options in the
manual and experimenting.  On the other hand, I've had OS2 Warped
spontaneously reboot when running DOS programmes even when I was doing
something that I had done many times before under DOS without problem.

Naturally, I'll get flames from OS2 zealots, but I've got nearly
identical machines with OS2 and SCO UNIX on them, and when I say
something about either system, it's not based on hearsay or prejudice,
it's based on what has happened on my machines, what I can test on my
desktop.

NOTE for OS2 zealots.  Unless you are also running SCO UNIX side by
side with OS2 and unless you have experience with the Japanese
versions of OS2, direct your comments to the NULL or NUL device of
your choice.

--
Earl H. Kinmonth, Centre for Japanese Studies, University of Sheffield,

 
 
 

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by barryn on B » Wed, 22 Mar 1995 13:10:26



:I'm curious.  What does OS2 offer developers?

Applications can't munge each other's address space. 32-bit, flat memory
model. Virtual memory. Runs on lots of hardware. Variety of computer
languages (C, C++, SmallTalk, Pascal, Cobol, Basic, REXX, Prolog, APL,
Modula-2, Assembler, others). A good platform for DOS development. A
terrific platform for Windows development. A superlative platform for
32-bit OS/2 development. And this: most large organizations use OS/2
for vertical market, run-your-business-on-it software. Software houses
that market core-business software (rather than mere "productivity"
software realize OS/2 is the place to be.

:And, unless you go to third
:party vendors, you don't have any security to speak of in a system
:that's being touted for its network connectivity.

Security is only one aspect of networking. LAN Server 4.0 and NetWare
both offer good security, and there are the 3rd-party tools you mention.
But OS/2's built-in LAN-awareness is a compelling reason for organizations
to give up the old "IPX/NETX/NETWARE.DRV" kludge that prevents easy
integration of desktop computers into a LAN environment.

Heck. I use OS/2 on the network I have here at home...  (-:

:: hopping down from the soapbox ::

Barry Nance
   author, "Using OS/2 Warp", "Introduction to Networking",
   "Client/Server LAN Programming", "Networking Windows for Workgroups",
   and "Connecting with LAN Server".

 
 
 

Some thoughts on the OS/2 marketplace.

Post by Illya Vae » Wed, 22 Mar 1995 19:44:50




>: Doubtless you will tell me I'm wrong, but OS2 seems to have basically only
>: two kinds of users: zealots and those with corporate turnkey applications.
>: If that continues, and IBM does not drop OS2 entirely, OS2 will end up
>: in essentially the same place UNIX on the PC is.
>You're quite correct, but you left out a major category... developers
>... there are a large number of developers using OS/2... especially
>DOS developers.  If you add up "zealots" + turnkey apps + developers
>you literally have >90% the OS/2 installed base.  Even if you're

Any evidence for that, or should we believe it because the great Sturgill said
it?

Quote:>4,000,000, it is easy to see why there is no mainstream app support.

*mainstream*: rigging the comparison again. Not that it's true...

Quote:>President and Chief Technical Officer     CompuServe: 70363,1373
>Ataman Software, Inc.                      Telephone: (303) 416-9199

ing. E.L.I. Vaes
Chief Executive Officer
SkittySoft Consultancy, Inc.
--

Dutch Rail Engineering, Signalling CAD     "He meddled with things man was meant
Postbus 2855, 3500 GW Utrecht                   to leave alone" - Obi Wan Kenobi
Tel +31.30.358586, Fax 357212               MS-Windows, the Dark Side of the GUI