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:
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Cameron W. Tanner