June 2000

Just when you thought it was safe to call yourself an OS/2 user again.... YADA YADA YADA. Yet Another Death Announcement. It seems like old times, doesn't it? Four years ago, we didn't have a full-fledged, native OS/2 office suite from Lotus, but now we do. Four years ago, we didn't have Papyrus Office for OS/2, but now we do. Four years ago, we didn't have Netscape Communicator 4.61 for OS/2, but now we do....

I suppose I'll run out of electrons if I try to list all the great new stuff we have now that we didn't have four years ago. "The more things change, the more they stay the same," the old saying goes. The more great new stuff we get for OS/2, the louder the shrieks and moans that OS/2 is "dead", the bolder the obituary columns, the more certain the spinmeisters. The real issue here is, just what do these people mean when they say Dead? And how can software be dead, anyway?

Software, of course, does not age. It has no moving parts. It never needs oil, it never gets hungry, and it doesn't sleep. It's not physical. Software never really "dies" in the same way that appliances die, or old cars die. So obviously we're not talking about the program literally keeling over and collapsing.

In order to die, something must first be *alive*. This is news! This is certainly news to the computer industry know-it-alls who have written more articles in the past four years proclaiming some kind of supposed "death" of OS/2, than they ever wrote when OS/2 was in its previous "alive" condition. These were the people who originally either ignored OS/2, laughed it off as unimportant, or ignorantly bad-mouthed it. Now they can pose as wise, all-knowing oracles of truth, saying "we knew it all along." But just like before, they still have it wrong. OS/2 is very much alive and well, because what makes software alive is PEOPLE.

People, real everyday people, use OS/2. Since OS/2 is not the default, monopoly preload on computers, people use OS/2 by choice.

People, real everyday people, program for OS/2. Hot-shot coders like Bill Schindler, John Urbaniak, and the members of the Mozilla and Communicator projects write native OS/2 stuff, as do thousands of other smarties.

Most of all, real everyday people meet at technical computer industry events such as WarpTech2000 ( A fun, successful, educational OS/2 event occurred last weekend in Arizona, staffed and attended by real, honest-to-goodness people. Not statistics. Not phantom ballot-box stuffers, as accused by empty-headed pundits in the PC media. Real, everyday people.

As long as people continue to attend WarpTech, Warpstock, and other OS/2-oriented events; as long as they read Extended Attributes, join VOICE and POSSI and other OS/2 user groups; as long as they pay real money for real OS/2 products, OS/2 is alive and will continue to be alive.

What about IBM???

IBM has committed long-term to OS/2. They may not want to *call* it OS/2, because of the bad reputation and phony "death threats" from the PC media wonks, but it's still OS/2. IBM may call it "thin client" or "network computing" or "LAN client", but we are not fooled. It's OS/2 through and through. IBM will continue to provide support and updates for OS/2, but not necessarily in the free and easy manner to which we have become accustomed.

We really are spoiled. What other commercial operating system, costing over $100 a pop, has the quality of free support that we have gotten from IBM for the past four years? Nobody does it better.

The constant death-wish articles spewing forth from the PC media every six months are so laughable. The self-appointed guides of the computer industry seem to think that like a broken clock, sooner or later they will be right. Having lost so much credibility from the hardy survival of the OS/2 user/developer community, the pundits seem to have a vested interest in ensuring that OS/2 is never again taken seriously by the public at large.

Imagine a computer-using public that did not have to fear massive virus attacks. Imagine computer users who didn't have to blame themselves for constant crashes and data loss, because the computer didn't crash and no data was lost. Imagine people actually able to keep computers for five or six years, because the "latest version" was not some bloated pig but rather a smoother and more-efficient upgrade.

That would be frightening to the real, everyday, mediocre, run-of-the-mill computer industry "experts", wouldn't it? They have made a good living as pallbearers for an empty casket!! They sure would be sad to see a world in which nobody needed them any more, because computers actually worked right. OS/2 can and does provide that kind of world to millions of real, everyday people. That's reality, not another goofy story written by somebody who has too little time and too many column-inches to fill.

As Mark Twain once wrote, "News of my demise has been greatly exaggerated."

Most recent revision: May 31, 2000
Copyright © 2000, Tom Nadeau
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