News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
Mail Starting 8/3/97
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Benjamin Ragheb);
Sent at 8/4/97; 3:08:24 AM;
Re:The Web is a Conversation
> PS: I have a hunch that OS/2 continues to be used, even though it didn't displace Windows.
A hunch? Geez! It is used by a lot of people, but quietly. I use it on my PC at home. It has the flipside of the Mac's (initial) problem: Macintosh is a very cool computer, trying to convince people it can be used for serious business work; OS/2 is a serious work OS, with the Warp campaign trying to convince people it could be cool, too.
A while ago IBM gave up trying to promote it at home, but banks and similar business use it because it is solid, even if it isn't hip. I recognized it on the screen of a PennDOT computer while I was getting my driver's license.
One of the bonuses of OS/2 is that it gives a PC a lot of UNIX-like power, but without the obscurity of UNIX. As a result, a lot of UNIX software has been successfully ported to OS/2. This includes the Free Software Foundation's GNU C Compiler, which means anyone can develop OS/2 applications in C for free.
The NeXT core of Rhapsody is going open the doors to a lot of unexpected Mac software. Even so, the Mac won't displace Windows, and in some ways, I hope it won't. If everyone used Macs, they wouldn't be so special anymore.
OS/2 is alive and very healthy.
From: email@example.com (Amy Wohl);
Sent at 8/4/97; 9:58:23 AM;
Re:The Web is a Conversation
Having failed utterly to do what IBM wanted it to do and supplant DOS as the PC operating system (Windows and NT under Microsoft control did that, of course), OS/2 is nevertheless a very popular OS in Europe and in corporate America, where many servers ru n it and where many corporate users continue to use it because their companies wrote internal applications to the OS. It will continue to be used for years and IBM has committed to supporting it for as long as its customers want to use it.
But (and I think this is important) OS/2 didn't do what IBM wanted and IBM doesn't want to breed (or pay to support) more OS/2's. I think that might be how they'd see the Mac/OS. Probably worse since they don't have any real commitment to it. To them, Apple was and is a customer for PowerPC's. Mac/OS is something that runs on a chip they build.
I think you're right -- they Apple faithful are a readily identifiable community that could be bought, but I don't think IBM should be looked to as the likely buyer.
As the only Mac user in an office full on Windows machines, I can relate to the current thread. I have an awesome Thinkpad 560, all beautiful 4 pounds of it, but I can't quite pry myself away from Eudora for Mac, Now Up-to-date, BBEdit, etc., etc.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Wilen);
Sent at 8/4/97; 3:22:48 AM;
Re:He Was Beautiful
One key difference that I rarely see in print: 800 x 600 doesn't count for as much under Windows! I was all enthused that my new Windows machine had an 800x600 screen. All that extra real estate, I'll be much more productive on the road now . . . And then I discovered that 800x600 on Windows doesn't even match the content area available on a Mac 640x480 screen, because the fonts are all bigger, and the apps all have toolbars and festoons.
OS/2 does exist, for a little while yet. My firm installs Oracle Financials on OS/2 at our jobsites, principally the overseas offices: Sao Paulo, Quezon, Bangkok. There is talk of moving to NT, but our inhouse folks are resisting the move. I used OS/2 in 90 - 91 and figured never to see it again, now I have to support it worldwide: DEC VMS machines too. And, it is definitely not dead: been testing Oracle 9.6 Financials on OS2 Warp for win95 boxes....
From: email@example.com (Monty's Mail);
Sent at 8/3/97; 11:45:21 PM;
O/S2 Lives On
On an unrelated note: killing the clones are a bad idea. They are the ones evangelizing to the converted and unconverted alike, making new strides in what the mac should be. It is hard to divorce the O/S from the Apple, but your piece about how compaq rep laced ibm-compatible is on the button. The future should be Mac O/S; focus on that. I'd like to keep using my Apple Macs, but if I can use the Mac interface on wintel Box, fine. I know I'd install it at work: switch environments with a hot key, etc. Thanks for listening peace, -Eric EricMetoyer San Francisco CA
PS: It is good to read a column that is so personal, tech and personal and catholic in tastes and views. When I tell non geek friends to look you up, that you mix Ayn Rand with the Beatles and discussing web issues, their heads spin. You break the mold, j ust wanted to tell you that.
I have a thought for you. Everyone I talk to agrees that Apple's major problem is its marketing. In a bizarrely ironic twist, the majority of creative types, graphic designers, artists, photographers, film makers, etc. are Mac users. Does this not strike you as odd? Anyway, that little fact led me to an idea. Not knowing who does Apple's advertising (agency wise that is) why doesn't Apple fire their agency and just have an advertising department. Then send the word out that they will pay money for creative advertising ideas from Mac users. Make it like a contest. They have some of the brightest people out there working with their products day in and day out. These are people who believe in the product and know its strengths. Moreover, these are the people who are out there selling everything from detergent to luxury cars, things that they don't even necessarily use. You can't tell me that they can't come up with some bright ideas to sell their favorite computer. Finally, this could become a sort of competition among designers and ad people everywhere. The prestige it could bestow upon the creators would add some (right now badly needed) prestige, as well as a sense of optimism, to the Apple name.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Howson);
Sent at 8/3/97; 8:58:47 PM;
The purported Vonnegut Commencement Address was actually written by Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Here's a link to a follow-up story found in the Tribune Sunday, August 3:
From: email@example.com> (by way of Brent Simmons (Ralph Klapis);
Sent at 8/3/97; 11:57:24 AM;
real author of the "Vonnegut" address
Scripting News is GREAT! I check it almost every day, first thing.
I worked at IBM in a growing IS wing of one of their consortiums. We had a long debate over OS/2 & Win95. I asked why IBM still invested in OS/2. Their developer/users was the response. OS/2 is used by large customers of IBM. The lack of software for the platform is hardly an issue to them because all of their apps are built in house to suit their own needs. An interesting business model that has evolved out of obsolesence.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Rogers );
Sent at 8/2/97; 11:50:43 PM;
OS/2 & IBM
I do all my e-mail and browsing on OS/2. I have since the beginning of the web.
From: "Jim Roepcke"@main.roepcke.com (Jim Roepcke);
Sent at 8/2/97; 5:46:37 PM;
You're darn right it's still used!
OS/2 is one of the most innovative OS' out there. (Seriously)
First with integrated Internet access: October 1994! (out of the box, in a consumer OS)
First with integrated Voice Dictation: September 1996. (also with Voice control, in ALL applications, OS/2 and Windows) (the Mac had limited voice control since March 1994)
First with built in Java support: September 1996.
First with pre-emptive multithreading, flat memory model, memory protection, etc. (1992)
The Workplace Shell, OS/2's GUI (or OOUI) is still my favorite... (OpenStep is 2nd, Mac is 3rd)
My point? A lot of people like to use the term "OS/2" as a subsitute for "could've but didn't". That's only barely fair, and I accept that, but to some people, OS/2 is just as important and dear to them as the Mac is...
And Dave, it shouldn't come as a surprise to you that I am a PROUD owner of a peppy 1996 Saturn SL1... :-)
OS/2, Mac, Saturn... I *have* the choice, and I made it.
Dave, your last essay really struck a chord with me. I own a Power Computing machine, a PowerCenter 120 that I configured myself and which hasn't given me any problems for over a year. That's more than I can say about two Apple monitors I've owned, a 15-i nch multiscan and the 1705, both of which have died within one or two months of purchase.
From: email@example.com (Jason Fagone);
Sent at 8/2/97; 4:51:24 PM;
Re:The Web is a Conversation
I totally agree that Power Computing would kick butt if they were given a chance. No one would miss Apple. Good riddance to the stupidest technology company since Atari Computer.
Would the clone vendors have been crazy enough to sign OS licenses that could be canceled at will by Apple? After Apple waffled for so long over whether it would license the OS at all?
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Gilmore);
Sent at 8/2/97; 11:43:33 AM;
Cloners should continue shipping MacOS despite Apple!
They have the legalese in front of them and I don't. But my suggestion would be for Power Computing & the other cloners to keep right on shipping Mac clones, with MacOS on them. If they're going to go bankrupt, they might as well go bankrupt by losing a suit brought by Apple, as from meekly closing their doors. Apple might have the public-relations sense not to sue; the thing that will really kill the Mac dead is fratricide in the Mac supplier market. And it would take a year or two for a suit work its way through the courts. Meanwhile they can keep making Mac users happy for another year. If the contracts are well written, the cloners might just win the suit, too...
Unless they were really sharp at contracts, this won't give the cloners a long term OS platform, since they probably never got the source code or the right to evolve the OS and ship modified versions. But it's a pretty alternative to a quick death, and a year from now Apple (or whoever owns it) may want to sell them the MacOS. Look at what happened to Unix -- who would have guessed that the Santa Cruz Operation would own it now?