SCOUG OS/2 For You - December 1999
The President's Message
by Terry Warren
It is traditional at this time of year, to reflect upon what has occurred during the past twelve months and what might happen during the next twelve. And, since this particular year-end brings with it the end of a decade, a century and even (depending on how you define it) a millennium, the significance of this event would seem to be even more important.
In many ways, 1999 has been a successful year for SCOUG. Our membership has remained fairly constant, we have consistently had interesting and relevant meeting topics and the Saturday Programming (Rollin White, leader) and General Interest (Paul Wirtz, leader) SIGs have also been well attended. Our non-Saturday SIGs (Network under Steve Schiffman and Sundial under Sheridan George) have sustained a faithful following. The in-person help workshops have been less consistent but still successful for the most part. The transition of the Internet SIG to IRC format under the guidance of Dave Watson has stabilized and has even spawned an offshoot on Saturday mornings, both of which are weekly events. A third IRC, for help issues, on Monday evenings is usually hosted by Steven Levine and also has a core following.
We called this year's version of the Open House (initiated in 1997) Warp Expo West. It was an expanded program held at Chapman University with excellent preparation from the committee of Rollin White, Steve Schiffman, Carla Hanzlik and publicist Peter Skye. Attendees, participants and the OS/2 community all hailed it as a very successful event. And we also supported Warpstock '99 both as an exhibitor and through presentations by several of our members.
All that plus expanded website content, a quality monthly newsletter and donuts almost every month. Sounds pretty good, but there were also some setbacks in 1999.
Two of our most active and longtime members moved away from Southern California and will be missed: Gary Granat, earlier in the year and, just this month, Paul Wirtz. Gary had been a charter member and had helped in almost all aspects of getting SCOUG up and running. Paul (at the time of his resignation) was Vice-President, General Interest SIG leader, and one of the top guns at the in-person workshops. Steve Schiffman has been appointed as Vice-President until the next election and Steven Levine has been appointed to the Board of Directors position. We are still looking for a permanent General Interest SIG leader.
Also, the traditional problems of volunteer help and participation still exist. Volunteer help is always needed in a club such as ours and there are many ways in which members can assist. While we do quite well on Saturday meeting day tasks (room setup, cleanup, coffee pot cleanup, etc.) we always need more people to handle non-meeting day tasks such as newsletter articles, SIG presentations and even main meeting presentations.
Equally important are member inputs on pretty much anything related to SCOUG, its functions, meeting topics, etc. Contact any board member (all of our email addresses are published in each newsletter) with your ideas and input. You can talk to us at meetings, or better yet, we invite you to attend our monthly board of director meetings to see how the club's business is handled.
So, what about SCOUG's future direction going into the new millennium? The annual elections in March 2000 will determine the officers and directors who will have the responsibility for this direction. An election committee, to be named at this December meeting, will solicit candidates, prepare for and run the election. If you would like to help with this committee, or are interested in running for the board, please let me know. Every member should consider either running for office or recommending someone else to. The goal is to have two or three candidates for each officer position and ten or more candidates for the director positions.
Each year we say that the new year will be more challenging than the previous and I think that the year 2000 will be the most challenging ever for SCOUG. When the club was formed, OS/2 was an active product with an ongoing (although not always obvious) commitment from IBM for technical evolution and marketing dominance. It had formed a strong foothold in corporate environments and was ready to compete for the consumer desktop. IBM allocated a huge budget for these efforts (and even sponsored a college bowl game under the OS/2 logo). At that time there were a number of software developers willing to spend time on programs for the world's best operating system. All, of course, based on the assumption that IBM would be able to successfully market OS/2.
Now, a little over six years later, the situation has changed dramatically. There is essentially no ongoing commitment from IBM for any new OS/2 development with respect to single users. This means that the vast majority of third party development, both for applications and also for new hardware support (video drivers, audio, etc.) is missing. In short, with each passing year, it becomes more difficult to keep up with the latest and greatest computer technology in a pure OS/2 environment.
So, the question of the new millennium is (and this is a question that your board of directors has wrestled with for some time): how should SCOUG evolve? There are a couple of somewhat obvious answers, both of which have pros and cons.
First, we can essentially not change our established course of action. After all, the argument goes, we have always been a successful club and even now it is quite likely that a significant percentage of our members no longer use OS/2 as their primary operating system. Nevertheless, the club is well supported; there is a lot to be said for the purely social aspects of our organization. Since we have a favorable financial position (mostly due to free meeting space), we can continue on for quite a while with the current membership level. This is certainly the safe approach.
However, your board of directors is considering expanding the scope of the club to include presentations and interactions from non-OS/2 sources. To some extent we have already done this. Examples are the Internet SIG, the Networking SIG (in discussing interoperability of OS/2 servers with non-OS/2 clients), and Java education and presentations. The goal would be to bring in new members that do not necessarily have a strong OS/2 background but who can complement our existing membership. We'd like people with information about non-OS/2 specific environments (e.g. Linux and XML) who could also benefit from learning about and using OS/2.
This second approach could eventually involve some fundamental changes to the focus of our monthly meetings. Thus, it warrants lots of discussion and feedback from you, our members. So, please think about these issues over the holidays and into the new year so you can provide feedback to the existing and future directors.
Oh, and just two more things:
Don't forget to bring your OS/2 castaways for the big holiday raffle. You should also be prepared for possible parking problems at the December meeting.
And, last but not least, have a great holiday season!
Terry can be reached at Terry@SCOUG.com
The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA
Copyright 1999 the Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS
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