Mr. Know-It-All has the answers to even the really tough questions.
Peter Skye wrote the article
eComStation Version 1.0 Rolls Out which appears to be a review of the GA Rollout of eCS.
There's some stuff I just don't understand. Does Mr. KIA have an opinion?
Mr. KIA has lots of opinions. One of Mr. KIA's opinions is that everyone's got the right to have an opinion, even if Mr. KIA does not agree with it. Mr. KIA, noting that some readers don't think much of Peter's article, also has the opinion that one does not persuade someone to your way of thinking by calling them names.
To Mr. KIA, Peter's article appeared to be several themes combined into a single article.
It was a review of what happened at the presentation. It was a review of
what he believed the eCS product to be. It was also an editorial piece
expressing his opinions on the purpose of eCS and its value to the OS/2
Peter's description of what happened at the presentation was pretty accurate.
Kim did the presentation using a new master track delivered just before
the presentation. Unfortunately, it was not sufficiently tested. Kim
did not know this and the result was a less than smooth install. This is
what caused the Pre-boot screen display errors and the miscellaneous hangs
during the install. All this indicates is that you can never do too much
Peter, at the time, believed he was seeing the GA product that was ready to
ship. Those of you on the eCS list
know that Kim was asked repeatedly if SCOUG would see the GA. Kim repeatedly
and emphatically said we would not know until the presentation. Peter was
signed up to the eCS mail list and had downloaded all the articles, but never read any
of them until after his article was published. I'm sure more than one SCOUG
member believed they were seeing a GA product, based on the various announcements
before the presentation. If Mr. KIA was under the mistaken impression that
he was seeing a demonstration of a GA product, he would have been similarly
unimpressed with the quality of the installation. Kim stated clearly that
the errors would be corrected; however, he could have been much more
emphatic that the code he was showing was not even close the what the GA would be.
Like many newcomers to eCS, Peter was confused about what eCS is and what the
distinctions are between the bootable CD installer, the eCS demo CD and eCS
the product. Mr. KIA has followed the evolution of eCS on the mailing lists and
newsgroups for quite a while. It is his opinion that Serenity does a
mediocre job of describing eCS to OS/2 users. The same questions come up
over and over from new arrivals and there's no single URL that we can point
to and say go here and do a little reading and then come back and ask
questions. Instead, each new arrival gets individualized education. This is
not terribly efficient or effective and contributes to the massive data
overload on the eCS mailing list.
At the presentation, Kim focused on demonstrating the bootable CD installer
and WiseManager. During the presentation, he also discussed the bootable demo
CD and the customized CD's that ISV's could build to use as a sales tool or
even as a ready-to-run product.
WiseServer and RIPL booting clients were also mentioned in passing.
It would be easy for someone not extremely familiar with eCS and Serenity to conclude
the CD's were all one and the same product or to miss the subtle distinctions between them.
All of this probably contributed to the now infamous "no SCSI support" and "no
networking" statements. Folks using SCSI with eCS clearly know SCSI works and
the support is not going away. The "no networking" statement is both correct
and incorrect. If one goes back far enough, IBM was not going to
permit Serenity to put networking support of any kind on the bootable demo
CD. Somewhere along the way this changed so that TCP/IP networking would
be available on the demo CD, but LANServer/Peer networking would not be.
Again, there's no place to go to find a product description of what the demo
CD can and cannot do along with a definition of what Serenity considers to be networking support.
After publishing his article, Peter worked with the Serenity team to better understand the eCS product.
As a result of what he learned, he made several updates to his article. There are still several parts of Peter's article that Mr. KIA disagrees with.
"eCS boots from CD and can be run from the CD without installing to a hard
This is not exactly true. the eCS install CD is bootable as will be the
demo CD and ISV custom CD's; however, what most OS/2 users think of as eCS will be
installed to a hard drive and will boot from the hard disk not a CD. For
these users, the bootable install CD does little more than avoid
the need to create the 4 installation diskettes. The CD may also be able to
replace utility diskettes for emergency maintenance, but this depends on
exactly what is available on the installation CD. As of today, the exact content of the CD is not documented on a publicly accessible site.
Peter continues with:
"no networking is included in this mode"
This also is not exactly true. The planned demo CD will have TCP/IP
networking available and the ISV custom CD's can support any form of
networking the ISV wishes.
You have to define what you mean by eCS before making statements about networking support.
Peter makes statements that imply that determining the correct SCSI driver
might be so difficult as to require opening the case. Mr. KIA believes Peter
is overstating the problem by several orders of magnitude.
First, the vast majority of SCSI users know what hardware they are using.
Second, the vast majority of users and potential customers are and will be using IDE drives.
When trying to get an unknown system to boot eCS,
there's more likely to be a problem choosing between Daniela's and IBM's IDE drivers.
"Also, many apps today need networking and can't be demonstrated without it.
Nor can the developer include a server in his onsite demonstration since
networking isn't supported."
Given that the demo CD will have TCP/IP networking and that an ISV's CD can
support any form of networking the ISV wishes, the above statement is just
plain factually wrong.
"One user, however, searched for the document on the pre-release version and
could not find it."
The document is in the root of the eCS Preview1 CD and, strangely enough,
is titled "known.issues." As to why the two individuals Peter mentioned could
not find this document, Mr. KIA could only guess. Interestingly, there's also a document titled "readme.txt" on the CD which refers the reader to a document titled "known.issues." As to why Peter did not verify these individual's statements with Kim or someone else since there was a direct contradiction, Mr. KIA can only guess.
Regarding "readme.txt," Mr. KIA would suggest that Serenity deliver word-wrapped text files.
The lack of pre-wrapped lines in readme.txt makes it somewhat difficult to read in tedit and it prints poorly if you "copy readme.txt lpt1."
"These separate documents do make for a more complex install process. Kim
noted several times that failure to follow the printed install
documentation instead of relying on the screen displays could lead to a
Mr. KIA believes Peter misunderstood the context of Kim's statement. Kim was referring
specifically to the networking install. The replacement for the networking
install is not finished. All that eCS provides is a wrapper for IBM's
existing networking installation programs, thus the eCS network install suffers from many of the same defects and failure modes as IBM's installer.
The eCS wrapper goes a long way to ensuring a successful first time networking installation
by providing SmartGuides which assist the user with the non-obvious parts of
the network install. Serenity has completely reimplemented the base
OS/2 install, so none of the IBM installer issues exist for the base install;
however, the GA will be
v1.0 code, so there are bound to be some new issues. Hopefully, they will
"Cheung was apologetic. "This code wasn't written by Serenity," he said, "it
was a worldwide effort."
following his description of some of the installation glitches. This could
be read as if Kim said this as an explanation of why the glitches existed.
This is simply not the case. The two statements were made at separate times.
Kim was hardly apologetic. He was, and is, extremely proud of the world-wide
effort. He was apologetic about the defects and explained that since the
code was not written by Serenity and it was just delivered and that he did not have
a chance to test it before the presentation.
The section "Does It Install Faster?" has also raised some controversy. Did
I tell you Peter thrives on controversy? The presentation was a demonstration
of the eCS installation and not specifically an installation speed test. Kim
paused to answer questions, explained the screens and entry fields and had
to suffer with some installation glitches. He also switched video to another
system while the install was in progress so that he could describe aspects of the WiseManager package. To use the duration of this install as a measure of how long a typical eCS GA install will take is just plain bad science.
However, fear not: once eCS goes GA, SCOUG has a plan to answer this question. Stay tuned for the
If you think the installation analysis was controversial, you should have
seen what happened when folks read the section "The Road To Windows."
Best I can recall, Kim's statement was either as Peter quoted it or very
close. My recollection was that it was said nearer to the middle of the
session, but I was not taking notes and Peter was. This is one of those
cases that I don't think Kim meant what he said. Perhaps he was talking of
hosting WiseServer on another OS and remote booting eCS clients. I can only
guess. eCS, as most of us know it, is the OS/2 kernel, the WPS and OS/2
native applications with all the stability and functionality that that
implies. This chunk of code is not going to get ported to another OS, much
less another CPU architecture any time soon. Technically, it would be
possible to run OS/2 as a client on a virtual machine. The host OS
had better be as stable or more stable than OS/2 or I can't imagine many
OS/2 users being very interested. Perhaps, large enterprises with legacy
OS/2 applications might be more receptive to OS/2 as a client OS of a virtual machine. Mr. KIA can only speculate.
On Peter's statement that:
"eCS is a good fit for those current OS/2 users who are planning to migrate
to Windows. eCS has been designed with that in mind..."
Mr. KIA can not understand how Peter could conclude this, even after long
discussions with him. To resolve this apparent paradox, Mr. KIA refers the reader to
his statement about opinions at the beginning of this article.
"The future of eCS appears to be a cross-platform product which supports
various operating systems, most likely Windows and, possibly, Linux."
eCS provides tools to make it easier to interoperate with these platforms.
HOBLink supports remote execution of Linux apps. SmartSuite provides
reasonably good document interchange with MS products; however, none of this fits Mr. KIA's definition of cross-platform. Cross-platform means the application runs
natively on multiple platforms. SmartSuite is cross-platform. Describe is
cross-platform. VisualAge Java was cross-platform until v3.02. eCS in not
cross-platform as Mr. KIA uses the term.
If anyone wishes to agree or disagree with Mr. KIA, he can be contacted at
Curious or in doubt, you can ask
OS/2 is his specialty and sharing solutions is his passion
Mr. Know-It-All lives in Southern California.
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