The President's Message
by Tony Butka
I am writing this article using OpenOffice 1.1, and reflecting on the future of our 'dead' operating system. Actually, it looks pretty good to me (although the save as html feature evidently has some holes in it). At work, even our most Microsoft-centric managers are starting to understand the inherent flaws in the various flavors of Windows, as virus and worm after security flaw take down Exchange servers, networks, and desktops. On a larger scale, corporate America is tired of MS licensing schemes and mandatory bug fixes, um I mean, upgrades. Most are still running in a Windows 2000 environment and have eschewed OfficeXP 2003 and Server 2003.
Truth is, more and more folks fueled by budgetary constraints and a needlessly expensive upgrade scheme, are starting to look at open source alternatives to MS Windows and Office. Even governments, especially in Asia, are starting to look to Linux as a viable alternative to Microsoft. I note that the insides of Mac OS are now in the Linux/BSD camp, and with the addition of OpenOffice1.1 to the already robust Mozilla/Firebird/Thunderbird networking interface, I am watching momentum start to shift. Even IBM recently made motions to internally move to open source software, and this time, I don't think that even IBM is capable of adopting and killing off an open source operating system like Linux.
So what does all of this mean for we OS/2 faithful? Well, what with companies like Innotek at work, we have a beta of OpenOffice, the GCC compiler is in its third beta, Mozilla stuff is being ported at a respectable clip to OS/2, and I'm writing this article under OpenOffice. Make no mistake about it, OpenOffice is a direct threat to Microsoft's hold on the desktop market. If you think about it, most users don't know or care what their operating system is, they're just used to seeing the MS Office suite on their desktops. And unlike StarOffice 5, the new OpenOffice handles most Word and Excel conversions seamlessly. With Jerry Rash's demo of the beta for OS/2 at the general meeting, this much was clear. There are some font issues, but these are fixable by late beta.
Pretty cool for a dead OS. And with the GCC compiler moving along, device driver support for OS/ is likely to continue apace - the Linux community is really going great guns in this area; thanks!
Apache, according to an eWeek report, is actually increasing its market share to well over 60% of the web servers around, and I've recently helped some folks shift to OS/2 who need to run mission critical DOS and Windows 3.1 programs that won't even install under the newer Microsoft operating systems. Welcome to 2004! I think that we have some interesting times before the next generation MS operating system hits maybe in 2006.
On a separate note, you will note that we are meeting now at the Fountain Valley Public Library. We will continue to use this facility for a few months, in order to provide stability of meeting locations to the members. We are, of course, still looking for a venue with high speed Internet access, and are open to suggestions.
See you next month, and if you have suggestions or comments, email me at
The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA
Copyright 2004 the Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS
SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group.
OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International
Business Machines Corporation.
All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.