Contents of the IBMPLANS.TXT file
Subject: OS/2 Issues Update
Following is a list of current issues surrounding OS/2 in the market
today, and attached below are comments about those issues.
1. OS/2 Quality
4. 1992 Product Plans
5. Response to MS Win 3.1 vs OS/2 Document
OS/2 -- A QUALITY SUCCESS STORY
To produce the best possible quality product, a new development
process was instituted for OS/2 2.0. This new process included
small, empowered development teams and an unprecedented beta test
program involving 30,000 users.
Our objective was a 5 times quality improvement over our
previous best version, OS/2 1.3 We're proud to say that we have met
OS/2 2.0 consists of about 3.5 million lines of code. Since
we began shipping, fewer than 10% of our users have called the OS/2
Support Line. More than 75% of these calls are usage, installation,
and setup questions. Only about 7% have turned out to be related to
substantive product problems. We have identified approximately 50
issues that are causing these calls. (Not all are bugs. Some are
for specific device support that we did not intend to include until
later releases, but we're now working due to customer interest.)
Of these, 5 are significant impact problems -- such as failure
to install on a certain configuration or intermittent traps on
certain systems. These are associated with specific configurations
that affect a small percentage of our users. Two of these five have
been fixed, and there are temporary workarounds for the other three.
About 20 can cause a major function to be impacted, but the
system continues to work, albeit with an inconvenient workaround.
The remaining 25 or so are inconveniences which affect enough
customers that we have made them a priority. An example is failing
to recognize that a window has been closed prior to Shutdown. Upon
reboot, the window is open and the user would have to click the
mouse button twice to close it again.
We are continuing to work these problems in priority sequence
and have posted a number of fixes on COMPUSERVE, OS/2 BBS, and
Internet. Users who have a problem not yet fixed can call the OS/2
Support Line to get registered for future fixes. We will notify
them when it is available.
In the fall there will be a Performance and Service Pack which
will include all available fixes plus some performance enhancements.
The Pack will be available either electronically or on diskettes for
a nominal charge (materials and handling).
FIXES CURRENTLY ON COMPUSERVE
o Can't install MFM/RLL (older family 1) disk drives
o If the swapper file expands to a partition boundary, it won't
shrink again until system reboot
o Some Western Digital chip sets can hang during system install
o Some Tseng chip sets in SVGA mode experience display
corruption going to and from a full screen Virtual DOS Machine
o Intermittent trap in the Win OS/2 session after exiting
WIN-OS/2 on 4MB systems.
TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
Now available on the bulletin boards: a new version of the OS/2
Tips and Techniques document. It includes answers to the most
commonly asked questions on the support line.
SUPPORT LINE CALLS
The great majority (maybe as much as 80%) are from home users.
This percentage is no doubt skewed by the fact that home users don't
have IBM SEs or corporate help desks. However, we view this as a
positive indication of OS/2's acceptance in a market segment not
commonly associated with OS/2.
In addition to the 50 substantive issues previousely mentioned,
there are a number of other items reported on the Support Line that
we have logged for consideration for future OS/2 releases. These
items, which account for the remaining 18% of the Support Line
calls, fall into two categories.
The first category consists of relatively innocuous bugs that
have an easy workaround. For example, icons in the Minimized Window
Viewer are not lined up. (The user can always handle this by
selecting Arrange from the popoup menu.) The second category items
are not bugs at all, but are product suggestions or requirements --
for example, an alternate method of performing a function.
There are also some reported problems that we have decided not
include as priority items for fixing. These involve very unique
configurations, often of multiple devices of uncommon brands doing
strange things like daisy-chaining a tape drive onto a diskette
We are committed to ensuring OS/2's widest possible acceptance
in the industry, across all computer manufacturers. To that end, we
have been testing OEM machines to verify compatibility with OS/2.
To date, more than 222 OEM machines have passed compatibility
testing on OS/2.
In addition, we are aggressively pursuing a program to sign
contract with OEM vendors to preload and/or resell OS/2 with their
equipment. Larry Rojas, the director of OEM business development in
Boca Raton, has a group of field marketing reps calling on OEMs for the
purpose of gaining these commitments. To date, they have signed
contracts with Scandic Products in Sweden and Reply in the U.S.
Negotiations are in progress with Olivetti, Dell, Compaq, ICL, AST,
NEC, CompuAdd, and Northgate.
The Microsoft advertisement on Windows 3.1 vs OS/2 performance
The scenarios in the ad are a narrow subset of the kinds of
work that a user might perform. It is true that when running
Windows applications one at a time with nothing else on the system,
OS/2 will run about 20 to 25% slower.
However, DOS apps run faster on OS/2.
And when more than one task is being done, OS/2's performance
advantage becomes evident. Because of OS/2's superior multitasking,
it can run background tasks -- such as file copying, communications,
or spreadsheet recalculation -- with no visible impact on foreground
work. With Windows, the cursor movement can lag behind the mouse
movement, and displaying of characters can lag behind keyboarding to
the point where system becomes almost unusable until the background
job is done.
An illustrative scenario from National Software Testing
Laboratories (NSTL): To load MS Word for Windows on a Mod 57 with
nothing else running takes 7.2 seconds with Windows 3.1 and 9.3
seconds with OS/2 2.0. If you do the same load with an XCOPY in
the background, Windows load time jumps to 41.1 seconds, compared
with 15.3 seconds for OS/2.
In addition, we're continually working to improve performance.
In the fall, we're planning to improve performance for all systems,
but especially those with the minimum configuration of 4MB RAM.
MS TESTING METHODOLOGY
- An objective performance tester would question the methodology.
- The results published are for very small subtasks
- The test scenarios appear to be Microsoft's own, not that of
an objective third party. They say the scenarios are "like
PC World's", but what does that mean?
- They have not identified the vendor performing the test
- They did not indicate the specific configuration. This makes
it difficult for another party to replicate and validate the
As applications become available that take advantage of OS/2's
capabilities, e.g. multithreading and 32 bit, OS/2 performance can
be expected to get even better.
1992 OS/2 PRODUCT PLANS
There will be a lot happening in the OS/2 product line through
the remainder of 1992.
ENHANCEMENTS TO THE BASE PRODUCT
In the fall: 32-bit graphics engine; Windows 3.1; device
drivers to support XGA, SVGA, and 8514 displays in seamless mode.
We're continually working to improve performance. In the fall,
we're planning to improve performance for all systems, but
especially those with the minimum configuration of 4MB RAM.
In the fall, OS/2 will be available in a package containing 2
diskettes and a CD.
Available in June, the Multimedia Presentation Manager/2
extensions and a toolkit. IBM OS/2 Pen Extensions and a toolkit are
planned for availability in late '92 or early '93.
DISTRIBUTED SYSTEMS ANNOUNCEMENTS
OS/2 is already the Integrating Platform on the desktop. These
new announcements will build upon OS/2's networking capability to
extend that integration to another dimension -- the Integrated
Device Adaptation Kits to aid in the development of device
drivers for SCSI devices (June), displays (in the fall), and
printers (fall). A Developers Migration Kit for migrating Windows
3.0 applications to OS/2 will be available this summer.
PERFORMANCE AND SERVICE PACK
We'll package up the available fixes to known OS/2 problems
together with the performance improvements and make them available
in the fall in a Performance and Service Pack.
In the fall, we plan to offer a package of approximately 200
productivity applications, tools, utilities, games, and bitmaps.
ENHANCEMENTS TO THE BASE PRODUCT
Available to installed customers for a nominal fee (media and
handling). Free (except for connect time) via electronic download.
The focus will be on improving performance in those tasks and
functions in which the user interacts with the screen (as opposed to
Expect to see us continue to make use of CD packaging in the
future. The added capacity of the CD makes it easy to bundle other
programs with OS/2, allowing us to get creative in promotions with
application software vendors, as well as in bundling our own
MMPM/2 adds audio and limited image capabilities to the
OS/2 2.0 32-bit base. It exploits the features required to make
multimedia effective that OS/2 delivers. This includes multitasking
and the flat memory model -- required for handling data objects many
megabytes in size.
The MMPM/2 architecture enables new functions, devices, and
multimedia data types and formats to be added as technology
The IBM OS/2 Pen Extensions provides OS/2 2.0 support with
special features for pen-based personal systems. The software
allows the user to annotate images online, use gesture commands to
invoke fastpath operations, soft keyboards for quick updates to
spreadsheets and notes, as well as use of freehand drawing,
handwriting/ink capture, and character recognition for limited data
entry. Included are utilities for a pop-up keyboard which allows
customization of the soft keyboard.
LAN SYSTEMS ANNOUNCEMENTS
Coming this fall are a new release of LAN Server, enhancements
to Communications Manager, a Developers Toolkit for Distributed
System Services, Lotus Notes, and LAN Enabler 2.1. The CID
(Configuration/Installation/Distribution) product will greatly enhance
the ease of installation of OS/2 and other products across networks,
by offering automated and unattended configuring, distribution and
DEVELOPERS' MIGRATION KIT
This kit will make it possible to port applications and drivers
with little or no code changes. The developer can generate
applications and drivers for Windows 3.0 and OS/2 2.0 from a single
source. The kit includes
- Conversion utilities for resource files, definition files,
icons, cursors. Bitmaps and help files.
- MIRRORS.DLL (debug)
- Headers, libraries, samples
SERVICE AND PERFORMANCE PACK
Available to installed customers for a nominal fee (media and
handling). Free (except for connect time) via electronic download.
We're currently in the process of selecting these applets from
the many submitted by software vendors and IBMers, so we can't
mention any specifics, but stay tuned to this space. We'll probably
offer a CD version of this also.
RESPONSE TO MS DOCUMENT ON WINDOWS 3.1 VS OS/2
There is so much misleading information in this document
that it is hard to know where to start. Following are some brief
responses to individual items.
- Microsoft claims that Windows 3.1 eliminates UAEs (Unrecoverable
Application Errors). It doesn't eliminate them, it renames
them to GPFs (General Protection Faults). When a GPF occurs
it still recommends that you reboot your system.
- Win 3.1 still does not make use full use of the 386 hardware
protection as OS/2 does.
MINIMUM CONFIGURATION COMPARISONS
- MS's tables are apples to oranges comparisons
- The tables quote system requirements for the most basic,
limited-function mode of Windows' three modes. Then, when
functions are compared, MS quotes the function of the mode with
the largest system requirements.
THE NUMBER OF OS/2-CAPABLE MACHINES
- MS quotes Infocorp as a source. Infocorp says they do not
recognize the number attributed to them.
- Infocorp says 28% of the install base is OS/2-capable
- The majority of machines shipped today are OS/2-capable
This percentage will grow very rapidly in the next few years.
- Microsoft's numbers for Windows-capable machines include 286s,
which don't support the full Windows capability
OS/2's OBJECT-ORIENTED WORKPLACE SHELL
- MS says the OS/2 Workplace Shell requires a learning curve.
- This depends on where you're coming from. MAC users are
usually instantly productive, new users likewise learn quickly.
- Much as DOS users had a short learning period to move to the
next generation interface -- Windows, Windows users will
have a short (a few hours) learning period to become familiar
with the next generation object-oriented Workplace Shell.
- Windows users who have become familiar with the WPS find the old
Windows GUI to be primitive by comparison.
- Users can always choose to have it the old Windows way and
operate with menus instead of objects. They can even choose an
option which gives the screen the look and feel of Windows.
- MS says OS/2 has limited host connectivity. Unsaid is the fact
that they're talking about the OS/2 base product only.
- The connectivity is delivered in OS/2 Communications manager, the
most comprehensive host connectivity tool available
- All the DOS/Windows asynch emulation packages work on OS/2 as well
- No company has more experience and capability in networking than
- OS/2 is the industry's best desktop client for connecting to
complex enterprise networks.
- MS shows tables comparing the number of OS/2 graphical apps with
Windows graphical apps
- Since OS/2 runs DOS, Windows and OS/2 graphical apps, OS/2 will
always have the most applications
INSTALLING DOS-BASED APPS
- MS makes a point of the difficulty of installing DOS apps on OS/2
-- configuring settings, etc.
- Very misleading. We ship a default setting that will run most
DOS apps just fine.
- OS/2's settings capability gives you flexibility if you want it
- In our opinion, OS/2's DOS settings dialog is easier to use than
Windows' PIF editor.
- MS tries to turn a virtue into a vice by decrying the fact that
OS/2 offers the user choices in interfaces: command lines, menus,
- We believe in letting the user have it their way.
WIN 3.1 ON OS/2
- MS says OS/2 runs a modified version of 3.0. One of the key
modifications IBM made is the kind of parameter validation MS
touts as a reliability improvementin 3.1.
- Win 3.1 on OS/2 will be available in the fall.
- It takes longer to install OS/2's 20 diskettes than Windows' 6.
True. That's because you get so more with OS/2:
- Three operating environments
- The Workplace shell
- Pre-emptive multitasking, Adobe Type Manager, etc.
- In the fall, OS/2 will be available on 2 diskettes and a CD-ROM
- In the fall, automatic, unattended installation over a network
will be enabled with the CID product
WINDOWS HAS MORE DEVELOPMENT TOOLS
- OS/2 has a full complement of development tools.
- Many of the leading edge tools originated on OS/2
- OS/2 is the preferred development environment -- even for
- Pen Windows appls don't exist. NT doesn't exist. Their
scalability is not proven.
- The Microsoft portability guide clearly indicates problems
running DOS/ Windows apps directly on NT.
- OS/2 print drivers support 205 printers, which address the vast
majority. More are coming later this year.
- SCSI drivers are coming in June
- More display drivers are coming in the fall.
- Windows uses the proprietary TrueType fonts
- OS/2 includes Adobe Type Manager, the universally accepted
o OS/2 2.0 at no additional charge
o IBM Mouse at no additional charge
o System is ready to use right out of the box
No installation required
o The preload version of OS/2 has some additional
o Additional pre-installed information aids to help
users get productive quickly
- Welcome and Quick Tour
- "For the DOS User" tutorial
- Application install tutorial
- Hardware system overview for hardware
- Service and support information
o Additional useful utilities
- Uninstall utility for easy pruning of unrequired
- Bootable diskette and System Backup Utilities to easily allow
you to backup and protect your system.
o Additional Workplace Shell folders to better organize the
additional features on your desktop
- Welcome and Quick Tour Folder
- Additional Tutorials Folder
- Features Folder
- Service and Support Folder
- About Your System Folder
- Applications Folder
- Configurations Tools Folder