Category : OS/2 Files
Archive   : OPEN_LET.ZIP
Filename : LETTER

Output of file : LETTER contained in archive : OPEN_LET.ZIP
Message : 11335 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:23 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : Open Letter: PC Mag Rec'vd. : No


As I mentioned earlier, the PC Magazine article by Michael J. Miller has
gotten me 'riled up'. I have written an Open Letter to PC Mag which
appears in the next 8 messages. (For those of you who don't care to read
it, just skip 8 messages ahead.)

I am sending a copy to PC Magazine, but due to the length of the letter
and its pointed criticism of an article written by the editor-in-chief
it is clearly impossible that this will be published. Nevertheless, it
would be worthwhile to have an opposing viewpoint published somewhere.
The only option appears to be electronic distribution.

If you agree with the thrust of my message and would like to see this
message distributed to others, please capture the letter and cross-post
it on other bulletin boards and information services. For example, I am
not on Prodigy, CompuServe, BIX, or PC Magnet - it would be good to place
it in public forums there. If you like, print it out and send it around
your department at work!

Also, WRITE to PC Magazine. If your feel strongly about some particular
point, let them know about it. PC Mag needs to know two things:

1. There are plenty of people interested in OS/2.
2. We aren't going to sit quietly and let the press kill OS/2.


Richard Hodges

Message : 11336 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:25 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : PC Mag 1 Rec'vd. : No


Richard E. Hodges

University of California, Los Angeles
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Disclaimer: These are my personal views and do not reflect the official
position of my employer. I am not an employee, consultant or
stockholder of IBM Corporation. I do not have any financial interest in
DOS, Windows or OS/2, or in any applications programs designed for
use on these systems.


I have just read the April 29 issue of PC Magazine and strongly
disagree with the observations and conclusions of Michael J. Miller in
comparing Windows and OS/2. This letter provides a point-by-point
rebuttal to the main points that I have found objectionable in two
articles by Mr. Miller. This will be addressed below.

In contrast, the article "OS/2 2.0: Does It Fulfill the Promise" by Joe
Salemi provides a fair and honest appraisal of OS/2 2.0. Joe Salemi
has done a masterful job learning the facts and presenting a useful
overview of OS/2. His feature article and additional sidebars, "Guided
Tour of the Workplace Shell" and "Debunking the Myths of OS/2" are
refreshing in that they directly report the facts without introducing
personal preferences and bias. It is indeed rare to find a journalist
that maintains his objectivity when evaluating operating system

Another highlight of this issue is the short piece by William F.
Zachmann, "32-bit GUI Alternatives." Mr. Zachmann has clearly and
accurately delineated the key reasons that OS/2 is more appropriate
on the desktop than any currently available versions of Unix. As a
person that uses Unix based systems frequently, I can personally
confirm that Mr. Zachmann's evaluation is correct. It is useful for
this information to be summarized for those who may have heard of Unix
but do not have first hand experience with the system.

Message : 11337 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:27 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : PC Mag 2 Rec'vd. : No

Finally, Charles Petzold's piece on Windows NT holds some academic
interest, but seems inappropriate in an issue devoted to currently
available desktop operating systems. This article is particularly
inappropriate in view of Microsoft's statement that NT is a server
operating system, not a desktop system. Furthermore, Microsoft's
abysmal track record on meeting an announced delivery date with
systems software causes one to seriously question the credibility of
statements such as, "Microsoft is predicting the retail release by the
end of 1992." This credibility is stretched even further by the fact
that to this date, Microsoft has not yet produced a reliable
multitasking operating system.


My complaint with Michael J. Millers article is primarily centered on
his general recommendation of Windows 3.1 over OS/2 2.0. I can
appreciate that Windows 3.1 is useful to people with relatively modest
requirements or low end systems which cannot run OS/2. However, for
those of us who have more capable hardware, there is no need to be
stuck with the limitations of Windows. Thus, rather than make a
blanket recommendation as Mr. Miller does, it would be more
appropriate to recommend the system that is best for a particular
class of hardware. It appears that Mr. Miller feels compelled to try to
justify his dubious recommendation. In what follows, I will identify
some comments that appear to be designed to support a prejudiced

I wonder why Mr. Miller says, "... developers can write 32-bit
applications, which theoretically can be faster than 16-bit applications
normally created for Windows or OS/2 1.x." THEORETICALLY? This is
not a theoretical hypothesis: it has already been proven with 32-bit
DOS extenders and with beta versions of 32-bit OS/2 applications that
32-bit flat memory model programs are from 50% to 100% faster than
16-bit segmented memory model programs. One would expect the
editor-in-chief of PC Magazine to be well aware of this fact. From the
context of his statement, it appears that Mr. Miller is attempting cast
some shade of doubt on the established fact that 32-bit applications
run faster and thereby cast doubt on the potential of OS/2.

Message : 11338 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:29 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : PC Mag 3 Rec'vd. : No

Mr. Miller observes that, "From a technical standpoint, OS/2 2.0 does
appear to be a 'better DOS than DOS.' Of course, the same can be
said of DESQview, which is simpler to install, or Windows." This is
complete nonsense! Does DESQview or Windows allow one to boot
different versions of DOS simultaneously? Virtualize device drivers?
Multitask sessions under the control of a preemptive time slice
multitasking system? Provide true protection between DOS sessions?
Can either DESQview or Windows truly be called a "better DOS than
DOS" as PC Magazine concludes OS/2 is? Of course not! The
statement that DESQview is "simpler to install" also needs
examination. I have known Ph.D electrical engineers who specialize in
writing complex computer software who spent days setting up
DESQview and QEMM and getting all the device drivers plugged into
the correct holes in memory. OS/2 automatically handles all of this
tedious setup. The statement about installation is false.

Finally, I question the basis for Mr. Miller's conclusion that, "General
users probably will not find OS/2 a compelling environment because of
the complexity and size of the environment (a full installation requires
about 30MB), the relative difficulty of installing and maintaining it,
and the lack of many applications native to OS/2." I wonder if Mr. Miller
even reads the articles that appear in PC Magazine? OS/2 is inherently
designed to be easy-to-use, as explained in the article by Joe Salemi.
Even if it takes 30MB of disk space (Mr. Salemi's article states that,
"Realistically, OS/2 will eat up about 18MB to 20MB on a average
system.") if one wants an easy-to-use, high performance and rock solid
system then the price is greater disk space. Many people are willing to
get a larger hard disk and some additional RAM if it makes the
computer easier to use. And where is the basis for the claim that OS/2
is difficult to maintain? There is no justification given for this
statement. In my experience, I find exactly the opposite is true. You
just turn it on and it works. And it keeps working. OS/2 is more
complex than DOS in the same sense that a Ford Taurus is more
complex than a Model T Ford. More complex does not imply more
difficult to use and maintain.

Message : 11339 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:39 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : PC Mag 4 Rec'vd. : No

Mr. Miller suggests Windows as an easy-to-install, easy-to-maintain
and easy-to-use system. He states, "Windows 3.1 makes it safe to
jump in the water." Question: If Windows is so easy to maintain, then
why does PC Magazine run a Windows column covering all kinds of
nitty-gritty details of memory managers, PIF files, special config.sys
settings to avoid UAE's, and the like? Evidently, it takes alot of fine
tuning just to make the system work. OS/2 doesn't require all this
constant tweaking - it just works. If Windows is so easy to install,
then why is PC Magazine compelled to devote pages 195 to 235 to all
kinds of special "tips" to help people get Windows 3.1 working as they
undoubtedly expect? Apparently, Windows is no simple matter to get
up and running reliably, but Mr. Miller makes no mention of this fact.
In the article on OS/2, Joe Salemi states that everything you need to
know is a mouse click away on the Workplace Shell desktop. Does OS/2
require special "tips" on avoiding system crashes (UAE's) as PC
Magazine feels is necessary for Windows? Obviously not. On the
contrary, Joe Salemi reports, "We tried to test OS/2's protection
capabilities by deliberately inducing a UAE (Unrecoverable Application
Error) in a Windows window. But our attempt failed completely with all
of the Windows applications on the test system, including some that
will crash when running under Windows 3.0. This is testimony to
OS/2's stability."

From what is written in PC Magazine, it is obvious that Windows
requires a considerable amount of fine tuning to make it work properly.
On the other hand, OS/2 is not difficult to install. The statement that
OS/2 is difficult to install is manifestly false.

Mr. Miller's remarks about lack of OS/2 applications is also
questionable when considered in the context of comparing OS/2 to
DOS/Windows. OS/2 provides better support for DOS programs than
Windows does. OS/2 supports Windows programs. OS/2 supports
OS/2 1.x programs, of which there are some very good ones. And there
are many genuine 32-bit OS/2 2.0 programs already under
development. These multi-threaded 32-bit programs will be far
superior to anything showing up in Windows, and they will be available
this year. Some major applications, such as Corel Draw!, Lotus 123/G
and Lotus Freelance Graphics, are expected within a few months. In
the light of these facts, does Mr. Miller conclude that Windows
provides more choices for software support than does OS/2? The way I
see it, OS/2 offers more choices, and better choices.

Message : 11340 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:41 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : PC Mag 5 Rec'vd. : No


Perhaps the most unreasonable part of Michael J. Miller's article is
the insert on page 115. First of all, the "Five reasons to buy Windows"
should be ADDED to the list of reasons to buy OS/2. Look at what is


1. "You can create documents rich with fonts, graphics and more."
Same goes for OS/2. Soon you will even able to do it alot faster by
using 32-bit applications.

2. " You can run multiple applications." You can do it even better in
OS/2 because of the preemptive time sliced multitasking system and
Super Fat and High Performance File Systems.

3. "You can combine applications." Same goes for OS/2.

4. "If you do not like Windows, you can always remove it." Again,
OS/2's convenient selective install allows you to remove Windows
support - the advantage is that you don't have to sacrifice DOS
multitasking, improved network support, superior file systems and
other OS/2 improvements that are provided to DOS sessions.

5. "All of the major developers are focusing their resources on
Windows." Fine. OS/2 will run these programs. Note that many major
developers are ALSO focusing resources on OS/2 32-bit applications,
so you will have the option to run BETTER versions of their software
instead of the old 16-bit Windows stuff.

Message : 11341 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:43 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : PC Mag 6 Rec'vd. : No


1. "You bought into IBM and Microsoft's hype the first time around,
and now you are stuck." HYPE? STUCK? This is nonsense. Those of
us who have ENJOYED two years of genuine high performance multi-
tasking (and are not accustomed rebooting our machines several
times daily) do not consider ourselves "stuck". We know that what IBM
has told us is not "hype". The "hype" was foisted on poor suckers who
got "stuck" with Windows 3.0 and suffered through nearly two years of
UAE's and deplorable performance.

2. "You need to develop a high-end application that requires 32-bit
processing and a real multitasking, multi-threaded environment."
THESE "HIGH-END APPLICATIONS"? In other words, those of us who
want to make proper use of the hardware that we ALREADY OWN!
Lotus, WordPerfect, Borland, Corel, Micrografx, DeScribe and many
other vendors will provide this capability very soon. Don't you think
this is worth mentioning? And knock off the Windows NT smoke screen.
That is a SERVER operating system.

3. "You need an application that requires multiple communication
sessions." What does MULTIPLE mean? I just want to connect to a
network, be able to run applications, communicate on a modem and
format diskettes without my system crashing, balking or forcing me to
become a junior computer scientist. OS/2 has been doing this for over
two years. Windows has not, and still does not.

4. "You are an IBM-only shop." Oh, please. This is a veiled attempt to
propagate the old myth that OS/2 only runs on IBM hardware. I'm
writing this using OS/2 on a Toshiba portable! Why should IBM-only
shops have the exclusive rights to a reliable and easy-to-use
computer, while everybody else is relegated to use a system based on
16-bit real mode segmented junk left over from the CP/M days.

5. "You are ready to meet the future today." THE FUTURE! Get
serious. We have had 386 machines for over FIVE YEARS and are now
finally getting an operating system to take advantage of it. This isn't
THE FUTURE. This is just getting around to running the hardware we
already have at FULL SPEED. Why should I pay a premium to upgrade
from a 20 MHz 386 to a 33 MHz 386 when the software is running my
machine at HALF SPEED?

Message : 11342 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:45 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : PC Mag 7 Rec'vd. : No


1. "There are few applications." Excuse me, but more applications run
on OS/2 2.0 than on any other platform in existence. I am sure you are
not aware of it, but there are some EXCELLENT OS/2 applications. Try
out Freelance Graphics for OS/2. IBM's TCP/IP for OS/2 is as good as
it gets on ANY system. PMX (Presentation Manager X-Windows) works
great. Mr. Miller further states, "But the reason to choose an operating
system access to unique applications." Well, that is ONE reason. Of
course, as Windows users will tell you, it doesn't necessarily do you
any good if the system can't run these apps EFFICIENTLY and
RELIABLY. Also, some of us believe that multi-threaded 32-bit
applications qualify as being unique since they (1) Run the 386 at its
full potential and, (2) Minimize the appearance of the hourglass. The
fact that these will be available IN ADDITION to nearly all the apps
that run under DOS and Windows makes it even more unique when
compared to, say, Unix, Macintosh, or DOS/Windows.

2. "Unix already offers a 32-bit multitasking operating system." Does
Mr. Miller read PC Magazine? Try reading, "32-bit GUI Alternatives: No
Contest." on page 193. If you read that article, you will learn that
Unix costs over $1000, requires substantially greater hardware
requirements, does not run DOS and Windows apps effectively and
does not have a single standardized GUI. One could also mention the
steep learning curve for a DOS user and the fact that Unix applications
cost many times more than DOS, Windows or OS/2 apps - assuming
one is available. Unix is not an issue.

3. "You can only run some Windows applications." Well, that is also
true of Windows itself! OS/2 will run Windows 2.1 apps. Will Windows
3.0? OS/2 will run nearly all Windows 3.0 apps including (as I
understand it) all of the ones on the list of over 30 that Microsoft
warns will not run properly under Windows 3.1. Really, this should be
listed as a reason NOT TO BUY WINDOWS 3.1.

4. "The installation process is ridiculous." I totally disagree. If you
can figure out how to insert a diskette into a floppy drive, then you
can install OS/2. In my judgment, it is easier than installing DOS. It
does take longer, but that is because the system is doing things that I
don't have to do. A great deal of information must be loaded onto the
disk in order to make OS/2 easy for a human being to use.
This takes time. So what?

Message : 11343 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:48 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : PC Mag 7a Rec'vd. : No

5. "You inherit the problems of three operating systems." Actually, you
inherit the ADVANTAGES of two operating systems (DOS and OS/2) and
three graphical environments (Windows, Presentation Manager and
Workplace Shell) while AVOIDING THE DISADVANTAGES associated
with all of them. Again, Mr. Miller has made a misleading statement
that misrepresents the situation.

Message : 11344 (OS/2 Version 2 (Beta Test) ) Date... : 4/12/92 (6:49 Pm)
From... : Richard Hodges Refer.. : None
To..... : All Sec'ty. : Public
Subject : PC Mag 8 Rec'vd. : No


1. " You have to relearn your applications." Maybe not if you run OS/2!
Just run it AS IS and learn more later if you like. This is not always
possible with Windows.

2. "Windows is slower than DOS." With OS/2 you have a couple of
options. The OS/2 DOS sessions are darned good. Also, when the 32-
bit OS/2 versions show up, you can learn them at your leisure and
check to see if they are too slow. 32-bit OS/2 apps will narrow the
performance gap with character based DOS programs, and should
actually be an improvement over graphical DOS apps.

3. "There are still more DOS applications than Windows applications."
Of course, as PC Magazine observed, OS/2 is "better DOS than DOS."
Also, you can run DOS applications FASTER and MORE RELIABLY
under OS/2 than under Windows. So, if this is a reason not to buy
Windows, it could be a reason to consider OS/2.

4. "You do not have the hardware." I agree with Mr. Miller's comments
here. You get what you pay for.

5. "If you want multitasking, DESQview does a better job with DOS
applications." Not better than OS/2 - IF you have enough memory to run
OS/2 properly. Again, this is another reason to consider OS/2.

  3 Responses to “Category : OS/2 Files
Archive   : OPEN_LET.ZIP
Filename : LETTER

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

  2. This is so awesome! 😀 I’d be cool if you could download an entire archive of this at once, though.

  3. But one thing that puzzles me is the “mtswslnkmcjklsdlsbdmMICROSOFT” string. There is an article about it here. It is definitely worth a read: