Re: Ventura vs Framemaker

Subject: Re: Ventura vs Framemaker
From: Warren Young <tangent -at- CYBERPORT -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 1996 23:17:04 GMT

At 13:14 1/27/96 -0500, James Owens wrote:
>Warren Young (tangent -at- cyberport -dot- com) writes:

>>> Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
>> Feel any home-land pride? Maybe you'll want to give your business to
>> Ottawa-based Corel. Really! I've e-met Canadians that factor this

>They're not exactly a stone's throw from my door, but I could probably hit
>them with a good catapult. But would it do any good?

Well, that part was more joking than serious, but it may have its

>Buying Canadian is definitely a Brownie-point consideration, but Corel has
>waffled on an OS/2 release and I don't trust anything they say now. Also,

_Everyone_ big has waffled on OS/2 releases, mostly because IBM has
waffled on support. History has shown repeatedly that mere technical
superiority is never enough to tip the balance from the inferior
product. The new product has to be marketed better, and most
importantly, it can't require many significant investments.

OS/2 (and Windows NT for that matter) both require a much bigger
machine than Windows 3.1 did, especially (in OS/2's case) if you're
going to run Windows apps. Sure, you can limp along in 8MB, but 12MB
is where OS/2 really gets started with Windows compatibility and 16MB
is probably where serious users should be at, especially if you're
going to run a monster like a modern page layout package.

Further complicating matters is that IBM didn't chase hardware vendors
for drivers hard enough. So, OS/2 ends up being incompatible with
more hardware than Windows. That's a real problem for people who've
come from the Windows world where _everything_'s compatible with the

Computers are just tools for most users, and these users aren't
willing to put up with hardware incompatibilities if they don't have
to. Much of the popularity of the Macintosh is driven by this
principle: you plug it in, and it works. No problem. Consider also
that most of Corel's customers are professional publishers who, as a
group, are definitely of this mindset. They don't use the computer
because they computerphiles, they use it because it works better than
a T square, scissors and glue.

All of this causes viscious cycle: hardware people don't support the
OS, so users don't buy it, and so software people don't see a customer
base big enough to court. Since software drives the popularity of a
platform (look at GEM/3 for a prime example), a platform that doesn't
have good hardware support won't ever take off if there's something
better out there. The requirement of a beefier machine than competing
OSes want is just the cherry on top, so to speak.

For these reasons and more, OS/2 will remain a "techie" OS, for people
who don't care about the issues above. So, don't blame Corel for
waffling on OS/2 support; blame IBM.

Personally, I think OS/2 is a technically good operating system. I'd
be using it right now (alongside Windows NT, Windows 95 and Linux) if
it would support my multimedia subsystem. So, even though I've got
the machine to run it, the hardware thing was a showstopper for me.
No, I'm not going to go blow another $400 just to get a multimedia
subsystem that _OS/2_ likes, and I'm not going to blow another $100+
for the next version of OS/2 just on the chance that it may support my

So, by not supporting my multimedia subsystem (which is made by Media
Vision, NEC, Trantor and Bose -- no slouches in there), they lost a
customer. Sure, they've got my money, but OS/2 sits in a box on the
shelf, unused. I'm not buying OS/2 software, I'm not buying upgrades,
and I'm not doing their proselytizing for them.

>I'm still sore because I bought VP 3.0 a few months before they acquired
>it, and then they slashed the price by two-thirds but wouldn't give me a
>post-dated price break. On top of that, they won't give me an upgrade
>price to the current version.

Well, that's odd. Current practice is to allow upgrades from
_everything_. Look at the side panel for the MS Office 95 upgrade
some time. It reads like a software catalog's inventory list.

>Then there's the fact that they are rumoured to be buying WordPerfect this
>weekend. Their stock is going down because of it. They're abandoning their
>Corel 3 customers by refusing to make it run on Windows 95 (as an OS/2

Corel 3 and Corel 4 are no longer active products. They're just
selling past versions to people who don't want the full version for
some reason. It's like they had a whole bunch of extra stock and are
still selling the packages. Of course, that's not quite right, but
the point is that neither product will ever be upgraded again, in my
estimation. Now that Corel 6 is out, I'd bet that Corel 5 is going to
join them. Get used to it.

>user, I think that's doing them a favour!) So what will become of Ventura
>with all this uncertainty?

It's certain that Ventura isn't going to be the most popular of the
page layout programs, and that support may be less than that of
competitors. However, it does seem like they're willing to hang on to
it and keep improving it. However, you stayed with its previous
incarnation for _years_ after it became another product, when your
version was essentially dead. Why would any of this bother you? If
you've changed your mindset and want mainstream, why not go with Adobe
Pagemaker? _That_ will probably never suffer from any of these
problems. But they won't have an OS/2 version, either.

>It would be nice to buttonhole Mike Cowpland at the Rose Bowl Restaurant
>someday, but I don't think it will happen.

A little fantasy can brighten anyone's day. B-)

= Warren --

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