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  1. Technology
November 5, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp has decided to start distributing product information, documentation and such on Compact Disk-Read Only Memory as an option Systems Application Architecture users, initially covering licensed programs that run in SAA environments. The company commits to providing on-line books that can be viewed using a new IBM BookManager system; licensed programs for viewing and creating on-line books; an ordering and distribution system for on-line books; terms and conditions that allow customers to copy, print, and modify IBM on-line books, with restrictions for use within their enterprises; and a policy for updating on-line books. IBM also warns that on-line books will become the primary distribution format for IBM product information that is not integrated into the products. IBM promises on-line books that can be read using BookManager Read for all IBM licensed programs that run under SAA operating systems – MVS, VM, OS/400 and OS/2. Some licensed programs that run under non-SAA operating systems and for some other IBM machines will also be offered as on-line books. Each CD-ROM disk will contain books for multiple, related products. For each product, there will be a set of unlicensed books. Each disk will also include a BookManager Read facility for OS/2 and MS-DOS. One CD-ROM holds approximately 400 books, the equivalent of a 20-foot-long book shelf. To help users create on-line book repositories of IBM product information, there is a $250 On-line Library Starter Kit to be available in March. It consists of a set of CD-ROM disks containing a large number of on-line libraries for current IBM products. System Center Inc, Boole & Babbage Inc, and Science Research Associates Inc are some of the companies that have announced plans to provide their product information as on-line books viewable using BookManager, IBM notes. To help people get started in the brave new optical world, the company launched the S/370 and S/390 Optical Media Attach/2, designed to provide mainframe users with high-speed access to data distributed on CD-ROM and other optical media. It includes the CD-ROM on-line books and also provides bi-directional data transfer between a 370/390 system and a PS/2 using the high-speed capabilities of the host channel. It uses the old dodge of emulating a tape device to provide compatibility with existing host programs tha support half-inch tape. It will be out March 20, and needs a PS/2 Model 70, 80, 90 or 95 – and the Model 90 is supported only by the unavailable OS/2 2.0; also needed are the 4Mb and PS/2 System/370 Channel Adaptor for connection to a host OEMI channel – RPQ 8P1456. A CD-ROM drive such as the IBM 3510 Optical Disk Drive is required. The program is designed to work with OS/2 1.3 or 2.0. IBM warns that the automatic allocation functions of MVS can result in a conflict between a real tape drive in generic group name 3400-6 and the emulated 3422, and that it plans to support the product as a unique device type in a future release of MVS/ESA. The program has a one-time charge of $5,000. Also to get people started, IBM is offering free two copies of the IBM Online Library Starter Kit when they buy a licence for BookMan ager Read/VM or Read/MVS, or 25 and up licences for BookManager Read/DOS (sorry VSE users, that’s MS-DOS) or Read/2 licensed programs. The prog rams must be ordered on or before May 31, and must be in by June 30.

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