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July 7, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM aims to trump Microsoft’s MS-DOS 6.0 ace with its new PC-DOS 6.1 environment

IBM Corp has duly made its unilateral declaration of independence from Microsoft Corp with the launch of PC-DOS 6.1. The company has gone to third parties to create what it describes as a full-featured, enhanced version of the desktop operating system – utilities from Central Point Software Inc for back-up, memory management and scheduling, and IBM’s own AntiVirus technology. It claims that it is the only release to ship with pen extensions that enable the use of a pen instead of a mouse, and advanced software supporting PCMCIA cards, through an agreement with Phoenix Technologies Ltd, plus data compression technology from Addstor Inc, although the last is an add-on that will be available after the operating system ships, albeit at no extra charge. The Addstor SuperStor/DS provides PC-DOS 6.1 users with what is claimed to be Microsoft DoubleSpace-compatible real-time data compression. PC-DOS 6.1, which will be generally available on July 26, will ship with a coupon offering users a free upgrade to the AddStor compression product.

Compression later this year

PC-DOS 6.1 with compression will be available later this year, once IBM has completed additional integration and useability testing of SuperStor/DS. PC-DOS 6.1 uses less memory than previous versions of MS-DOS, and the device drivers also enable users to free up additional lower memory by creating upper memory blocks out of unused memory on compatible video and Expanded Memory Specification boards, IBM says. PC-DOS 6.1 has also been enhanced to perform certain functions faster than MS-DOS 6, and the firm promises significant speed improvements when performing a wide range of common functions such as running batch files, displaying screen characters and using ANSI commands. IBM is clearly intending to win hearts and minds over from Microsoft against the day when it is out on its own in PC-DOS after September. The company says that it intends to integrate a complete version of Addstor’s SuperStor/DS fully into PC-DOS 6.1 and promises that SuperStor/DS will run with DoubleSpace and the Microsoft Real-time Compression Interface specification, thereby allowing for easy migration from DoubleSpace to SuperStor/DS. SuperStor/DS will offer real-time data compression that can as much as double the capacity of fixed and removable disks and includes features such as password protection, integral disk cacheing, enhanced memory management and support for Universal Data Exchange, which ensures that compressed files on removable media can be read by an MS-DOS system, even if compression software is not installed. The utilities from Central Point Software include Central Point Backup for MS-DOS and Windows, the RAMBoost memory management utility, Undelete and a program scheduler. IBM’s AntiVirus utility enables PC-DOS 6.1 users to scan for, identify and eliminate over 1,400 different common viruses – but there’s a new one born every minute. The utility also offers small memory footprint; fuzzy logic engine to assist in identification of mutating viruses; and false alarm avoidance. PC-DOS 6.1 will be available July 26 at a suggested list price of $190 for the base product and $110 for those upgrading from a previous version of MS-DOS or PC-DOS. A special 90-day promotional offering at $60 is available in the US by calling a toll-free number – but the thing could be even cheaper if users go to a dealer.

For those too dumb to master a keyboard, there’s Pen for OS/2…

IBM Corp’s Personal Software Products division has now unveiled the promised Pen for OS/2, which adds pen capabilities, with handwriting recognition, to virtually any OS/2, MS-DOS or Windows application, the company claims. It is designed for mobile computing environments – you know, on a bicycle, or on the top of Mount Snowdon – where a keyboard can be impractical, and for collaborative computing on the desktop. Pen capabilities include integrated user-trainable handwriting recognition; a window that adds handwriting recognition to mo

st non-pen-aware applications; standard and user-customisable gestures, and a pop-up keyboard. Included as part of Pen for OS/2 are two applications: Telepen, a collaborative computing system, and Sketchpad, a freehand drawing tool. Pen for OS/2 requires a computer running OS/2 version 2.1; a pen sensor or digitiser integrated with a display or a digitising tablet; 2Mb of spare memory over the requirements for OS/2 2.1; and 5Mb of hard disk space. It is now available OEM and to independent software vendors, and also direct from IBM to end-users. The end-user version is available now to end-users at a single-unit price of $90. A Pen for OS/2 developers tool kit is available to assist software vendors and and corporate users to develop their own Pen for OS/2 applications.

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…and PenDOS 2.2, available from IBM for the first time

The company has also introduced a new version of the PenDOS system for pen computing, making the environment available from IBM directly to end-users for the first time, in addition to being pre-loaded on a variety of pen-based computers from other vendors. It is designed to bring a broad range of pen-based capabilities, including handwriting recognition in any one of six languages, to MS-DOS applications. Other PenDOS capabilities include integrated, user-trainable handwriting recognition which can adjust to individual handwriting styles; a pop-up handwriting window that adds recognition capabilities to most traditional non-pen-aware MS-DOS applications; standard and user customisable gestures; and a pop-up keyboard. It now also includes support for opaque tablets, and integrates pen-based applications for expense reporting and sending handwritten facsimile messages. Like Pen for OS/2, it costs $90 and needs an 80386SX computer running MS-DOS 5.0 or higher; a pen sensor integated with a display or a digitising tablet; 2Mb memory and and 1Mb of hard disk space for most versions, with 4Mb RAM and 1Mb of hard disk space required for the Japanese version. It supports pen-based computers from IBM, NCR Corp, Samsung Electronics Co and Dauphin Technology Inc and a wide range of external digitising pads.

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