The Middle Ages had thumbscrews, the 20th century has OS/2
Rumors of the Rat's demise are greatly exaggerated. He hastens to explain that last
month's West Coast Internet outage, blamed on a "fried" rat in some electrical
generating equipment, in fact was caused by an unfortunate cousin who mistook a power grid
for a T1. The Whiskered One is feeling fried these days for other reasons.
Out of some overpowering urge to make life miserable, the Rat's department head
assigned him to evaluate IBM OS/2 Warp Version 4, the operating system formerly known as
Merlin, as a network client platform and an alternative to Microsoft Windows 95.
Always looking for a way to get out of using Win95's REGEDIT utility, the Rat gamely
took up the task. But the new IBM OS that boasts built-in voice recognition soon had the
Rat talking to himself.
The installation documentation instructed him to reformat the hard drive of his first
victim--er, test system, to remove the funky Windows 95 version of the file allocation
So after'20backing up data files to his Novell NetWare server, the Rat wiped the drive
and created a new partition. Then he attempted to install. The Warp--or perhaps he should
say the Warped--installation failed after inserting the second disk. The machine hung with
a blinking cursor in the top left corner.
The Rat rebooted and tried again. Nada. After examining the README file on the Warp CD,
he discovered a procedure to override Warp's proclivity to load every hardware driver
known to civilization. He tried that approach. Once again, the install failed.
"Strike 2," mumbled the Rat. By this point, he was taking to OS/2 like Ross
Perot to Bob Dole. He tried another machine. This time, the install jerked forward and got
to the configuration menus. As Warp requires, the Rat manually selected his network card
and set its address.
"Geez, even Windows 95 can'20pick out a network card on its own," the
Cyberrodent hissed in disgust. As the system rebooted, it failed to recognize the Ethernet
card and aborted its network logon. Even after replacing the network card with a
completely different brand, the Rat could not persuade OS/2 to venture out onto the
"A lot of good this integrated Java is doing," cursed the Rat. "I can't
even get on the LAN, let alone the Internet."
He figured he would at least try Warp's voice recognition software. Again, he was
foiled. The voice software required at least a 100-MHz Pentium PC and 20M of RAM to run at
full potential. On the Rat's Pentium 50, it couldn't even recognize "a."
"Stee-rike 3," wheezed the Rat through clenched incisors. He pulled out his
Windows 95 CD. Microsoft's install ran happily along, recognizing all devices and bringing
him back up on the network.
The Rat then spent two hours trying to reach IBM technical support. While on hold, he
found a host of similar complaints about Warp 4 on Usenet, at comp.os.os2.bugs.
Even old OS/2 users, or especially old OS/2 users, were screaming about the device
driver problems. After perusing several reviews of OS/2 and seeing it touted as a powerful
network client, the Rat has just one question. Or maybe two.
What network did they get OS/2 up on? And was it with IBM hardware? Inquiring minds
want to know.
Pronouncing the day a total loss, the Rat returned to his command bunker to find 15
user e-mail requests for Warp 4 upgrades. He forwarded the names to his death squad and
headed for the comfort of his burrow.
"IBM is incapable of beating Microsoft," sighed the Rat as he slipped into a
The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace.