IBM discloses details of next desktop version of OS/2 Warp

IBM officials are showing off the latest alpha version of Merlin, the next desktop iteration of OS/2 Warp, with strong hints that the operating system will support TrueType fonts, ObjectRexx, and VoiceType Dictation.

In demonstrations at the recent CAMP Vendor Fair, IBM demonstrated Lotus' unreleased version ofWordPro for OS/2 running Arial, a TrueType font, says an IS professional who was told to expect it in Merlin. Lotus will formally announce WordPro for OS/2 at IBM's Technical Interchange in Nashville next week, sources say.

Users were also told to expect integrated support for two-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) in the finished product. Currently, OS/2 Warp users must get SMP support separately through the company's OS/2 for Symmetric Multiprocessing product.

While IBM is considering SMP support, a company spokesman says the integrated inclusion of such support is "by no means a sure thing at this point."

IBM officials are indicating the first betas of Merlin will go out shortly, with the finished version shipping well beforethe end of the year, but some users remain sceptical. They don't see the product being on dealers' shelves much before October. And they do not expect the first betas for another month.

IBM is also expected to include the "trapdoor" feature to Merlin. The trapdoor is the ability to make a quick exit to DOS and other operating systems from the OS/2 WorkPlace Shell, as well as support for dynamic window dragging.

IBM, however, still has not decided in what version of the Lotus Notes client to include in the operating system, as well as whether to bundle in pen support, or native support for Netscape Communications Corp. Internet products, according to users who attended the show.

IBM officials are declining to comment on new features to be included in Merlin.

IBM can be reached at http://www.ibm.com/.

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