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This page of Niakwa's On-Line News Briefs Archives contains Volume 2 issues (1998) of the On-Line News sent via e-mail to authorized resellers.  If you are not receiving the On-Line News Briefs via e-mail, contact sales@niakwa.com to sign up!  Don't miss out on the latest news in the NPL developer community!

Click on the issues below, or scroll down to see the News Briefs, starting with the most recent issue, and going backwards.  Use the Previous, Next and Top buttons to navigate.


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Niakwa On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 17 Community News & Information December 15, 1998

In This Issue:

* NIAKWA DEVELOPER UPDATE #1
* NIAKWA DEVELOPER UPDATE #2
* ONLY 10 MORE NPL SHOPPING DAYS LEFT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR END-OF-YEAR UPGRADE PRICES!
* NIAKWA ELVES ARE ON THE MOVE!
* NIAKWA'S HOLIDAY SCHEDULE

NIAKWA DEVELOPER UPDATE #1

Welcome to Niakwa's Developer Update.

This section will be published from time to time to inform you of known problems/issues that apply to the world of NPL. As these articles are introduced, they will be posted to Niakwa's new web site (to be online soon!!)

If you have a technical article which you feel would benefit the NPL community at large, submit it to
support@niakwa.com and we will be happy to consider it for the Niakwa Developer Update.


NIAKWA DEVELOPER UPDATE #2

Niakwa has received several reports over the last few weeks regarding problems encountered on Windows NT workstations running Novell Client Services for NetWare revision 4.5.

Niakwa has isolated a bug in the current version of Client Services for NetWare that results in the immediate termination of RTIWIN or RTPWIN 16-bit RunTimes. This problem does not affect the RTIWIN32 or RTPWIN32 32-bit RunTimes. As a workaround to this problem, Niakwa recommends using revision 4.4 of Client Services for NetWare.

Niakwa has reported this bug to Novell and will update you as new information becomes available.


ONLY 10 MORE NPL SHOPPING DAYS LEFT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR END-OF-THE YEAR UPGRADE PRICES!

Yes, it's true. The month is closing in fast. And if you haven't upgraded to NPL 5.0, now is the time. Prices will never be lower than right now. Currently we are holding upgrade pricing at the old percentage rates for upgrades from Revision 3.x and 4.x to the latest Revision 4.3 and 5.0.

As of January 1, 1999, there will be an "across the board" increase which applies to all price groups 1 through 5. For details on specific pricing, please contact your authorized Niakwa reseller.

So, place your orders now and remember that our easy-to-use Universal Upgrade is now the standard product shipped.


NIAKWA ELVES ARE ON THE MOVE!

You may not have known it, but Gold Keys don't just grow on trees, they are made by Niakwa "elves" and the elves will be moving to a bigger and better location in the local area. We will be mailing you a change of address card soon so that you can update your records.  Unfortunately, Santa has not told the elves the exact date of the move but it will be around the end of the year. As soon as the elves are told the exact date, they will forward the information to you. We appreciate your co-operation and understanding as this is a very large undertaking, as you can well imagine. If your order is urgent, it's best to place it with us now.


NIAKWA'S HOLIDAY SCHEDULE

The holiday season is upon us and this means a few well deserved days off for many. Here is a schedule of the days that we will be closed:

Wednesday, December 23rd,    Close at 1:00 pm
Thursday, December 24th, Closed
Friday, December 25th, Closed
Friday, January 1st, Closed

All of us at Niakwa wish you a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy New Year!


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Niakwa On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 16 Community News & Information December 1, 1998

In This Issue:

* YEAR 2000 READINESS STATEMENT COMING SOON!

Soon it will be the year 2000, which has been a cause of great concern to both users and developers as well as Niakwa. So that you and your customers are prepared for the coming of the new millennium, you will soon receive a year 2000 Readiness Statement prepared by Niakwa. This statement will tell you to what extent each NPL product is Year 2000 Ready, and for those products that are not, what you can do to make them Year 2000 Ready.

We will also be including a new Marketing Bulletins on the HP 9000 Release IV.

So watch your mail for this informative packet!


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Niakwa On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 15 Community News & Information November 18, 1998

In This Issue:

* THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY OBSERVED THURSDAY & FRIDAY
* NPL 4.3 AND 5.0 - PLACE UPGRADE ORDERS NOW FOR BEST PRICING!
* NPL ROADMAP NOW AVAILABLE

THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY OBSERVED THURSDAY & FRIDAY

In observance of the United States Thanksgiving Holiday, Niakwa's offices will be closed on Thursday, November 26th and Friday, November 27th. The last day for shipping orders will be Wednesday, November 25th and we will resume our normal shipping on Monday, November 30th.

Happy Thanksgiving!


NPL 4.3 AND 5.0 - PLACE UPGRADE ORDERS NOW FOR BEST PRICING!

Placing revision upgrade orders before December 31st of this year could save you and your customers a substantial amount of money!  Currently we are holding upgrade pricing at the old percentage rates for upgrades from Revision 3.x and 4.x to the latest Revisions 4.3 and 5.0.

As of January 1, 1999, there will be an "across the board" increase which applies to all price groups 1 through 5.  For details on specific pricing, please contact your authorized Niakwa reseller.

So, place your orders now and remember that our easy-to-use Universal Upgrade is now the standard product shipped.


NPL ROADMAP NOW AVAILABLE

The NPL Roadmap has been recently mailed. This open letter from Alan Green, Director of Research & Development, is intended to bring you up-to-date on our current short and long term development strategy.

As always, your future is our future, so if these plans do not meet all the vital requirements for your product advancement, we want to hear from you. Meanwhile, we continue our active development efforts for the roll-out of NPL V on Intel Unix, and NPL 5.01 for Windows which is targeted to include NDM TCP/IP Gateway, Open NDM, Support for Novell NetWare 5.0, and On-line Documentation. The Niakwa Workbench Debugger is also well along its way, and work for Visual NDM has begun.

If you would like additional copies, or the Roadmap does not reach your desk, simply email your request to sales@niakwa.com.


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 14 Community News & Information October 16, 1998

In This Issue:

* NPL V FOR INTEL UNIX UNDERWAY
* PLEASE TELL US YOUR DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

NPL V FOR SCO INTEL UNIX UNDERWAY

Now that NPL V for DOS and Windows platforms is successfully out the door, it's time to address another important NPL platform, our Intel Unix product group.

All NPL UNIX platforms have been 32-bit for many years. However, in the interest of product compatibility across all platforms, we are updating this platform to make the new NPL language syntax enhancements available to UNIX developers and users.

NPL V LANGUAGE ENHANCEMENTS INCLUDE:

NEW! DATA LOAD/SAVE BU statements
NEW! $IMAGEF and $IMAGEL statements
NEW! $LDATE supporting four character year
NEW! LIST PROC statement implemented
NEW! REDIM statement implemented
NEW! Seven native file access commands(streams) from CLOSE# to WRITE#

Plus LIST DC/READ DC extended
Plus Enhanced Boolean expressions added
Plus Default $DEVICE entries extended to 255
Plus KEYIN extended to permit Labels as branch targets
Plus ON ERROR extended to permit Labels as branch targets
Plus More...

As we near our completion of these changes in our development lab, we are looking for Beta test candidates to help us insure another quality release. If you are interested in participating in testing this release, please email kas@niakwa.com (Kurt Skaronea).


PLEASE TELL US YOUR DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Niakwa's primary mission is to provide a continual stream of language enhancements, increasingly powerful development tools, all the while keeping compatible and current with the ever changing operating system environments.

And you've told us directly, and indirectly by your continued business relationship with Niakwa, that we do a pretty good job of this. However, there may be other development needs we could be fulfilling for you - if only we knew what they were.

It's natural to think of a language as a "take it or leave it" product that either fulfills your present requirements, or does not. Obviously requirements are always changing. So where NPL and NPL tools might have been a perfect fit five years ago, you may have reached a point where you realize you have new requirements.

What you should remember is that Niakwa is not just a language company which sets a path and won't change. We are a company made up of individuals who are reachable by your phone, fax or email. The Niakwa staff is not only willing to hear about what's important to you, we also welcome your input and often make adjustments to our products and services based on that input. You can and do influence our development direction all the time, if you share your plans with us.

We have a vested interest in preserving your thousands of man-hours of programming investment, to make it continue to work for you. So please remember to include us when you realize that your needs have changed. We are truly here to be "your" language company.


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 13 Community News & Information October 9, 1998

In This Issue:

* NPL CELEBRATES 14TH BIRTHDAY!
* THE RELEASE V IDE IS A TRUE VALUE

NPL CELEBRATES 14TH BIRTHDAY!

Today's Niakwa Programming Language has come a long way since it's inception October 10th of 1984. At that time it came in only one "flavor" - for the Wang PC, supported only single users, and even had a different name, "Basic-2C."

Now "NPL" comes in a wide array of platforms and user limits ranging from the basic 1-User MS-DOS (still selling), through the full spectrum of Windows platforms (3.11, 95, 98, NT) and beyond to the various UNIX platforms (SCO, HP 9000, SUN), and supporting users all the way up to 512 and beyond.

With the recent introduction of NPL Release V in September, we have entered a new stage where the majority of NPL platforms and development products are fully 32-bit compatible. And we have taken the big step to incorporate all of our development products into one

Integrated Development Environment (IDE), with the Niakwa Workbench at the center of it all. We are already hard at work on the next update to the IDE which will continue to put more development power and options into the hands of NPL developers.

You'll be hearing more about our many short and long term plans very soon. Meanwhile, we feel good about where we have arrived, sales remain steady and strong and are on pace to exceed last year, and our relationships with the NPL community are very positive.

Our birthday wish is that we will continue to provide you with the software and services which will help you to celebrate another bright and successful year!


THE RELEASE V IDE IS A TRUE VALUE

As you probably know, Niakwa has made some significant improvements to the way we price and distribute our software. This is in response to numerous requests to make our development products more affordable, and we've done just that. Our previous approach to development software licensing and support has been "a la carte" with separate fees for support and each individual development product such as NPL, Vinny and NDM. Now with Release V, one NPL V CD-ROM contains all of the development products and documentation and is automatically shipped to all renewing Distributors.

To appreciate the full value of this package, we've prepared the following list of products included with the IDE CD-ROM, showing the price of these products when they were sold as individual components.

NPL V Development Software (Includes New Niakwa Workbench)
NPL V Compendium
Niakwa Open Data Manager (NDM
Visual NPL (Vinny)
NPL Gateway to ODBC Library
SCD - 32-bit
NPL 5.1 Update (future value within 1 year)
Total IDE Value
Plus...NPL V Hot-Line Support for 12 Months
Total Value of Gold Renewal

We think you will agree that the bundling of the individual development components into the Niakwa IDE CD-ROM has resulted in a significant savings for Niakwa distributors worldwide!


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 12 Community News & Information September 29, 1998

In This Issue:

* NPL V NEWS & VIEWS
* NPL 4.3 & V PRICING CLARIFICATION

NPL V NEWS & VIEWS

NPL V has now left the building... in quantity... and we just keep on shipping. Since we starting shipping NPL V at the end of August, sales have been tremendous - in fact overwhelming! (You may have noticed some delay in our order turnaround time as we struggle to keep up.) All signs are good that our new 32-bit release is another solid and stable NPL product. And that includes the NPL V Universal Upgrades which are also going strong.

If you were hesitant to try the Universal Upgrade, or were unsuccessful in an earlier attempt, now is the time to try again. The Revision V Universal Upgrade is becoming the upgrade standard and preference of most Resellers. The best way to start is with your own in-house system. There are big pluses to using the Universal Upgrade - not least of which is they can be easily upgraded for more users (at published user counts) or increased functionality (Windows and/or PharLap) via a simple code, and with no more file downloading necessary. Of course best of all, they avoid the need to collect the original Gold Key from existing users!

Another much appreciated benefit of NPL V is the Niakwa Workbench Editor (the Debugger is in development), which gives you a powerful 32-bit Windows editing environment. The Workbench helps you edit any size project, developed in any release of NPL. If you're not using the Workbench, you should be!

Finally, we have been receiving many unsolicited accolades about the usefulness of the new Release V Compendium, our Release V supplemental documentation package. In addition to combining all the prior Release IV Release Notes and Addenda into one consolidated and easy to reference document, the Compendium addresses new enhancements, new syntax and provides valuable configuration information for setting up Windows 95/98 and Window NT systems.

At this time we would like to give special thanks to all of the Release V and 4.3 Beta testers who helped to make these products the feature rich and stable products they are. We are grateful for your valuable support and input.


NPL 4.3 & V PRICING CLARIFICATION

In case you haven't heard, new pricing is now in effect for all NPL products and platforms. That's right, while the primary changes have been to the two Windows pricing groups, groups 2 and 4, some changes have been made to all pricing groups. (This includes UNIX pricing group 5 as well.) Also, these prices apply to all currently supplied RunTime revisions, both 4.3 and 5.0 for the DOS/Windows/PharLap products, and all other currently sold versions of the UNIX products (Rev 3.x or 4.x). New price lists are available from Niakwa or your authorized Niakwa Distributor.

For large installed bases, volume upgrade discounts may be considered. Please contact Niakwa or your authorized Niakwa Distributor.


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 11 Community News & Information September 3, 1998

In This Issue:

* NPL REVISION 4.3 AND RELEASE V NOW SHIPPING!

NPL Revision 4.3 and Release V have begun shipping as of August 28, 1998. New Quick Price Sheets for North American Gold and Silver Distributors were mailed the week of Aug. 17th. If you did not receive a copy, please call Niakwa or e-mail
sales@niakwa.com and we will be sure to supply you with this information. The new Quick Price Sheets for International Resellers are in process and will be mailed soon.

The Niakwa IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is now being automatically shipped to all currently renewed GOLD and International Distributors. This is a good opportunity to check that your license is current. End-Users and Silver Distributors should contact their authorized Niakwa representative to purchase the IDE. The Niakwa IDE is a CD-ROM containing all of the following 32-bit versions: NPL V, Workbench, Visual Interface Manager (Vinny), Open Niakwa Data Manager (Open NDM), NPL Gateway to ODBC, Scientific and Communication Drivers (SCD) plus on-line documentation for all products.

Release V Upgrade Promotion - Between now and the end of this year, December 31, 1998, Niakwa will honor the existing upgrade percentage rates. Beginning January 1, 1999, the new higher upgrade percentages will apply. This extended advance notice period will allow you ample time to plan upgrades to the 32-bit Windows environment and still take advantage of the current low upgrade prices.


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 10 Community News & Information July 29, 1998

In This Issue:

* NPL 4.3 & 5.0 TECHNICAL UPDATE
* NPL 4.3 & 5.0 ORDER NOW AT CURRENT PRICING!
* NPL 4.3 & 5.0 DEVELOPMENT UPDATES
* NPL 4.3 & 5.0 MARKETING UPDATE

NPL 4.3 & 5.0 TECHNICAL UPDATE

The Niakwa team is very, very busy these days getting the final products ready in every way, shape, and form. There's lots of moving and shaking and testing and documentation (and some unusual noises to go along with it all.)

So where does that leave us? It leaves us "not quite ready" for end of July release, but not more than a few weeks behind schedule. Aside from the normal release procedures Niakwa goes through to ensure a HIGH QUALITY and stable release (which we all understandably take somewhat for granted), this release is unique for two reasons:

a) We are releasing two Revisions simultaneously:
    * Revision 4.3 (16-bit)
    * Revision 5.0 (32-bit, with 4.3 files included)

These releases include two new RunTime Revisions, two Universal Upgrade products, and the CD-ROM based Integrated Development Environment (IDE). That's a lot to get out the door!

b) In addition, there have been several last minute yet important product releases from the industry which we felt you would want and expect Niakwa products to support including:
    * MS-Windows 98
    * Microsoft Windows Terminal Server (WTS)
    * Btrieve Version 7 (now shipping with Pervasive.SQL)

And we are happy to report we will indeed support all of these products. We have made the A:SETUP changes to NPL 4.3 and 5.0 for Windows 98, we have made the required adjustments to NPL to support Microsoft Windows Terminal Server, and we have completed testing Btrieve Version 7 and can report that NDM is operable with this version and is upward compatible.

We have decided that a small delay was worth it to include these important product certifications. You should expect NPL Version 5.0 and 4.3 by the end of August. The official notification of NPL 4.3 and V final release will be made in a future On-Line News.


NPL 4.3 & 5.0 ORDER NOW AT CURRENT PRICING!

As you may have read in Today's Niakwa News (June 1998), Niakwa is raising pricing slightly for new RunTime purchases and moderately for upgrades. It should be noted our last price increase was back in 1989. However, you can can place orders for Revision 4.3 and 5.0 NOW at existing prices. In addition, most new and upgrade orders placed now for Revision 4.22 will be eligible for a free upgrade to the latest revisions when they become available. There's no need to delay new or upgrade RunTime orders!

Here's the details:

*Any "new" Rev. 4.22 MS-DOS, Windows, or Pharlap RunTimes ordered and shipped between now and the official release of Rev. 4.3 and 5.0, will be processed at current pricing and will qualify for a free upgrade to the same platform under NPL 4.3 or 5.0 (Windows only) within 30 days of the official release date. (Note: We can also hold an NPL V RunTime order until the final release date if you do not wish to have the current revision shipped.)

*Any "upgrade orders to Release IV" MS-DOS, Windows, or PharLap (Revision 4.22) ordered and shipped between now and the official release of Rev 4.3 and 5.0, will qualify for a free upgrade to the same platform under NPL 4.3 within 30 days of the official release date.

In all cases of free upgrades, it is the Distributor's responsibility to request the free upgrade; they will not be automatically shipped.  Our easy-to-use Universal Upgrade product will be the standard product shipped.

We've also made accommodations for upgrades to NPL V now:

*Any "upgrade orders to NPL V" placed between now and the official release date will be among the first orders out the door when the product is available, and will be priced using current upgrade pricing guidelines.


NPL 4.3 & 5.0 DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

NPL V and 4.3 development software will be automatically shipped to all currently renewed licensees! (Gold and International Resellers)

As mentioned in Today's Niakwa News (June 1998), with NPL V we are dropping the individual development software products (NPL, Vinny, NDM, ODBC) and combining them into one NPL V Integrated Development Environment. In conjunction with this, we are increasing the annual renewal fee, however the combined value of this suite of development products far exceeds this price increase.

In addition, all Gold and International resellers whose annual licenses are current will receive this CD-ROM at no extra charge! For renewals effective or received after September 1st, the higher renewal rate will apply.


NPL 4.3 & 5.0 MARKETING UPDATE

As you might imagine, the marketing group is hard at work as well.

Marketing pieces in process include:
- The Niakwa Workbench Data Sheet
- Marketing Bulletin NPL 4.3
- Marketing Bulletin NPL 5.0
- New Quick Price Sheets
- Updated Policy Sheets

Schedule: It is our intention to have Marketing Bulletins and pricing information out to you by mid August. If you would like to have Quick Price Sheets faxed in advance of mailing, please email your request to sales@niakwa.com along with your fax number. As soon as they are completed they will be faxed to you.

Note to International Sublicensed Resellers: Pricing information will come to you from your authorized Niakwa Master Distributor as usual.


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 9 Community News & Information  July 1, 1998

In This Issue:

* NIAKWA OFFICES CLOSED FRIDAY, JULY 3, 1998
* WINDOWS 98 SUPPORT CLARIFICATION
* WINDOWS NT PRINT BUG ALERT - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
* WINDOWS NT PRINT BUG ALERT - THE FULL STORY

NIAKWA OFFICES CLOSED FRIDAY, JULY 3, 1998

In honor of the United States Independence Day, Niakwa's offices will be closed on Friday, July 3rd. The last day for shipping orders this week is Thursday, July 2nd. The standard shipping schedule will resume on Monday, July 6th.

Happy Fourth of July Holiday to whom it may apply!

And to our Canadian Friends, Happy Canada Day (today)!


WINDOWS 98 SUPPORT CLARIFICATION

The following statement was included in the previous on-line news brief.

IMPORTANT:
Niakwa will only officially certify NPL V 32-bit Windows on Windows 98 platforms.

More properly stated it should read:

IMPORTANT:
The NPL V 32-bit Windows RunTime will be the only RunTime certified for Windows 98. All currently supported Windows platforms will continue to be supported in NPL V.


WINDOWS NT PRINT BUG ALERT - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A documented printer bug in MS-Windows NT has been encountered at a number of NPL user sites running Windows NT Servers and Workstations. Microsoft has confirmed and documented this known bug. The nature of this bug is that print output directed to LPTx is inadvertently redirected to a file such as a diskimage, thus causing data or program corruption on a platter.

Developers should note that while Niakwa considers this to be a very serious bug, the number of reported instances of this problem are very low. This is due to the fact that this Microsoft bug can only occur when all of the following three conditions exist:

1. The application is currently using the 16-bit Windows Runtime on Windows NT workstations.

2. The application addresses printers using the older LPTx device.

3. Print output is being redirected to a network printer and is not local.

There are two options available to avoid this bug:

1. The first and recommended option is to adjust your applications to start addressing printers using the Windows Print Manager facility.

2. Microsoft has provided a patch for this potential problem and Niakwa has made this patch available from our ftp site. For full details, please read the next article. NOTE: Developers who have not encountered this Windows NT specific Microsoft bug should NOT download this patch, as it could lead to other complications.

NOTE: This problem is very specific to Windows NT. Users of Windows 95 and 98 should NOT attempt to install this patch.


WINDOWS NT PRINT BUG ALERT - THE FULL STORY

This update is intended to inform you of a potential Windows NT bug that may be encountered at user sites running Windows NT Servers and Workstations. Microsoft has confirmed and documented this known bug. The nature of this bug is that print output directed to LPTx is inadvertently redirected to a file such as a diskimage, thus causing data or program corruption on a platter.

Developers should note that while Niakwa considers this to be a very serious bug, the number of reported instances of this problem are very low. The reason for this is this Microsoft generated bug can only occur when the all of the following conditions exist:

1. The application is currently use the 16-bit Windows RunTime (RTIWIN or RTPWIN) on Windows NT workstations.

NOTE: This problem is very specific to Windows NT, and does not affect Windows 95 or 98 users.

2. The application addresses printers using the older LPTx device naming convention, as opposed to using Windows Print Manager which is the recommended method of addressing printers from the Windows RunTime.

3. Print output is being redirected to a network printer and is not local.

At the end of this article we have reprinted the Microsoft bug report describing the specifics of this bug.

It should be noted that NPL correctly uses the OpenComm() and WriteComm() routines as Microsoft recommends when the specified LPTx device is not redirected to a network printer, but these services fail if LPT1 is redirected to a network printer, thus forcing NPL to write to LPT1 through MS-DOS.

To avoid this bug, developers have two options.

1. The first and recommended option is to adjust your applications to start addressing printers using the Windows Print Manager facility.  For details on addressing printers using Print Manager, refer to Section 5.4 of the MS-Windows Addendum in the NPL Release IV MS-DOS Supplement.

2. Microsoft has provided a patch for this potential problem and Niakwa has included it in a SETUP routine which will automate the process of applying the new WOW32.DLL driver to your NT systems. This patch is available in the following directory on Niakwa's FTP site at ftp.niakwa.com:

/pub/patches/NTFIX.ZIP

The following is a brief discussion of the patch and how to install it.

The NTFIX.ZIP file contains a setup routine (SETUPEX.EXE) which automates the process of upgrading the WOW32.DLL file on a user's NT 4.0 system.

This program uses the InstallShield mechanism to replace the system file. You must restart the system for the change to take effect.

NOTE: As part of the setup, the patch also installs another setup program under Programs/'Printer Bug Hot Fix' that will 'undo' the DLL replacement. You should only run this if you suspect the new DLL is causing other problems.

The undo program only works if you are installing to a system with Service Pack 3 installed. The original DLL is not saved anyplace: The SP3 version of WOW32.DLL is just copied into place.

In the event that SP3 is reinstalled or the repair procedure is run, this patch is overwritten and you will need to apply the Hot Fix again.

WARNING: This installation is only for NT 4.0 systems. DO NOT run this on Window 95 or 98. The setup program does not attempt to check or warn you if you are not running under Windows NT.

From:    mshelp@microsoft.com (Microsoft Technical Support)
Subject:    RE:167969 Date sent:    18-Jun-1998 16:51:09 -0700

Under Windows NT, Win16 Applications Opening MS-DOS devices fail

The information in this article applies to:

- Microsoft Windows NT Workstation version 4.0
- Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0

SYMPTOMS: Under certain circumstances, data written to LPT1 from a 16-bit Windows application running under Windows NT can corrupt other files. This corruption occurs when the application opens any MS-DOS device (as listed by MEM /D; for example, LPT1, COM1, CON, and so on) through the _lopen() RTL function and opens other data files. When the application writes data out through the LPT1 handle, the data is mis-routed to one of the other files.

CAUSE:
Some devices are handled internally by NTDOS without calling on the Win32 I/O system directly. For example, LPT1 is handled by calling the Windows NT emulated BIOS, which in turn uses OUT instructions to feed the data to the emulated LPT1 port. In this case, WOW mishandles several Interrupt 21 calls, including read file and write file, trying to pass these calls to Win32 but using an uninitialized bit of memory instead of a valid Win32 file handle. In some cases, this uninitialized memory will contain a value that is a valid handle value in the WOW process, and the data will be read from or written to that file instead of the intended device. In other cases, the Win32 file API fails because the handle is invalid.

STATUS:
Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in Windows NT version 4.0. A supported fix is now available, but has not been fully regression-tested and should be applied only to systems experiencing this specific problem. Unless you are severely impacted by this specific problem, Microsoft recommends that you wait for the next Service Pack that contains this fix. Contact Microsoft Technical Support for more information.

MORE INFORMATION:
It is highly irregular for a 16-bit Windows application to write to LPT1 through MS-DOS; the entire Windows 3.1/Windows 95 GUI will stop responding if the printer is slow or out of paper. The correct way would be to use OpenComm() and WriteComm(), which perform the write in the background (using an interrupt service routine) instead of blocking the computer (or WOW in this case) until the write completes.

Keywords : kbbug4.00 nt16ap NTSrvWkst kb3rdparty kbbuglist
Version : WinNT:4.0 Platform : WinNT Hardware
: x86 Issue type : kbbug Solution Type : kbfix

THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE MICROSOFT KNOWLEDGE BASE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. MICROSOFT DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, LOSS OF BUSINESS PROFITS OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.  SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES SO THE FOREGOING LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY.


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 8 Community News & Information  June 29, 1998

In This Issue:

* WINOWS 98 & NPL - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
* WINDOWS 98 & NPL - SHORT TERM EFFECTS
* WINDOWS 98 & NPL - THE FULL STORY

Windows 98 & NPL - Executive Summary

NPL V supports Windows 98 with no identified problems. NPL V is targeted for first customer shipments at the end of July. Revision 4.x and prior releases will not be modified to support Windows 98.

The current Revision 4.2x A:SETUP fails under Windows 98. The problem will be corrected with version 4.3 and higher which is due out at the end of July.

From last reports, Novell does not yet officially support client software for Windows 98, however, our testing shows that it operates correctly. See the "Windows 98 & NPL - The Full Story" article in this newsletter for details and cautions. It is possible Novell may have changed its position since the release of Windows 98. Please consult your Novell administrator for the latest details.


Windows 98 & NPL - Short Term Effects

As first reported earlier this month in the Niakwa On-line News Brief Number 6, Niakwa will officially support Windows 98 in the upcoming NPL V Release (anticipated final release end of July.) In addition, changes will be made to our upcoming NPL 4.3 Release (end of July) to correct the problem found running A:SETUP on a Windows 98 system.

Obviously, customers are asking what will happen in the interim period prior to these two new NPL releases. Here's what you can expect:

>CURRENT WINDOWS 95 USERS ON NPL 4.2X OR HIGHER
Most users can likely upgrade their systems from Windows 95 to Windows 98 with no effect to the NPL RunTime.

>NEW STANDALONE WINDOWS 98 SYSTEMS
For completely new Windows 98 systems, we advise that you wait for the upcoming NPL Release V or 4.3 due to the current A:SETUP problem. If you have an urgent situation, please contact Niakwa Technical Support at support@niakwa.com for possible alternative installation solutions.

>ADDING A WINDOWS 98 WORKSTATION TO AN EXISTING NPL SYSTEM
For adding a Windows 98 PC to an existing system, there should be no effect since it will not require A:SETUP to be run.

>WARNING TO NOVELL SYSTEMS USERS WITH WINDOWS 98 CLIENTS
As reported previously, Novell has not yet certified their clients with Windows 98. To be safe we advise warning any Windows users running on Novell networks NOT to upgrade to Windows 98. Full details are covered in the following article.

>IMPORTANT:
Niakwa will only officially certify NPL V 32-bit Windows on Windows 98 platforms. Niakwa is not placing any restrictions on what RunTime you choose to use, and we are making the identified A:SETUP correction to both 4.3 and V so that you may continue using the 16-bit MS-DOS or MS-Windows RunTime (both are included on Release V Gold Keys.) We just want you to be aware that if any incompatibilities or bugs are reported, they will only be corrected in the 32-bit Windows RunTime.

For more specific details on Windows 98 support, read the next article.


Windows 98 & NPL - The Full Story

On June 25, 1998, Microsoft released Windows 98. Depending on whose review you read, the hype surrounding Windows 98 ranges from "much ado about nothing" to "gotta get it gotta have it". Actually, there seems to be a little something for everybody. If you haven't read up on Windows 98 as yet, you may want to check out the following article, "Windows 98 - What you need to know" in the June 30 issue of PC magazine.

Fortunately for Niakwa customers, most of the Windows 98 enhancements are transparent to NPL RunTimes. Niakwa has been testing NPL with Windows 98 Release Candidate 0. Here is what we know and what you can expect regarding NPL and Windows 98.

Officially, Niakwa will only test and support our forthcoming NPL 32-bit Windows RunTime (RTIWIN32 and RTPWIN32) under Windows 98 and all future Windows platforms. This new RunTime is available in NPL Release V only and has been in beta test for the last two months. Release V is scheduled for availability in late July.

While our testing continues, at this time we have not uncovered any NPL specific problems running under Windows 98. However, we are currently aware of two compatibility issues that warrant serious developer consideration.

First, we have found that the current A:SETUP procedure used to install NPL Windows based RunTimes will fail. The implication of this is that while you may not encounter any problems with existing systems that are upgraded to Windows 98, installation of new Gold Keys requiring A:SETUP will fail. This will be corrected in the July release (both Revisions 4.3 and 5.0).

Second, our research has found that Novell does not currently support any of its NetWare client software on Windows 98. This is of particular concern since NPL Release V requires Novell NetWare 32-bit client software to operate appropriately. The following is a reprint of Novell Technical Information Document 2938710.

Begin Novell TID 2938710

Q: Is there a Novell NetWare Client that will work and is supported on Microsoft's Windows 98 operating system platform?

A: The current NetWare Client for Windows 95 version 2.2 is not compatible with Windows 98 and is not supported with this operating system. Officially, the only client that will be supported on Windows 98 is the NetWare Client that will ship with NetWare 5 (code named moab.)

Despite this official policy, all testing of the ZENworks client (NetWare Client for Windows 95/98 version 2.5) with pre-release betas of Windows 98 have not only been shown to be compatible, but are also very stable.

However, since tests were performed with the Windows 98 beta and not the released Windows 98 product, it is possible that Microsoft may alter the Windows 98 code in such a way as to render the ZENworks client incompatible and unstable with Windows 98. Because of this possibility Novell cannot officially declare that the NetWare Client for Windows 95 version 2.5 will support Windows 98 until after Windows 98 has shipped and the two products have been carefully tested.

End Novell TID 2938710

Please note that contrary to the above statement, Niakwa has also tested Novell's NetWare Client for Windows 95 version 2.2 under Windows 98. At this time, no problems have been encountered running NPL in this configuration. However, developers should be aware of potential installation issues regarding this client and Windows 98. In our testing, we found that in order to properly install the NetWare Client for Windows 95 version 2.2 on a Windows 98 system, we first had to remove existing client software from the system, reboot and then install the new client.

Given the potential for problems, developers are advised that installation of the Novell Client software should be performed by either the end users system administrator or CNA/CNE.

Niakwa is following this situation closely and will keep you appraised of any updates as they become available.

The following are some questions and answers that will help clarify Niakwa's support of Windows 98.


Q: Windows 98 will be available before NPL Release V. What can I expect if one of my customers upgrades before Niakwa's 32-bit Windows version is available?

A: Based on our current testing, we have found no problems running revision 4.2x or greater of NPL under Windows 98, other than the A:SETUP issue.


Q: Why is Niakwa only supporting the new 32-bit Windows RunTime?

A: Based on the direction of our future product development, it was decided that we would only support the 32-bit Windows RunTime. The new 32-bit Windows RunTime is written in "C" and shares much of the same source code as Niakwa's RISC platform products. The Revision 4.x (16-bit) MS-DOS and MS-Windows version RunTime products are written in assembler and are maintained under separate source code control. In effect, any bug that is reported and confirmed needs to be corrected twice. The time and effort to maintain both sets of source code is substantial, so the decision has been made to support Revision 5.0(32-bit) Windows products only.


Q: Does this mean I have to use the new 32-bit Windows RunTime in Windows 98?

A: No. Niakwa is not placing any restrictions on what RunTime you choose to use. You may choose to continue using the 16-bit MS-DOS or MS-Windows RunTime (both are included on Release V Gold Keys.) Niakwa just wants you to be aware that if any incompatibilities or bugs are reported, our intent is only to correct them in the 32-bit Windows RunTime.


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 7 Community News & Information  June 19, 1998

In This Issue:

* A BRIGHT IDEA IS HEADED YOUR WAY

Be sure to watch your mail for another bright IDEa from Niakwa, NPL V, which introduces our full 32-bit Integrated Development Environment. This new IDE includes 32-bit developer's versions of NPL, Vinny, NDM, and the Gateway to ODBC which will be distributed on CD-ROM. NPL V also features the Niakwa Workbench and support of Windows 98.

Look for the envelope with blue lightbulb indicating NPL V materials are contained inside. When you open it you will find our announcement flyer and a newsletter containing several articles pertaining to NPL 4.3 and NPL V, as well as other newsworthy items.

Other marketing materials in the works for July mailings include detailed data sheets on the Niakwa Workbench, the 32-bit Integrated Development Environments, and marketing bulletins on NPL 4.3, NPL V, along with updated price sheets.

We'll notify you when these upcoming mailings are headed out the door. Keep the light on for us!


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 6 Community News & Information  June 11, 1998

In This Issue:

* NPL TO SUPPORT WINDOWS 98

* WEB SITE DEVELOPERS

NPL TO SUPPORT WINDOWS 98

Here comes another Microsoft product down the pipeline, and you're probably wondering how it will affect your NPL applications.

Niakwa is still in testing on Windows 98, but so far the results are good, with one exception. We have confirmed that our current A:SETUP does not work properly with Windows 98.

This problem will be resolved in the NPL 4.3 and NPL V final releases, due out at the end of July.

IMPORTANT: The Release V 32-bit Windows RunTime is the ONLY RunTime that will be tested and certified with Windows 98.

Problems reported using any other RunTime under Windows 98 will not be resolved. Customers in this situation will be advised to migrate their RunTime to the Release V 32-bit Windows RunTime.  NOTE to Novell users: Novell has not yet certified their clients with Windows 98. Thus Niakwa will not certify the use of Windows 98 clients with Novell until they do. Please refer to the Novell Technical Information Document #2938710 for details on Novell's current position statement at http://support.novell.com (do a search on 2938710 to find it easily.)

Niakwa will make a more detailed position statement available soon.


WEB SITE DEVELOPERS

We thought it might be useful to know those in our community who do web site development, promotion and management.

We polled our NPL List group which revealed the following names.

CMIS, Ltd.
Ben Clark
Chicago, IL
847-966-2040
http://www.cmisltd.com
bclark@cmisltd.com

Computer Work Systems
Manuel Rego
Fresno, CA
209-275-5558
http://www.cws-soft.com
rego@lightspeed.net
(California only)

Genesistems, Inc.
Eric Muench
Rochester, NY
716-473-8260
http://www.genesistems.com
eric@genesistems.com

JRL Enterprises
Jim LaFrenere
Algonquin, IL
847-458-2092
http://www.jrlenterprises.com
jrlafrenere@email.msn.com

VCR, Inc.
Tim (Tim2) Meehle
Indialantic, FL
407-722-0220
http://www.veard.com
vcr@veard.com


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 5 Community News & Information  May 20, 1998

In This Issue:

NIAKWA OFFICES CLOSED MONDAY MAY 25, 1998

In honor of Memorial Day, a U.S. Holiday, Niakwa's offices will be closed Monday, May 25th.

All orders placed by the end of the day on Thursday will be shipped on Friday. As always, we will do our best to accomodate any late requests. Our standard shipping schedule will resume on Tuesday, May 26th.

We would like to wish those of you in the United States a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 4 Community News & Information  May 4, 1998

In This Issue:

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: A TALE OF TWO SITES

Some new and interesting opportunities have resulted when NPL developers and Niakwa join forces. Following are two recent success stories.

SITE 1

Our first story involves a prominent end-user account that needed a large amount of programming work for a short duration. They contacted Niakwa directly looking for programming resources they could acquire on a contract basis.

The first thing we did was ask them who sold and/or was supporting their software. They told us that their original VAR was long gone (no longer in this business) and they were self-supporting. Once we were able to confirm this with a serial number verification, we set out to help this end-user. But how?

This end-user was insistent on Niakwa's direct involvement because of the importance of the project, and because of their association of a quality solution with the Niakwa name.

The problem is that Niakwa does not have resources for large contract programming jobs - all of our technical resources are dedicated to the engineering, enhancement and support of NPL. But we do have access to a huge talent pool of NPL developers, of which one or more might have interest and availability for such a job. So we began our search in earnest.

After first qualifying the end-user account, we identified several possible "candidates" for the job, we interviewed them, then sent our recommendations to the customer. Once the customer made their selections and interviews, Niakwa negotiated the end-user agreement, including responsibility for the financial and legal risks. In addition, we agreed to oversee the job by monitoring the progress on a weekly basis and reporting to the end-user, which gave them the comfort level they required.

Today we have placed two top level NPL programmers at this site with a six month contract including renewal options for future work.

This is one of those situations where everyone wins. The customer wins because they get qualified NPL talent backed by Niakwa; the developer wins because they get substantial work at a good rate with no sales effort or financial risk; Niakwa wins because we satisfy both a large end-user and an NPL developer while making a profit for brokering the deal.

SITE 2

Recently another Niakwa reseller approached us with a situation which required some specialized NPL expertise. Their top customer was experiencing performance problems on a large system, and they were looking for guidance on ways that performance gains might be realized.

In this case, we determined we could help them with a short investment of consulting time doing a system review of the various components, hardware and software, and providing a set of guidelines they could use to get optimal performance from their system.

The reseller and end-user were very pleased with the results, and the reseller indicated he may approach us in the future to do the same type of analysis for several of his other customers' systems.

Again, everyone ended up with something of value, the end-user, the reseller, and Niakwa.

TO SUMMARIZE

We think there are many more situations like these above, and here's where you may come in:

a) If you have an end-user who has specialized needs, or your own resources are not enough to meet the development demands of your customers, please contact us and we'll be glad to discuss possible services we could offer or that we could obtain through the NPL talent pool.

b) If you are or have an available "NPL resource" (for full or part-time contracts) whom we could call on when new end-user opportunities present themselves as in our first story, please contact us at sales@niakwa.com.

Remember, NPL's long-term success and large install base can turn into new opportunities for you now and well into the future!


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 3 Community News & Information  April 15, 1998

In This Issue:

* NPL REVISION 4.30 AND NPL V NOW IN BETA TEST
* HP 9000 SERIES MOVING TO RELEASE IV

NPL REVISION 4.30 AND NPL V NOW IN BETA TEST

Niakwa is pleased to announce the current Beta test availability of NPL Release 4.30 and NPL V. We decided to do something different with these two releases. NPL 4.30 and NPL V will be released simultaneously. The Beta test periods will begin the week of April 13 and continue through early June.

NPL Release 4.30 introduces a significant number of enhancements and additions to NPL such as:

* Year 2000 enhancement $LDATE
* Improved mixed network security authentication
* Enhanced Universal Upgrade procedures
* New MS-DOS install procedures
* Improved Passthrough printing support
* Enhanced Boolean Expressions
* Parenthesis are now permitted to group logical conditions
* Enhanced RTIWIN.INI
* New /C command line option for Instant Vinny support
* Enhanced printer control
* Support for new HALT key sequence

In addition to the enhancements and additions to NPL 4.30, NPL V will debut the much anticipated 32-bit Windows version of NPL, along with our introduction of the Niakwa Workbench full featured editor and project management environment. We are very excited about these developments and are sure you will be, too.

More details will follow soon!


HP 9000 SERIES MOVING TO RELEASE IV

It's for sure, we will be bringing the NPL HP Series software from it's current Release III version up to the latest Release IV. This is good news for all existing HP users, and for any Resellers who may wish to offer this as yet another Release IV platform option.

HP-UX Release IV will include all of the Release IV standards of modular development, improved editing commands, support of variables greater than 64K and long variable names, plus new statements to help in the conversion of programs for Year 2000 compliance, and much more.

We expect the Beta version to be ready by June. If you are interested in taking part in the HP Beta Test please contact Kurt Skaronea, kas@niakwa.com.

Note: This leaves only the SUN Sparc platform remaining at Release III. We have not scheduled a move to Release IV for this platform. If you have a significant interest in having the SUN platform on Release IV, please contact our sales department.


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 2 Community News & Information  February 24, 1998

INTEL UNIX AND SCO REVISION 5.04 UPDATE

We are pleased to announce that SCO has responded to our request for a fix. A patch is now available for the SCO Release 5.04 floppy driver bug we previously reported to you.

After confirming this bug, SCO recently provided Niakwa with a patch that corrects the problems reported with installing, resetting and bumping NPL Release 4.22 Gold Keys.

Niakwa has posted the following file on the ftp site (ftp.niakwa.com) which is available immediately in the following directory:

/pub/npl422/unix/504patch.zip

This file contains a file "floppy.tar" which contains a new Driver.o and a new space.c. These files should replace the current /etc/conf/pack.d/fd/Driver.o and space.c.

The following steps will walk you through backing up the old drivers and applying the new. These steps assume that the "floppy.tar" files has been transferred into the "/etc/conf/pack.d/fd" directory.

(log in as root)
# cd /etc/conf/pack.d/fd
# mkdir unpatched
# mv Driver.o space.c unpatched
# tar xvf floppy.tar
tar: blocksize = 20
x Driver.o, 38838 bytes, 76 tape blocks
x space.c, 1696 bytes, 4 tape blocks
# scoadmin

(select option to relink kernel)
(shutdown system and restart )

SCO informs us that a public version of this patch will be available soon. If you have any questions or problems please contact Niakwa Technical Support (support@niakwa.com).


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Niakwa's On-Line News Brief

Volume 2 No. 1 Community News & Information February 4, 1998

**** TECHNICAL BULLETIN ****

INTEL UNIX AND SCO REVISION 5.04

We have recently become aware of a problem with NPL 4.22 for Intel Unix and SCO's latest Revision 5.04. We have successfully replicated and identified the problem as a timing bug in the SCO 5.04 floppy device drivers. As a result of this bug, Installation of the NPL Gold Key security will fail. As part of our detailed testing, we have also replicated this problem in a simple Unix shell script. This has been submitted to SCO and they have confirmed it is a bug in their product.  SCO is currently investigating a solution.

Niakwa's Senior R & D analyst has dedicated several days trying to find a solution to this problem with the result being there is no apparent work around to this SCO bug.  

Is there any short-term solution for now? Of course! Actually, we have not yet given up investigating solutions, so we may have more information later. But for the short-term, we recommend one of the following temporary solutions.

1. Although the source of this problem is not security related, it does prevent the successful installation of the Gold Key to the hard drive. However, you can pass security from the Gold Key itself. The downside of using the Gold Key in this fashion is it leaves you without a back-up diskette should any damage occur to the Gold Key.

2. A better short term solution would be to install or stay with the prior SCO-Unix version 5.02. NPL 4.22 works like a charm with SCO 5.02.

3. If for some reason you are unable to avoid using SCO 5.04 for a new installation, please bring this to the attention of the Niakwa sales staff and we will arrange for an older NPL Unix 4.10 Revision to be shipped. Please note that while the installation problem seems to be avoided in NPL Revision 4.10, this version has not been fully tested under SCO version 5.04 and other problems specifically related to diskette access may as yet be undetected.

As noted above, SCO has been alerted to and acknowledged the bug.  Unfortunately we have no way of knowing how soon a solution will be provided. We are working with a contact at SCO and will keep you informed of any new developments on this issue.

We appreciate your patience on this matter.

 

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