X2 Future Plans

As you may know, I recently left my job at IBM after sixteen years. I'm not dead yet! I plan to continue supporting X2 as much as possible, within the current constraints of time and resources. Specifically, X2 development is going to have to move completely to weekends and time off, and for the near future I will be unable to provide new versions for any operating system except Windows. I'm sorry if you don't like this, but before you complain, please remember how much you paid for this program.

Communication with users was one of the major benefits of the conferencing system within IBM which I am now without. Possible replacements are a public newsgroup or mailing list, unfortunately I haven't the time to set up either at the moment.

I am interested in expanding several areas of X2, specifically in the Windows environment which I now find myself using almost exclusively. X2 is now mature enough that people can tailor it almost exactly to their liking through Rexx macros. Unfortunately there are two small problems with this:

  1. The interpreter can be slow
  2. Rexx may not be installed on all systems where you want to run X2

I want to expand the X2UTILS concept to allow multiple, installable DLLs in the profile, and expand some user exits to allow a compiled DLL to take over if desired. Once this framework is in place, anyone with a C compiler and documentation on the X2 DLL interface could extend X2 as they please, without the need for open source.

In the early days, I stated that there would never be a GUI for X2. I still find the text based interface superior for most uses; however, there are attractions to the GUI for applications like mail and newsgroups. I've been thinking about a GUI version for Windows for some time now, and that is another area where I'd like to spend some future development time.

I don't know how long any of these projects will take, but they'll probably be a long time coming. Please do not send me email asking when either of these projects will be ready, I will not answer you. If you have ideas about other enhancements though, I'd be happy to hear from you.

Blair Thompson, April 15, 2001