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Merlin's magic: what's new from IBM

Merlin's magic: what's new from IBM

The next release of OS/2 Warp, code-named Merlin, will be the first operating system (OS) to integrate Java at the base OS level, asserted John Soyring, director of IBM's Personal Software Products (PSP) Division. Merlin will include a built-in Java developers' kit; Java run-time code for running Java natively; a Java-enabled browser; integrated OpenDoc and Java technology for dragging and dropping Java applets between the Internet and the desktop; and the ability to launch applets through either the mouse or voice command, according to Soyring.

Soyring told ARN that the Java-enablement of Merlin represents IBM's commitment to "network-centric computing, interoperability, and implementation of industry standards".

IBM will also Java-enable all of its other OSs, including AIX, the AS/400 mid-range system, and the OS/390 mainframe system, in addition to Lotus Notes, Soyring affirmed.

The race for full Java-enablement is more likely to boil down to OS/2 versus AIX than to OS/2 versus other vendors' OSs, quipped the PSP director. Currently in Alpha, Merlin is slated to ship in the second half of 1996. Internet-related announcements concerning IBM's other OSs are also expected this week.

Merlin, added Soyring, will use integrated OpenDoc and Java technology to allow dragging-and-dropping of program files, Java applets such as stock tickers, and other objects between the Internet and the desktop, and vice versa. "You'll be able to point-and-click back and forth," he said.

IBM unveiled speech-enablement for Merlin that includes navigation of the Web and desktop applications through continuous speech recognition technology, and speech dictation via discrete speech recognition.

Soyring said that Merlin will come with about 10 default speech commands, including a command such as "jump to" or "go to" for navigating the desktop and the Web.

Merlin will also include a dictation dictionary of 10,000 words, Soyring continued. Users, however, will be able to supplement the 10 default commands and 10,000-word dictionary with additional vocabulary. The next release of OS/2 Warp will support a command vocabulary of up to 1,000 words and a dictation vocabulary of up to 40,000 words, according to Soyring.

Additional commands that have already been demonstrated by IBM for Merlin include the phrases "Wake up" and "Go to sleep".

IBM will encourage VARs to produce custom dictation dictionaries for Merlin, said John Thompson, general manager of IBM's PSP Division. VARs are already offering custom dictionaries, aimed at vertical markets such as medicine, for previously released speech recognition products from IBM, according to Thompson. v


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