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Recently, the Amiga Zone on the Portal online service held a conference
with Greg Perry and Jon Potter, the minds behind GPFax and DirOpus 5,
The entire contents of this edited transcript are Copyright and Copy 1995,
Harv Laser, All Rights Reserved. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for reprint
permission. Special permission has been granted to Amiga Report Magazine.
[To begin the conference, the contents of this letter were sent to the
Dr Greg Perry/ GPSoftware - A Bio
I started out life as an Organic Chemist then moved into computing in the
early '80s, initially using Commodore PETs for scientific analysis then
between jobs started writing applications and custom software for assorted
machines. This 'hobby' then turned into a profession and led to a couple
of books on C64 Programming and Sound and Graphics on the VIC20 and C64,
numerous articles in worldwide magazines in UK, US and Australia on C64
programming, into our first moderate commercial success with GPTerm for the
C64, assorted custom accounting software and several games for the C64 and
C128, then to GPTerm on the Amiga and I have been with the Amiga ever
since. To date, GPFax is my best commercial success outside Australia.
GPSoftware was always designed to be a small 'cottage-based' operation
centered on R&D and software development while allowing us to work from
home. After occasional discussions over several years, I found that Jon
Potter was at a loose end in '94. Since I was working on the new
accounting package, EasyLedgers IIon and I joined forces in October 94,
initially to continue development of the mythical 'Wombat' fax software,
but this changed to a complete redesign and development of the Opus 5
program in November '94.
GPSoftware currently supplies the following
Directory Opus 5 - THE file management utility and Workbench Replacement
GPFax - Amiga fax software for Class 1 and Class 2 modems ($79)
EasyLedgers II - fully integrated Accounting software ($299)
GPTouch - Touch Screen drivers for MicroTouch Touch Screens ($200)
All these products are available direct from us or from Micro R&D in the US
(Phone 308 745 1243)
Amiga Zone *SPECIAL* with Jon Potter & Dr. Greg Perry (Harv)
Greg: Hello all I finally made it after a fight with the fast photo shop!
Harv: GREG, I ALREADY SCROLLED THE TEXT YOU SENT ME. CARE TO SAY ANYTHING
Harv: OK. BEFORE WE SHIFT INTO FORMAL MODE, LET'S LET OUR GUESTS KNOW WHO
OF YOU OWN/USE THEIR STUFF......
Bjarian: Own and USe
AROCK: me do
Harv: USING THESE CODES: DO4, DO5 AND GP, PLEASE TELL THEM IF YOU USE
DIROPUS 4, 5, OR GPFAX
Question Queue: Opus (v3)
jwaller: I use Gpfax 2.342
DrTed: I use gpfax to send my bills to a local cable company...
Question Queue: DO3
RoyT: I have GpFax and Opus 1-5.
AROCK: do4 and GP
BillyYank: Own DOpus5 USER
DrTed: Use DO3.41
Greg: Jon askes that you also supply the serial numbers ;-)))))
harsh: Greg: Which one?
Harv: OKAY, APPARENTLY NEARLY EVERYONE HERE USES ONE, THE OTHER OR BOTH.
Harv: SO LET'S GET STARTED.
Harv: KEVIN WILL KEEP THE QUESTION QUEUE.
DrTed: (australian humor, Harv...)
Question Queue: <- Kevin
rjhanson: For both. Hows business?
Harv: GREG/JON.. ARE YOU THERE? RJHANSON HAS ASKED HIS QUES.
Drakon: suing only feeds lawyers, ICBMs are easier to use
Greg: Apparently I'm management so I'll answer that. Fair.
jonp: business is ok I guess, considering the computer hasn't been made for
the last couple of years...
Bjarian: G'day. I was wondering what the mood of amiga followers was in
Australia, and whether you will continue to do Amiga software. Do you
get any help from Escom?
Greg: Well we are all waiting with bated breath to see what Escom actually
Bjarian: Why do intel fax modems not work with gpfax?
Greg: No idea why intel does not follow the TR29 standards
RoyT: what new features planned for diropus?
jonpfast: there are lots of new features planned for the next version of
Opus (5.2). We have addressed many of the main complaints and taken
suggestions from many users over the last 6 months. 5.2 will be a
significantly more powerful program.
Harv: (note: I am on the diropus mailing list and it generates about 50
emails per day... way too much to read)
harsh: Sorry about that! What happenened to the reseleect button, Jon?
jonpfast: reselect is back in 5.2 :)
Question Queue: jwaller, soft-logik, Harv, AROCK
jwaller: Thanks, Dr. Perry, I have "Gpfax 2.342" What is the latest
version? And how would I get upgraded?
Harv: PERHAPS WE MIGHT ADD TO THAT, HAVE ANY NEW FEATURES BEEN ADDED TO
VERSIONS PAST 2.342 GREG?
Greg: The current version is 2.347. We have done free upgrades Available
as an upgrade for earlier versions.. so we now do a cost upgrade for
US$30. Includes new manual/return airpost.. return original disk to
me plus VISA or greenbacks. There are no major features.
Consolidation of the various modem typesinto one program. Or correctly
one for Class 2 and one for Class 1... some bug fixes and tweakes for
different modems and some changes for.. EOP problems..
Question Queue: I hate to bring this up, but some of us have to use PC
computers sometimes and directory utilities for the PC really suck...
Any chance of an OPUS for Windows?
jonpfast: there's every chance of an Opus for windows, if someone would
like to pay for the development... :)
Question Queue: I'll send you $99
jonpfast: seriously, we have thought about opus for windows, but nothing
has been decided yet...
Harv: to greg... "fax on demand" or "faxback" services are more common
lately. every large co. seems to have one. it usually requires a
real fax machine with a dialing pad. can GPFax handle this?
Greg: GPFax currently cannot handle this. (Except through some v.smart
Arexx programs). The Wombat program will...
Harv: OKAY.. PLEASE TELL US BRIEFLY WHAT WOMBAT IS.
Greg: Wombat is the codename for the new fax sofwtare. This has been in
development for some time now. Maybe we will finish it one day. I
have someone working full time on.. it but it takes time..
Harv: Greg - you said 'except thru some v.smart arexx.... does such an
arexx script for gpfax actually exist? where does it live?
Greg: No. But one could possibly write one. Would mean parsing the Remote
ID number and then faxing back. We actually quoted to do a commercial
system for Optus (sub of Cable and Wireless..) to do a full diagnostic
fax back analysis service using Zyxel modems. Unfortunately Zyxel
would not come to the party. (We actually won the contract over PCs!!)
Harv: I, for one, (and I'm sure many others) would be incredibly interested
in a fax on demand feature, be it in GPFax or a Wombat. please keep us
AROCK: will Opus have built in Fax capabilities? :)
Harv: DO YOU PEOPLE KNOW OPUS5 CAN BE USED AS AN FTP CLIENT?
Greg: Not as such. It will develop into more of a WB replacement but I
don't see how we can really incorporate it. We have included FTP in
opus.. but I do not really see how we could readily incorporate FAX. GA
ScottJ: Dr. Perry, does GPFax support both version 2 and 2.0 protocols?
Greg: GPFax supports Class 2 and Class 1. We have a proto 2.0 but I have
problems with the USR implemtation so I have not released the program
as such... If anyone seriously can justify why they NEED 2.0 I will
supply a test version.
Greg: Question: how many people have tried the Opus FTP module ?
Harv: <--has tried it a few times.
harsh: Greg: I was screwed up by the LHADIR warning.
Drakon: Okay you say that Opus can be used as an FTP client.. can it
support any other file sharing systems? how about nfs or smb?
jonpfast: Opus supports any amiga filesystem.. the FTP support in Opus is
via a special module...there is a pd FTP filesystem out there that
works fine with Opus, along with the arc filesystem and anything else
that looks like a standard amigados device. Opus works fine with NFS,
since that looks just like a normal filesystem to the amiga
DrTed: Two parts... Will there be a major upgrade for GPFax before Wombat
is released???? When will DO 5.2 be released???
Greg: There will not be any major upgrade to GPFax before wombat (whenever
that is released) I MAY release the 2.0. The Opus versiuon 5.2 is
under development and will be released when it is finished as a cost
upgrade for about 40 bucks I guess. Maybe around Xmas or early next
Harv: (btw, gpfax works pefectly with that cheapie linelink modem a lot of
us bought a while ago0)
RoyT: How about a disk with button already set for diff uses, maybe neat
for new users.
jonpfast: We were planning to make several different configurations
available but never really had a chance to get them together... We're
trying to collect configurations from users out there to put together a
compilation... We also kind of wanted to force people into doing the
configuration themselves, as that's the best way to really learn Opus
Despite what most journalists would have you believe, it's really
better not to use it as an Opus4 clone..
Harv: 1) i'd really like to see YOUR personal opus configuration if you
could put it or a screenshot on aminet or something.....
Greg: NO NO .I have seen it!!!
Harv: 2) you remember I haranged you to get opus5 to talk to parnet and you
did it (yay) but it still says any of my parnetted devices are "3.3
gig" or something.. could you look into that?
jonpfast: my opus config is really very boring.. I spend all my time
writing it, I never have time to configure it :) I would have thought
that a program that gave you gigabytes of storage for free was a pretty
good deal :) but yes, I'll look at it :)
DrTed: Will Wombat include voicemail functions with suitable modems???
Greg: This is planned. I was waiting for the Rockwell standard to be
accepted.. by most manufacturers but this seems slow in developing...
Harv: Greg - do you still produce a GPTerm? I doubt any usa amiga users
have ever heard of it. (as you know we hve ONE remaining Amiga print
Greg: Yes but we only seel it in Australia. Abouts 1 a month! I am using
it now (hence the spelling errors..)
Harv: oh. well that' why we've never seen it. :-/ thanks
BillyYank: How do I specify an Application Stack size? Crash alot11 on
DOPus5 that is.
jonpfast: my term program is better anyway :))))
Greg: my telescope is larger !
jonpfast: if you're launching workbench applications the stack size is set
from the icon like under workbench... if they're functions you've set
up as AmigaDOS from a button or whatever, you need to add a line... to
the function definition to set the stack size manually... eg..
AmigaDOS stack 16384
DrTed: Our linelink 14.4 modems and my Magnum 28.8 modem use Rockwell
chipsets. .. what are the competing standards???
Greg: Well the standards are set by Intl standads etc. Rockwell themselves
are pretty good are following them but some modem manufacturers like to
tinker. Know what they say about standards. "There are so many to
AROCK: jon: you may want to look into the fact that there is a pretty
awesome Opus look alike out there as share ware for the PC's (I've been
jonpfast: there's a clone of Opus 4 for OS/2 that I've seen.. it looks
visually very similar.. I'm not really worried about it because the
OS/2 market isn't something we're ever likely to want to go after..
one dead-end computer system is enough :)
DrTed: Follow up... is there another manufacturer competing for the standard??
Greg: The fax standards are set by ITU. Manufactures sometimes invent
their own. Such as the V.fast etc.
Harv: Jon - you are 22 now. Opus has been out for years. How old were you
when it was first shipped? Also I am glad your product is now in good
hands, after learning what Inova did to you.
jonpfast: I started Opus on christmas day 1989, inovatronics picked it up
in late 91 I think
Harv: so when they shipped it you were 18. remarkable.
harsh: Greg: you mentioned that an upgracxde would be $40. Is that Opus5.2
Greg: These have yet to be decided. Many producers ship direct but we work
through repulable distributors so we have to work out an effective
price with them yet but I expect around this US$40 price. There is a
great deal of work in the new version.
RoyT: Have you had contact with ESCOM? GA
Greg: We have limited contact with ESCOM. We have had some dealings with
AT in the UK. and have not really come out on top. In fact I am not
particularly happy at the treatment we received. We will be attending
the Cologne show in November so ma be able to meet the ESCOM people
then. We have had no direct approaches from ESCOM and have some fears
that we in Australia will be left out in the cold (again!)
Harv: THANKS TO GREG AND JON FOR THEIR TIME, THEIR ANSWERS, THEIR
RAINFOREST, AND MOST OF ALL THEIR EXCELLENT PRODUCTS. (YOU MAY
APPLAUDE AND/OR HOLLER APPROPRIATELY AT THIS POINT IN TIME)
Bjarian: YEah! Great work guys!!!!
RoyT: Great Products!!
BillyYank: DOPus forever!!!
jwaller: clap clap clap clap,clap
Greg: Many thanks for you support of our products. We will attempt to keep
Amiga alive for a little longer.
jonpfast: has everyone here seen the Opus 5 questionaire?
Harv: I belive the questionaire is in the library. try searching for "opus"
Greg: Incidentally we suggested to ESCOM that they bundle Opus (at a very
very cheap price) but they rejected the idea.