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Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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cyberspittle
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21. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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I'm really not sure how bad the news really is. Iv'e used SciTech for quite some time on unsupported chips using their VBE mode. In the future, I just won't have the option of an update with my chipset being supported. I guess I better get used to VBE mode. Hopefully, the speed of GPUs will continue to compensate for non-native drivers. I'm sure eBay will be albe to provide OS/2-eCS users for some time with video cards ...
Date: 24 Nov, 2006 on 20:41
obiwan
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22. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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JLKT (23 Nov, 2006 01:12):
what other video drivers can we use and rely on?

Some folks have been working independently on their own OS/2 video drivers. SciTech has worked so well that these efforts have been largely isolated and unnoticed. If SNAP does decline, the good work of independent driver developers will attract recognition, support, and hopefully improved collaboration. This is good because SciTech was never going to expand the feature set of SNAP on OS/2.

Most Xorg drivers are open source, so much of what we need to produce good drivers is available to us.


without ... os/2 is indeed dead.

Fill in the blank with any of the numerous features we have been momentarily without in the past decade. If any one thing could "kill" OS/2 it would have already. We should be past using the "D" word by now.

Date: 28 Nov, 2006 on 02:43
Cris
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23. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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obiwan (28 Nov, 2006 02:43):
Some folks have been working independently on their own OS/2 video drivers.

Obiwan... could you be more specific on that please?
I'd like to know which card I'm going top buy next time.

Thankyou!
Bye
Cris

Date: 28 Nov, 2006 on 10:05
obiwan
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24. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Cris (28 Nov, 2006 10:05):
Obiwan... could you be more specific on that please?
I'd like to know which card I'm going top buy next time.

What I saw was activity on the os2ddprog list. Some people were working on an accelerated driver based on GENGRADD. Looked like the main target was a Matrox card. Still, I would stick to cards that are known to work well with SNAP until these other projects become more mature.

My point was simply that we are not completely in the dark if SNAP fades (and that is the worst it can do - it won't suddenly disappear). Obviously it would be very nice to see SNAP for OS/2 continue development. I just think we need to be optimistic, whatever the outcome here.

Date: 28 Nov, 2006 on 18:05
Fahrvenugen
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25. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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I have to agree, while I'd love to see SNAP continued, if the product is sold, I have my doubts that the OS/2 code base will be continued.

The one thing which has come to mind though, and I don't know if SSI has thought about this possibility. But, speaking hypothetically, if SNAP is sold to a company which is not interested in the OS/2 code base, I wonder if it would be possible for SSI to work out an agreement with whomever ends up owning SNAP to allow for the continued support (and development) of the OS/2 product through SSI hired developers.

I'm sure there would be legal issues and non-disclosure (NDA) agreements to be worked out, but essentially I could see the possibility of something like this:

-Company X buys and owns the SNAP code, and provides support for any operating systems they want, with the exception of eCS (and/or OS/2)

-Company X allows SSI / SSI hired developers (through a NDA agreement) to have access to the SNAP code (particularly the OS/2 code) for the purpose of providing SNAP on eCS

-SSI developers are allowed to use the current OS/2 code base, along with future enhancements made to the main SNAP source code tree (support for newer video cards, etc), within SNAP for eCS

-Any code developed by SSI developers that isn't eCS specific and can enhance the overall product is also available to Company X developers for inclusion in the main SNAP product.

I have no clue if anything like this would be possible, but it might be worth SSI considering.

Date: 28 Nov, 2006 on 18:29
obiwan
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26. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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That is probably the optimal solution, and I would guess that is what Serenity hopes to negotiate.

Of course, if OS/2 SNAP does end up in the hands of Serenity, that is very good because Serenity has the most interest in its maintenance and development. A possible downside is it could be expensive, but that can be managed.

Still, another reason for optimism!

Date: 28 Nov, 2006 on 19:05
abwillis
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27. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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I doubt that SNAP can be pieced out... SNAP if it is of value derives it value from the technology in such a way that I don't think that someone interested in buying it would want someone else to have. The only thought I had around this, if someone (maybe SSI) were to _license_ the technology for the OS/2 code before it was sold with an agreement that would go with the sale. In order to keep the license fee low the agreement would be such that SSI can only develop OS/2 drivers so long as the company that is purchasing is not creating OS/2 drivers (non-compete clause). SSI would be able to able to develop drivers for a period of X (maybe 5?) years so long as the buyer is not creating OS/2 drivers. If they create drivers for say 3 years SSI could not compete during that time but could resume for the remainng time of the license. I say this would lower the cost as SSI goes in with the position that they may never have a chance to use the license (the company could potentially build OS/2 drivers for the whole time). This protects the buyer in that they have a non-compete clause so that SSI will not compete with sales of OS/2 drivers and are not licensed for linux or Windows drivers. The time frame is important so that it goes with the sale so that another VPC doesn't occur. Whether new Snap technology the new company develops gets to be used by SSI would be negotiable but for costs I would assume no.
Date: 28 Nov, 2006 on 20:00
obiwan
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28. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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last updated at 28 Nov, 2006 21:34 (1 times)
Correct me if I'm wrong. Isn't the point of SNAP that there are two components, a platform side and a hardware side, so that once a driver is written for a card it works on any platform that has SNAP? So SSI would own/control only the OS/2 implementation of SNAP, and have the ability to use (with proper licensing) any drivers written by the new owners of SNAP. Presumably the reason this is an issue is because the buyer will not be interested in maintaining the OS/2 component, so the arrangment would not be competitive, but mutually beneficial.
Date: 28 Nov, 2006 on 21:14
Sebadoh
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29. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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That would be assuming that anyone who purchases it a) maintains compatability with the binary format they are currently using b) doesn't buy it for propietary purposes, and even gives a damn enough to allow continued licensing of the OS/2 version.


obiwan (28 Nov, 2006 21:34):
Correct me if I'm wrong. Isn't the point of SNAP that there are two components, a platform side and a hardware side, so that once a driver is written for a card it works on any platform that has SNAP? So SSI would own/control only the OS/2 implementation of SNAP, and have the ability to use (with proper licensing) any drivers written by the new owners of SNAP. Presumably the reason this is an issue is because the buyer will not be interested in maintaining the OS/2 component, so the arrangment would not be competitive, but mutually beneficial.
Date: 29 Nov, 2006 on 07:19
Sebadoh
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30. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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last updated at 29 Nov, 2006 07:27 (1 times)
True.. declaring it dead is a little over the top. On the other hand lets look at it this way. The OS/2 core components (or atleast what is needed to make a modern os useful)

Printer Drivers: Development ceased dec 2006 (well actually before that but lets use the "official" date.

Video Drivers: Snap is frozen, most 3rd party and oem drivers are at various degrees of non-functionality.

Sound Drivers: UniAud! Yeah! I get to listen to the same 15 second sound sample everytime I turn my computer on randomly! yeah uniaud (and alsa too for to that end)

Ethernet: Yeah genmac2 now we can run some but not all windows drivers, atleast we have SOME wifi drivers now.

Tcpip: Frozen December 2006 (actually quite some time before that).

Kernel: Frozen December 2006 (again, actually might as well go back to 2004 on this one)

Wps: Now this is a fun one.. yeah guys.. we're gonna go back to 1996 here =)


Hmmmm.. there is a necromancer somewhere which has a corpse of OS/2 walking around for quite some time =) lol..

hey.. have a sense of humor.. sing the doom song with me.. "doom doom dooom.. doom doom doom..."


obiwan (28 Nov, 2006 02:43):

JLKT (23 Nov, 2006 01:12):
what other video drivers can we use and rely on?

Some folks have been working independently on their own OS/2 video drivers. SciTech has worked so well that these efforts have been largely isolated and unnoticed. If SNAP does decline, the good work of independent driver developers will attract recognition, support, and hopefully improved collaboration. This is good because SciTech was never going to expand the feature set of SNAP on OS/2.

Most Xorg drivers are open source, so much of what we need to produce good drivers is available to us.


without ... os/2 is indeed dead.

Fill in the blank with any of the numerous features we have been momentarily without in the past decade. If any one thing could "kill" OS/2 it would have already. We should be past using the "D" word by now.


Date: 29 Nov, 2006 on 07:26
obiwan
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31. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Sebadoh (29 Nov, 2006 07:19):
That would be assuming that anyone who purchases it a) maintains compatability with the binary format they are currently using b) doesn't buy it for propietary purposes, and even gives a damn enough to allow continued licensing of the OS/2 version.

Generally, investors who buy the rights to software are looking to (1) cash in on licensing sales wherever possible, and (2) spend as little as possible on development. So these two assumptions are more reasonable than we might anticipate (accustomed as we are to being dismissed by software licensors).

Retension of binary compatibility would be easiest on us, reducing the need for upgrading, but actually what I had in mind was that if SSI ends up controlling the OS/2 component it would be for the purpose of maintaining compatibility with future changes.

Date: 29 Nov, 2006 on 19:05
obiwan
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32. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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last updated at 29 Nov, 2006 19:33 (1 times)

Sebadoh (29 Nov, 2006 07:27):
... atleast what is needed to make a modern os useful

More precisely, what makes it hardware-compatible. That's actually quite distinct from useful. I'm quite the fan of using emulators to extend the usefulness of software beyond the realm of hardware-compatibility, although I admit I'm not too excited about having to do that with OS/2 in particular.

The other point touched on is development activity on components such as the WPS. Of course, OS/2 is and always has been a different way of computing from the "carrot-on-a-stick" chase of Windows and the "release-early, fix-often" [sic] model of Linux. With the general quality and stability of IBM's original OS/2 base, and most software developed for it early on, the date of the latest update is not as relevant. However, note that the WPS is peculiarly extensible, and many independent new enhancements have been and are being made to it, some incorporated into eComStation, so the date of the last IBM-branded change is not really fair.

Still, though, you point out well that this move by SciTech is a reminder of the challenges of continued maintenance of this OS, and the requirement of a long-term vision in the OS/2 community, along the lines of Voyager and/or OSFree, discussed in another thread.

BTW: Sound looping is sometimes an indication of an IRQ conflict or failing hardware.

Date: 29 Nov, 2006 on 19:28
Ben Dragon
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33. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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The main problem that I see with Scitech selling SNAP is that it's highly unlikely that anyone (or company), would pick it up... I mean with the purpose of maintaining and selling it as Scitech did.

I mean, Scitech isn't selling SNAP because it's making them too much money. They're selling it because the product can no longer make them enough money to keep the company going and keep employees paid.

Therefore, unless someone, (or some company), is a hell of a lot better at finding/creating a market for the product than Scitech was, then SNAP is dead in the water and we are SOL... that is to say without a universal video driver in the manner that SNAP has been.

That's the bad news.
The good news comes from that as well.

That is to say...
The less viable the product is, the cheaper it will sell for on the open market. If it turns out to be not very viable as a product,
(as opposed to as a driver), then there is an increased likelihood that Mensys/SSI will be able to afford to, and will choose to buy it.

Let us assume for a moment, that they can afford it purchase it and that the price is no longer a major factor, then Mensys/SSI must determine whether or not the community has the expertise to develop the driver. And, if it does, then Mensys/SSI must determine if those with the expertise will do it for free, or if they'll want to be paid.

I, personally, don't know if the community has the expertise, but I do know, if I were doing it, (I lack the skills), I would want to get paid for it.

So that begs yet another question; Assuming Mensys/SSI do buy the product, will it make them enough money, (in additional eCS/OS2 licenses sold), to warrant employing someone to maintain it?

If the answer to this question is "yes", then we might get our favourite universal video driver back after all.

Let us all cross our fingers and hope that that ends up being the case, for then the drivers are ours and we won't find ourselves in this situation again at some point down the road.

---

Date: 29 Nov, 2006 on 20:32
ecsguy
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34. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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last updated at 30 Nov, 2006 05:27 (1 times)
Best solution is to get OS/2 and eComStation abstracted from the hardware completely.

If we had an open source virtual machine like QEMU, you could be taking advantage of dual core CPUs right now. You could have RAID disk storage.

Right now eComStation is always trailing. With a Linux host layer provided by QEMU we could stay even with Linux.
http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/

Date: 30 Nov, 2006 on 05:25
obiwan
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35. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Huh? Dual core CPU's are utilized by the SMP kernel. RAID is possible on OS/2.

OS/2 can run as a guest on QEMU. I do it. It's a bit slow but workable.

Date: 30 Nov, 2006 on 07:47
zman
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36. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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i suspect he means you can't do it cheaply with what most os/2 users are running.

my server has an old; but still awesome, mylex dac960 with 32mb cache.

my current desktop is now a real success. the ecs2.0 beta team has really gotten things to fall nicely into place for me. the latest acpi allows all my hardware to work. eveything is running on high irq! six usb ports (2 usb2.0) work. lucide and open office beta2 is good here to! technically if you buy a pentium d you'll have to -- oh i know this is so hard for most users -- PAY and get rid of that ancient patched version 4 or even the worse older stuff.

everybody can take this as an ecs2 beta report as well.


system:

pentiumd 3ghz
1gb ram
ati x850 video (screen is 1920x1080p)
32" philips lcd hdtv monitor
intel d955xbk mobo
intel 100mb lan (no driver for on board 1gb)
pci soundblaster
hauppauge win tv pvr350
2 sony dvd-rw drives
1 sata 15k rpm harddrive
virtual pc run windows xp

this is my primary tool, not a mule. os/2 beta beats ms ga most any day!

Date: 30 Nov, 2006 on 09:20
Cris
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37. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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last updated at 30 Nov, 2006 11:23 (1 times)

ecsguy (30 Nov, 2006 05:27):
Best solution is to get OS/2 and eComStation abstracted from the hardware completely.

If we had an open source virtual machine like QEMU, you could be taking advantage of dual core CPUs right now. You could have RAID disk storage.

Right now eComStation is always trailing. With a Linux host layer provided by QEMU we could stay even with Linux.
http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/


I don't like this approach at all, and I suspect a lot of eCS users would jump boat if this was the direction chosen for the future of OS/2. I would.

Bye
Cris

Date: 30 Nov, 2006 on 11:23
BigWarpGuy
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38. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Cris (30 Nov, 2006 11:23):

ecsguy (30 Nov, 2006 05:27):
Best solution is to get OS/2 and eComStation abstracted from the hardware completely.

If we had an open source virtual machine like QEMU, you could be taking advantage of dual core CPUs right now. You could have RAID disk storage.

Right now eComStation is always trailing. With a Linux host layer provided by QEMU we could stay even with Linux.
http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/


I don't like this approach at all, and I suspect a lot of eCS users would jump boat if this was the direction chosen for the future of OS/2. I would.

Bye
Cris



I totally agree with you. I would rather switch to ROS than do something like that.

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Date: 30 Nov, 2006 on 18:55
Sebadoh
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39. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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obiwan (29 Nov, 2006 19:33):

Sebadoh (29 Nov, 2006 07:27):
... atleast what is needed to make a modern os useful

More precisely, what makes it hardware-compatible. That's actually quite distinct from useful. I'm quite the fan of using emulators to extend the usefulness of software beyond the realm of hardware-compatibility, although I admit I'm not too excited about having to do that with OS/2 in particular.

The other point touched on is development activity on components such as the WPS. Of course, OS/2 is and always has been a different way of computing from the "carrot-on-a-stick" chase of Windows and the "release-early, fix-often" [sic] model of Linux. With the general quality and stability of IBM's original OS/2 base, and most software developed for it early on, the date of the latest update is not as relevant. However, note that the WPS is peculiarly extensible, and many independent new enhancements have been and are being made to it, some incorporated into eComStation, so the date of the last IBM-branded change is not really fair.

Still, though, you point out well that this move by SciTech is a reminder of the challenges of continued maintenance of this OS, and the requirement of a long-term vision in the OS/2 community, along the lines of Voyager and/or OSFree, discussed in another thread.

BTW: Sound looping is sometimes an indication of an IRQ conflict or failing hardware.


Don't think that is the case since even when the sound is looping the computer runs perfectly stable, in fact since I rarely turn my speakers on anymore I didn't even notice it was happening =). The newest RC seems to have fixed this, atleast so far ::fingers crossed::

And yes, WPS/Som is a great thing and it is highly customizable, it is for this reason I have only OS/2 installed on my computer. On the other hand there are annoying and nagging bugs which have never been fixed and will never be fixed. Put that on top of the fact that the more you extend it the more you run into shared memory shortage and overloading the WPS process. It is amusing in a computer with 2GB of ram, I still get out of memory errors, actually alot more often then I used to on my old machine with 256megs and I have 1/4 of the apps running which I used to have. (I ran a 16 node BBS on a 128mb machine including custom made mail daemons, (i wrote the bbs software myself), a web gateway, 12 telnet nodes and quite often I when online with it because it had the best video card of any of my pcs).. today, PSI and Firefox are enough to run me outta ram =)

Anyway.. I was just in a sarcastic mood and was having a bit of fun.. I mean.. nothing is perfect, I love OS/2 and it's faults.. because atleast I know where the faults lie.

Date: 30 Nov, 2006 on 21:11
Sebadoh
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40. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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However, it is quite likely that a linux or embedded system developer will buy it at a pretty steep price (alot more then SSI or mensys could afford) and either kill it, or just develop it for their own purposes. I am sure it would be alot easier then maintaining seperate xserver for each video chipset. And they would undoubtably add accelerated 3d into the mix.. This all would not find it's way into the OS/2 version.. because like I said if this scenario plays out, the OS/2 version will be cut out of the mix due to the fact that the developer would not be at all interested in cross platform capabilities or spending money on continued OS/2 development with no return in investment. The best case scenario they let SSI work on the OS/2 versions.. however without the help of the original coders this would be a very slow and tedious process and much would get broken along the way undoubtably, more likely they would only be integrating a rather huge code base of working device drivers into their own system.



Ben Dragon (29 Nov, 2006 20:32):
The main problem that I see with Scitech selling SNAP is that it's highly unlikely that anyone (or company), would pick it up... I mean with the purpose of maintaining and selling it as Scitech did.

I mean, Scitech isn't selling SNAP because it's making them too much money. They're selling it because the product can no longer make them enough money to keep the company going and keep employees paid.

Therefore, unless someone, (or some company), is a hell of a lot better at finding/creating a market for the product than Scitech was, then SNAP is dead in the water and we are SOL... that is to say without a universal video driver in the manner that SNAP has been.

That's the bad news.
The good news comes from that as well.

That is to say...
The less viable the product is, the cheaper it will sell for on the open market. If it turns out to be not very viable as a product,
(as opposed to as a driver), then there is an increased likelihood that Mensys/SSI will be able to afford to, and will choose to buy it.

Let us assume for a moment, that they can afford it purchase it and that the price is no longer a major factor, then Mensys/SSI must determine whether or not the community has the expertise to develop the driver. And, if it does, then Mensys/SSI must determine if those with the expertise will do it for free, or if they'll want to be paid.

I, personally, don't know if the community has the expertise, but I do know, if I were doing it, (I lack the skills), I would want to get paid for it.

So that begs yet another question; Assuming Mensys/SSI do buy the product, will it make them enough money, (in additional eCS/OS2 licenses sold), to warrant employing someone to maintain it?

If the answer to this question is "yes", then we might get our favourite universal video driver back after all.

Let us all cross our fingers and hope that that ends up being the case, for then the drivers are ours and we won't find ourselves in this situation again at some point down the road.


Date: 30 Nov, 2006 on 21:18
Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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