Author Topic: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion  (Read 5031 times)

ivan

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OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« on: July 14, 2015, 03:52:52 am »
Martin, I too don't want to shut any doors but it is rather strange that Joachim should start two topics which essentially say nothing and then does not answer any of the point raised in those topics.

Regarding an individual compilation of OS/2, while that is possible for individuals (we have disk images for each of our servers and workstations) it does not address the problem of new licences for the base OS/2 - something we can no longer get from IBM.  The other idea is to make a DVD of all the programs that are used and individuals might want to install (we have that as well including a /dll directory containing all the extra dlls that it now appears we must have to run anything, the install scripts include adding that /dll directory to the libpath).

If you can work out a way of getting OS/2 without needing a licence then I am prepared to use that version in a disk image and make it available to all.  What I would like to see is the whole OS/2 being converted to 64 bit, although 32 bit would do for a start,  I know there is a 32 bit CMD implementation but it needs everything from networking (IPV6) and up with some sort of VM built in to enable use of 16 bit windows applications.  In other words I would love to see everything (except the win 16) on the WSeB install CD changed up to 64 bit and then have the necessary 64bit drivers included on WSeB CD2.  I know it isn't very likely to happen but I too can dream.



Dave Yeo

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2015, 07:09:14 am »
What I would like to see is the whole OS/2 being converted to 64 bit, although 32 bit would do for a start,  I know there is a 32 bit CMD implementation but it needs everything from networking (IPV6) and up with some sort of VM built in to enable use of 16 bit windows applications.  In other words I would love to see everything (except the win 16) on the WSeB install CD changed up to 64 bit and then have the necessary 64bit drivers included on WSeB CD2.  I know it isn't very likely to happen but I too can dream.

The 16bit Windows (and DOS) applications is the easy part, just use DOSBOX, which is quite capable now of running Win16 and many DOS apps, though it won't give you the hardware access that OS/2 does, nor the shared clipboard.
As for 64 bit, what is the point? All the apps are currently 32 bit and will remain 32 bit. If the swapper back end was fixed/extended, could use PAE memory for swap (already possible) and run lots of 32 bit apps, each using 2GB or more memory, though there is still the shared memory problem.
Personally my fantasy is a bit different then Martins. Start at the bottom end and add a OS/2 subsystem to Reactos. I choose Reactos as it is NT compatible and NT was originally designed to run OS/2 and is more similar then Linux.
Write the backend (Doscalls and a few other basic bottom end DLLs) and use the OS/2 binaries for the PMSHELL and WPS until someone rewrites them. The OS4 guys have already sorta done part of the work, though they don't like the GPL, which is what Reactos is licensed as. Once the bottom end is done, you get all the drivers that Reactos supports and that is what we're missing. With a 64bit version of Reactos, it should be possible to get a full 4GB address space per process (2GB for badly written ones).
Still the problem of needing people with the motivation, time/resources and skill to do it.
The big problem is that OS/2 is now so old that a lot of people have grown up thinking that the Windows desktop is the ultimate and it is so ingrained in them that there is so little interest in anything else. Saw it the other day when on Slashdot where someone was dreaming of combining the best parts of all the operating systems. He actually listed the WPS as one of the components in his OS, but there was endless comments by people who basically wanted the Win7 interface.

ivan

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2015, 12:55:31 pm »
Dave, You know more about the nuts and bolts of the OS than I do from a practical point of view (for which I, and others, are very thankful) and I think I agree with you.  It was a quiet night shift - it is a national holiday here today - and I was indulging myself in a nice dream.

I don't care a great deal about what goes on under the WPS as long as the WPS keeps on working as it does at the moment.  The only other thing about that from my clients point of view is that whatever acts as the 'engine' must be able to be certified.

My reason for looking at 64 bit is that we have a server that I would love to max out with processors and memory and still use WSeB.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2015, 03:28:51 pm »
Hi

Sorry for taking the liberty to slip this forum topic, but I really wanted to discuss it more and not make shift the focus of the other thread.

Quote
Regarding an individual compilation of OS/2, while that is possible for individuals (we have disk images for each of our servers and workstations) it does not address the problem of new licences for the base OS/2 - something we can no longer get from IBM.

I complete understand that we can not legally get more licenses without IBM or XEU, but the idea is to make it available for individual OS/2 users that has a license. The goal is not make a OS/2 distro based on IBM binaries, this is only the goal as a first step to keep evolving and moving slowly to a more open OS/2.  So this is only the first step, or one of the steps, it is not necessary the final goal.

Quote
Personally my fantasy is a bit different then Martins. Start at the bottom end and add a OS/2 subsystem to Reactos. I choose Reactos as it is NT compatible and NT was originally designed to run OS/2 and is more similar then Linux.
Write the backend (Doscalls and a few other basic bottom end DLLs) and use the OS/2 binaries for the PMSHELL and WPS until someone rewrites them. The OS4 guys have already sorta done part of the work, though they don't like the GPL, which is what Reactos is licensed as. Once the bottom end is done, you get all the drivers that Reactos supports and that is what we're missing. With a 64bit version of Reactos, it should be possible to get a full 4GB address space per process (2GB for badly written ones).
Still the problem of needing people with the motivation, time/resources and skill to do it.

Even that I prefer going from top to down, I really think we need someone that starts looking PM under the hood and try to find some strategy to clone it step by step, I also like Dave idea.  If it can be possible to clone OS/2 Kernel and Control Program functions to run on other OS (ex ReactOS) and make PM, SOM and WPS think they are still running on OS/2, it will be a great milestone too.

But I really prefer to start with something that can be used on OS/2-eCS today, for example: if we spend two years on making something that the OS/2-eCs will not start to use, it will possible fail, because users will not see it's value. Instead if it something that can be included on OS2-eCS (or any other distro) there will be more motivation for users to know that it is an important part and support it. I remember that I used not to care about Voyager project, it as a great idea and I should supported on its time, but sadly at that time it didn't showed me anything running on OS2-eCS.

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2015, 04:28:59 pm »
Hi

I'm also trying to do my part to accomplish this (An open Clone or even a different Distro), even if it is very humble according to my skills and time.

My first step was trying to find out what to clone. Since I need to solve the "What" question, I started to dissect OS/2 in its components and try to document the files and components I'm able to find.

This is why on the EDM/2 wiki I created this category: Components. Even if it is not complete right, I hope it can be a starting point for someone to correct me or improve this pages.

So Dave, if you check "down to top" you have the OS/2 Kernel Components and the Control Program which is the base of OS/2.

OS/2 Kernel Component
The Kernel as a component (no only the OS2KRNL) has several files, so if we try to replace them or see what is available we have:

OS2KRNL                    - There is no OSS clone, only OS4 Project tweak the kernel. (close source). 
OS2LDR                    - There is a Freeware for non-comercial use available and source code available
SCREEN01.SYS         - IBM DDK. Can not be open sourced, but the binary can be produced as freeware.
SCREEN02.SYS         - Not necessary, it is only for  MCA (Micro Channel architecture)
PRINT01.SYS            - IBM DDK. Can not be open sourced, but the binary can be produced as freeware.
PRINT02.SYS            - Not necessary, it is only for  MCA (Micro Channel architecture)
KBDBASE.SYS            - IBM DDK. Can not be open sourced, but the binary can be produced as freeware.
CLOCK01.SYS            - IBM DDK. Can not be open sourced, but the binary can be produced as freeware.
CLOCK02.SYS            - Not necessary, it is only for  MCA (Micro Channel architecture)
RESOURCE.SYS        - AFAIK - There is no DDK Source code.
UNICODE.SYS           - AFAIK - There is no DDK Source code.


Control Program Components
On the Control Program there are two (not complete) OSS project that can be used to try to create a working clone.  The OS2Linux and the OSFree Project.  There is also the close source OS4 Project that (I don't know how) they produce a DOSCALL1.DLL alternative. (I don't know if it is from scratch or has other source).

So, I understand that cloning (and/or turning freeware) this components may be hard, but not as impossible as someone may think.

Any more comments that will help me to improve the EDM/2 components page is welcome.

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Pete

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2015, 03:40:59 am »
Hi Dave

I do not think that NT was originally designed to run OS/2 so much as M$ needed to make sure that they did not lose customers that they had sold M$ OS/2 1.1/1.2/1.3 to so an OS/2 1.3 subsystem was built into NT. However, I will not argue that NT is more "OS/2 like than linux", although I seem to recall reading that NT design owes more to DEC VMS than it does to DOS or OS/2.

It would be interesting to see a "ReactOS/2" but, as we are all aware, there is a lack of people with the skill set, ability and time necessary to do the job within my lifetime - not to mention funding what could be a large, expensive project.

I guess the only answer is to win a huge amount of lucre in a lottery and employ a horde of Russian and Chinese programmers  ;-)


Regards

Pete

Dave Yeo

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2015, 04:50:38 am »
Originally NT was to be OS/2 V3 NT (or was that NT v3) and the first version that ran was OS/2 NT v3 (I have an article somewhere around here from Byte describing it, text mode and not running on X386, but rather one of those RISC CPUs that started with R IIRC), with the design starting back in the OS/2 v1.x days. The plan was for IBM to write V2 and MS to simultaneously write V3, this is why we're actually running OS/2 v2.45.
MS hired Cutler and team to write NT, Cutler didn't really like the design of OS/2 and MS met with success with Win 3.0 so early on MS started re-purposing NT to run Windows (without telling IBM). By NT 3.1, the primary desktop was Windows though NT was well enough designed that it had several personalities including the OS/2 1.x one and as you mentioned, was more VMS like under the hood.
I played a bit running some OS/2 1.x text mode  programs under W2K, they actually worked well, could even use tedit to load config.sys and change things like LIBPATH and it would stick. Note that there was no real config.sys on the disk, just an internal representation. Some things didn't quite work right like the 1.0 cmd.exe would run in a window under NT while OS/2 4.5 would honour the fullsreen bit and refuse to run it windowed. Would have liked to have seen the 1.x Presentation Manager kit for NT which MS sold.
I also have a small Byte article about MS getting the 32 bit Presentation Manager running under NT, would have been interesting to see and test if the WPS would run on it.

I've heard that when reactos first was starting, they reached out to the OS/2 community to include an OS/2 sub-system, but the developers didn't like the GPL and the OS/2 developer community has often been cat like and it is hard to herd cats.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2015, 03:02:34 pm »
Quote
... to do the job within my lifetime.

Don't take it personal it is just an example, but this is also an issue, everybody just see "my lifetime", "my personal benefit" ,  "what it is for me". It can be more interesting to say what can I do for us, what can I do for the rest and what I can left behind when I leave (the community or this world).  Let's start the working right, do not worry if you can not end it in your lifetime, start and make your work open and available to the public that allow anybody else to collaborate and continue it. This is why it is important to make things (software/documentation/whatever) that allows collaborative and derivative works.

About ReactOS/2
The idea is not bad, even if it sound like a wild thing, I just want to through to air some thoughts about it. ...all with the word "maybe" :)
- If ReactOS team makes it work so we have CP, PM, SOM and WPS working over it with Binary compatibility....
- Maybe ReactOS can find a niche for their OS by getting some OS/2 community users base on his side. I'm sure that ReactOS will like to increase their community base.
- Maybe it can be interesting to bring the two communities together, the ones that uses ReactOS that needs more installed user base and the OS/2 community that (open to discussion) requires an open and modern base to run their OS.
- CP, PM, SOM and WPS are not free / nor open source. Maybe they will need to strike eventually an agreement with XEU or IBM if they want to expand their niche to OS/2 corporate customers.
- ...or maybe XEU or any other one that get an OEM OS/2 agreement with IBM can package ReactOS with CP, PM, SOM and WPS to make a new (compatible) kind of OS/2 distro. ReactOS will get services money to support the base/core from the money this distro can make.

It sounds interesting, but it will require an valid and convincing reason to make the ReactOS to think about us (the OS/2 community) and want to use their resources to include "OS/2 Compatibility" (to run CP, PM, SOM and WPS) on their project.

Or we can grab ReactOS source code and do it by ourself, but we all think only in our lifetime :)  It will be desirable if this can be done with the ReactOS community.

Remember that this is my personal opinion and it does not represent a priority/strategy/commitment/obligation, this is just a wild brainstorm, please don't freak out.
   
Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Boris

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2015, 03:37:24 pm »
Martin, is there any reason you talk about ReactOS/2, but not osFree, which is designed with Warp for PPC in mind (microkernel, DOS, OS/2 personalities), and even has got some code already working and booting besides the ideas?

Everyone can join the development (though it'd be better for it to be hosted on Github), and although it is not very clear how to start, starting is not the hardest part of it. :)

No offense intended (just a remark cuz I can see you take more things personally than you'd better had :) ).
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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2015, 04:53:43 pm »
Hi Boris.

There is no specific reason why I'm talking about ReactOS, I'm just following the idea as a brainstorm, but it is not something I'm able to help with or putting efforts at the moment. If someone wants to start it, if its open source, I will help, but I need the developers on board first.

My issue with OSFree is that it needs more development support and needs focus to make some deliverables. Valerius is alone on that project and even that he is making some experiments with Fat32 and other things that looks very cool. But the project needs to produce somethings to be shared with the public and start to create the a user base using the products it creates.

Valerius is doing great experiments but he needs to go public and get more support with the stuff he is doing to try to get more traction.

Quote
Everyone can join the development (though it'd be better for it to be hosted on Github), and although it is not very clear how to start, starting is not the hardest part of it. :)

I still believe that starting is the hardest part.  Some developers don't want to start doing things because they believe that the first release has to be perfect, otherwise I will not start coding at all.

Start with any part, just grab one little .EXE that has not open source alternative and make a replacement for it. Make small deliverables if possible but make them open source and public available so it can add up to a bigger project eventually.

Quote
No offense intended (just a remark cuz I can see you take more things personally than you'd better had :) ).
It is as personal as a hobbie can be :)  Sorry but when my life get busier I need to slow down my OS/2 discussions.

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Martin Iturbide
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Boris

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2015, 05:03:56 pm »
Martin, you are probably missing something here.

osFree binary releases download page with bootable ISO images, command line tools, REXX and MMIO DLLs.

Source code repository on SourceForge.

Or do you mean something more than this by "go public"?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2015, 05:05:48 pm by Boris »
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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2015, 06:22:27 pm »
Hi Boris

I know about the files. I even used some of those binaries to replace the ones on OS/2.  But the latest version of this files is 11/09/2011.

Yes,  he is doing some other cool stuff, but he is not sure how to share it. He updated FAT32 and he is making some USB/Flash boot testing by some drivers he compiled. I think he needs more support to get the things he did to the public and try to get more testing for his things.

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Martin Iturbide
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Sigurd Fastenrath

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2015, 04:54:26 pm »
Regarding an individual compilation of OS/2, while that is possible for individuals (we have disk images for each of our servers and workstations) it does not address the problem of new licences for the base OS/2 - something we can no longer get from IBM.  The other idea is to make a DVD of all the programs that are used and individuals might want to install (we have that as well including a /dll directory containing all the extra dlls that it now appears we must have to run anything, the install scripts include adding that /dll directory to the libpath).

I do prefer the Clone method as well. For each of my Hardware I do have an individual OS/2 Warp 4 clone (no parts of eComstation included) - but also an "Universal" Clone (No Sound driver, Network Driver set to "None", Panorama Vesa, ACPI, etc etc etc), that can be installed on almost any hardware and tailored afterwards quiet easy.

What I would like to have (to dream) and what I am working on (continue in autum) is a Bootable USB Stick with DFSEE and the Clone - and with this to install the clone from this stick.

This way of installation is far easier than using DVD (almost outdated on a lot of hardware, especially Laptops), needs less knowledge of the user and is much faster. No need for complex pre boot menues etc.

And it is really easy if one do know the hardware the customer wants to use, one can prepare a customized clone for him.

 ;) ;) :D :D If I would have or get a license from IBM for this I could release an own distro that way  ::) ::) :P :P ;D ;D (joking)




Boris

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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2015, 05:16:36 pm »
Sigurd, please look up the solution by valerius, which the most advanced one, so you don't waste your time doing the same work again (at least the fourth time), which OS/2 users love doing.
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Re: OS/2 Distro / Clone Discussion
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2015, 09:41:36 pm »
I think what Boris is specifically referring it that Valerius also worked on an USB-boot solution for OS/2. (correct me if I'm wrong)

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Martin Iturbide
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