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Messages - Doug Bissett

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Games / Re: Mahjonng Solitaire 2.20
« on: March 18, 2013, 10:06:31 pm »
Is there a way to make Mahjonng Solitaire 2.20 render/play smoother over Virtualbox? I'm using 3D hardware acceleration(But I doubt that actually effects anything on the eCS 2 end).
I also am allowing 128MB out of my 2GB graphics card to be utilized. Doesn't seem to change rendering smoothness.

3D probably just gets ignored, but it may actually slow it down. I think that OS/2 only uses 32 meg of video memory, no matter how much you assign. If you install the VBox extensions, it might work a little better. You should also adjust the Mahjonng settings. I usually turn off animation, which makes it much better, even on real hardware. Also, be sure that you assign enough memory so that the program doesn't end up swapping. That will really cause performance problems. I find that 512 meg is about the minimum that you want to use, and 800 meg is almost always good.

Applications / Re: Odin
« on: March 18, 2013, 09:52:06 pm »
Simple question really. I have Odin installed, but don't know how to use it. The documentation tells me all these nifty things it can do, but not how, maybe I am a bit .. slow?
I really like Mahjong.. but I'd like to do a bit "more".

Personally, the only reason I install ODIN, is because FLASH, and JAVA, require the libraries.

However, usually you can do:
PE.exe awindows .exe parameters
and it will attempt to start the awindows program. If the program is simple enough, is 32 bit, and doesn't rely on other things, it might work. Usually you will find that it needs other windows support, that is not in ODIN.

There are other commands, but that works as well as any that I ever tried. ODIN has been updated recently, but it never did work very well to run windows programs. The main use today, is that OS/2 programs can use the  libraries.

If you look around, you can find a number of games. Search for games at: You will find many other things there too.

Thanks again Doug. I know about GPL software such as WINE. There was another one too, but it became a pay-for software after a few beta releases. Anything you have to "pay for" on Linux I tend to ignore pretty quickly. IBM? 1992? Doesn't retiring at a young age mean you quit or they laid you off? Or did you win the lottery? Haha.

It was a bit of every one of them.  :D   At the time, IBM was downsizing, and they made all employees an offer I couldn't refuse. I don't think they realized that I had enough time in to qualify for early retirement, and expected me to stay. Fooled them.   :)

Having some issues running eCS right now in VirtualBox, but going to try a few things before I try a more updated beta/demo version.
(I've determined SNAP works, Panorama hates it.)

It is usually better to install using GRADD for video, because the extensions (to integrate the eCS desktop to the host desktop) simply replaces the GRADD driver.

If you're curious as the what issues I'm having. First it froze up VB after Phase 1, I tweaked a few settings, got to almost the end of Phase 2. But when I woke up this morning after seeing it boot up, and having a desktop before I went to sleep, it boots past the graphical logo to get an error: "The system detected an internal processing error at location ##0168:fff1da1f - 000e:ca1f". So I'm going to try HPFS instead of JFS. If it fails this time, I'm going to see if I can effectively "skip" phase 2.

Phase 2 installs most of the stuff that you need.

Update: as of 10am(EST), I now have a working install. I don't know why VB/eCS worked better with HPFS as opposed to JFS, but it did. Didn't tweak too many of the settings in the installer, besides making sure it was just using IDE. It had "Floppy" set on USB, which I don't have a floppy usb drive, so I set that to 0.

The floppy setting is not important. It puts a zombie floppy drive into the Drives object, that does nothing, until you plug in a USB floppy drive, if it is set to 1. 

I remember that I used HPFS for the boot volume, and it works fine. If you create a second drive, in the virtual disk, it works properly with JFS.  I think that VBox has some sort of incompatible setup that the OS2 loader doesn't comprehend when used with JFS, but I never followed up on that. It seems to be a fault in VBox, because booting from JFS on real drives works well.

Networking / Re: Wireless
« on: March 18, 2013, 09:02:08 pm »
Thanks Martin.

I will have a go at this late tonight/tomorrow.  The first challenge is to convert the inf or cat files (I do not remember which one at the moment) to reg files.  Anyone remember where instructions for this conversion can be found?  Once I am done, I will post a response here on how things work, and if successful, what I did.

May the force be with me / Eirik

Don't even bother trying to convert INF files to REG files. If you do anything with an INF file, just change PROTOCOL.INI and \IBMCOM\macs\GENM32W.OS2 (it is the only one that is used), to point to the INF file, instead of the REG file. However, you will probably find that the INF files don't contain anything except the templates to create the registry entries. As such, they won't be used. The only good part about that is, that everything will default, which sometimes works okay. CAT files are never used by GENMAC. I suggest just using the REG files that you already have, since they were extracted from somebodies registry, after the device was configured.

Who, and why would people argue about you being knowledgeable?

I will let that one rest. There are a couple of people who seem to think I should just shut up, and go away. Oh well, I can ignore them.

There are a few things important to me, and I'd say it's Flash, Java, and multimedia support. My main PC has a Super-Multi bluray player. I have a feeling eCS won't support it(yet anyway). I know there is a VLC port, so I could run DVD media, and possibly some video formats. But X264 / avc? Not sure. I know VLC has everything, but if it doesn't support my graphics card's capabilities it probably won't be so easy. But, like I said, going to try it anyways. I don't like Mac OS, but I don't hate it either. Everyone has their own likes, preferences, and needs.

We have an almost "latest" FLASH, and JAVA. They use a lot of support that was created for the ODIN project (which is based on WINE, if you know about that). Both seem to have a few quirks, but that seems to be true in windows too.

To be honest, I don't know if BlueRay will work, or not. I think my CD/DVD drive is also BlueRay capable, but I don't think I have ever seen a BlueRay disk, never mind try to use one. DVDDAO is supposed to have support for BlueRay, but I don't know if it works. VLC is available, and it seems to work pretty well. I am also not too sure about X264. I think there is a program to do that, but I have never tried it. I also don't know about avc. We do have FFMPEG which seems to do a credible job of format conversion, but doesn't support everything. The biggest "problem" seems to be with Microsoft proprietary codecs. They just aren't available for non MS operating  systems.

Graphics card... Well, it depends on exactly what it is, but my bet would be that it is too new to be supported by an accelerated driver (read SNAP). That doesn't mean that it won't do a reasonable job, in a lot of cases.  There are two main video drivers. One is called SNAP (was SDD - Scietech Display Doctor -  at one time), but development on that stopped a few years ago. It will support many newer cards, but only in VESA 2 mode, which is pretty slow. There is also PANORAMA, which also works in VESA 2 mode, but it has an added buffer that improves performance. Now, I hear that Mensys has acquired the OS/2 code for SNAP. Apparently, nothing has been done with it, yet, so it is difficult to know what, if anything, will come from that.

You should be aware, that eCS 2.2 beta is due to be released "soon". "Soon", in the past has meant anything up to two years. I think they (Mensys) are trying to do better, but most eCS users want it done right, rather than quickly. It is a difficult job, with one or two guys doing most of the coordination, and not many more doing the work. If you jump in with eCS 2.1, a lot of the newer stuff will be missing. You should also be aware, that eCS is cheaper, if you already own a copy of OS/2 warp4, or later. Sometimes they become available on places like e-Bay. I haven't checked prices for a long time, so a little research may be in order. You can also go to where you can order a free demo CD (electronic delivery). It is currently also a beta version, and it does have a few problems, but they may actually be fixed by now (or "soon"). It will NOT allow access to your real disk, and it has a few other restrictions that make it useless for anything but getting a bit of a feel for eCS. Depending on your system, it may work well, or it may be impossible to make it work. It should work in the latest VBox though.

BTW, I should mention that I have no connection to Mensys, other than as a satisfied customer. I did work for IBM, as a Customer Service Specialist, large systems, but retired (at a young age) in 1992. I have used OS/2 since version 2.0.

It's fun to talk with knowledgeable people such as yourself, Doug. Do you see eComStation working up to 64bit in the next 2 - 4 years? Or maybe even sooner? Also, don't worry, it's not all for naught telling me all of this stuff. I'm installing Virtualbox right now and going to try out OS/2 that way. I'm a PC Guru, and it would be shameful for someone to ask me "Hey, have you used OS/2?" and I would have to say No. Yes, I'm a technophile. lol

Some would argue with you about the "knowledgeable" part.

No, I don't see OS/2 (eCS) going to 64 bit, unless somebody can build a 64 bit kernel with the capabilities of the OS/2 kernel. Nothing is quite like it, so it is not as easy as taking a Linux kernel, and fitting the rest of OS/2 to it. In fact it may come to that someday, when other options run out. Whether it can be made to work, or not, will depend on a lot of things. The biggest obstacle will be finding competent programmers to attempt to do the job. Apparently, a few have tried, but it seems that they gave up (or they have hidden their work).

But I thought eComStation was the rebirth of OS/2? Doesn't that mean they have the source code? How are they supporting newer hardware if that isn't the case? That's a tad confusing. So you're basically telling me when we start doing 128bit computing and only have backwards compatibility for 64bit, no 32 bit software will work? I thought eCS already made it translate 32bit to 16bit(kernel) stuff?

No, eComStation is not the "rebirth", it is more like the "extension" of OS/2. Some would say "life support". No they do NOT have the source code, except for a few drivers, and a couple of other things. They do have the source code for a lot of the newer stuff, that has been added since IBM abandoned it (which isn't entirely correct either, IBM still owns OS/2, and Mensys does pay royalties to use OS/2). In fact, there was a rumor going around, that IBM has managed to lose the source code, but I doubt if that is actually true. They have neither confirmed, or denied, that rumor. 128 bit processors are currently an unknown entity. When they start to show up, decisions will need to be made, but I suspect that 32 bit capable processors will be around for a while. I don't know the details of converting stuff from 32 bit to 16 bit. I think most of that is in the device driver interface. Support for newer hardware mostly involves device drivers. ACPI support was, apparently, developed with the help of Intel. The biggest thing that keeps it going, however, is that there are a number of very knowledgeable programmers (I won't attempt to name them, because I will miss some of them), who do wonderful work, with very little to work with, and Mensys tries to keep it all together, with a "shoestring" budget, and a lot of diplomacy. After they pay for staff (two of them, I think), royalties, some important development projects, and expenses, there wouldn't be much left.

Give eComStation a try (older versions of OS/2 can be made to work in VBox, but you need to know a lot about it to get it to work properly). You may learn to love it, or, you may hate it. There is rarely a middle ground.

Hey Doug, thanks for that addition. Wouldn't you say that no-viruses is because it's such a foreign OS? Not language wise, but in terms of use? It's very sparingly used by anyone, and the market share is so low that no one writes viruses for it? Same goes for linux and Mac OS? Mac OS and iOS is becoming used more, but not at the extent Windows is, to my knowledge. When you said "If you wanna play games use Windows, if you want to do work use eComStation", I was heavily reminded of the Mac VS PC commercials. Any OS can be used for gaming, provided someone writes software for it, or so I thought? The OS isn't the limitation, it's the developers for the system that create limitations, correct? If someone made a Win32 directx library that ran virtually or parallel in OS/2, couldn't it play games too? Also, if eComStation or OS/2 has support for GCC, couldn't it also install linux software(games), with some sort of driver manipulation for OpenGL?

Lack of viruses is partly because OS/2 (eCS) is not used by a lot of people, and that is mostly because it is not pre-loaded on computers. Hackers usually just play around with what they have, and don't buy other things. Companies (which are, apparently, the main driver behind keeping eCS alive) don't tend to write viruses. So yes, it is partly lack of availability. However, it also takes more programming knowledge to be able to work a virus into something running on OS/2. Anybody with that kind of knowledge will be working as a software developer, not playing around as a hacker.

True, eCS can be used for games, IF somebody would write them, or port them, along with a LOT of supporting software (much of which is copyright by Microsoft). There are, in fact, a few very good games, but nothing that interests "kids".  OpenGL exists, and there was a project, discussed here some time ago, to update that stuff, but it has been "dead" for a while now.  The biggest problem that OS/2 (eCS) has right now, is that there are not enough programmers willing to work on it, and paying them is more or less out of the question, in most cases. The second biggest problem is that the source is not available, for most of it. Those who do know something about it, are very busy just trying to keep eCS working on new hardware. No time for anything more.

GCC is available, and it is used by a lot of ported software. It is also used for some of the very few original programs, but it seems that most programmers find it much easier to port a program, than to write a new one. That isn't all bad, because we actually end up with lots of useful programs that were developed for other platforms (mostly Linux). The biggest "problem" there, seems to be converting the required libraries to be able to compile, and run, those programs. Just because a program uses GCC in Linux, doesn't  mean it will just run in OS/2 (eCS).

OS/2 (eCS) can run VirtualBox (although the current port is now ancient), so a user can run windows in that, to play games, or do other things that can't be done in OS/2 (eCS), Of course, there is the performance hit from running in a virtual machine.

Based on what I can see of the OS/2 UI they were ahead in the times of Windows 98se,

Yes it was. Windows NT was based on OS/2. 95, 98 and ME were still DOS programs. Microsoft never really got NT to work, until they got to WinXP. Still OS/2 (eCS) will run circles around the 32 bit windows versions, simply because it has a lot less junk running in the background (including antivirus programs). Microsoft also stripped out a lot of the security stuff that OS/2 has, in a feeble attempt to speed up windows. Going to 64 bit software has finally accomplished the speedup, but they never put any of the security stuff back in (I suspect that they just never understood it, and didn't believe that it was necessary anyway). OS/2 (eCS) is still well ahead of windows, in some ways, but the gap is closing, simply because eCS is having a tough time trying to keep up to the new tricks that are being introduced by hardware manufacturers, and most of that seems to be coming from Microsoft. Linux is having an easier time keeping up, because they have a LOT more programers working on it. MAC, of course, has more control over the hardware, and they have lots of paid programers, so they can also keep up.

I can see the end of OS/2 (eCS), one of these days, simply because it is being overwhelmed by new stuff, and understaffed in the programmer area to keep up. However, it still runs well in the latest VirtualBox implementation for windows, and (I assume) in Linux and Macs. It will also continue to run in older hardware (which is generally available on the used market, at a big discount). It is just another case of a technically superior product being abandoned by it's creator, in favor of making a few extra bucks (IBM is probably the biggest beneficiary from windows viruses because their consulting arm gets to fix a lot of the damage that is done).

One of the main reasons why I like, and use, eComStation, is that there are zero viruses that affect it. Other advantages are that I don't need to update all of my programs, just because there is a new version of eCS., and it will do most of the useful things that can be done in other operating systems. I realize that if you want to make a living at servicing, and supporting, operating systems, those are distinct disadvantages.

It is true that eCS is not as flashy as some other operating systems, but as they say "if you can't make it work, make it look good". Unfortunately, the "make it look good" crowd also wants to complicate life by changing a lot of the rules, for no good reason. That makes it difficult for those who use a rock solid OS to keep changing what needs to be changed because somebody else decided to do something in a different way. Even to find out what has changed, is difficult. Then, it takes a lot of work to make changes to the OS, to accommodate what somebody else decided was a good idea. The source for most of OS/2 is not available, but OS/2 will still run circles around windows on the same hardware. For instance, I still have, and use, an old IBM ThinkPad A22e, with 256 meg of memory (max). It will run eCS 2.1 pretty well, until I have to use a bloated program like Firefox, with complicated web pages. Then, it runs into trouble because the machine doesn't have enough memory, and it ends up swapping constantly. If that thing could handle a gig of memory, eCS would do fine. It has Win98 on it, and it would probably run Win2K okay, but I don't think it would work very well with WinXP, even if it did have a gig of memory.

The way that I prefer to think of it, is "If you want to play games, get windows. If you want to get some work done,  get eComStation."

Hardware / Re: Lenovo ThinkCentre
« on: March 10, 2013, 05:57:34 pm »
Found a model with Intel 82579, but it's not listed as supported by Multimac.

My guess would be that that is just another variant of the same thing. You would need to get the PCI information (something like [8086:1502]) to be sure. According to the web page at: the 82579LM is an [8086:1502], which is listed as supported. Unfortunately, the only way to know, for sure, is to try it yourself. The good part is, that Intel seems to be pretty consistent about building hardware, so there is a good chance that it will work with Multimac.

Hardware / Re: Lenovo ThinkCentre
« on: March 05, 2013, 06:02:16 pm »
Most new Lenovo ThinkCentre pc's available locally come with Intel DH graphics 2500 and Realtek RTL8111E.
Does anyone have experience with these?

My Lenovo ThinkPad L530 has a RTL8168evl/8111evl NIC (same as what you quote, I think. Windows says  Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller). It has some problems. Multimac, and GENMAC, will not run it successfully. It does work with the older RTGNDA driver, but not perfectly. In fact, it even has a problem in windows, if I try to transfer large amounts of data (40 GB or more) through it (the indication is that it overheats, and starts to cause errors). The good news is that the problem with Multimac is under investigation. Whether that means it will get fixed is another question.

I don't know about that specific video chipset, but Panorama seems to handle Intel video very well. The L530 has an Intel HD 4000 chipset, and Panorama 1.04 is great. The only "problem" is that Doodle's Screen Saver can't turn the screen off, which is probably a combination of ACPI, DSS, and Panorama, all missing some code to do it. On a desktop, you can use the switch to turn the screen off. Can't do that on a laptop, but DSS will go to screen saver mode.


I tried my Asus M3A78-EM, with quad core AMD Phenom processor. The Realtek 8168 on the motherboard is dead, so i replaced it with a PCI card with a Realtek 8169 chip. It seems to work pretty good, but the mouse tracking is set way to high (it was at maximum). I was able to adjust that, and then it worked okay.

I also tried my IBM ThinkPad T43 (1871-W8M). It didn't do very well at setting up the NICS (both are well supported by GENMAC), otherwise, it looks okay (I didn't try the preboot menu).

Then, I tried my Lenovo ThinkPad T510. Works great, and looks great, using the default setup.No WiFi, of course.

My comment is, that the demo seems to work pretty well on modern hardware (as long as it is not too new), but has a few problems on older hardware. Pretty much the opposite of previous demos.

I first tried the demo in a VBox running under eCS. No go.

Then, I tried in a more modern VBox under Win7 64 bit. Works pretty good, but no serious testing done.

Okay, so I made a real CD, and tried it in my old 800 mhz Athlon system. Not so good. The system has a SYM8XX SCSI card in it (for my scanner). I did not analyze every attempt, but it looks like ACPI is not set to use the /VW parameter. I just disabled ACPI, and it finally booted. That was as far as I went.

Then, i tried on my new Lenovo ThinkPad L530. Surprisingly, it went straight to the desktop, with no complaints, using the default setup. Unfortunately, the Realtek Multimac driver has a bug that causes major problems on this machine, so it hung hard (same as what the real eCS 2.1 does).  So, I tried the preboot menu options. One of which is an alternate driver for Realtek 8169 (no other indications of what that might be). It turns out that it is the RTGNDA driver, which does work pretty good in eCS 2.1. Unfortunately, it seems that RTGNDA.NIF and RTGNDA.OS2 do not exist on the demo, so it doesn't load. Anyway, it gets to the, pretty good looking, desktop. At that point the stick mouse works fine. The touchpad also works (but I hate those things, and there is no way to turn it off). My USB wireless mouse goes crazy. In the preboot menu AMouse is selected, but AMouse is not used.

So far, not too bad, but there is still some serious work to be done.

Comments, Suggestions & Questions / Re: Odin
« on: February 22, 2013, 04:46:54 pm »
Great to see the new Java up and running.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to install the Odin 0.8.9 (neither the odininst.exe and the wpi link to Hobbes work).  If someone could fix the wpi link, I would be most grateful.


What seems to be the problem with the WPI install? I have had no problem with that, on more than one system (and, IMO it is just as "official" as the ZIP distribution, since it contains the same stuff, packaged for user convenience).

Applications / Re: Whatever happened to...
« on: February 22, 2013, 05:35:54 am »
Hi Doug

OO3 does not work with IFE260 at all here - never gets onscreen. Checking the readme.1st file I found this:-

- Innotek Font Engine is required to run 3.2 for
  eComStation and OS/2. (Available by default in eComStation)
  You can download it from the following location:

That seems to indicate OO3 is built to use IFE 2.40

As you say IFE2.60 is better but can cause more hangs/crashes in my experience - which may be different to yours.

I use iFE 2.40 and have added pmshell.exe to the Applications - as well as deleting all mention of Mozilla apps - and find that the Desktops on 3 systems here all look much better with regard to font display. The only real moan I have is that long folder/application names do not fit on the dropdown menus eg click eCS button (on eComCentre) and here "File and Print Client Resource Browser" has the 's' overwritten by the right arrow head and half the 'e' is missing - as is the final 'r'.

I have also added ar5os2.exe to the IFE 2.40 applications and use ar5os2.exe as the "windows runtime" for OO1.1.5 for Windows. Font display in both OO1.1.5 applications and Acrobat Reader V5.1 is much improved and so far - touch wood (touches head ;-)  - no hangs/crashes.

Using IFE 2.60 with the above applications my system did suffer the odd hang/crash from time to time. I guess that is because 2.60 is a beta version... Would have been nice if it had got past beta before development stopped  :-(



IFE 2.60beta seems to work fine with OO 3.2, but all I have done, so far, is open a file to see if it rendered properly. It did. I don't use it with anything else, and would actually like to remove it completely, but I do use OO 3.2, and it seems to need it. I would like to see OO abandon IFE (any version), and start to use the same font support that the Mozilla derivatives are using. At least the source is available, so problems should be fixable (I don't know if that would actually work either).

Anyway, I will see what happens with OO 3.2, for a while. I don't plan on using it with anything else, since it seems to be unnecessary (at least on my system).

Applications / Re: Whatever happened to...
« on: February 21, 2013, 07:35:51 pm »

As regards font antialias: I suspect the Innotek Font Engine may have a use there. You would need to add Wordpro to the applications supported by the Font Engine in the Registry - see the Font Engine readme file for details.

I don't know about antialias, but some time ago, I tried to remove the Innotek Font Engine completely. Almost everything worked okay, except OpenOffice 3.2. Apparently, OO uses the code, and the Font Engine should NOT be enabled for OO (same as for the newer Mozilla derivatives). I have every application turned off, and would never dream of using it for anything, since it is so flaky, but it seems that it is necessary for some things to run. In fact, that reminds me that I did a new eCS 2.1 install, and forgot that the old 2.4 version of the font engine is still what eCS 2.1 installs. The 2.6 version always worked better for me, but i find that it makes so little difference, that it is just not worth enabling it for other things,

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