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Messages - Rich Walsh

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Setup & Installation / Re: ArcaOS keeps rebooting
« on: June 10, 2017, 10:08:17 am »
I have decided to reinstall ArcaOS.

On the whole, I think that's a very good idea. As I mentioned previously, I've never heard of XWP causing the kind of problems you've encountered, so something in the installation must be really messed up. Since I'm the one who would probably have to fix whatever might actually be wrong with XWP, I have a vested interest in you having a successful install  :)

Just two bits of advice if you haven't reinstalled already:

* if you choose the Advanced option which lets you choose what will be installed and where, avoid using the "Back" button. I installed AOS many times and the only failed installations I encountered were those where I paged back and forth. Indeed, I'd suggest going all the way through, paging back and forth as much as you want to get a good idea of your choices, then cancelling the whole thing on the last page. Do this a couple of times if need be. By the third time thru you'll know exactly what's available and which options you want and will be able make your choices without hesitation - and without going back. The install will almost certainly be successful.

* I have to strongly disagree with Greggory as to choice of video. Unless you have a fairly ancient video chipset that it supports, SNAP is semi-useless: it's far slower than Panorama and in many cases is unable to support resolutions that weren't common 10+ years ago.

Let us know how the new install works for you.

Setup & Installation / Re: ArcaOS keeps rebooting
« on: June 09, 2017, 04:50:47 am »
Remove the '-hide' from the xwps folder, then drill down to its plugins directory and rename 'C:\sys\apps\xwps\plugins\xcenter' to 'C:\sys\apps\xwps\plugins\xcenter-hide'.

Did this, rebooted and the system froze - no mouse movement, had to pull the power plug again.

That's not at all what I expected. Just to confirm: after un-hiding the 'xwps' directory, you did hide 'plugins\xcenter' before rebooting?

I can't recall anyone ever having this sort of problem with XWP exclusive of some of its questionable plugins. The kind of errors I saw in your 'popuplog.os2' strongly suggested that a device driver was the root cause - an app would be unable to trash the CPU's registers so badly. XWP itself generally doesn't try "talking" to them directly but some of the plugins do which is why I suspected them.

At this point I imagine you've hidden the XWP directory again to get your system back. You might as well reenable FAT32 if you haven't already. The only other thing I can think of right now is to disable the XWP components that support the XPager (virtual desktop) and hotkeys. To do so, you'd open 'C:\sys\apps\xwps\bin' and rename 'xwpdaemn.exe' and 'xwphook.dll'.

Ir would be a shame if you lost access to some of XWP's many conveniences. If you're interested, once your system is stable, I can walk you thru uninstalling the AN version and installing the full-featured version which gives you greater control over which of its many components are enabled.

Let us know how it goes.

Setup & Installation / Re: ArcaOS keeps rebooting
« on: June 08, 2017, 09:33:59 am »
The first things to go are: your Startup folder, FAT32, and all of XWP (my initial suspicion was that some widget on the XCenter was the culprit).

Did this and ArcaOS booted OK. All my apps (for which I have desktop folders) loaded. (One question - I thought I'd lose all these when I was going through the ARCHIVE procedure earlier so why are they still available?)

I'm glad to hear we're getting somewhere  :)  I'd encourage you to move to the next step and reenable your Startup folder and all of XWP except the widget plugins as I described. Which reminds me... did you install any new XCenter plugins and/or did you enable the XWLan widget? If not, then finish up by reenabling the XCenter widgets since it's looking like FAT32 is the culprit (if so, there's an older version you can try).

I can't answer your archive question any too authoritatively because I've never restored one. However, I do know that any program objects or shadows that your installed apps created should be gone because they're stored in 'os2.ini' and that definitely gets replaced by the archived version. I'm not sure how physical files and folders that weren't in the archive are handled.

First open your Startup folder (in the desktop Computer folder). Dbl-click on each icon and see what happens. No problem?

Not sure - I double clicked on all the icons in the Startup folder. CAD-Popup opens after a couple of tries.
CUPS Daemon, TCP/IP Startup and USBPRT Automonitor double clicking apparently did nothing - certainly nothing visible appeared.

Most items in the Startup folder either terminate as soon as they've done whatever, or they launch background programs that you wouldn't see, so your results are to be expected.

BTW... Kudos to Doug Clark for mentioning SNAP - it should definitely be on any short-list of potential culprits. As it happens, Paul, you are running Panorama - it's the default (plus it's in the config.sys you posted).

Setup & Installation / Re: ArcaOS keeps rebooting
« on: June 07, 2017, 08:41:37 pm »
Your 'popuplog.os2' confirmed that the problem does lie in the WPS process but little else. The fact that the problem is now intermittent leaves me less certain than I was before as to its cause. Given that, I'd like to eliminate the most likely suspects first. Based on the results, we can either start reenabling stuff until it goes bad again or just eliminate more things and hope that dumb luck is on our side.

The first things to go are: your Startup folder, FAT32, and all of XWP (my initial suspicion was that some widget on the XCenter was the culprit).

For the first two, open config.sys. Locate "SET RESTARTOBJECTS=STARTUPFOLDERSONLY,REBOOTONLY" and 'rem' it out, then add "SET RESTARTOBJECTS=NO". Next, find "IFS=C:\OS2\BOOT\fat32.ifs" and "call=C:\OS2\cachef32.exe" and 'rem' them out. (Note that both lines have additional parameters that I've left out to make this easier to read.) Save and close config.sys.

For XWP, we'll use brute force: rename 'C:\sys\apps\xwps' to, say, 'C:\sys\apps\xwps-hide'.

Now reboot and see what happens. If we're lucky and the system is stable, play with it for a few minutes. Be aware that your internet connection may not work, and if you've set any folders to use Xview, they won't open by dbl-clicking - you'll have to use their "Open as" menu (I have to fix that...). Since these crashes are intermittent, you may want to shut down and restart to confirm the problem has been eliminated.

Lets be optimistic and assume this worked, so the next step is reenabling things. First open your Startup folder (in the desktop Computer folder). Dbl-click on each icon and see what happens. No problem? Next, we'll reenable XWP but leave the XCenter plugins disabled. Remove the '-hide' from the xwps folder, then drill down to its plugins directory and rename 'C:\sys\apps\xwps\plugins\xcenter' to 'C:\sys\apps\xwps\plugins\xcenter-hide'. Finally, open config.sys and restore the "SET RESTARTOBJECTS=" line (but not the FAT32 stuff), then reboot.

Still OK? If so, you should have XCenter at the bottom of the screen but it will be missing the window list and time widgets. Now for the big test! Right-click on XCenter and select "Close" from it menu. Next, remove the '-hide' from 'C:\sys\apps\xwps\plugins\xcenter-hide'. Finally, open 'Programs->Utilities'. Therein you'll find an XCenter icon - dbl-click on it and hope for the best. If the system blows up, the culprit is an XCenter widget. If not, it's FAT32. If it seems to be FAT32, feel free to reenable it in config.sys to confirm the diagnosis.

Of course, if you never get this far, we'll just have to keep trying. In that case, posting your config.sys will make it easier to identify what needs to be done next.

Good luck!

Setup & Installation / Re: ArcaOS keeps rebooting
« on: June 06, 2017, 06:51:33 pm »
Now that you've tried all these random suggestions (some germane, some just W-A-G's), it's time to attack the problem systematically. Initially, the goal is to determine if the issue lies in the WPS, PM, some hardware driver(s), or the base OS.

If you haven't done so already, it would be a good idea to make a backup of your unmodified config.sys.  Post a copy here as well for future reference. Also, if you see a file named popuplog.os2 in the root directory of your boot drive, please post it - it may identify the cause.

The first step is the WPS: yea or nay. In config.sys, locate "SET RUNWORKPLACE=C:\OS2\PMSHELL.EXE" and 'rem' it out. Now enter "SET RUNWORKPLACE=C:\OS2\CMD.EXE". Save the file then reboot.

The system will come up with a blue screen and an OS/2 command prompt window. Let it sit there a while. If the system does not reboot, then something in the WPS is triggering the problem. Confirm this by starting the WPS: at the command prompt, enter "PMSHELL". What happens next? If it reboots, we know the general location of the problem and I can help you zero-in on it in a subsequent post. (If it runs OK then it's going to be a lot harder to figure out what's wrong.)

Note: if the WPS simply crashes rather than causing the system to reboot, you should be returned to the command prompt. However, on my system that doesn't happen. Instead the window (labeled "Workplace Shell") remains minimized in the lower left corner of the screen. If so, dbl-click to restore it, then press Ctrl-C to kill the still-running WPS process. (You can ignore the various messages you may see in the window.) If you're lucky enough to get to this point, try running PMSHELL again to see what happens.

Next... if the system reboots while sitting at the initial command prompt, then we have to see if PM is the cause. In config.sys, locate "PROTSHELL=C:\OS2\PMSHELL.EXE". Again, 'rem' it out and replace it with "PROTSHELL=C:\OS2\CMD.EXE". Save and reboot. The system will come up to a full screen command prompt. Hold your breath and see what happens  :)  If it still restarts then we'll have to start disabling drivers (we may need to do so, regardless).

I'll leave it at that for now. Please try these relatively simple steps and report back when you can.

I am not using the cutdown version of xwp that ArcaOS installs so cannot test this myself but the full xwp has a Panic mode. Try pressing the Shift key during Desktop startup (press just as the screen changes from black to colour) and run xfix from the displayed menu. Hopefully that will resolve the problem.

Honestly, I think this is fairly misguided advice. What would a newbie know about editing the file-handles table? In any case, if IFX ran and reported no errors, it's highly unlikely this is the source of the problem.

I believe in contributing positively to the community, and not just by giving them binaries for free, but by giving them the fruits of my knowledge and skills through source code they can download and extend / modify if need be.  It's people helping people, giving someone else a new raw material they can receive and alter as needed.  I think these things are very important.

This is all very noble, I suppose, but not something that addresses the genuine needs of "the community" as it is today. There are vanishingly few competent OS/2 developers any more, and those who remain are unlikely to need or want yet another toolkit or library. Repositories such as Hobbes and Netlabs are littered with this stuff - virtually all of which goes unused.

Rather, what the community at large really needs are well crafted applications targeted at the end-user (yes, "free binaries"). I'm talking about competently executed, fairly bug-free, attractive, easy to use software products - not just a mess of code you throw over the fence and hope someone can use and/or fix.

As an example: in another thread, someone suggested porting libmtp. That's all very nice, but why bother if there's nothing that can make use of it? OTOH, porting libmtp as part of a larger project to create an attractive filemanager-like GUI for accessing the contents of your Android phone would be hugely appreciated because there's nothing out there like that right now.

Please understand that I don't want to discourage you from sharing "the fruits of [your] knowledge and skills" - we need all the assistance we can get. It's just that your efforts will bring the greatest benefits to the community and the greatest psychic rewards to you if they're aligned with the real needs of said community.

How do you join up at NetLabs? Is it just a matter of joining the site?

Have you looked at that project ( It's all laid out there.

And what if I'm a lunatic and code like a madman?  Surely there must be some type of governance or supervising committee which examines my code contributions before introducing them into the mainline?

Just because you have read access doesn't mean you can commit anything. All of the active projects (a rather small subset of the available projects) have maintainers who act as gatekeepers. I happen to have write access for one of the larger projects (XWP), and let me assure you, your good intentions alone would not be enough to persuade me to commit your contribution - it would have to meet my standards. I don't know if other maintainers are as persnickety as I am - but I would hope so.

USB, however, is a special case: unlike almost all of the other projects, it is closed source. You will have to contact one of the two maintainers to gain access.

General Discussion / Re: Problem on the PDF creation
« on: April 16, 2017, 03:50:54 am »
I use ePDF as the printer in firefox

Why bother? FF is quite capable of producing good PDF's on its own. Select "Print to file", then give the file name a '.pdf' extension.

The printer you select doesn't seem to have any effect on output quality. I've installed two dummy printers (since I don't have a real one): an HP9500 Color Laserjet PS and one that uses IBMNULL. The _only_ difference I see is that I get a small margin with the Laserjet even though I've set zero-width margins in Page Setup - the IBMNULL fills the PDF page edge-to-edge.

Applications / Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
« on: April 14, 2017, 02:00:21 am »
I can't comment on the eCoSoft runtime but I can tell you a bit about one of the add-ons that use it: PNG Desktop, aka Sunny Icons.

A few weeks ago, eCoSoft gave Arca Noae permission to have me create a customized version called "Dynamic Icons". Since then I've put in an enormous amount of time chasing down bugs and reworking its menus and notebook pages. I have to say that I'm extremely pleased with the results. The version I released yesterday (beta72 - sadly, only available to AN testers right now) is quite stable and, IMHO, easier to use. If you decide to install AOS when it's released, I hope you'll give it a try.

BTW... an AOS-only feature lets you turn customized icons on and off. If you install 3rd-party icons and find you don't like them, you can just turn them off and use expanded versions of the stock icons until you find a set you like.

Also, to follow up on a question that Martin asked a few months ago... It appears that XWP's Xview and PNG Desktop/Dynamic Icons are fundamentally incompatible. Sadly, most of that incompatibility is due to Xview's design. PNG Desktop was designed to support standard WPS folder windows: one folder per window with all of its settings stored as part of the folder object. In contrast, Xview displays multiple folders per window and stores its settings outside the object in os2.ini. Getting the two to mesh would probably take a lot of work.

Applications / Re: XWorkplace - Change Restart Desktop setting?
« on: January 02, 2017, 03:58:39 am »
the "Process all XWP Startup folders" setting is *not* something that gets saved - only "Close all sessions" is saved. If "Close all sessions" is on in the stored settings, both options get checked - if it's off, both are unchecked. It looks like it has always been this way.

Should I report that as a bug - and where?

It's not a bug, per se, it's a design deficiency. You can file a request for enhancement at if you wish, but setting "reboot only" on your XStartup folders would be __vastly__ faster (on the order of months or years faster).

Applications / Re: XWorkplace - Change Restart Desktop setting?
« on: December 27, 2016, 08:22:18 pm »
I am finding it does not work as you describe. After a Desktop Restart with Process all XWorkplace Startup folders Unchecked the next time that I use Restart Desktop the Process all XWorkplace Startup folders option is Checked.

I restarted my Desktop multiple times and confirmed what you report. I then looked at the code and found that the "Process all XWP Startup folders" setting is *not* something that gets saved - only "Close all sessions" is saved. If "Close all sessions" is on in the stored settings, both options get checked - if it's off, both are unchecked. It looks like it has always been this way.

Applications / Re: XWorkplace - Change Restart Desktop setting?
« on: December 27, 2016, 03:51:44 am »
Is there any way of setting the XWorkplace Restart Desktop option of Process all XWorkplace Startup folders to default to Unchecked?

I'm rather puzzled by this.  The very first time I select "Restart Desktop" from the Desktop menu after a new install, the popup window has "Close all sessions" and "Process all XWP Startup folders" checked. I uncheck both and click OK to restart it. Thereafter, these two are permanently unchecked and I never have to deal with this again. If you don't click OK and let the restart happen, your changes won't be saved. Are you finding that it doesn't work as I've described?

Applications / Re: XWP (xWorkplace) v1.0.11 - filename change behaviour...
« on: December 27, 2016, 03:33:24 am »
I discovered two separate behaviours in the most recent GA drop of XWP 1.0.11, which are different from the previous versions:

1) In the new folder 'Details' view one can no longer change a name of an object by double-cliking with the RMB. That function however remains as-is in all other views, therefore, working correctly.

Like others who responded, it would never have occurred to me to change that setting, so I tried it. I found that it works in both Icon and Tree views, whether "classic" or Xview but doesn't work in *any* Details view at all.  This is something that XWP never touches (AFAICT) so I assume that's just the way IBM designed it. If you can confirm that it _does_ work for you in standard Details view, I'll uninstall XWP and retest on an un-enhanced system.

2) The multiple-desktop (virtual) behaviour when XWP is combined with the SkyScrapper app no longer brings focus back to the Firefox windows. I previously thought this was a side-effect of another test release, but as it turns out this appears to be inherent to how the underlying XWP deals with focus changes. I am going to try to retire SkyScrapper up in haviour of the XWP's built-in virtual desktops functionality, so maybe that'll address the issue.

I never touched XPager nor did I mess with anything to do with setting focus. You may want to review your XPager settings to see if something got changed inadvertently.

Applications / Re: XWP (xWorkplace) v1.0.11 beta3 Comments
« on: December 02, 2016, 05:56:58 am »
I can not copy with drag & drop an icon from one object to another.

I think I would be the first person to notice if drag & drop didn't work :)  Still, I did a lot of testing after I read this and could not find any problem. When something so basic like this stops working, it may be time to reboot.

Defining folder in view 1/4 favotite folder, provides a link menu to that folder that fails

The problem is that the favorite-folder, if I select it from the right mouse, displays the contents of the folder, and if it is a program opens it, and if it is another folder shows its contents.
The program would not have to execute anything.

Skip much where it is selected, the menu, according to the corner of the screen, and the contents of the folder.

I have spent several days trying to understand your posting - and I still have no idea what is wrong. I even uninstalled XWP-Lite and installed the full version so I could do some testing. Everything worked exactly as I expected.

Are you trying to say that a right-click on the _name_ of the favorite folder doesn't open it? Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think it is supposed to do that - it is only supposed to show you a menu with the contents of that folder.

Applications / Re: XWP (xWorkplace) v1.0.11 beta3 Comments
« on: November 29, 2016, 04:16:51 am »
Think I found a bug with splitview, can someone else try this.
Open up a folder with splitview enabled.
Try to copy/move  anoterh folder, the folder with splitview does not show in the  dialog.

From the "OS/2 Developers" mailing list:

On Thu, 03 Nov 2016 17:20:25 +1100, Peter Moylan wrote:

>here's a bug in Split View.
>Open any folder in split view. Right click on a file and select "Copy".
>The list of folders that pops up does not include the one you're
>copying from.

Deep in the undocumented bowels of the WPS lies code with no
public interface that appears to limit this listing to views it knows
about (icon/tree/details). As such, I'd have to categorize this one
as "can't fix (except by dumb luck)".

Rich Walsh

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