Summary of OS/2 2.1 Enhancements

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OS/2 2.1 was announced worldwide in May 1993, and provides the upgrade path from OS/2 2.0.

Contents

User Perspective of OS/2 2.1 Enhancements

Major Enhancements in OS/2 2.1

Improved Application Support

  • WIN-OS/2 3.1 Standard Mode support - The WIN-OS/2 support is upgraded to provide support for Windows 3.1 applications (including Windows multimedia applications) running in Standard Mode, both seamless and full-screen. This replaces the WIN-OS/2 3.0 support.
  • WIN-OS/2 3.1 Enhanced Compatibility Mode support - A new mode - Enhanced Compatibility Mode - has been added to the WIN-OS/2 support. This enables major Windows 3.1 enhanced-mode applications which do not require a specific type of device driver called a VxD, to run under WIN-OS/2.
Note: Mathematica for Windows and Omnipage Professional are two such Windows enhanced-mode applications which run under WIN-OS/2 3.1.
  • Inclusion of MMPM/2 1.1 - Multimedia Presentation Manager/2 1.1 has now been included with OS/2 2.1. MMPM/2 provides 32-bit multimedia support code for OS/2 PM multimedia applications, including Software Motion Video.

Internal Operating System Upgrades

  • WIN-OS/2 3.1 Performance Enhancements - Performance of Windows applications running under WIN-OS/2 has been substantially improved, especially when running in seamless mode.
  • 32-bit PM Graphics Engine - This rewrite of the graphics engine provides a sound basis for future powerful graphics. The immediate benefit of this is that it enables the new 32-bit seamless display drivers to be used.

Wider Hardware Support

  • Installation from CD-ROM - OS/2 2.1 can now be installed from CD-ROM. This is a major improvement, and can save much time and energy. Two installation diskettes (both 3.5" and 5.25") are provided to start the CD-ROM installation process.
  • SCSI-attached CD-ROM support - IBM and non-IBM SCSI-attached CD-ROM devices are now supported.
  • OS/2 2.1 Preloaded onto IBM and PC Manufacturer (PCM) PCs - A range of IBM and non-IBM systems can now be supplied preloaded with OS/2 2.1.
  • Additional SCSI Adapter support - IBM and non-IBM SCSI adapters are now supported.
  • Seamless 32-bit Display Drivers for XGA, XGA-2, SVGA (Tseng, Headland, Western Digital, Trident, ATI, Cirrus, and IBM VGA 256-color), 8514/A and VGA - These provide seamless integration of OS/2 PM and Windows 3.1 applications on the OS/2 desktop.
  • A range of new and enhanced PM printer drivers, including the new high-speed printers - are provided in OS/2 2.1.
  • Support for Windows 3.1 printer and display drivers - The standard set of Windows 3.1 printer and display drivers have been included with OS/2 2.1, and these can be used with WIN-OS/2.
  • Advanced Power Management support - OS/2 2.1 includes power-saving routines for notebooks and laptops which implement the APM specifications.
  • PCMCIA support - OS/2 2.1 includes support routines for notebooks and laptops which use the PCMCIA bus for adapters.

Significant Enhancements in OS/2 2.1

Improved Application Support

  • Dual-Thread MVDM support - This enables many DOS multimedia applications to run smoothly by providing threads inside the MVDM for simultaneously reading from disk and painting the screen or playing sound.
  • DOS_AUTOEXEC setting - A specific DOS command file can be run automatically when a VDM is created.
  • Improved Clipboard and DDE support - The Clipboard and DDE support in WIN-OS/2 has been improved, thus substantially increasing performance especially in exchanging data between WIN-OS/2 and OS/2 PM applications.
  • Ability to Start a DOS or OS/2 Application from a Windows Application - It is now possible to "shell" to a DOS or OS/2 application from within a Windows application. This capability is especially useful for some Windows applications that depend on DOS utilities.

OS/2 2.1 Technical Update

  • Inclusion of Windows 3.1 File Manager and most Accessories - Most of the Windows 3.1 accessories, including the File Manager, Write and Paintbrush, have now been included with WIN-OS/2 3.1.
  • Improved WIN-OS/2 Setup and Configuration - The setup and configuration procedures for WIN-OS/2 applications have been substantially improved, especially for Clipboard and DDE support.

Internal Operating System Upgrades

  • Warning on ACL File Protections before Installation - The OS/2 2.1 installation checks before it starts whether any files or directories are ACL protected, in order to ensure that installation can complete successfully.
  • Page Tuning Performance enhancements - Improvements have been made to the memory working set in the Control Program, with consequent performance improvements in low-memory situations.
  • XCOPY enhancements - The XCOPY utility has been enhanced to copy across system and hidden files, and to retain the read-only attribute.
  • Improved OLE support in WIN-OS/2 3.1 - The Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) support for compound documents has been improved as a result of upgrading WIN-OS/2 to use Windows 3.1 code.
  • Truetype Fonts in WIN-OS/2 3.1 - The Truetype Font technology and core fonts have been included, also as a result of using the Windows 3.1 code.
  • ISO Font support - This provides a set of ISO fonts in order to meet the new ISO 9241-3 ergonomic standard on appropriate hardware.
  • Improved INI file handling - The modules responsible for storing and reading application and Workplace Shell data from the OS2.INI and OS2SYS.INI files have been improved and rewritten in 32-bit code, in order to be faster and more reliable.

Wider Hardware Support

  • Loadable ABIOS Support - This feature provides the ability for ABIOS to be loaded into RAM from ABIOS files on disk, instead of using the ABIOS in ROM. This capability is necessary for the PS/2 Models 56 and 57, PS/2 Server 85, and ThinkPad 700 series notebooks, and any other PS/2 systems which use loadable ABIOS rather than ABIOS in ROM.
  • Loadable ABIOS Installation - This feature provides for the ABIOS files (which are shipped on the hardware reference diskette and on the system partition of the disk) to be installed on the boot disk as part of the OS/2 2.1 installation procedure. This capability is necessary for those PS/2 systems which use loadable ABIOS.
  • Enhancements to Selective Install program - This feature has been enhanced for display driver, SCSI adapter, CD-ROM drive, printer installation, and also to allow the user to install WIN-OS/2 accessories as an option at installation time.
  • Display Driver Install program - This program provides a simplified method for installation and configuration of XGA, XGA-2, SVGA and 8514/A display adapters, displays and resolution modes.
  • PS/2 Server 195 and 295 support - OS/2 2.1 will run on the PS/2 Server 195 and 295 systems. Previously, Server 195 and 295 support was limited to OS/2 1.3.
  • Pentium Exploitation - OS/2 2.1 includes changes to exploit Intel's new Pentium chip. The first phase of this exploitation improves the performance of DOS sessions through the use of the Pentium virtual mode extensions.
  • Page Tuning Performance Enhancements - The OS/2 2.1 developers have made some "under the cover" changes to improve the general performance of OS/2 2.1, especially in low-memory situations.
  • XGA-2 DMQS Override - This feature enables the capabilities of advanced non-IBM displays to be exploited when they are attached to an XGA-2 adapter, by providing the ability to override the automatic XGA-2 display sensing (DMQS) with manual settings.
  • Enhanced Printer Installation - User installation of additional printer drivers has been simplified in OS/2 2.1.

Minor Enhancements in OS/2 2.1

Improved Application Support

  • OS2VER file - Some applications check for a specific version number of OS/2 2.0 before they run. The OS2VER file enables these applications to be told that they are running on OS/2 2.0 even though they are running on OS/2 2.1.
  • DPMI 1.0 Subset support - The DPMI support has been upgraded to a subset of DPMI 1.0, enabling more DOS DPMI-based applications to run.
  • PC Support/400 support - The new extended DOS version of PC Support/400 (V2R3), available during the second half of 1993, will run in an OS/2 2.1 VDM. This is due to the provision of multiple DPMI Client support as part of the DPMI 1.0 Subset support.
  • Multimedia support for Audio in WIN-OS/2 3.1 - Windows 3.1 Multimedia support for Audio is included, again as a result of using the Windows 3.1 code.
  • Workplace Shell Visual enhancements - Some minor improvements have been made to the appearance of the Workplace Shell, including a new notebook appearance and new icons for CD-ROM drives.
  • Settings Notebook Drag/Drop enhancements - It is now possible to add program objects to a folder menu and to change the icon of any object using drag/drop on the desktop.
  • Auto-lockup on System Startup - The Workplace Shell can now be configured to enter lockup status automatically on system startup, thus ensuring the user enters a password before using OS/2 2.1 and providing an additional level of security.
  • Print Spooler Enhancements - The print spooler has been enhanced to enable the user to vary the priority.

OS/2 2.1 Technical Update

Internal Operating System Upgrades

  • Palette Manager for XGA, XGA-2, SVGA, 8514/A - Palette Manager support is provided for 256-color adapters, enabling the application programmer to provide specific color shades to applications.

Wider Hardware Support

  • Brazilian Keyboard Support - The new national Brazilian keyboard is supported.
  • Trackpoint II Support - The in-keyboard pointing device on the ThinkPad 700 series of notebook computers is supported.
  • Support for Enhanced 2.88MB Diskette Drive - The new 2.88MB diskette drive (6451271) that provides support for software eject and software lock/unlock is supported.
  • Support for 3.5" Enhanced Rewritable Optical Drive - The new 3.5" Enhanced Rewritable Optical drive (6451295), with support for P-ROM (partial read-only memory) optical disks, and with software lock/unlock and eject functions, is supported.
  • Format Utility Enhanced for P-ROM Optical Disks - The OS/2 Format utility has been enhanced to support formatting P-ROM optical disks in the new 3.5" Enhanced Rewritable Optical Drive.
  • Large Cursor on VGA LCD Displays - On VGA LCD displays on notebooks, a larger cursor can be displayed to make it easier to see.
  • MSCDEX support - The VCDROM virtual device driver now supports all the CD audio functions of the Microsoft** MSCDEX DOS device driver, thus enabling more DOS and Windows multimedia applications to run in VDMs.