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Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?

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i am a new user here with somewhat broken english, sorry about that.

I am using computers since DOS5 or so and somehow the different OS's was always more interesting to me than the user programs. So far my path was the following:
DOS -> Win3.1 -> Win95 -> Linux -> Win98 -> Win98/SE -> BeOS -> Windows XP ->Zeta -> Linux -> OSX -> Linux -> BSD

I once installed eCom station (downloaded from some shady website), but had no real chance to get more experiences, as my hw was not really supported that time.
Nowadays i use BSD for media consumption, and using Haiku since the beginning of the project to port open source projects.

Yesterday i felt the urge to switch the OS on the media PC to something new again, so maybe this time i could pick OS/2.

I am old-school if it is about computers, i don't like fancy eye-candy, i need only a stable OS.

Here is what i need:
- Email (IMAP)
- IRC (with the ability to connect to more than one server in the same time)
- Web browser (Firefox)
- Media player (vlc/mplayer/mpv)
- Torrent (using Transmission right now, can be anything else)
- Sound player (currently using mpd)
- Calibre
- Ability to copy music to my rockboxed ipod
- Ability to copy books to my FAT32 ebook reader
- Telegram
- Some picture editor
- A relatively modern compiler toolchain to try to port the programs what i mostly use (we are using GCC8.3 on Haiku for example)

I got an intel i5 3337U based ultrabook (Acer Aspire M5, UEFI with CSM)
- 10G RAM
- wired LAN (no need for wlan)
- HD4000 GPU with 1 external screen (<- important)
- some Realtek HDA sound chip

otherwise i have an X200s and a T440s (but i would not use this for OS/2 as this is my main Haiku machine)

As there is no real way (AFAIK) to test my hw with ArcaOS without buying it first i would ask you guys: is my HW supported by ArcaOS (i know, it is not easy to answer) and if my use cases covered by available applications on ArcaOS?
I assume Calibre (PyQt required) and Telegram (Qt5) is not available as the Qt5 port is not yet mature enough (FIXME), but i can survive that (i already got it mostly working on Haiku, but had no time to package it yet because the many dependencies).

I have adequate undertsanding about computers and software, so if my HW supported i would bite the bullet and switch to ArcaOS or eCom (if it is still maintained).

Thank you guys!

Best Regards,

Dave Yeo:
Most of your needs can be met, our Firefox is getting old but mostly works, there's also Thunderbird or SeaMonkey for mail, various IRC programs, I use Chatzilla.
Copying music and books depends on the interface, OS/2 suppports USB drives but they generally have to be partitioned right so if your music player/book reader present themselves as removable drives, they can likely be made to work.
Compiler is currently GCC 4.92 with GCC 9.20 being ported, most other needed stuff is there though you have to use the OS/2 versions of the autotools. Sh is dash.
Hardware wise, 32 bit operating system so only 3.5GBs of ram visible to the OS and programs, rest can be used as ram disk.
Video is limited to using VESA, so no acceleration and basic stuff working fine, I think the external screen would work but depends on the hardware. UEFI is not ready so you need to be able to fall back to the fake bios to boot and USB 3 is not there yet so need a real USB 2 port. OS/2 also only supports up to 2TB disks.

Martin Iturbide:
Hi santafe, welcome to the forum !!

Since you have experience with different OSes, I don't think you will find OS/2, eCS or ArcaOS a challenge.

Let me tell you that we haven't hear from the eComStation owners in a few years now. So, I would not recommend buying eComStation today. ArcaOS is current and active.

Maybe, if you want to be conservative,  it can be an good for you to try eComStation 2 (even that is not developed anymore) on VirtualBox as a guest, try to test the software you are looking for. You can install ANPM, update XWorkplace and install the software we have around (hobbes, netlabs, netlabs rpm, etc). Ask a little bit for help on these forums and try to improve the experience with the OS. 

Later, once you are experienced, go for ArcaOS and real hardware. You may always ask for hardware recommendations here and/or check the machines that Blonde Guy (Neil) offers with ArcaOS (

It is just my opinion, but you are always free to take the path you want  ;D

About the software you are looking for, I can answer only this:

- Email (IMAP) - We have Thundebird.
- IRC (with the ability to connect to more than one server in the same time). - Qt4 Quassel
- Web browser (Firefox) - Firefox 45.9, but there is a project to get a newer browser like Falcon (qt5)
- Media player (vlc/mplayer/mpv) - VLC  3.0.8
- Ability to copy books to my FAT32 ebook reader - There are FAT32 drivers
- Telegram.  - The web version of telegram seems to work on Firefox 45.9.  (
- A relatively modern compiler toolchain to try to port the programs .... - I'm not complete sure which is the lastest gcc version we have.

About your hardware "Intel i5 3337U based ultrabook (Acer Aspire M5, UEFI with CSM)"
I recommend getting ArcaOS to go after real hardware, since it has ACPI and network updated drivers.
If you check your computer BIOS and you can set UEFI mode in Compatibility Support Module, I think it will install and boot.

I always like to ask people for their PCI.exe hardware report to check the deviceID of each device and be sure about which components do you have on you PC.
- WLan. I'm almost sure it will not work.
- Network (wired) will depend, but there a good shot with ArcaOS drivers.
- Audio: Realtek HDA sound chip... it had always been tricky for the me audio support. It would be better to try to test it out.
- Video: HD4000 GPU with 1 external screen -... uhm.. I'm not the best to answer this. Let's hope someone with more experience tells us more about it. Do you want an extended desktop? or to have the laptop lid closed?


Thank you guys for the friendly answers, i will try eCom on my x200s durin the easter break.

Best Regards,

David Kiley:
Like Martin says I think you'll enjoy the challenge and think you should get ArcaOS. I used to be an OS2 native purist but now I personally think you would be best running os/2 in a virtual machine (aka virtualbox or virtualpc) with another host as the main OS.
OS/2 is a great OS but a lot of stuff like fat32 drivers/usb/web browsers/java can also be pretty buggy in my experience with ECS. I don't have ArcaOS but can't imagine things have changed that much since ECS 2.
That doesn't mean I don't recommend it though :).
Having more than one option at once just makes things more fun in general.

Personally I use suse enterprise desktop as my main OS which is rock solid and have several operating systems as virtual machines.
Like I have java in both my suse and os/2 - some java apps work better in one or the other - so why not choose both?. USB connections with my phone work great with suse but not so much with os/2. Maybe sometime i'll mess around and figure out the phone thing in OS/2 but there is no point in limiting myself now is how I feel about it in the name of "purity".

Like also your laptop might not support the sound card if you run os/2 natively, but it would in VirtualBox.
You could spend that time banging your head against the wall trying to get a native driver working.. or you could instead make life easier and enjoy the OS for what is amazing about it.
Like the awesome WPS GUI, and great native os/2 apps.. and you can also load up windows 3.1 sessions and run legacy windows 3 apps which is fun.
I found it a lot of fun to discover how to enable file sharing between os/2 with my windows machines :). Took me hours but I did it. 8)

But that's just my take on it.


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