Author Topic: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow  (Read 15163 times)

JTA

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OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« on: January 06, 2023, 01:55:22 am »
Today, to make OS/2 work well (no problems with drivers, applications, etc.), I do the following:

A.) run a virtual environment (hypervisor: vmware, vbox) ... isolates me from hardware, virtualizes everything, and makes it available to the OS personalities I run (vm's) on top of it. I build one modern/beefy pc (multi-cpu, ram- & ssd-heavy), load a host OS on it, load the virtualization software, and then easily load & switch between running vm's, like others use multiple monitors. File transfers are shared folders between every vm to same space on host os. Backups are as simple as snagging vm copies.

B.) run personality (vm's):
  B1.) OS/2 (ArcaOS) in a vm ... works great! this is a "productivity" vm, because I can:
    - do certain tasks/apps in it (16-bit, 32-bit apps) in a fairly confident manner that nothing will crash.
    - constantly adding things to it to improve my productivity, as I (re)discover them.
    - no driver problems, no graphics/display problems, etc.
  B2.) Windows/Windows Server in vm's ... works great! these are productivity vm's, because I can:
    - run any app that exists for Windows, x32/x64, and don't have to worry about them being on OS/2
    - do development (vstudio, gcc, etc.), scripting (powershell, etc.), and more.
  B3.) linux vm's ... these mostly work great. these are test vm's, because I can:
    - kick the tires on every os out there, could be linux, could be L4 activity
    - bring up an OS, load a virtualization tool in it (nested), and test away.
    - run things that might not be available on either OS/2 or Windows, or is just flat-out better for those things.
C.) Someone says they HATE OS/2, or Windows, or linux? Fine, as the virtualization scheme works the same for all of us. Plug in your choice(s) for vm's.

This in no way reflects upon others running OS/2 (ArcaOS or otherwise, or any other OS) on any given platform directly, or developing for the same. How anybody pulls tools out of the toolbox and uses them is their business. ArcaOS is another tool in the toolbox for me, and OS/2 is pretty much like the Sears tool line ... indestructible.

It's just one way to do OS/2 (& other "productivity" vm's) absolutely trouble-free, and focus on what the OS is good at (running my OS/2 apps or other stuff), and what nearly no other single OS strategy gives me without grief. Anything on the current "wish-lists" for OS/2 ... done; for example, Notepad++ is editing my massive .txt (my "only/preferred" file format) file collection on the shared space. 4OS2 is maneuvering though that same collection. Firefox is d/l'ing files into the shared space. Pick your app ... should mostly be the same result.

That's where virtualization has brought us (me) to, today!

An intermediate step might be vmware esxi (type 1 hypervisor, not "complicated, messy" like hyper-v) on the machine, and a bunch of vm's on top of that. esxi is a great, enterprise-level environment, but might not be that friendly at home as a host os. Something to test, and see if I can further simplify the current scheme.

Tomorrow? The host machine and virtualization may morph into an L4-like microkernel, controlling the whole machine, and all my vm's continue, as vm's on top of vmm's, on top of services, on top of that microkernel. Perhaps like the graphic from NOVA (attached). Not much different than what I'm doing right now ... so, it should be fairly painless; key point to keep in mind is that I don't have to do this anytime soon, as long as the vm's slide over. Perhaps later, the vm's morph into "personalities".

Y1.) nova (seL4) kernel (source code available)
Z1.) personalities:
  - OS/2 becomes a personality ... possibly no kernel/loader needed, only the upper layers (services, vm).
  - Windows becomes a personality ... possibly no kernel/loader needed (this could be ReactOS or others)
  - Linux ... or something else ...
  - most likely (hopefully), "old" vm's continue to be hosted on the future platform; OS/2 (as a vm) keeps running.

It's just virtualization tech, existing for, or coming to, all elements of the stack ... hardware, os, services, apps. I'm doing a form of it today with current virtualization technology, and everyone plays well together. No one OS dominates me or causes me grief; they are all just tools in the toolbox. It's coming tomorrow, in the form of L4 and more ...

As virtualization technology gets upgraded, I'll just unplug older tech, plug in new ones, and will probably be doing the same thing, but on newer virtualization technology of the future. I've been doing this for years now, and keeping my head above the OS wars ... hope to keep doing it for decades more!

What does everyone think? I would like to run this as articles on other websites, to show in a positive fashion what OS/2 can do today, and will probably still be doing tomorrow. Your feedback now will help me get it "shiny" (to quote an old TV series and movie) ...

JTA

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2023, 01:35:17 pm »
Hi JTA:
What does everyone think? I would like to run this as articles on other websites, to show in a positive fashion what OS/2 can do today, and will probably still be doing tomorrow. Your feedback now will help me get it "shiny" (to quote an old TV series and movie) ...
I think the article is good, of course it is target on the people that does and understand VMs.

Tomorrow....
Z1.) personalities:
  - OS/2 becomes a personality ... possibly no kernel/loader needed, only the upper layers (services, vm).

Maybe that is not what the people on the OS/2 community want to hear, but sadly it may be the solution in the long term to eventually have a 64bit kernel someday.

I'm in favor of cloning as open source every little close source component of OS/2, even if it is not good on the first shot it has the chance to evolve.

I also was very interested on 2ine project that tried to natively run an OS/2 application on Linux, but that involved too much work because you need to clone 100% the OS/2 API. There is also OSFree that also wants to fully clone OS/2, but I'm now sure about their status.

The other way is to use IBM's binaries.  I always have my drunk ideas on how to theorize OS/2 over different kernels, but I a can not generate interest for developers to do some little prototypes or even think on what should be missing on the idea. The graphic is one of the drunk ideas with FuchsiaOS and Zircon kernel (an open source (MIT license) microkernel that is being rolled out by Google), but it is just a general idea that can apply for other OSes.

These kind of thing are hard because you need to good deep knowledge of both operating systems, and that skill is not easy to find.

Regards
Martin Iturbide
OS2World NewsMaster
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JTA

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2023, 07:15:52 pm »
Thanks for the comments!

Note that, with Windows' inclusion of Hyper-V technology in recent versions, more folks (of the mom & pop variety) will be on-board with running vm's, as opposed to just us sys-admin types. That's millions of folks ... all of whom are at least asking "what is hyper-v, and what can I do with it?", and many of whom are figuring out how to run secondary vm's. How about running OS/2, and seeing what you've been missing?

If you TELL me that you can only run 3 apps in OS/2 (to pick a number), I'd SHOW you that I can run twice that amount of the same apps, or three times that amount, just by kicking off more OS/2 vm's, on up to available ram; with ssd's & such, they are ALL blazingly fast.

If you tell me that Windows alone just can't do what you want, I'd show you that you can have OS/2, Win, and Linux all side-by-side in their vm's, all on one machine (dt/lt both, these days), with plenty of room for testing other stuff.

If you say that by the time I put my dev environment on my current Win OS and a few other things as well, it falls over, I'd show you how a pristine dev environment can be maintained in a vm, with no further "windows" pollution happening to it from updates, feature enhancements, etc.  And then go on to show how OS/2 can help as well.

If I were AN, with such a great product as ArcaOS, I'd put more than a few tech evangelists on the road, showing how we can run two, three, or more vm's each with ArcaOS, and overcome any final objection to OS/2 (lack of ram, lack of bitness, lack of apps, etc.). 1% of those millions of users ... that's starting to be real opportunities, if not real numbers, for the OS/2 base.

Heck, I'd volunteer to be one of those Technology Evangelists! :)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2023, 01:07:55 am by JTA »

Andi B.

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2023, 10:59:07 am »
I use VMs with different host OSes and different guest OSes. That said, the problem is you need to know different OSes well enough to backup your data, to keep your data private, to secure your networks, to keep things running....

Most of us use OS/2 - ArcaOS cause they are used to it. They don't want to relinquish the strengths of the WPS. They don't want to get used to 'other' ways of getting things done. You can't solve these problems by virtualizing ArcaOS completely. F.i. it does not help to run ArcaOS virtualized under a Win or *nix host as long as you don't master Win/*nix very well. Otherwise your VM is as unreliable and insecure than the host OS itself. You can't get things done until you know the host OS good enough. You need extra efforts to keep the host OS running. And you have to arrange with the OSes drawbacks additionally to the ArcaOS shortcomings. So even more time needed to get things done.

F.i. my Win10 on another systems constantly nerves me with 'please complete installation' messages only cause I don't want to register with my private data on their servers. You can't solve such problems with virtualizing ArcaOS but only by running it on bare metal. When you're already at the point where you've arranged yourself with another OS, then it does not make much sense anymore to use ArcaOS itself. Except habit. And refusal to learn the host OS good enough. For most of us there is no killer application which does not have a better or at least similar good replacement on the host OS.

So what's your specific OS/2 - ArcaOS related point here? Do you wanna sell VM solutions?

ivan

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2023, 01:24:39 pm »
Well said Andi, you put my thoughts down better than I could.

JTA

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2023, 04:36:56 pm »
Thanks for all the comments!

Let's get this out of the way up front ... in a forums venue, I don't want to sell anything to anyone, such that I make money off of it, so close your wallets back up! I'm offering ideas, for free, which is what forums are for! Pure exchange of ideas and methods ...

The central idea is that we can overcome the limitations of any OS, whether they be:

  - physical: os has constraints of bitness (no x64), can only run so many apps
  - operational: this OS has a feature/app I want, but that OS has an app that I need
  - and many others ...

The method is with virtualization ... given today's vast technology improvements in virtualization, and with many elements coming together right now (vast/cheap ram, virtualization software, multiple host os choices) you can implement the same solutions we use at the enterprise level, in your home, on your pc's ... right now, and overcome these issues.

The same issues I see in many posts throughout this forum!

You could live with the limitations of your current solution (one os on one physical box), and please, read no further if that's your preference. If you only want one tool in your toolbox, more power to you!

So, regardless of your host os (win, linux), install VirtualBox, and vm all the guest OS's you need. Get at all the data on your host os. If your host os is OS/2, vm it, and enjoy solutions to many of the problems (if not all) listed in these forums.

- hardware: virtualized
- ram (space): virtualize, run more than 1 vm of same os
- app availability: run an os in each vm, and get at the apps you want
- data: all available on shared space at the host level
- backups: as easy as copy/compressing vm file(s); data at host level, use your current setup

It's really easy, not complicated ... my kids are doing it. One wants an android game that just doesn't exist for windows on the pc. She loaded a virtualization product (bluestacks) on the host os, and now has access to that game. A solution that, while not for everyone, certainly works for her.

Microsoft is doing it right now, as well ... win10/11 offer hyper-v (a Type-1, no less) in the os, and with the push of a button or two, you've got this solution. In their scenario, primary host is win, and guest os's can be many things. That works today, and it overcomes many problems.

I don't think MS will ever give us a WSL for os/2, but that's ok ... I can do it right now, and in a more simple fashion than they, by using Virtualbox. I'm running this now, and I can tell you, it works, and as best I can see, it solves most every problem on these forums.

Thousands of DIY solutions out there on the internet, to solve any problem you could throw at me, and all we have to do is identify the problem, google the solution, and implement it.

The only hard and fast constraints I've ever seen are ... those in the mind, and they all come with an on/off switch.

Mentore

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2023, 10:53:28 pm »
<snipping all the original post>
You know what? What's really ironic is that OS/2 is most probably the first 32-bit operating system which actually came bundled with a virtualization environment - the VDM. One can launch theoretically as many real DOS environments in what looks really close to a sandbox, work in them, erase them if they crash, use different DOS versions (or maybe even CP/M?  ;D) and it was all already included in the system.
This, and the similarities between SOM and the recent incarnations of .NET under Windows and Linux just make me think how advanced OS/2 was at the time of its launch. An incredible feature and skill set wasted by IBM...

Mentore

ivan

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2023, 01:24:24 am »
Hi Mentore,  The big mistake IBM made was to allow Microsoft to get involved with OS/2 because it was far better than the windows offering.

JTA

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2023, 04:20:23 pm »
OS/2 *is* a better dos/win than DOS or Windows, and it was doing this way back when. Today, we could call this nested virtualization.

Unfortunately, marketing can (and did) overpower technical ability (I equate all this to car sales, with the usual gamut of car salesmen types), and with Windows we were all sold a lemon for quite some time, until IMO at least the Windows 7 timeframe.

ArcaOS builds on all the strengths of OS/2, and adds the features needed to run it on today's hardware. They've brought OS/2 into the mainstream (as did eCS). Basically, ArcaOS makes OS/2 still viable, today. Viable enough that I happily bought a license, and would recommend it to others (and I do). Quite an achievement, for a 30 year old os (counting from early days of Warp).

And, while the architectural underpinnings of OS/2 haven't been updated (and may not be any time soon) to modern standards for a single OS on a single physical machine, it turns out that we can bypass these limitations with multiple VM's. As best I can see, this takes away any remaining reasons why you can't run ArcaOS in fully productive fashion, today.

Many are running OS/2 successfully as a single OS on a physical machine (OS/2, eCS, and now ArcaOS), with some issues or limitations that they accept, or workaround with multiple machines. More could be running it tomorrow, within multiple VM's on a single machine, with no remaining issues. I'm running with multiple VM's right now.

In this way, I can see a future with another 30 years of OS/2 use ... as my kids get out into the world, it will be interesting to see if I can make OS/2 within the multi-vm strategy ... multi-generational!

Andi B.

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2023, 04:57:11 pm »
Quote
it turns out that we can bypass these limitations with multiple VM's. As best I can see, this takes away any remaining reasons why you can't run ArcaOS in fully productive fashion, today.
Virtualized ArcaOS has the same limitations than on bare metal. So what's the point? ArcaOS can't be 'fully productive' in the sense of running current applications or technology. F.i. no current browser (except dooble which works sort of) runs on ArcaOS regardless if virtualized or not. You can't dynamically add f.i. an eSATA drive to ArcaOS regardless if virtualized or not. You can't run current FF on ArcaOS. If I need it, I boot another OS. I've plenty of them in parallel on my system(s) to choice from the AirBoot menu. Or I fire up my WinXP guest (OS/2 host) and run what's available on this guest (though today very limited too).

As you see I still don't get what you're dreaming about. As long as I want my important data being manged under control of OS/2 I need to boot it bare metal. When I sometimes decide to manage my data under Linux then there is not much point in f.i. starting OpenOffice within the ArcaOS virtualized environment. OpenOffice runs better on Linux than it does under OS/2. So why should I fire up an ArcaOS guest if I finally decided to run Linux as primary (host) system?

Quote
to modern standards for a single OS on a single physical machine
For me a single OS on on physical machine is not a standard. In contrary. All my systems have multiple OSes installed in parallel.

JTA

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2023, 05:41:26 pm »
First, it makes sense to agree on the problem description one might want to try and solve ... I'll pick just one of the problems mentioned above:

  -  I want access to a modern Firefox, and I don't want to boot into Linux to get it. At the same time, I don't want to lose access to ArcaOS (by booting into Linux).

Follow with me now ...

1. *Boot* one Host-OS, minimally configured ... never touch it again.
2. Launch Vbox; launch ArcaOS and Linux vm's, side by side.
3. without rebooting into different OS's, use the windowed interface of Vbox to access OS/2 things in this window (os/2 vm), and Firefox 100 in that window (linux vm), *at the same time*.

Note that both os's are running, just inside a vm ... we don't care, we just need access to the apps (one or more os/2 apps, and one or more linux apps) *at the same time*.

I didn't reboot into different OS's serially, or use a multi-partition boot scheme to access one os or another serially ... I took advantage of today's hardware with gobs of ram & ssd's, and today's virtualization software like Virtualbox, and I booted 3 os's up all at once. I still have room to boot more *in parallel*, assuming all of them are happy in 4gb ram each, and most os's and apps are.

The system is so fast that I could barely get my coffee poured and get back to my pc. os/2 apps are up in this window, firefox & other apps are up in that window. Both windows are as easy to access as two "notepad windows" under MS Windows, only I'm more productive at once in my chosen apps, running under my chosen os's.

Does this help explain the concept and the method? If not, please give me an example "word problem", in your own words!

Could be a fun exercise ... others, please chime in if you don't understand either ... the more the merrier (and the better the messaging for concept and method becomes).
« Last Edit: January 08, 2023, 05:43:13 pm by JTA »

Sean Casey

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2023, 05:52:07 pm »
This reminds me of the once Holy Grail of operating systems I once dreamed of using - IBM's Workplace OS with its various "personalities".   I recall OS/400, OS/2, AIX and Windows were the initial personalities implemented on Workplace OS.  Sadly, Workplace OS only made it to a preview build before being cancelled. 

Microsoft Windows was once headed in the same direction, having distinct Win32, OS/2 and POSIX subsystems.  I still use Windows 2000 where I have used all three.

JTA

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2023, 06:07:51 pm »
Unlike Workplace OS, which never flew anywhere but on PowerPC in beta, and only had the OS/2 personality, what I'm doing works right now ...

... multiple vm's, each running ArcaOS and other OS's, the sum of which gets me around any problem mentioned in a posting on this forum.

BTW, need I mention that Windows 2000 in a vm works perfectly fine, and you could run it alongside any other vm of your choice, all on one platform, all booted up at once? I would've labeled the w2000 vm as a "retro" vm, but I think it is still a "productivity" vm for you ... excellent!

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2023, 06:22:12 pm »
Hi JTA

Maybe it would be nice if you can produce some video and post it in some place like YouTube. Looks too me that maybe you can show in a better your virtualization strategy in a video format recording the screens.

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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JTA

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Re: OS/2 ... Working Today, and most likely, Working Tomorrow
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2023, 07:31:57 pm »
I've never produced a youtube video in my life, and I'm pretty sure I don't have an account out there, nor the equipment here at home to produce videos.

But, perhaps something needs to happen, if folks believe that:

1. I'm making all this up, and/or one can't envision a beefy pc + host-os + virtualbox + X number of VM's until it is in a video.

2. the power of google search can't yield numerous webpages describing each of the above items (diy beefy pc, host-os & virtualbox, and os's in vm's), and most likely, dozens of videos.

Given that virtualization software has been around forever (I've worked with it for decades now), and that these days, diy beefy pc's can be done by the 12 y.o. next door for you (I've built hundreds over the years), and that everybody and their dog is already doing this (smarter folks than I came up with all the technology), about the only thing I've done right is ...

... string together some existing things into a new solution, wrt ArcaOS.

Now, a github repository of information? I've seen others do this, so perhaps I can as well ... and, no silly music (unlike youtube videos).
« Last Edit: January 08, 2023, 07:34:27 pm by JTA »