Author Topic: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae  (Read 12358 times)

Martin Iturbide

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Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« on: May 27, 2015, 12:23:56 am »
Hi.

I have this idea/suggestion for Arca Noae since they are doing the hard driver development on this platform.

Why don't create a "very short" and dynamic list of "approved hardware" that can change once a year, but something that is very short and limited, not big lists of hardware support, just one or two of each kind. I will call it "THE LIST" (joke) because people likes branding.(/joke).

For example, (this is just an example, I don't want to discuss Wifi cards or other specific hardware on this thread, I'm putting this device only as example-I don't have this card and I don't know if it is good or bad, I just noticed that is shipped on newer Thinkpads). Arca Noae gets a new device (that is no more than three years old) like the "Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 7265NGW (NGFF)Card 802.11ac", which is easy to get on ebay ($25) and other places, for his developer David (and maybe others). They make it work with their drivers and "approve" that this hardware works with the Arca Noae's driver package their are offering and put it on "THE LIST".

So it will not mean that the "Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 7265NGW (NGFF)Card 802.11ac" is the only device supported by the driver, since many other can run other supported hardware with the same driver, but it will mean this card is a device that is being use and held by Arca Noae's developer for the current year, and will make it a good suggestion for someone that wants to change its wifi card to select this one. (while it stays on THE LIST).

The idea about this list is:
- "THE LIST" will be short, so it does not became a big task to maintain it.
- New Hardware. The focus is not having a long list, it is to have new hardware on it .
- Arca Noae will update the list according to their will, since hardware is changing fast and sometimes it is very hard to maintain the legacy.
- It does not mean that only this hardware works with the drivers, it mean that Arca Noae uses this hardware for testing and on his developers.

Maybe they can add "THE LIST" to the "OS/2 & eCS drivers and software package" product information. Since it is a product made of drivers, it will be logical to know which hardware is supported.

Like I told this is only an idea.

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Dave Yeo

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2015, 03:17:06 am »
In theory it's a very good idea and could even just be a list of which Hardware David uses for testing during development.
Problem is often there are several revisions of hardware with identical names and appear to be the same card. Things like firmware and even individual chips can vary so when purchasing  the dual wireless card, it is hard to say if it is actually the same one.

Doug Bissett

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2015, 06:09:22 am »
I agree with Dave. In theory, it is a good idea, but when you get down to the details, it becomes a nightmare to try to support it. You can find the same device in different parts of the world, with different drivers. You can find the same driver used in different devices. You will find that the "same" device will suddenly change the chip, and will use a different driver. Laptops don't always have the same hardware, even though they are the same brand and model.

Arcae Noae, as with Mensys, cannot say that device X will always work, because the manufacturers don't always make them the same. Some manufacturers (Intel, and Broadcom, for instance) seem to be pretty consistent, in that the same driver supports a number of devices, but if the specific device isn't in the supported list, the driver may refuse to load. Other manufacturers (Realtek) tend to need different drivers for each device that they manufacture, even though they have the same description.

Then, you run into the problem where some manufacturer (Lenovo, for instance), says that device X, and device Y can be used in one of their laptops. There is no good reason why device Z won't work, but you need to modify the BIOS (which invalidates the warranty) to make the BIOS accept device Z.

There is no good answer, and Linux has the same problems, but they have enough programmers to work through it. If Arca Noae can find a good way to port drivers, the problem should lessen, but it will probably never be solved completely.

Arca Noae could, and probably should, post the exact devices that they work with, but that would always be an incomplete list, and it could be wrong if the manufacturer changes something.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2015, 02:49:06 pm »
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I think that there is a phrase that says "when you dream, dream big", but this it not a big dream, this is a small one. The issue of having "the same device, with different chipsets and with different drivers " that will complicate this idea ( "THE LIST" ), only applies when you are planning to have huge list of supported devices. On this case I'm only suggesting to have like two of each one, so it can be very pinpointed and limited to specific devices that are available with a well define chipset.

Like you said Doug, some manufacturers seems to be pretty consistent, so the idea is to have "THE LIST" may only apply to those. Sadly is not what everybody wants, because we want "<putyourfavoritebrandhere>" device to be supported, but it can not be possible right now. But the idea is to have some list of new devices that are supported, that when the user asks "which new wireless card should I buy?", we can have a formal response of a new device that can be bought on the market.

I think that "THE LIST" will be better than nothing. I prefer to have that problem (the same device, with different chipsets) than having nothing at all.

Regards
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 02:52:09 pm by Martin Iturbide »
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Martin Iturbide

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2015, 02:58:20 pm »
But I agree with you both "Arca Noae could, and probably should, post the exact devices that they work with." Even with a disclaimer that says "AS IS" without warranty that it will work :)
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Doug Bissett

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2015, 06:24:57 pm »
Quote
On this case I'm only suggesting to have like two of each one, so it can be very pinpointed and limited to specific devices that are available with a well define chipset.

I doubt if that would work. It seems that the same device gets different names, and PCI IDs, depending on where it is sold. So you can say that devices X, and Y, are "supported", but if it is sold as device Z, in your region, what do you do? The other big problem, is that motherboards come with devices, that the user has no choice about (in most cases). Recently, I got an Asus A88XM-A motherboard. The specs looked like it might work, but the wired NIC is a "Found Realtek NIC at bus 3:0:0: 10EC:8168 version 39 (RTL8168g/8111g)". Multimac loads, and it works at 100 Mbs (should be 1 Gbs) for a short period, then it just stops. As the information shows, it is version 39 of the SAME device, and it obviously requires something different.

When I got my Lenovo ThinkPad L530, I had a choice of three WiFi adapters. I don't remember the details, but one was a Realtek (called a "Lenovo device" so it could easily be replaced by something else entirely, with no way for the user to get it changed), and the other two were Intel. I chose the more basic Intel device, hoping that GENMAC would support it until Multimac did. In fact GENMAC does operate the device, BUT, there is no way to turn the radio on (apparently, the more advanced Intel has the same problem), so it works exactly like a wired NIC, with no cable connected. I expect that Multimac will support it, when the driver is done, but I can only hope, until I see it work. Actually, there is another choice. I could get a device that is currently supported by GENMAC, and modify the BIOS (invalidating the warranty) so that it will allow it to be used. Even then, I am not confident that I would be able to get the radio turned on, since that now seems to be a function of ACPI.

Quote
Even with a disclaimer that says "AS IS" without warranty that it will work

That is a required statement, for anything that gets done. Without it, the programmer is wide open to law suits, and the problem may not even be caused by the program. They may need to prove (at great expense) that it wasn't their fault, and that may be impossible. Unfortunately, such a statement makes any indication that something will work, useless, because it may not work.

Eirik Romstad

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2015, 11:40:34 pm »
Despite some well founded skeptical comments, I think that Martin's suggestion makes a lot of sense.  While not perfect, it makes it a lot easier for people to acquire hardware that works.  In my case (professor in economics using eCS because of the possibilities the WPS provides to create a working environment that makes me more productive), I am not a customer who buys parts and assemble them.  Instead, I am looking for a package that works.  My Lenovo Thinkpad is 85% (wireless and hooking up to projectors are my main issues - my old T43 was 100%) works well enough that I stay with eCS.  Now, the T410 is soon 5 years old, and it is time to buy a new PC.  And imagine the effect if 250 economics students see a PC that is not WINx :-)

I do not know how many other eCS users who are like me (= buys canned hardware), but I think we constitute market segment that is important as it spreads eCS beyond sophisticated users.  eCS needs to reach out to a wider audience if it is to survive as something else than an anomaly.

By the way, my next computer looks to be a T440s or T450s (well aware they come in many versions - despite being a computer illiterate unlike many of you, I am able to read computer specs) as I like the feel and sturdiness of the T-series.


Dave Yeo

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2015, 06:42:15 am »
Quote
The specs looked like it might work, but the wired NIC is a "Found Realtek NIC at bus 3:0:0: 10EC:8168 version 39 (RTL8168g/8111g)". Multimac loads, and it works at 100 Mbs (should be 1 Gbs) for a short period, then it just stops. As the information shows, it is version 39 of the SAME device, and it obviously requires something different.

It can get even weirder. I have a 82566DM-2 Gigabit Network Connection built into my MB. On a totally cold boot, as in after a power outage or pulling the plug, it receives but doesn't transmit on my eCS 2.1 (and 2.2.b2) partition. If I instead boot to my Warp V4 partition, it works fine and I can then boot to my eCS partition and it continues to work for a few days of uptime, indefinitely if i regularly reboot including powering off (still plugged in). When it eventually screws up, a quick boot to warp v4 fixes it again.
This card is on the supported list for the Intel PRO/1000 PCIe MAC driver from Arca Noae.

Doug Bissett

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2015, 06:53:03 am »
Quote
Despite some well founded skeptical comments, I think that Martin's suggestion makes a lot of sense.

It does, up to a point. You mention getting a Lenovo T440s, or T450s. Looking at the specs, I see some potential problems, and there will be no way around them until somebody finds a way to do it. The most serious is that they apparently have USB 3.0, and not USB 2.0, or 1.x. That means that there will be no USB support until the USB 3.0 driver is ready to go. Windows (and Linux) will support USB 2.0 and 1.x devices in the same way that the T410 supports USB 1.x, by using a built in hub to convert the connection to USB 3.0, but you will need a USB 3.0 driver to make it work. I am not even sure that it will work in a virtual machine, since the virtual machine needs the USB driver for the devices. I suspect that most laptops (and many desktops) are going to have the same problem (and it looks like there will be other problems with your selections).

Quote
Now, the T410 is soon 5 years old, and it is time to buy a new PC.

Age is a poor reason to update computer hardware, in most cases. If you have something that is doing the job, with few problems, you may be better off to stay with it. It has been my experience that it can take significant work to make newer hardware work. I got a Lenovo L530, because my T510 worked well, and the specs were somewhat similar. It took more than a year to sort out some basic problems, but by year 2, it was working pretty well. WiFi is still a no go on both the T510, and the L530 (still waiting for Multimac). Audio is also a no go on the L530, and it is about 3 years old now.

So what do we do about things like that? Arca Noae (like Mensys) can't afford to buy one of every machine that is on the market, and even if they could, there aren't enough people to do the testing, or problem analysis (never mind write the drivers). So, somebody needs to select a few that are most likely to work, with minimal new stuff required. Okay, do those ones go on the list, or do they wait until the "important" drivers work (which may take months)? If they wait, the devices may no longer be available by the time they get on the list. If they are on the list, before the drivers are written, who will take responsibility if the drivers never get written, for one reason or another? Currently, the best source of information is from those system builders who have the opportunity to test various machines as they pass though their shops. If they won't work with eCS, they can usually sell them with windows, or Linux, installed.

Quote
I do not know how many other eCS users who are like me (= buys canned hardware)

I think that more users would buy "canned hardware" if they could determine exactly what the manufacturers put into it. Unfortunately, they sometimes change the hardware part way through a production run, so you may get one machine that works, then try to get the same machine, and it won't. At least if you build your own, you generally have a better idea of what you will end up with. Laptops become a special case, because you can't always select what you want to end up with, and in most cases, you can't even change what you get.

Quote
eCS needs to reach out to a wider audience if it is to survive as something else than an anomaly.

Very true. Unfortunately, if you start making lists of what is supported (and those lists will be out of date by the time they are published), you further restrict the audience. That is further complicated when the list only states what does work, and not what has been tested, with the test results. It also doesn't mean the untested devices won't work. Then, you run into the problem where a user gets a device, and can't make it work because they don't understand how to do it. If they, incorrectly, report that it doesn't work, others who do know how to approach those problems may not try it.

I suppose that a list might have limited use, but it must have a way for users to update what is posted, after the device status changes (that is the main problem with the Russian hardware pages). It also shouldn't be tied to Arca Noae, because they don't do everything. OS2 world might be an appropriate place to host such a thing, but it will probably prove to be a huge project. Others have tried it, and the lists became so large, and out of date, that they were just abandoned as being unusable. You have the other problem of data security (hackers messing it up) and being able to let users do legitimate updates, as well.

One thing that we do NOT want to do, is put more work on the backs of those who are writing drivers. They have enough to do without adding more.

Andi B.

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2015, 10:42:44 am »
As stated a few times it seems impossible to have a list of 'supported' hardware. But sometimes I think it would be even helpful to have a list which hardware 'uses' which developer by himself. No support guarantee but information what uses which developer. Similar lists existed in the past although with limited success. See hardware list at ecomstation.ru. OTOH not every OS/2 user knows that f.i. Intel does have open access to hardware documentation which Nvidia do prohibit. Or that very often new Intel devices are compatible with older types where f.i. with Realtek not even the same device ID is guaranteed to work. Lot of users do not know that f.i. Asrock is the low cost line of Asus and so you may find undocumented changes of chips more often than with the higher priced boards targeted for industrial applications. User may not know that f.i. MSI usually pays more attention to produce compatible motherboards with 'legacy' hardware and correct BIOS code than some other companies. Lot of users do not know that Nvidia graphic chips fails much more often after a few years than Intel or ATI chips beside there closed documentation which makes it impossible or at least much harder to get it running with a non mainstream OS.

I for myself have posted here and at other places which hardware I use and what does work or not. But a database of working devices would be better than searching forums. Unfortunately the databases we have are not maintained anymore (ecomstation.ru) AND users did not provide enough input for such databases in the past. So why should the few already overstressed and mostly spare time developers do it?

Martin Iturbide

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2015, 02:49:48 pm »
Thanks for keep sharing you thoughts.

I for myself have posted here and at other places which hardware I use and what does work or not. But a database of working devices would be better than searching forums. Unfortunately the databases we have are not maintained anymore (ecomstation.ru) AND users did not provide enough input for such databases in the past. So why should the few already overstressed and mostly spare time developers do it?

I agree with you Andi B. on the part that "Supported Hardware Databases" are not being maintained good enough by the community. We no longer has people obsessed to have new hardware and try it with eCS. My efforts to make a wiki at OS2World (http://www.os2world.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Hardware) didn't have good results yet, since some people said that a database will be better than a wiki, other simple does not like to collaborate on a wiki style (I don't know why, maybe the wiki gives too much freedom).

I agreed that having a "Supported Hardware Databases" should not be the chore of the developers, but the idea here is not to create a "HUGE" database, only list the hardware that the developer use to build/test the driver, and give the developer a new hardware piece at least once a year.

Shifting away...... some of the issues is that the 100% OS/2-eCS supported hardware are, by this days, "disintegrating". And while we try to look for "legacy approved/featured" hardware and manufacturers, the ideal path will be for the platform to support newer technologies and stop using eventually legacy hardware (I think that Arca is doing the right steps by affiliating to the ACPI UEFI Forum).  I know it sound to simple to say "Arca, buy a Thinkpad Carbon X1 (3rd gen) laptop for your developers and see what happens" but I think that we need to move forward with hardware to be "up to date". I think that Arca device driver developers need access to newer hardware and make the effort to support them on their driver pack, this is just a suggestion, and it may be already happening, I really do not know.

If anybody wants to create a HUGE hardware database, I can offer the OS2World wiki: (http://www.os2world.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Hardware), which is under Creative Commons and the information there belongs to all of us. And I can help, but I can not take the job just by myself.

Regards
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 02:51:27 pm by Martin Iturbide »
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Doug Bissett

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2015, 05:13:16 pm »
Quote
I agree with you Andi B. on the part that "Supported Hardware Databases" are not being maintained good enough by the community. We no longer has people obsessed to have new hardware and try it with eCS.

Nobody was ever "obsessed" with new hardware, and that would quickly become a financial nightmare. A database (or Wikki) isn't going to add to the list, all it will do is indicate whether a specific device has been found to work, or not. It is also true, that just because one user got a device to work, that all other users will be able to do so. The GENMAC project demonstrates that.

At the moment, we have 3 series of devices supported by Multimac (Intel, Realtek, and NVIDIA). ALL of them were done by the "professional" developers (as was promised by Mensys), with the idea that they would provide the guide for others to develop more drivers. NOBODY has picked that up, so we only have the three series of devices, more or less, supported. Some time ago, I looked at trying it, but I was missing some essential support package, that doesn't seem to be available (I never did determine exactly what was missing, but I couldn't build the current drivers, and it is entirely possible that I was doing something wrong). Better that we should spend time figuring out how to do that, rather than simply listing the 3 series of devices that are already supported. I will note, that Paul Smedley did manage to build the current drivers, with updates, but he seems to have lost interest (probably too busy with other things, just like everybody else).

Let's put the manpower where it will do the most good, remembering that it is almost all volunteer work. Also remember that the paid work needs funding, but most importantly, the whole thing needs more people willing to put in some time.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2015, 06:55:26 pm »
Sorry Doug but I don't understand you:

Quote
Let's put the manpower where it will do the most good, remembering that it is almost all volunteer work. Also remember that the paid work needs funding, but most importantly, the whole thing needs more people willing to put in some time.

What do you want to do? What is you idea? To put efforts on Multimac? I will like to invite you again to define the project that you want to, and start the fund raising campaign for it if applies. I'm not a developer, but I will help you in whatever I can if it is an open source / collaborative project.

Regards
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 06:57:10 pm by Martin Iturbide »
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Roderick Klein

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2015, 10:15:20 pm »
By looking at the readme and forum postings here is just my quick take on it.

* Disc controller as long as it has an AHCI controller does not really and should work.

* When it comes to video support get an Intel or Ati chipsets. As on some of does chipsets Panorama can detect the "native resolution" of the screen and you get not to bad performance :-)

* ACPI is pretty stable and works on most systems stable. I have a computer here at home with Linux used by my partner. It just locked up on the ATI driver today (solid hang) and suspend resume with ACPI sometimes. Hangs familiar ?

* USB support is pretty good with the Arca Noae USB stack. And they have USB 3.0 listed as a planned feature.
https://www.arcanoae.com/roadmap/

* Most audio chipsets works but you do not get audio duo to different wiring. David mentioned in his Arca Noae presentation at Warpstock US he would work UNIAUD. But cleaning it up is a big job. So audio chipsets right now is not realy option to mention. And BTW do not recommend people to go back to old versions of UNIAUD. Lot of bugs fixed that prevent hangs and TRAPS.

* NIC chipsets. Arca Noae mentioned they would work on a FreeBSD ethernet and wifi drive support.
https://www.arcanoae.com/roadmap/ Lets see what they have to say at Warpstock.

* Arca Noae put out a press release they entered into a license agreement to get Scitech  SNAP.
My guess is they would hear say more at Warpstock Europe in Munich.


So in terms of hardware support and current hardware seems stuff is on the move...
And you have a pretty broad choice.  The only real trouble seems to be NIC chipsets.

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Re: Supported Device List Suggestion for Arca Noae
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2015, 01:44:17 am »
Quote
What do you want to do? What is you idea? To put efforts on Multimac? I will like to invite you again to define the project that you want to, and start the fund raising campaign for it if applies. I'm not a developer, but I will help you in whatever I can if it is an open source / collaborative project.

There are lots of things that I would like to do, but I don't have the knowledge to do them. I also find myself with a full plate already, so I am not about to start something new, at this time. My hope is that somebody will read this, and decide to get off their butts, and do something. Anything is better than nothing.

Quote
* ACPI is pretty stable and works on most systems stable. I have a computer here at home with Linux used by my partner. It just locked up on the ATI driver today (solid hang) and suspend resume with ACPI sometimes. Hangs familiar ?

Personally, I have given up on S/R. The last machine, that I know about, that actually did that properly is my old IBM ThinkPad A22e, and it doesn't work with ACPI. Unless I missed something. S/R is still on the back burner, waiting for time and inspiration.

Quote
And they have USB 3.0 listed as a planned feature.

Yes, it is a planned feature. Unfortunately, it has been a planned feature for too many years now. I understand why it is not a reality, but the importance is going up, every day. From what I see in the Lenovo ThinkPad specs, there will be no USB, until USB 3.0 is supported. This is not a good situation.

Quote
* NIC chipsets. Arca Noae mentioned they would work on a FreeBSD ethernet and wifi drive support.

That is great, but it needed to be done at least 3 years ago. Again, I understand why it isn't done yet, but I don't understand why more programmers haven't stepped up to help out.

Quote
* Most audio chipsets works but you do not get audio duo to different wiring. David mentioned in his Arca Noae presentation at Warpstock US he would work UNIAUD. But cleaning it up is a big job. So audio chipsets right now is not realy option to mention. And BTW do not recommend people to go back to old versions of UNIAUD. Lot of bugs fixed that prevent hangs and TRAPS.

From what I have seen, most NEW chipsets don't work. Lack of sound is not as serious as lack of USB, or NIC support (especially WiFi), but it shows how little is actually being accomplished. Again, I understand why that is the case. There just aren't enough people to do all of it.

Quote
* Arca Noae put out a press release they entered into a license agreement to get Scitech  SNAP.

Mensys sat on SNAP for far too long, and I can't see that Arca Noae has anybody who will have the time to play with it in the near future either. It is great that SNAP is now available for development, but it doesn't make much difference if it sits on Mensys' shelf, or Arca Noae's shelf, with nobody doing anything with it.

Quote
So in terms of hardware support and current hardware seems stuff is on the move...

Some things are on the move. Others were needed years ago, and we are still waiting (again, no fault of those who do it, they seem to be over worked).

The answer would be for more programmers to step up, and work on important stuff like WiFi, and USB 3.0. It always bothers me that some are spending time making games work, when the basic system is approaching a wall. The games aren't going to be much good if there is no OS capable of running them.