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Topics - JTA

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Article Discussions / Too many cases of "OS/2 is dead, dying, etc"
« on: January 16, 2024, 01:05:33 am »
The most recent article pointed at on these forums (was it Informer?), was typical. In the same article describing how OS/2 is dead, they mentioned ArcaOS, which to me implies OS/2 is anything but dead ... it is still very actively developed and very useful! But, they write the article as if OS/2 were dead anyway.

Hackaday was a tad bit better ... they had this: "The Hobbes OS/2 Archive is a large collection of OS/2 software that has been publicly available for many years, even as OS/2 itself has mostly faded into obscurity." It hasn't faded, it has exploded, but who knows this?

In fact, there is a naming/association problem ... many know the term OS/2, and not as many know the term ArcaOS. So that's an issue ... if OS/2 is considered dead, mentioning ArcaOS in the same article doesn't do anything to resurrect OS/2, and perhaps, ArcaOS is also being considered dead, by association. That is a huge problem.

32-bit OS's are very much alive, and still in use. Millions use 32-bit versions of Windows (XP or older, thru to 8.x) ... they aren't going away, and probably won't switch to anything else until forced to (their hardware dies, and the replacement has Windows 10 or later on it).

Many dozens more use 32-bit versions of Linux distros, or RPi OS's, or whatever ... obviously, I don't know what these numbers are, but I'd guess they are up in the 10's of 1000's, and possibly 100's of 1000's (if not millions).

And of course, many billions use ArcaOS, which is 32-bit ... actually, I don't know what these published numbers are either (anyone?), but if I don't, I'd imagine many others don't either, and the message isn't getting out there to everyone else. At Warpstock '23, I think I overheard that, commercially, many 1000's or 10's of 1000's of copies are in use. What are the official numbers?

So, where's the beef (the articles)? There's some writing to be done ...

1. How do we refute the constant drone of OS/2 is dead, when it is very much alive? Write more articles, ourselves, and figure out how to get them published. Did ArcaOS ever sort out "tech evangelists", as these have an important role as well?

2. What forums, online magazines, and more do we need to target (blanket) with articles showing what we can do with ArcaOS right now? Get the list of such, and determine their "publishing rules" (many of which might block OS/2?). Have to figure out who to send the articles to, what objections that need overcoming, etc.

3. Boilerplate some articles? I can produce a boilerplate article in about 5 seconds; writing content is easy ... cleaning it up, peer review, and revising it is what takes time.

4. ArcaOS - Thrusters on Full (AToF)? All my articles on this are in the Virtualization folder, so they just need reworking into "article-length format". These basically take away any argument that OS/2 can't be used, because of this (only 32-bit), that (no 64-bit app access), or the other (old stuff, when many active ports from the Linux world are everywhere).

... and so on. Need lots of feedback here ...

Virtualization / AToF - 03 - Platform Build - to UEFI or not to UEFI
« on: January 15, 2024, 09:15:28 pm »
In the beginning, there was BIOS ... and life was somewhat simple. However, every computer manufacturer out there decided to "fix" this problem. The internet provides all the gory details of various BIOS issues, but most folks have by now figured out how to maneuver around in their computer's BIOS and get things done.

Along came dual-boot, and various boot managers of those times. Mostly outside of BIOS, you could install a boot-manager, then proceed to install various OS's side-by-side, and hopefully, nothing went wrong or ever will go wrong. This also introduced us all to partitioning, disk drive sizes and filesystems, and filesystem viewers/device-drivers/etc., wrt boot managers. OK, a little harder, but we got through all of that.

Then, along came EFI and UEFI, yet another "fix" to the BIOS problem, although this seems more of a bait and switch to me. It's now either BIOS (possibly Legacy CSM) or it's UEFI ... pick one, and choose wisely.

If you chose UEFI, or if the choice was thrust upon you by your computer manufacturer (and Microsoft), and you didn't fix this choice in your favor, you are now in the midst of a UEFI revolution. Do I accept the UEFI overlords, do I rip them out and do something else, will they stage a COUP if I do rip them out and now they have reinserted themselves?

Plus, it all still seems like dual-boot (more appropriately, multi-boot) to me. OS's are installed side-by-side, and we are all hoping nothing goes wrong. Reports on the internet are that, yes, occasionally things go wrong. It might even be possible to brick your laptop in certain ways, if you had the right combination of a certain Linux distro, and you were installing it onto a certain laptop with UEFI; this doesn't apply to the majority of Linux distros, but it's out there.

ArcaOS folks gave a great presentation (Warpstock '23) on UEFI and AOS 5.1 support for it, and how to get everything working ... looks good. rEFInd might also possibly help in this matter ... but, it's still in "beta" stage. I'm self-printing everything I can find, both UEFI history, and rEFInd-like technology, and I'm getting near 150 pages of ... something. The next phase in our computing journey seems to be that we'll all become UEFI system administrators.

So, wrt AToF, what do we need to do? As best I can tell ... absolutely nothing.

As in, don't use UEFI, or revert to BIOS if you can, or just leave the computer the way you found it, hopefully running either Windows 10 or 11 pro/enterprise, or Linux, and with whatever BIOS or UEFI choice they made for you. In AToF terms, this is the HostOS, and whatever boot method was running that OS when you got the computer. It doesn't really affect AToF.

Personally, I'd tend to rip out UEFI as being too complicated to be helpful in an AToF scenario, as the hypervisor is pretty much acting like UEFI. The difference is that UEFI is either-or (run this OS or that OS), whereas a hypervisor is all-you-can-eat (run as many as hardware resources allow, all at once).

I'd revert back to BIOS (where possible, and my 2018 Dell Laptop allows this), and proceed with AToF. But, I don't know all of the ramifications of this, and perhaps you'd want UEFI to permit better recovery options or whatnot. So far, it hasn't impacted me in my implementation of AToF on top of BIOS, and I don't thing it will impact those who just have one HostOS in an AToF scheme (and they left either BIOS or UEFI in place as they found it).

So, if we have implemented AToF, there shouldn't be any need to further fiddle with UEFI or BIOS, because whatever supports that single 64-bit HostOS is fine. The magic is in the fact that all other OS's won't be in a dual-boot or multi-boot scheme (the problem UEFI purports to fix), they'll be in a *multi-VM* scheme, and a key advantage to ATOF over UEFI alone is that all of them are running at once.

Contrast that key advantage to an old dual-boot or multi-boot boot manager, or a newer UEFI implementation (perhaps rEFInd), where you pick the OS at boot time, use it for awhile, then realize you need to do something in another OS, so you shut down the original OS, boot another and finish the task, then shut it down, and boot the original ...

The appeal for UEFI might be there for others ... the siren call to run ONE OS at a time, and have all the hardware features of a 64-bit computer working with that OS is strong.

ArcaOS folks are working hard to make things better under OS/2 (ArcaOS 5.1 and later), and all hardware features work if under Linux or Windows x64 OS's. But, OS/2 is 32-bit, and will be for the forseeable future. Unlike all of today's current articles in the world about OS/2, which either proclaim it's death, or it's zombie-like hanging on, or whatever, 32-bit OS's are still in use. Windows x32, ArcaOS x32, Linux x32 ... these are all still prevalent and viable.

AToF makes them better, because you can run multiples of these 32-bit OS's, all at once, and switch between them with a mouse click. They all inherit, through VirtualBox, the x64 feature set of the HostOS. All limitations of a 32-bit OS are removed.

No bios fixes (UEFI) needed ...

As a sidebar, we just need more, and better-written, articles showing the alternatives! I'm pondering articles and venues (who to submit them to, and would they even accept them), because I'm tired of seeing "OS/2 is a dead OS" and such.

As another sidebar, it's beyond my timeline and hardware resources to test (I don't own any ThinkPads), but theoretically, it's possible to have an AToF solution with ArcaOS running in one or more VM's, and ArcaOS running under UEFI as a multi-boot OS. Thus, you could compare for yourself how ArcaOS runs on native hardware (the standard for ArcaOS seems to be a ThinkPad), and how it runs in a (AToF provided) VM. Perhaps those folks with Thinkpads, old or new, could consider testing this out, and reporting back to this Virtualization forum.

Note: AToF utilizes VirtualBox (vbox), and vbox understands UEFI from within a VM. You can install an OS into a VM, choosing either BIOS or UEFI. BIOS is simpler, but the latter means you can test out all kinds of UEFI scenarios, including rEFInd. This is one of the strengths of vbox, and therefore of an AToF implemenatation. Your HostOS, your ArcaOS (or three), and any number of VM's for testing things, without polluting your critical HostOS & ArcaOS build efforts.

As always, any feedback on AToF would be greatly appreciated!

Virtualization / ATof - Usage - Programmer's IDEs and Editors
« on: December 11, 2023, 02:18:33 pm »
Many OS/2-specific editors & IDE's have ... quirks; having been built years ago, if not decades ago, and source code for them is iffy at best (closed, lost, old, etc.), so what do we do?

If you only run ArcaOS as the HostOS, then you are limited to what runs as a native app, or what runs in a FreeRDP desktop on a machine somewhere else on your home network.

If you have an AToF system on your DT/LT, then you just run the best programming editor (ide or editor) out there that you want, and AToF will:
  - run it side-by-side with ArcaOS (a pair of VM's under the HostOS)
  - deliver it within ArcaOS (a window running the IDE or Editor)

In the case of Visual Studio Code (an IDE), I looked into VSCodium (the telemetry-free version of VSCode). It's a full-blown IDE (more like a browser), and when you run it, it launches half a dozen or more child processes (just like a browser). If you test it on Winflector, the client window won't properly display VSCodium, so it's not a good app (yet) for serving up as a single Window in AOS. Not to worry, as we can still run two VM's side-by-side. So, VSCodium and AOS are shown in the pics below, running side-by-side in VM's, and accessing the same source code file in the AToF common filesystem space. You could also FreeRDP the side-by-side Windows VM (the desktop view) with VSCodium directly into ArcaOS, if you prefer that method. See the attached pics for VSCodium.

In the case of Notepad++ (a programmer's text editor), when looking at how to get access to it in ArcaOS, it runs as a single process, and does indeed run well in a single window in AOS, served up by Winflector. You could get access to Notepad++ directly within AOS (as demonstrated at Warpstock 2023), or also run it as side-by-side VM's. See the attached pics for Notepad++.

In an AToF dt/lt, this is how you'd handle getting a modern Programmer's IDE or Editor into (or next to) ArcaOS, all on one machine. The number of VM's you can run side-by-side (SxS) is limited only by the RAM on your dt/lt, and a rough rule of thumb is 4GB/vm. As in, HostOS = 4gb, AOS#1 = 4gb, winVM = 4GB, ... on my $200 32GB lt setup for AToF, there's room for lots of VM's.

At least, until the issues of finding old source code for the original app, porting/coding, etc. get sorted out, and then you'll have a native version of the app directly in ArcaOS.

Virtualization / AToF - DoneDirtCheap (touchscreen ArcaOS)
« on: December 08, 2023, 08:10:26 pm »
At Warpstock 2023, the ArcaNoae folks pointed out to me that ArcaOS will run well in a VM configured with just 1GB of ram. That comment stuck with me, and sure enough, I had a Microsoft Surface tablet laying around (it's my Wife's) ... it's specs:

  - i3 cpu, w/ 4 cores
  - 4GB ram
  - 120gb ssd

Being a Surface tablet machine, it's a TouchScreen system, and has the detachable keyboard. Everything else is a reasonable "modern" system, just, in my opinion, crippled with 4GB of ram (soldered in, no less!) ... who would run Windows 10 or such on this kind of machine? Apparently, someone who just surfs the Internet, and doesn't do much else.

But, can we turn this almost 5 year old system into something useful? Take away the Microsoft garbage, and run ... ArcaOS? The answer is ... YES!

The surface tablet was running Windows 10 Pro ... the 1st order of business is to make that Lean and Mean, per the AToF thread of the same name. One amelioration process later, and the windows OS was stripped down, and showed that it was consuming 2GB ram. That's 2GB left over for ArcaOS!

ArcaOS 5.1.0 thrown into a VM, and loaded up under VirtualBox 7.0.12, configured the same as my other AToF laptop, only this time set to 1GB ram (and 2 vCPU's) ... it jumps up and runs! Sure enough, those ArcaNoae folks were right (uh ... I'm not saying that I doubted them)! Ran a bunch of apps, no problems ... no evidence of lots of swapping. Nice!

With Winflector running in the HostOS, at least a couple of x64 apps can be brought down to the ArcaOS desktop. Not many other VM's would be running on this machine.

As a bonus, as ArcaOS is in a VM, on the Surface ... *touchscreen* ... I'm driving everything from the surface touch screen. No device drivers needed in OS/2!

So there you have it ... an AToF in 4GB's of ram ... I wouldn't have recommended this, as I run gobs of VM's at any one time for testing, but perhaps this would be useful to someone out there.

My wife doesn't know it, but she's now running ArcaOS! Another convert for the team!

Virtualization / AToF - Platform *Built* - how do I buy one!
« on: December 06, 2023, 06:14:36 pm »
On the OS2World forum (virtualization category), all the information is there to build an AToF yourself, and this platform was demonstrated at Warpstock 2023. I build these things in my sleep, as I've worked with countless OS's & physical hardware. It's what I love doing ... and from that, the possibilities and opportunities to solve problems are endless.

Anyone else can do the same, if they can wrap their head around a new way of doing things, and the AToF build is like that ... some head-wrapping (and assembly) required.

Sometimes, when a somewhat complicated platform build gets introduced, the complication gets in the way of putting it to work. Even though the AToF build solves many tough problems (for ArcaOS, how do we get around networking/wifi, filesystems, x64 app access, etc.), it might not get off dead center (thinking about using it) and into production (actually using it).

Over the past year or so, I've pondered how to produce the AToF build for others, in these ways:

1. build it for others, because they just don't have the time, and they'd rather pay someone else to do it. The issues here are trust (do you send your $2500 device to me, and hope you get it back?), too many different kinds of platforms (many of which you've already bought, and each subtly different from the others), and so on.

2. do we produce a "live" version of it (iso, dvd), so that you can plug it into your DT/LT, and see it running? Perhaps have an option to "install" from the live build? Many issues here, as there is licensed software throughout (Windows, ArcaOS, etc.) ... easy to say "some assembly required" with the build process, but hard to "pre-package" for you.

3. Perhaps someone would be willing to "buy" an SSD/NVME drive along with an installation service? Nothing gets sent in (avoids the trust issue), we just have to spec what will work in your DT/LT, have you buy the "package" (the SSD/NVME drive, licenses, build effort, s&h), build it in our shop, and ship it to you. You install it, and there is the AToF build, in all its glory! Obviously, once a "typical" platform is agreed upon (say, one type of Dell desktop and one type of Dell laptop), what we build should plug right in to what you have. In most cases, the AToF HostOS (windows or linux) would itself sort out any minor differences not known about, through it's own "plug and play" mechanisms.

This last one "seems" reasonable ... are we getting close to something workable?

There could be opportunities here, for ArcaOS, for someone like the Blond Guy (all of whom I was honored to meet at Warpstock 2023), or anyone else willing to step up and sort out the build process and all the OS licensing involved.

If you are very happy with one ArcaOS, one DT/LT today, nothing needs to change. You might also be very happy with your multi-boot scheme, whatever that might be. AToF is basically a multi-VM scheme. But, if you want to solve some of those very thorny problems for the one OS on one physical box approach, perhaps a test run of the AToF build is in your future!

What do you think? What would get an AToF build onto your DT/LT, short of me driving to your house, and doing it for you?

Virtualization / AToF - 02 - Platform Build - serving up x64 apps to ArcaOS
« on: December 06, 2023, 05:01:56 pm »
In the AToF platform build, the HostOS is either x64 Windows (10 or 11, pro or enterprise) or x64 Linux. It provides all the connectivity to platform resources (filesystems, networking, security, x64 apps) and the outside world (internet), and feeds those to the VM's, one of which can be ArcaOS.

x64 Windows might be your HostOS on AToF (or a VM), and if it is, how do we get x64 apps from the HostOS served up to any VM?

Winflector is an excellent program from a great company in Poland, that provides remote *application* access (a single app in a single window), unlike typical "remote access" software (VNC, RDP) providing access to entire "desktops", wherein you have to navigate to a single app. In other words, you'll have 64-bit notepad++ running in it's own window on your ArcaOS desktop, as easily accessible as all your other OS/2 programs.

A winflector "server" runs on the HostOS (or a VM), and a Winflector "client" (a very thin app) runs on the VM to access any apps being served up by the server component. There are very small client apps for most any OS (windows, linux x32 & x64, mac, etc.), and, they have an HTML5 client for any os where there isn't a dedicated client yet available, or where you choose to get at things via a browser.

For ArcaOS, the standard Firefox browser provided in the build does indeed work (as demonstrated at Warpstock 2023), and this is how we get x64 apps onto the ArcaOS desktop, in a single PM window. Any such app would also be able to access the "common filesystem" provided by VM Guest Additions.

Winflector is at:
They have a two-seat version of their software that is free. This means at any one time, up to two devices (two VM's) can be accessing a 64-bit app. Or, you can buy a multi-seat version, depending on your needs. Again, Winflector is a great company that deserves our collective support ... tell your friends about them!

For ArcaOS in particular, running in a VM on AToF, it now has access to all the other services provided by the HostOS, such as networking (even wifi), filesystems (NTFS, etc.), and more. Even an x64 app, via Winflector, will show up on the desktop!

Now, a browser window is not quite the same as a dedicated winflector client window. Luckily, with Winflector's linux clients (x32, x64), it should be more straightforward to port that existing linux x32 client directly to ArcaOS. I've asked Lewis R. of ArcaOS while at Warpstock 2023, to engage with the Winflector folks, as he has all the details of OS/2 "seats" (ArcaOS, EComStation, Warp), to help "sell" the port and help Winflector guage the opportunity. If it makes sense, we could send an ArcaOS license & a VM pre-built with the right dev environment to the Winflector folks, as further inducement to port their client to OS/2.

I've also offered to "buy" the ArcaOS license (commercial edition) for Winflector, just to help jumpstart all this. I don't yet have Lewis' email to follow up on this, but hopefully, something is in the works already, or will be shortly! Such an OS/2 Client from Winflector would be an improvement over the HTML5 client, as the x64 app window on the ArcaOS desktop would be even cleaner and easier to work with.

So, Winflector is a big component of getting x64 apps to the ArcaOS desktop, from your AToF HostOS running a lean and mean Windows. If you instead use Linux as the HostOS, Winflector isn't necessary, as X-Windows will most likely be all you need to serve up x64 apps.

In the AToF platform build, the HostOS is either x64 Windows (10 or 11, pro or enterprise) or x64 Linux. It provides all the connectivity to platform resources (filesystems, networking, security, x64 apps) and the outside world (internet).

To use Windows, just grab your test platform (desktop or laptop, i7, 32gb ram, 512gb ssd, or equivalent), and put a copy of Windows 10 on it. Right out of the box, Windows 10 or 11 isn't really your OS any longer ... MS pre-loads the build with bloat, takes away your ability to manage updates and does it themselves, and otherwise makes it hard to run lean and mean (just an OS). You could've done the same thing with Linux, and many might go this route for the HostOS; shouldn't be that much different.

So, first order of business is to make the Windows OS ours again:

1. get a license, install windows 10 (no partitioning weirdness, just give all resources to win10), apply all the latest patches (using WAU Manager) activate it, and before anything else, run the AME (ameliorated) process on it. In the old days (yesterday), I used to do all kinds of things to strip out the bad stuff. AME does it in one pass. Get it from Github.

2. now, with AME having removed all the bloat, telemetry, and other garbage from win10, you've basically got Win10 running as a "service" ... it's there, and the dt/lt boots into it, but it doesn't do much. It also doesn't *pester* you with constant messaging as to what you could be doing, the MS way. Go ahead and layer on *your*:
  - security: some product for av/firewall, etc.)
  - x64 apps: you'll need Winflector, and additionally install any x64 app you want to serve up to the VM's
  - backups: macrium reflect (free) ... get images of the HostOS every so often
  - package mgr: chocolatey (the only helper apps I use are 7zip, gsudo, filezilla)

3. Install a Type-2 Hypervisor. I use both Virtualbox and VMware Workstation, for testing purposes, but VBox alone would be fine.

With this done, you are ready to move on to VM's, holding all the OS's you'll be needing. Again, the rule of thumb is 4gb ram per OS (hostos or vm), but that's just a starting point. Adjust up or down from there, depending on what you're building and what you're doing within the VM's.

Just for reference, here's my build:
  - platform: 2018 dell precision 7520 ($200 off of ebay); i7, 32gb ram, 512gb ssd
  - HostOS: Windows 10 - lean and mean
  - licensing:
     - "Action Pack" subscription, which gains access to any kind of OS license, for *all* my OS testing
     - "Vmug" subscription, which gains access to many things VMware, including my type-2 workstation license
     - ArcaOS licenses ... got two, probably going to need more, for my dev work
     - Winflector license ... two-seat version is free, I paid for a few more seats for testing purposes
     - ESET license ...
  - On the HostOS:
    - security: I use ESET (av, firewall, etc.)
    - x64 apps: I use Winflector, and additionally install any x64 app I'll serve up to the VM's
    - Type-2 Hypervisor: I use both Virtualbox and VMware Workstation, for testing

In the background, I do have a Synology NAS, as that's where everything lands long-term. I image the OS of any of my platforms, and 7zip gives me backups of entire VM's or any collections of files/dirs.

Hope this helps ...

Virtualization / AToF - platform for dev (build, licensing, etc.)
« on: December 05, 2023, 06:55:29 pm »
Just so folks understand that, if I say AToF (ArcaOS - Thrusters on Full), it's a DT/LT that's been modified away from AOS x32 as HostOS, to AOS(n copies) running under another x64 HostOS.

In building up my own OS/2 dev skills, I can't stand putting massive packages into my "daily driver" (office/apps) OS, as it just seems to complicate everything. So, by using an AToF system, one ArcaOS VM holds the simple daily driver stuff, and another (or 2, or 3) holds the build environment. I want to:

  - do device driver (using David A.'s DD kit), as I want to build utilities that reach down into the kernel for info
  - GCC dev, to understand this method (as opposed to Watcom)

Where I think this is going is to have an AToF platform with upwards of 3 or 4 ArcaOS vm's:
  - VM-1: w-dev work; watcom/toolkit/ddkit build ... this is done, and I can compile apps with watcom; still reading through massive amounts of DD docs
  - VM-2: w-dev testing; so as to not affect the dev build, running right next door
  - VM-3: g-dev work: gcc 12.x, QT5 ... goal is to build QT5BASE from scratch; later, build QT6; get familier with the toolchain; Paul S. (at warpstock) indicates some builds take 30 hours ... I wonder what tools can be applied to this problem?
  - VM-4: g-dev testing: again, to not mess with the dev environment

It's easy to run all these VM's, and backup is just shutting the VM down, and throwing a copy onto the Synology NAS box on the home network. I have a similar couple of VM's for MS Visual Studio 20xx, running alongside the OS/2 vm's. The platform barely notices ...

All these AOS vm's need to be "licensed". I have two AOS licenses now, and even that is a bit messy, as one is at 5.08, and the other at 5.1 (they both need to be 5.1); can't figure out how to turn the 5.08 into a 5.1 in the most inexpensive path.

I wonder if ArcaOS can produce a version of the OS (for VM's, so needs Guest Additions) that doesn't have anything but the core elements of OS/2 in it? No ANPM, no "office" software, games, etc. From this starting point, I can put whatever I want on it, and turn it into the above VM's for dev work.

Otherwise, I'll need to buy upwards of 4 full licenses of AOS. Not necessarily a problem, and can do it piecemeal, but buying a $65 dev OS (or whatever it takes to pay IBM their piece, plus AN's effort) might come out to way less than a $130 license.

Forging on ...

Virtualization / ArcaOS - 00 - Thrusters on Full (AToF)
« on: December 04, 2023, 05:26:57 pm »
I've asked the OS2WORLD folks to look into creating a Virtualization category, so we can begin consolidating posts/knowledge on this vast topic ... they're probably still flying/traveling ... Done ... thanks!

Here's a presentation (attached) I gave at Warpstock 2023, and you could executive summarize it even further and say "removing all limitations" ... but basically, it is one way of solving these problems: networking, browsers, x64 apps, etc. for ArcaOS. As in, there could be a world (a platform) where these problems just don't exist ...

In a nutshell, we take advantage of modern hardware & virtualization software, and install multiple OS's, each doing their thing to resolve limitations. The platform looks like:

Any reasonable desktop/laptop (dt/lt): i7 multicore, 16gb ram, ssd (or your combination that yields similar results)
  - rule of thumb: 4GB ram = 1 OS (of any type, host-os, vm-os, etc)
  - choose wisely, as in, the concept is theoretically possible on 4GB or 8GB ram, but ...
  - my $200 ebay special (shown at Warpstock '23): 2018 dell precision 7520, i7, 32gb ram, 512gb ssd

HostOS level: Windows 10/11 or Linux (whatever) ... but running more as a conceptual "service"
  - provides access to all modern things (networking/internet, filesystems, x64, etc.) to every VM
  - type 2 hypervisor (virtualbox, vmware workstation)
  - you don't really do much at this level, except "service" stuff (connectivity, antivirus, backup, etc.)
  -conceptually more like a server OS, because, well ... we're driving it "like we stole it ..."
  - ... and yes, Microsoft helps us run x64 under ArcaOS

ArcaOS is running as a VM (Avm) ... could even run two or more, no problem
  - ZERO installation issues ... it runs nicely in a vbox VM
  - 4GB address space, unless you run two vm's, and now you have 8GB address space
  - x64 apps via Winflector ... yep, this works in Avm's HTML5 firefox engine (there's my x64 Notepad++)
  - wifi networking ... yep, HostOS provides it, Avm gets it
  - NTFS (really, any FS by any HostOS) ... yep, Avm gets that too

Any other OS in parallel VM's ... well, you already know how to do this. But, imagine:
  - dev OS, dedicated to crunching away at that OS/2 compile problem ... now imagine 2 or 3 of them
  - specialized app (cad, whatever ...)
  - your "office" Avm ... it's got the stuff you use as a daily driver
  - Wordstar, or any other difficult/vintage app ... in a VM running the OS that old wordstar needs

All the VM's run in parallel, and nothing steps on the others ... everything can get at everything. Finally, your dt/lt is getting to be more than 5% efficient. And, you switch back and forth as easily as you switch windows in a desktop today. The UI options exist to run this the way you want to see it ... whatever that is.

I run this at home, on a single laptop, and at any given time, multiple VM's are running ... it's VM-as-a-Service (I coined it first, I think), doing whatever you need to get done. I presented the concept at Warpstock 2023 ... "ArcaOS - Thrusters at Max".

If you've got the time, please read the presentation & come back with comments or otherwise provide feedback (by testing some of this for yourself, for example).

Hope this helps!

NOTE: I've added fair use & copyright stuff to the presentation, but it may change again, if I've still managed to step on copyright toes. Be prepared to throw away the old ones, and d/l the latest from this post.

General Discussion / Perfect computing system layout, these days?
« on: January 13, 2023, 06:02:26 pm »
For mine, due to advancements in technology that have enabled the magic, it is:

1. a beefy desktop PC (DT):
  - it doesn't move, it sits near my layout desk, which only has KVM on top.
  - it's DIY, so min i7, 32gb ram, ssd's, usb throughout
  - it runs the multi-VM strategy (Host-OS, virtualization layer, many VM's)
  - there's other stuff on the table ... electronic projects, current reading, etc. ... hey, it's an 8' door or layout space! stuff expands to fill ...

2. a beefy laptop (LT):
  - same beefy stuff as DT (only I didn't build it, but I'm keeping an eye on DIY laptop offerings)
  - same multi-VM strategy
  - this sits with me on the couch, in the morning, while the coffee is still feeding in (intravenously) ... there's no way I can operate the vastness of the layout table and its contents yet, but I *can* manage to open the LT lid and resume where I left off from yesterday.

3. the "NAS" ...
  - this is the Synology NAS box; disks, ram, and Synology OS, which BTW, does virtualization as well
  - while I'm still waiting for the coffee to kick in, the NAS has been busy doing tons of stuff in the background. I'm not smart enough (or awake enough) to do these on a regular basis, but I was at least smart enough to get the NAS to do it all.

And that's about it ... two systems & the NAS, whereas before I had dozens, in various states of production, assembly/disassembly, and "thinking about it" piles. I still have a lot of those piles, they've just moved out into long-term storage, awaiting their fate (resurrection in some other project, or extinction in the form of recycling).

I won't even list the books, which have mostly been replaced with digital copies, and the originals also sit out in long-term storage, awaiting their fate. At least here, I hope they will be resurrected one day to fancy bookshelves in a library room with the wooden "ladder" that hangs off of, and rolls around, to all the walls.

Where I see advantages to this recent turn of events, as technology allows simplification down to a few specific machines (or books), others might see only disadvantages. Who doesn't love the smell of 20- or 30-y.o. electronics cooking off, when the power switch is hit.

So, I stagger to the couch and get the laptop open for morning work, or I stagger to the bench area at some point, and switch to the single desktop system for daily work. In both cases, VM's are at the ready. If I have to go on the road, the LT comes with me, and the multi-VM strategy does as well.

OS/2 is in there, and in no way do I see it fading away ... rather, it is enabled by all this technology to keep doing things in its special, OO way. It only takes my imagination, which opens the door for OS/2 ... it does the rest.

Others ... what are you doing?

I will only assume there is some amount of staggering about ...

In relation to physical or virtualized OS/2. Are you:

1. not using it at all (OS/2 on physical hardware, and/or no intention to virtualize OS/2 as a guest)
2. running [Virtualbox, VMware, ...] on an x64 host-os, and OS/2 (any version) is a guest VM (among others)
3. virtualization of a different kind (OS/2 is physical, ???/2 used to vm something within OS/2)
4. feel free to opinionize on any aspect of the subject, as in (physical-only OS/2 or bust)
5. any other kind of slice and dice, such as Linux is much better than Win as Host-OS, because ...

I'm successfully using: HostOS=win10x64 on i7/32gb, Vbox=7.04, OS/2=vm's(ArcaOS 5.0.7, OS/2 4.52), many other vm's.

OS/2 runs very well for me in a vbox VM, and affords many testing features (backup via vm files, snapshots for testing changes, experimenting, etc.). I see other posts, over time, where folks have had varying levels of grief. Hopefully, there's much less grief these days, with all the newer virtualization packages and features (Type-2, Type-1).

Trying to get a feel for how everyone else uses or doesn't use virtualization in some form with OS/2 ...


General Discussion / OS/2 - Possibilities (Use Cases)
« on: January 09, 2023, 04:54:18 pm »
Many forum postings have subjects like "need this/that utility or program to ..." and the topic might be something like "backup". This leads to discussions of "what works under OS/2", "has this app been ported", etc.

I propose that the use cases & associated problems get defined somewhat, as in the following "backup" example. When that's done for each use case / scenario, and everyone's suggestions are posted, it might become easier to see what works and is available. Here's an example:

Use Case: Backup
  - scenario: OS/2 is primary OS on physical box
    - data lives on a (JFS, other) volume
    - backup: native tools (only, in most cases); options might be:
      - any currently functioning OS/2 backup program
      - rsync utilities (send the data somewhere)
      - rexx/scripting (script the backup w/ associated native utilities/apps)
      - imaging: at machine level (DFSee, others)
  - scenario: OS/2 is in a VM
    - data could still live inside the os/2 volume. or ...
    - could also live on an external volume of Host-OS, and shared to VM
    - backup:
      - all of the native OS/2 solutions  (which can access shared folder)
      - all solutions available to the Host-OS world (depending on choice of Host-OS)
        - any Windows solutions
        - any Linux solutions
     - multitude of free/paid solutions in both camps
     - options to dedupe, as data lives on volume accessible to these methods
     - imaging: backup the container/VM (or perhapsjust the .vhd's or .vmdk's)

The idea is that, once in this use case format, the sets of solutions are more visible in either scenario, and anyone (new or otherwise) who stumbles upon the posting can instantly see available options in both scenario camps. If you've already solved it and moved on, your knowledge & solution will help everyone else (use cases AND solutions).

As others work out even more possibilities, the posting can be updated with the info (or new posting started, hopefully referencing the old posting).

Other possibilities I've recently seen: Multi-User, Compiler(s), Browser(s), Networking (to something or to services), Filesystems ... but by no means a complete list of nifty topics.

Please kick off other use cases that seem interesting or had vexed you previously ...

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) ...


General Discussion / ArcaOS 5.0.7 - has that "new leather smell" ...
« on: January 05, 2023, 01:54:23 am »
... in this newly purchased OS, running in vbox! Thanks, Arca Noae!

Also gave some devbucks to the BWW folks ... thanks to them for all their efforts!

With time on my hands, was pulling out old stuff, which led to os/2 stuff, then warp 4.52 installs, and finally ArcaOS purchase. OS/2 (AN's ArcaOS) has made my list of OS productivity installs in vbox/vmware, as opposed to those where I just kick the tires every so often to see what's happening.

My ideal system these days? Anybody's hardware, a type-1 hypervisor on the hardware, and productivity OS's in vm's ... alongside other vm's for testing, dev, and so on.

Will start looking around and seeing how I can help others (os/4, es/2, etc.) ... I've time on my hands, and can easily devote testing, documentation, and such hours to your efforts.

Incredible what folks are doing these days!

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