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Messages - Travis Thoms

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So, I thought if we can't at this moment make the OS fit the hardware, why not make the hardware fit the OS?  Anyone tried running it on the 486FPGA?Running an OS needs more than a CPU. If the 486FPGA emulates a real 486 CPU well enough then it probably will run. But I see no benefit in using a FPGA instead the real chip. What Southbridge do you want to wire to such FPGA? Another FPGA? And which Northbridge? And which .... Do you know all the components which makes up a standard PC and will you pack all of them into one or more FPGAs? If yes, the first question would be, which 'standard' PC. The 486 systems from IBM, with our without Microchannel? Or the ones from Compaq, or?

If you want to put something into an FPGA why not emulate an ATI X300 but with two working DVI outputs as we have a multihead driver for this chip.

I think as Sergey points out, FPGAs can emulate an entire system-Bios, CPU, soundcard, video card, the works, depending on how complex it is. 

P.S. Thanks Dave for taking the time to explain PSD to me.

I'm not trying to knock the software efforts toward improving OS/2.  Maybe I am. I don't know. I used OS/2 in the '90's to 00's because it was lean (compared to Win'95), multitasked like a champ, and allowed me to use some of the DOS molecular modeling programs I needed at the time (not to mention many DOS games and Programs). I felt very cutting edge. A lot of those advantages have disappeared with time, but I'd still like to see it shine as a cool Retro experience while the community decides where it going to go.   That's what prompts my interest in finding a hardware set-up that will offer the full functionality of the OS as it is today.  Maybe its a pipe dream.

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Is it better DOS than DOS that you are looking for?

Simply put, yes. There is not much in the way of native software that I use in OS/2. If it was my main system again, I'd use the web browser, and Libre Office.  But there is no Blender, Gimp, Vegas Pro equivalents that I use for my work.  But I do miss  multitasking the DOS games and utilities that I enjoyed using back in the day.

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I'm wondering (fantasizing) if it is plausable to design an SBC or FPGA specifically to run OS/2 (and other "legacy" systems).

We have a layer called PSD, "platform specific driver", it works directly with the hardware.
So right now, an on-board FPGA is not required.

I'm not sure that I understand what your describing here.  Could you please elaborate?  What does a PSD do for the average user?  How do you get it to work with OS/2?

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Hi Travis,

Sorry to be a detractor, but why focus on the hardware side?

Most of the stuff out there can be used as a hardware platform for our OS/2 OS. It is not ideal, I admit, but for the most part unless you are trying to run the latest Ryzen 12 core CPU or trying to do a nightly backup over a super fast USB 3.x you won't have major problems.

Now, granted that approach may get you a working system and maybe not the ideal "gamer machine", but  what else is there on our platform to shoot for??? lol

My point being: it is far better for us to focus on building the software capabilities instead.

I see you're point, but I'd really like a machine that runs OS/2 like it was made to do.  The video works, the sound works, the VDMs work.  And while I admire people working through the software to find workarounds for modern systems, they are just that...workarounds.  I have a VirtualBox with OS/2 set up to a reasonable level of functionality (thanks to the help of many here), but it is no fun to use.  The sound stinks, the VDMs are slow and buggy, a lot of the older OS/2 software doesn't work right (missing icons, etc) and the new stuff is usually some unix port that I have a heck of a time getting to work.  I don't think there will be any real improvement in the software until there is control of the source code.  Everything else is a hack.

So, I thought if we can't at this moment make the OS fit the hardware, why not make the hardware fit the OS?  Anyone tried running it on the 486FPGA?

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Applications / Re: DOS VDM and Win-OS2 Fans ?
« on: March 17, 2020, 09:36:48 pm »
The only reason I use OS/2 at this point is being able to multitask DOS and Win16 programs, and under virtualbox, the VDMs run poorly.  I have a PIII that I might pull out of storage and see if I can get working; my wife may protest.....

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Let's presume that the driver set that is available limits the hardware available. So far I'm hearing:

CPU: 32 bit (is there a 32 bit multicore that you'd prefer?  Or would we have to have a 64 bit processor to have a decent multicore option?  Arca does handle multiple cores, correct?)

UEFI compatability mode or Legacy BIOS support

Storage: SATA harddrives and optical drive  (Limited to DVD?  Does OS/2 use Blu-Ray, Blu-ray burners?)

Input/Output: PS/2 mouse and keyboard, serial, Parallel ports, USB 2.0

Sound:  Soundblaster 16?  (Does OS/2 do USB sound?)

Video:  If SNAP drivers are all we have, what's the best video chipset/card for this?  VGA output? DVI?

For me, all of this would have to support the DOS and Win_OS/2 VDMs as well.

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Assuming you had the means to design a computer from the motherboard up, what components would your system have?  Would you bother with a 64 bit processor or more than 4 G of ram?  What sound and video hardware would you use? 

I'm wondering (fantasizing) if it is plausable to design an SBC or FPGA specifically to run OS/2 (and other "legacy" systems).  Amiga seems to be able to pull this sort of stuff off; I'm asking myself if we can do the same.

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General Discussion / Re: OS/2 in VirtualBox
« on: February 19, 2020, 04:40:19 am »
Thanks!  I'll look into it.  Still haven't cleaned up the VDM sound yet.  Perhaps Lars is correct; its a flaw in the emulation.

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General Discussion / Re: OS/2 in VirtualBox
« on: February 18, 2020, 09:21:03 am »
So I set up the virtualbox additions; they worked beautifully.  I was able to bring over the DOSBOX for OS2 WPI from my host easy-peasy and set it up.

Then, upon reboot, the VirtualBOX additions in the Config.sys could not be found.  I'm guessing that the DOSBOX install overwrote some of the libs from the VBOX additions, and now the additions don't work anymore...  So, I have no mouse at the moment.

Update:  Nope, I'm an idiot.  I copied the directions straight from the readme, which had the config.sys statements going to the D: drive.  So as long as I had the additions cd installed, it worked.  Fixed that, and all seems to be well.

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General Discussion / Re: OS/2 in VirtualBox
« on: February 18, 2020, 07:10:32 am »
Thank you all! 

To answer Dave's question, I do have the audio controller set to Soundblaster 16.  And the main OS sound is passable, it's the DOS and Win-OS/2 sound that is horrible.   I'll try the other suggestions, and report back.

Thanks again.

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General Discussion / OS/2 in VirtualBox
« on: February 16, 2020, 07:34:12 am »
HI!  Well, I've been experimenting with OS/2 4.5 in Virtualbox (for Linux) for a few months now.  Native OS/2 apps that aren't dependent on DIVE seem to work okay.  DOS and Win 3.1 apps that don't have sound or heavy graphic are also fine (if not slow), but the sound in any of the VDMs is horrible.  It's scratchy, and often cuts out before the sound finishes playing, which is disappointing for me. No MIDI at all.  I'm using FTP to bring files in and out of the virtual machine, or using virtual CD images.  Man, that is a pain in the butt. I was hoping that I'd be able to use my OS/2 virtual machine as a reliable DOS multitasking environment, but so far that hasn't worked out.

I've tried loading OS 4.5 to run natively on a Dell Dimension 610. It loads and runs, but starting a DOS or WIN session crashes it.

I'm probably going to hold out for AN 5.1.  It  would be great if it ran well in a KVM-QEMU session, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Article Discussions / Re: Community Ideas BrainStorm for 2020
« on: February 06, 2020, 11:50:01 pm »
But sadly we don't have enough resources like money, people and skills (or even a business case) to pull a full OS/2 open source clone. Resources are basically set on Arca Noae creating drivers to allow OS/2 run on today's hardware. But there is not a longer term strategy to became an open platform and try to clone it to have a high level of compatibility with native OS/2 software.

I understand that the lack of resources is a real obstacle, and I think the fact that we can't make a business case for OS/2 at this point says a lot.  If we hope for growth I think the OS/2 community has to decide what niche OS/2 is going to fill, and how it is going to be better (or at least more enjoyable) than the alternatives.

Random thoughts:
How does the Amiga crowd do it?  I was watching some footage of a conference they had, and there was a surprising amount of young faces there, considering how old the platform is.

I am in awe of the dedication that the programming efforts currently ongoing to make OS/2 useful, and I think the idea to move a lot of the current software to yum is a great idea, as are the efforts to solidify the development packages for the platform.  Thank you all!

If I was to advocate for conversion of the os to an opensource format, I'd do it the same way the haiku folks did it.  Start with the Desktop.  Tracker was rebuilt as Open tracker.  Heaven knows the WPS could use some updates.

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Article Discussions / Re: Community Ideas BrainStorm for 2020
« on: February 05, 2020, 03:53:48 am »
(accidentally posted, this is a continuation of my previous post...)
Now with virtualization, I've been able to walk through the halls of yesteryear with OS/2, and while I remember it fondly, its still a pain.
     I guess the point of my addition to the brainstorm is that I can't see where the OS/2 experience can go.  As long as no one has access to the main code, nor cares to renovate it, it is not sustainable.  Since IBM likes to keep OS/2 in the rearview mirror, our only option is do do something like Haiku has done for the BEOS.

I've heard of OS/4, but I honestly don't understand what it is.  Is it a kernal replacement?  That would be a good start.  But I'm also wondering out loud what we'll be able to offer that other OS projects can't.  And if we do have a clear goal for OS/2, how can guys like me who can't code help us get there?

Thanks for letting me chime in. 

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Article Discussions / Re: Community Ideas BrainStorm for 2020
« on: February 05, 2020, 03:38:29 am »
     I've had OS/2 on my mind quite a bit.  I have to say, it's always been difficult to work with.  I remember spending countless hours tweaking settings, hunting for drivers, fixes, and usable programs.  It was such a pain.
     I stuck with it, because once it worked, it worked well, and the multitasking was unbeatable. To this, it felt great to not be part of the Windows crowd.
     I stopped using OS/2 once XP came out.  It, for the most part, did everything OS/2 did with a lot less work.  IBM had long abandoned it's child, and I needed something that would continue to grow.

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Comments, Suggestions & Questions / Restructuring the forum catagories?
« on: January 22, 2020, 06:06:02 pm »
I know this might be a lot of work, but could we have sub forums for DOS, WINDOWS, and OS/2 in the APPLICATION and SETUP forums?

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