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Topics - RTAN

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Programming / Getting started with OS/2 development - any recommendations?
« on: December 22, 2023, 11:12:27 pm »
I have an amateur/hobbyist background in VB.NET but have also written some applications in Python (for Linux), in PHP (for Linux and Windows) and in C (for DOS). I'd like to start experimenting with development for OS/2 but I don't really know a good place to start. I know I'll need OpenWatcom as a compiler.

I actually though REXX might be a good place to start so I purchased SAMS Teach Yourself REXX in 21 days and I have... well... taught myself REXX in 21 days. ;D For example I've created a few scripts which run successfully to help with applying Fixpaks to a new installation.

In the old OS/2 Professional Magazine there were many adverts for VX-REXX, and I know there was also VisProREXX as a competitor for a while. I also have a boxed copy of IBM VisualAge C++ v3 courtesy of a very generous person right here via the OS2World marketplace.

Would anyone have any recommendations for where to start? Equally, does anyone know if there's a legitimate way to obtain either VX-REXX or VisProREXX anymore since I expect they've long since been abandoned now? I've been keeping an eye out for them on eBay but haven't seen them come up at all.

Any recommendations would be welcome!


I recently picked up a boxed edition of OS/2 2.11 on 3.5" disks. This is the fairly rare OS/2 2.11 which is essentially OS/2 2.1 with Fixpaks, I don't believe it's the other OS/2 2.11 (i.e. the SMP version).

I also have OS/2 2.1 on CD-ROM and since the CD-ROM really just contains the contents of each floppy disk in appropriately named folders I was convinced that I should be able to find a way to turn my OS/2 2.11 floppy disk version into one that I could install from CD instead.

Moreover I naturally wanted to use a regular ATAPI/IDE CD-ROM drive, and of course I wanted large hard drive support as well.

So by slipstreaming the official IBM updated IDE and ATAPI drivers and by making lots of mistakes along the way, I actually managed to get it to work!

That is:
  • I created a CD-ROM containing the contents of each floppy disk, the printer drivers, the display drivers and MMPM.
  • I created a modified Diskette 1 which supports large hard drives and ATAPI/IDE CD-ROM drives.
  • I modified the config.sys on my modified Diskette 1 to actually use the CD-ROM rather than floppy disks for Diskette 2 onwards.
It was one of those things that probably took me an awful lot longer to accomplish than any time that I actually saved by being able to install from CD instead of from floppy disk! Nevertheless I was pleased to get it working, and it's given me a much better understanding of OS/2's installation and boot process.

I took plenty of notes along the way but they're only in Notepad and they could probably do with a little tidying-up before being posted for anyone else to follow. And whilst I did all this with OS/2 2.11 I expect the same steps would work to convert a regular OS/2 2.1 floppy disk edition into a CD-ROM installable version.

Would anyone be interested in a write-up of this process, or would this be useful for the Wiki at all?


Does anyone happen to have a copy of MSRDev BackMaster 3 that they'd be interested in selling? It looks like it's one of the few (maybe the only!) backup programs that will work with my Iomega External/Parallel Ditto 2GB tape drive.

I know there's a BackMaster 3 demo on Hobbes (thanks Martin!) but that's only the demo and is limited to backing-up approx 5MB.

Alternatively if anyone knows of another OS/2 backup program that works with an Iomega Ditto 2GB I'd be keen to hear about it. This is for use with OS/2 2.1, Warp 3, and Warp 4.


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