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Topics - Lars

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Hardware / USB drivers 10.206 released
« on: June 22, 2016, 10:35:02 am »
Sorry but since it's kind of urgent: I had to do yet another critical fix to USBMSD.ADD in order to prevent data loss and/or an endless cycle in trying to write/read data under specific circumstances.
Get the latest 10.206 from Hobbes as usual. Contained file "readusb.txt" lists the changes (as usual).

Hardware / USB drivers 10.205 released
« on: June 14, 2016, 09:26:31 pm »

I hope to have fixed the problems with USBMSD.ADD that existed up to and including 10.204.
Just try out and report back.
Available, as always, on Hobbes (, currently in "incoming" directory.

a word of warning:
there was a serious bug in USBMSD.ADD which might lead to data corruption on USB media (clipped files, corrupted files etc.).
It only happens under very specific conditions but unfortunately it will not show up immediately (no trap or the like).

I am not sure if that error also exists in IBM original 10.162 as I am building upon the DDK code which was pretty much outdated compared to the 10.162 binary. I have now reworked the relevant code but it needs more testing ...

I will prepare 10.205 if time comes.


Applications / AOOo 4111GA does not install libc066
« on: February 22, 2015, 08:49:39 pm »
I tried the WPI method (rpm WPI on same directory as the base WPI): it does not work
I then tried to run yum with the command line given in the readme: I get told that Python cannot find urlgrabber and then that's it

libc066.dll is not installed and therefore none of the applications works.

Can someone tell me where to get libc066.dll ?

I just took the chance to rework the HW Manager replacement WPS class (HWMAN) and uploaded to Hobbes.
Who cares about HW manager ? Probably nobody. So what's the real deal ?
It comes with full source code that is extensively commented. It's meant for everybody who is interested in starting WPS programming.
That said, I tried to comment the stuff that is not really documented anywhere ...

Martin (if you are reading), I think it is a good idea if you update GITHUB with this new update ...


Programming / Where do I find hd4disk.add, acpi4.sys ?
« on: January 15, 2014, 12:24:30 am »
I have read about these drivers but they are not contained in the OS/4 package ? Is there any place I can find them ?


OS/4 kernel does not support the TRACE and TRACEBUF statements. It displays that these statements are not valid and continues to boot (the same holds true for VIRTUALADDRESSLIMIT but I guess that was intentional).
This is even true with the OS/4 debug as well as retail kernels.
This is a serious limitation because for example it's the only way for David's / my USB drivers to log operational info on a user's end machine. Without any tracing, it's impossible to determine why a driver won't work on a user's machine (except for flat HW traps which can be located by other means).
Again, this renders the OS/4 kernel incompatible with the existing OS/2 kernels.


Programming / OS4APIC.PSD - /APIC switch does not work
« on: January 08, 2014, 11:12:17 am »

I could eventually attribute the OS/4 kernel hang to OS4APIC.PSD when I use the /APIC switch (and I did have "preload=1" set in OS2LDR.INI).
Apparently this switch is supposed to bring the system into "symmetric mode", that is, using the IOAPIC instead of the good old PIC controller of stoneage PCs and support > IRQ 15.

Unfortunately, on my system because of either broken MP tables or IRQ router chip incorrectly set up by BIOS, this is the ONLY mode I can run this system.
Therefore "PIC mode" or "virtual wire mode" (/PIC and /VW switches for ACPI.PSD) do not work for me.

When I tried to use ACPI.PSD (with no switches / in "symmetric mode") it would again lead to a hung system, much like using OS4APIC.PSD /APIC.
But I think problems with ACPI.PSD could be expected as ACPI.PSD patches the kernel in memory (for reasons I forgot) and therefore only supports a handful of kernels (I don't know what it does if it finds it cannot patch a kernel). Certainly not the OS/4 kernels.
In short: ACPI.PSD with no switches (in "symmetric mode") is the only thing that works for me. And that precludes use of the OS/4 kernel.

I would believe that OS4APIC.PSD does not properly enable symmetric mode when using /APIC switch.

Note: at one point in time I read the MP tables and "translated" the contents regarding interrrupt assignment into a documentation text file. If any developer is interested ...
I could also dump the MP configuration table from Theseus in binary form ...


Programming / OS/4 kernel - my first impressions
« on: January 08, 2014, 10:29:15 am »

ok I went through it. I tried SVN revision 4160. I copied OS4APIC.PSD and CLOCK03b.SYS to \OS2\boot. I created a custom CONFIG.OS4 file to load OS4APIC.PSD with the /APIC switch.
I enabled "preload=1" in os2ldr.ini

1) both, the OS/4 debug and also retail kernel trapped when they encountered valid CONFIG.SYS statements. In my case, that was the STRACE statement. It's the statement to control performance tracing in OS/2, see \OS2\BOOK\STRACE.INF.
That leads me to believe that the kernel will also trap on other statements it does not recognize and therefore it is incompatible with the existing kernel.
It should also be stated that with the performance tracing, IBM added a bit array to control which strace codes will be active or not (much like the bit array that exists for the trace codes) to the global info segment. I wonder if the OS/4 kernel also has this addition ...

2) I then removed the STRACE statements. The kernel would start to load showing it has initialized 1 CPU at "stage 2". Then it would sit there doing nothing. This was true for both, the debug and retail kernel. I had to power down the system.

3) I then stripped down CONFIG.SYS to the bare minimum. This time the kernel would start to load drivers but would hang when loading IBMKBD.SYS. Again, I had to power down the system.

I had the boot logo turned off via os2ldr.ini but I doubt that that would make a difference.

I have a pretty old box, about 5 to 7 years old, nothing fancy. It has only 1 (Intel) core. It's with MMX and SSE.

From what I can say, I would think that the new loader OS2LDR is ok (this was also true for QSINIT) but the OS/4 kernel is not.

This is my os2ldr.ini (beware of messed up line breaks):
; Kernel number from kernel list section to be loaded by default

; Waiting time (in seconds) after which kernel mentioned in "default"
; will be loaded

; Debug options

; Debug port
; com port address
; no debug output if statment is omited (but log still accessible
; through copy from oemhlp$ - see below)

; Enable Ctrl-C check for kernel debugger. This is optional for kernels
; beginning from revision 2970. Older kernels always have this check enabled.
; This option ignored if no debug port specified.
; Ctrl-C check allows KDB popup when Ctrl-C is passed via serial link but
; adds two problems:
; - frequent serial port reads cause overall performance degradation
; - the serial port can't be used for something else except KDB because these
;   reads destroy data which are received by the port

; You have full COM port link cable (with hardware flow control support)

; Show PC memory table as it reported by BIOS, do nothing if absent
; or defined as 0.
; Warning: this option will make PAUSE on boot!

; Hide from OS/2 one of memory blocks from list above.
; Block specified by start address (>1Mb, block at 1Mb required for OS/2
; boot).
; You can add up to five such keys into [config] section.
; note: OS2LDR ignore too small blocks (<64k) by itself.

; Color values for the startup menu
; byte 0 - text color
; byte 1 - color of selected row
; byte 2 - background color
; byte 3 - border color
; defauls are:

; Show b/w tty style menu with ugly kernel selection by numeric key ;)
; It use BIOS text output only, so suitable for some strange reasons.
;ttymenu = 1

; Reset video mode to default 80x25, before menu output (fix for some
; strange BIOS bugs too)

; OS/4 kernel only (rev>=2075)
; Turn on memory files. Kernel will preload all files, located in:
; - BASEDEV and PSD statements of config.sys
; - os4krnl.ini
; - snoop.lst
; - and predefined list of files: PREVIOUS.DAT, ISAPNP.SYS, ISAPNP.SNP,
preload = 1

[kernel]   =  IBM OS2LDR,RESTART
os4krnl      =  OS/4 dbg kernel,LOGSIZE=4096,PRELOAD,CFGEXT=OS4,DBPORT=0,LOADSYM,CTRLC,ALTF2
os4krnlr     =  OS/4 retail kernel,LOGSIZE=4096,PRELOAD,CFGEXT=OS4,DBPORT=-1,ALTF2


Programming / OS/4 ? QSINIT ?
« on: January 05, 2014, 02:32:06 pm »
I don't doubt that the developers are skilled people. However I doubt that this project will be of any relevance if it continues in the current way. I just want to state my opinions here and I won't go into the "legal/illegal" issue.
I am open to any comment, good or bad:

1) I would have never found the website. Fortunately, one of Martin's comments pointed to it. The project needs more promotion. A good way would be to be present in the most frequented OS/2 newsgroups

2) from the website, it's completely unobvious of what the latest version is for the OS4 core project. I'd go with the SVN revision numbers but I could never be sure. It's also not clear what version was reasonably stable and what version was not. I would also think it would be a good idea to remove all versions that proved to be too unstable for most testers.

3) it's completely unobvious in how far the QSINIT project relates to the OS4 project. Does QSINIT "overwrite" the OS2LDR contained in the OS/4 zips ? What would be the benefit to use QSINIT in favor of the OS2LDR that comes with the OS/4 kernel zip ? Is that the same group of developers of these 2 projects ?

4) there is no FAQ that would collect common problems or such. Also there is about no documentation. All the information is contained in the few postings floating around on the os2world website. Who is going to bother and go through the effort to test the OS/4 kernel if he is more or less completely on his own ? Not too many people I would think ...

5) there is too little feedback back into the developer community. One of the topics has already been addressed: David as the ACPI developer should be taken into the loop. Me might not be inclined to support the OS4 kernel but I'd say it's the OS/4 people's job to get in touch with him. At least that would make sense ...

6) all of the website is in cyrillic (russian, anyway). I know it might be not that easy but at least a bit of english would be helpful (we are not talking about perfect english here). It's just a major hinderance in attracting anybody to try and test and support development of the OS/4 kernel.

For me, 2) and 3) and 4) are the most pressing problems. And they surely have no relation to the "legal" / "illegal" question.

Ok, let the shitstrom begin ...


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