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Topics - Lars

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Hardware / USB 10.221 is out
« on: February 06, 2018, 09:58:53 pm »

It contains fixes to USBD.SYS and more importantly the completely updated USBAUDIO package to support higher sample rates and bit resolutions.

Article Discussions / AN changing USB driver stack to 32-bit
« on: January 26, 2018, 10:35:46 am »
AN is currently working on XHCI. Along with that there is a decision to make the USB driver stack (mostly) 32-bit.
The stated reason for this was to increase data throughput.
Today, the USBxHCD.SYS and USBD.SYS drivers have been changed. Along with that change came a change in driver interface between these drivers that is no longer publicly documented (The driver interface of the old 16-bit drivers is documented in a HTML document as part of the DDK and therefore available to anyone with a DDK license).

Currently, the client drivers (USBPRT.SYS, USBMSD.ADD, USBAUDIO.SYS etc.) have not been changed and the driver interface of USBD.SYS still allows the use of 16-bit client drivers with the new 32-bit components.

However, there are ideas to also change the driver interface of all client drivers and make them 32-bit also.
What that means in practice is that you will no longer be able to combine say USBMSD.ADD and USBAUDIO.SYS from my driver set with the AN driver set.

Since AN has only little interest in offering audio and video support in OS/2 (it's not their business use case) that effectively would mean that development of USBAUDIO.SYS would be terminated and also that ArcaOS is become more and more proprietary, effectively a new OS next to OS/2.

Please speak up now if you don't want that to happen. I have always provided free USB drivers to the community and Wim and me we have invested considerable effort in making USBAUDIO.SYS what it is today. I see AN's need to make money from ArcaOS but I also see that with an ever diminishing user base, this step will be the last nail in the coffin of OS/2.
While there might be technical reasons I think that changing the driver interface will lock out anybody else in developing a USB driver (think about Wim's USBECD.SYS driver for example) and the OS/2 community is already short on driver developers.


Wim and me, we have been working on updating the MMPM subsystem so that it will finally support WAV files with 24-bit and > 65535 Hz (there was a limitation in the MMPM subsystem components that would restrict the sample rate to a 16-bit value).

In fact, we updated the MMPM subsystem to support these sample rates beyond 48000 Hz:
64000, 88200,96000,176400,192000,352800,384000 Hz.

The MMPM subsystem still has an inherent limitation to only support a discrete number of sample rates but we picked the rates that are in common use today. But I think we can live with that and the supported rates can be extended if necessary (but will require an updated USBAUDIO installation, see end).

With this support you can finally use more recent USB audio devices and exploit their full capabilities.
While 16-bit, 44100 Hz stereo (CD-ROM quality) was about the best you could get in 1996, more than 20 years later this is about the minimum sample rate /bit-depth used. It will also pave the way to support USB audio 2.0 devices which normally only offer these higher sample rates.

By the way: UNIAUD would also need this MMPM subsystem update to support WAV files with sample rates higher than 48000 Hz.

Once we have everything nice and polished I will release a new version of my USB device drivers.
It will be necessary to rerun the USBAUDIO driver installation to get everything updated properly.



I have created an experimental version of USBD.SYS that will place attached devices under the corresponding hub they are attached to instead of placing them under the host controller they are attached to.
I think that makes it easier to determine where a device is plugged in. For example, if you use an external USB hub you will see the attached devices under "USB Hub Device_x.y.z" instead of under the host controller the external USB hub is attached to.
I think this logic also better follows the Windows logic.

Would anyone want to try out ? Unfortunately it will not work with the AN stack yet so you will need to (temporarily) install my 10.220 stack. If people prefer this I will try and convince AN to put it in their USBD.SYS.
It's not a big change to USBD.SYS and my HWMAN.DLL extension will still show the proper device names without any change !


Storage / oddities with OS2AHCI version 2.04
« on: December 16, 2017, 03:17:48 pm »
I recently installed version 2.04 which indeed fixes the problem with the system freezing on invoking smartahci.exe which happened with version 2.03.

But now I have this oddity: if I invoke smartahci.exe more than once in a row, the first invocation will work fine but the second invocation will again freeze the system.
I tried this commandline: smartahci.exe -i hd0

Before I open a problem report at AN: Does anyone experience the same problem ? Or is it just me ?

Storage / About FAT32 and AN
« on: June 10, 2017, 11:10:01 am »
Looks like quite a few people are having probs with FAT32 as it comes with AN:

the new version that is being worked on still needs some fixes. What I fixed with SVN revision 250 was some prob with extended attributes in conjunction with the /largefiles switch which would lead to a complete system hang when opening a FAT32 drive object. Currently we are working on a problem when double clicking on a file with a program association​ (say a zip file associated with the arcview.exe utility).
We know where the resulting system hang occurs but we don't yet know why ...

For the time being the solution is to revert back to version 0.9.13 which you will find at Hobbes.

To find out about what SVN revision is delivered with AN:
open a commandine, change to directory \os2\boot and do a "bldlevel FAT32.IFS" (without the quotes).
The returned info contains a 3-digit value (apart from other info) which is the SVN revision.

If it is older then 250 you can try newer version here (as I said:not yet ready for prime time):


I have uploaded to Hobbes version 5.0 of VFDISK.SYS. It contains a fix so that the FAT12/FAT16 support that comes with the new FAT32.IFS can peacefully coexist with VFDISK.SYS.

VFDISK.SYS is a device driver to emulate floppy media.


Multimedia / recent developments for USB audio
« on: April 08, 2017, 10:22:54 am »

Wim Brul and me have made some significant progress in enhancing support for USB based audio:
1) we have fixed quite a few bugs in USBAUDIO.SYS so that finally it will work reliably
2) I have implemented on-the-fly sample rate conversion in an IOProc (USBWAV.DLL) for these conversions:
   16-bit signed PCM, stereo, 44100 Hz
   8-bit unsigned PCM, mono, 11025 Hz
   8-bit unsigned PCM, stereo, 11025 Hz
   8-bit unsigned PCM, mono, 22050 Hz
   8-bit unsigned PCM, stereo, 22050 Hz
   8-bit unsigned PCM, mono, 44100 Hz
   8-bit unsigned PCM, stereo, 44100 Hz
   16-bit signed PCM, mono, 11025 Hz
   16-bit signed PCM, stereo, 11025 Hz
   16-bit signed PCM, mono, 22050 Hz
   16-bit signed PCM, stereo, 22050 Hz
   16-bit signed PCM, mono, 44100 Hz
"on-the-fly" means you no longer have to manually convert audio files to the 16-bit signed PCM, stereo, 44100 Hz target format.
The IOProc will instead do that on the fly when you open an audio file (double click a WAV file under the Workplace Shell for example).
3) additionally I have added Codecs for A-Law and Mu-Law
4) for audio compressed files, I have added support to the IOProc to use any audio codecs that are installed to decompress audio from the compressed format to 16-bit PCM (if a suitable codec can be found)
5) Wim has picked up the functionality in the IOProc as listed in 2) and added the same to USBAUDIO.SYS. This is for those applications that use DART directly and bypass the MMIO file support. An example of direct DART use would be the "libkai" library.

This will greatly improve the usability of USB audio under OS/2. What's left to be done is to also support "48 kHz sampling rate only"  USB devices. However that will require additional effort.



Apache Office 4.1 needs libicu in Version 4.2 (it is looking for DLL icuuc42.dll).
However Firefox needs libicu in Version 56.1 (it is looking for DLL icudt.dll I seem to remember).
The problem is: if I install the newer version, the older version is removed. I had to manually zip all files from the old version package, install the new one and then unzip the saved DLLs.

What is the correct way to deal with this ? Do I need to copy over that old stuff into the Apache Office application directory ?
I admit that I am lost.


Applications / Problem with ANPM
« on: March 05, 2017, 01:38:50 pm »
I tried to update various packages and got this:

[u'ERROR with transaction check vs depsolve:', 'nss3.dll is needed by rpm-libs-4.13.0-9.oc00.pentium4', u'Please report this error at']

Anyone know how to resolve this problem ? I cannot find nss3.dll in any of the likely packages. I can only find nss3k.dll.
I have the same problem with nssutil3.dll vs. nssuti3k.dll.

And another one: installing "netlabs-exp" leads to this error message:
Cannot access repository dir /@unixroot/var/cache/yum/netlabs-exp

It installed these settings for the repo:

Hardware / USB drivers 10.215 are in the works
« on: February 02, 2017, 09:22:16 pm »
I had to do numerous fixes to USBMSD.ADD regarding geometry computation in order to make it more compatible to Windows and DFSee. I also had to add recomputation of geometry in case the media is ejected and exchanged but the device stays attached (example: SD card reader).
This required substantial changes. Unfortunately 10.214 is suffering from some major problems and I suggest to roll back to say 10.210 and wait for the next version :-)


Hardware / USB drivers 10.213 released
« on: December 22, 2016, 07:11:20 pm »
Please skip versions 10.211 and 10.212. All changes in "readusb.txt", as usual.
Find on Hobbes.

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.


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