Author Topic: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?  (Read 962 times)

santafe

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Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« on: January 15, 2020, 05:40:00 pm »
Hi,

i am a new user here with somewhat broken english, sorry about that.

I am using computers since DOS5 or so and somehow the different OS's was always more interesting to me than the user programs. So far my path was the following:
DOS -> Win3.1 -> Win95 -> Linux -> Win98 -> Win98/SE -> BeOS -> Windows XP ->Zeta -> Linux -> OSX -> Linux -> BSD

I once installed eCom station (downloaded from some shady website), but had no real chance to get more experiences, as my hw was not really supported that time.
Nowadays i use BSD for media consumption, and using Haiku since the beginning of the project to port open source projects.

Yesterday i felt the urge to switch the OS on the media PC to something new again, so maybe this time i could pick OS/2.

I am old-school if it is about computers, i don't like fancy eye-candy, i need only a stable OS.

Here is what i need:
- Email (IMAP)
- IRC (with the ability to connect to more than one server in the same time)
- Web browser (Firefox)
- Media player (vlc/mplayer/mpv)
- Torrent (using Transmission right now, can be anything else)
- Sound player (currently using mpd)
- Calibre
- Ability to copy music to my rockboxed ipod
- Ability to copy books to my FAT32 ebook reader
- Telegram
- Some picture editor
- A relatively modern compiler toolchain to try to port the programs what i mostly use (we are using GCC8.3 on Haiku for example)

I got an intel i5 3337U based ultrabook (Acer Aspire M5, UEFI with CSM)
- SATA SSD
- 10G RAM
- wired LAN (no need for wlan)
- HD4000 GPU with 1 external screen (<- important)
- some Realtek HDA sound chip

otherwise i have an X200s and a T440s (but i would not use this for OS/2 as this is my main Haiku machine)

As there is no real way (AFAIK) to test my hw with ArcaOS without buying it first i would ask you guys: is my HW supported by ArcaOS (i know, it is not easy to answer) and if my use cases covered by available applications on ArcaOS?
I assume Calibre (PyQt required) and Telegram (Qt5) is not available as the Qt5 port is not yet mature enough (FIXME), but i can survive that (i already got it mostly working on Haiku, but had no time to package it yet because the many dependencies).

I have adequate undertsanding about computers and software, so if my HW supported i would bite the bullet and switch to ArcaOS or eCom (if it is still maintained).

Thank you guys!

Best Regards,
Santafe
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 05:50:06 pm by santafe »

Dave Yeo

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Re: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2020, 06:02:32 pm »
Most of your needs can be met, our Firefox is getting old but mostly works, there's also Thunderbird or SeaMonkey for mail, various IRC programs, I use Chatzilla.
Copying music and books depends on the interface, OS/2 suppports USB drives but they generally have to be partitioned right so if your music player/book reader present themselves as removable drives, they can likely be made to work.
Compiler is currently GCC 4.92 with GCC 9.20 being ported, most other needed stuff is there though you have to use the OS/2 versions of the autotools. Sh is dash.
Hardware wise, 32 bit operating system so only 3.5GBs of ram visible to the OS and programs, rest can be used as ram disk.
Video is limited to using VESA, so no acceleration and basic stuff working fine, I think the external screen would work but depends on the hardware. UEFI is not ready so you need to be able to fall back to the fake bios to boot and USB 3 is not there yet so need a real USB 2 port. OS/2 also only supports up to 2TB disks.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2020, 10:46:36 pm »
Hi santafe, welcome to the forum !!

Since you have experience with different OSes, I don't think you will find OS/2, eCS or ArcaOS a challenge.

Let me tell you that we haven't hear from the eComStation owners in a few years now. So, I would not recommend buying eComStation today. ArcaOS is current and active.

Maybe, if you want to be conservative,  it can be an good for you to try eComStation 2 (even that is not developed anymore) on VirtualBox as a guest, try to test the software you are looking for. You can install ANPM, update XWorkplace and install the software we have around (hobbes, netlabs, netlabs rpm, etc). Ask a little bit for help on these forums and try to improve the experience with the OS. 

Later, once you are experienced, go for ArcaOS and real hardware. You may always ask for hardware recommendations here and/or check the machines that Blonde Guy (Neil) offers with ArcaOS (https://blondeguy.com/ComputersForSale.html)

It is just my opinion, but you are always free to take the path you want  ;D

SOFTWARE
About the software you are looking for, I can answer only this:

- Email (IMAP) - We have Thundebird.
- IRC (with the ability to connect to more than one server in the same time). - Qt4 Quassel
- Web browser (Firefox) - Firefox 45.9, but there is a project to get a newer browser like Falcon (qt5)
- Media player (vlc/mplayer/mpv) - VLC  3.0.8
- Ability to copy books to my FAT32 ebook reader - There are FAT32 drivers
- Telegram.  - The web version of telegram seems to work on Firefox 45.9.  (web.telegram.org)
- A relatively modern compiler toolchain to try to port the programs .... - I'm not complete sure which is the lastest gcc version we have.

HARDWARE
About your hardware "Intel i5 3337U based ultrabook (Acer Aspire M5, UEFI with CSM)"
I recommend getting ArcaOS to go after real hardware, since it has ACPI and network updated drivers.
If you check your computer BIOS and you can set UEFI mode in Compatibility Support Module, I think it will install and boot.

I always like to ask people for their PCI.exe hardware report to check the deviceID of each device and be sure about which components do you have on you PC.
- WLan. I'm almost sure it will not work.
- Network (wired) will depend, but there a good shot with ArcaOS drivers.
- Audio: Realtek HDA sound chip... it had always been tricky for the me audio support. It would be better to try to test it out.
- Video: HD4000 GPU with 1 external screen -... uhm.. I'm not the best to answer this. Let's hope someone with more experience tells us more about it. Do you want an extended desktop? or to have the laptop lid closed?

Regards

« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 11:05:06 pm by Martin Iturbide »
Martin Iturbide
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santafe

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Re: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2020, 02:37:21 pm »
Thank you guys for the friendly answers, i will try eCom on my x200s durin the easter break.

Best Regards,
--santafe

David Kiley

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Re: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 11:02:36 am »
Like Martin says I think you'll enjoy the challenge and think you should get ArcaOS. I used to be an OS2 native purist but now I personally think you would be best running os/2 in a virtual machine (aka virtualbox or virtualpc) with another host as the main OS.
OS/2 is a great OS but a lot of stuff like fat32 drivers/usb/web browsers/java can also be pretty buggy in my experience with ECS. I don't have ArcaOS but can't imagine things have changed that much since ECS 2.
That doesn't mean I don't recommend it though :).
Having more than one option at once just makes things more fun in general.

Personally I use suse enterprise desktop as my main OS which is rock solid and have several operating systems as virtual machines.
Like I have java in both my suse and os/2 - some java apps work better in one or the other - so why not choose both?. USB connections with my phone work great with suse but not so much with os/2. Maybe sometime i'll mess around and figure out the phone thing in OS/2 but there is no point in limiting myself now is how I feel about it in the name of "purity".

Like also your laptop might not support the sound card if you run os/2 natively, but it would in VirtualBox.
You could spend that time banging your head against the wall trying to get a native driver working.. or you could instead make life easier and enjoy the OS for what is amazing about it.
Like the awesome WPS GUI, and great native os/2 apps.. and you can also load up windows 3.1 sessions and run legacy windows 3 apps which is fun.
I found it a lot of fun to discover how to enable file sharing between os/2 with my windows machines :). Took me hours but I did it. 8)

But that's just my take on it.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 11:40:30 am by David Kiley »

Remy

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Re: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 12:58:33 pm »
Since latest ArcaOS modifications starting from 5.0.3 I'm more an more under ArcaOs natively than using my windows 7 system. The most important missing options are USB3 but USB2 works much better than before and fat32 is now very good and a newer browser than the v49 build of firefox. From what I could read, USB3 is nearly to be ready, new browser too and UEFI as well into 5.1

Of course, to handle or rip 1080p or up videos, more memory is needed and 32bits is a limitation for very heavy apps.           

ivan

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Re: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2020, 03:44:37 pm »
I have been using OS/2 exclusively since OS/2 v 2.1 came out and am now using ArcaOS on a couple of AMD Ryzen based boards without many problems, the main one being, as Remy said, the lack of USB 3 drivers but I get round that with a real USB 2 addin card.  The other problem is that I can't run VirtualBox on those machines and therefore have to revert to an older OS/2 based machine if I want to test something on windows for a friend.

I also have Zorin Linux running on another Ryzen machine to allow me to use Calibre and Sigil for producing e-books although I use CoolReader on OS/2/ArcaOS for proof reading.

Doug Bissett

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Re: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2020, 08:13:31 pm »
Quote
OS/2 is a great OS but a lot of stuff like fat32 drivers/usb/web browsers/java can also be pretty buggy in my experience with ECS. I don't have ArcaOS but can't imagine things have changed that much since ECS 2.

FAT32 is under heavy development. Hopefully that will be released soon. Right now, Lazy Write has a serious problem, but turning that off makes it work well.

USB 3 has run into a serious problem. Apparently USBMSD.ADD has so many bugs, that it just won't work with USB 3. From what has been said, they are rewriting it, but that will take some time. We are testing a preview version where USB 3 has effectively been disabled, but USB 2 (and older) devices should work normally with a xHCI controller. You can use USB 3 devices by using a USB 2 extender cable to eliminate the USB 3 connection. In my testing, some machines will run a USB 3 device, connected as USB 2, faster than USB 2 devices will work (it depends on the device, and the controller). There have been questions about whether mouse, and keyboard, will work. Yes, they do, but not until the driver loads (same as always). They can be used before boot, as long as the machine BIOS will operate them.

The web browser has had another step forward, with the new GCC 9.2 support. Still waiting though.

JAVA. Yeah, that needs some serious work. It also needs some donations to get it (and other things, including the browser) done.

ArcaOS is a huge step forward from eCS. Although there were a few things carried forward, most of it is new. One of the main things is that Arca Noae has permission from IBM to distribute patched OS/2 modules. Nobody else can do that, legally. The permission only applies to OS/2 sold by Arca Noae, as ArcaOS. They cannot retrofit patched software into earlier versions of OS/2. The patched kernel is much better than older kernels (but it still has a few problems).

We recently got an update for Apache OpenOffice. Apparently that also needs more funding.

Quote
The other problem is that I can't run VirtualBox on those machines

Out of curiosity, what is the problem? VBox (vbox-os2-i386-v5.0.51.zip) works on my Asus A88XM-A machine (it isn't Ryzen). The main problem, that I have, is that VBox uses huge amounts of lower shared memory space (as well as upper shared memory), so I need to be very careful what is running, when I start it (I only run winXP as a guest). One good thing, is that it seems to release most (if not all) of that memory, when I close it.

David Kiley

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Re: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2020, 05:50:30 am »
Good points Doug.
Looks like there are more developments than I thought.

Doug Bissett

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Re: Can ArcaOS replace my current OS?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2020, 07:37:55 pm »
Quote
Looks like there are more developments than I thought.

That list is not anywhere near complete. I didn't mention the on going development of the Multimac drivers (including WiFi, but USB 3 is more important), JFS fixes, ACPI enhancements, Boot loader changes (includes the RAMDISK that works in memory above the 4 GB mark - thanks to Digi), Air boot enhancements, AHCI fixes, UEFI (without CSM) support, and probably a couple of dozen other things. Still planned, but not in active development (AFAIK), is GPT disk support. None of this is easy, and there aren't very many developers working on all of it. Fortunately, they are the best available, so things happen, eventually.

You also need to remember, that you can purchase more support (usually only businesses), and these same guys have to do that too.

The bottom line is, that ArcaOS is a huge step past where eCS left off. It is still limited by the OS/2 architecture, but they are learning how to work around some of that. They are also limited by the contract with IBM, and that is the main reason why some "outside" enhancements are not implemented. OS4, for instance, could be in big trouble, if IBM decided to sue them for "reverse engineering" the kernel (even if OS4 was cleared, the legal costs would be staggering). Arca Noae cannot take chances with the legality of a lot of that stuff. FAT32 is close to the edge, but it has been around long enough that it probably won't be challenged (although it is likely that Microsoft wouldn't hesitate, if they thought it would get something for them). AN has dropped the FAT12/16, and ExFAT support, that others have done in the FAT32 driver, mostly because it is not clear that it is legal to do that. Then, of course, there are financial limits. Arca Noae would love to make money, but it seems that the costs, and the income, are almost balancing.

And on, and on. It is a delicate balance, and Arca Noae seems to be doing a good job of staying on the path.