Author Topic: Criticisms of Panorama VESA  (Read 10128 times)

cytan

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Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« on: 2009.06.14, 15:42:23 »
Hi all,
   I'm just wondering what everyone's opinion of Panorama is. After reading some threads here on choosing eCS compatible hardware, some people just don't like Panorama. However, looking at the new ecomstation video
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCiRd1bp-zc
where the thinkpad SL300 (which is at best a 2.26GHz core 2 duo)is used to play DVDs, I'm not convinced that Panorama is as bad as what people say it is.

   So my questions are:

(1) Does panorama suck :-) ?
(2) Is it compatible with XFree86, full screen DOS or other software?
(3) Better or worse than SNAP?

   Let the criticisms begin :-)

cytan

chennecke

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #1 on: 2009.06.14, 16:01:31 »
Well, I wouldn't say that it sucks. But it basically is a work-around and does not provide any hardware acceleration. Thanks to the clever buffering it's not dead slow but it's still slow compared to SNAP.

One thing that people are having problems with is SDL playback at 32 bit color depth. From what I've heard that's due to a color space pecularity in OS/2 and should be rather easy to fix.

On the other side SNAP shows problems with SMP systems that Panorama allegedly does not have.

DougB

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #2 on: 2009.06.14, 16:54:27 »
Panorama seems to work fine (I haven't used it a lot), but I use SNAP, simply because it also works (in VESA 2.0 mode, on my new systems),  and it will allow Doodle's Screen Saver to power off my screens, while Panorama will not. Of course, SNAP works better on my older systems.

Saijin_Naib

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #3 on: 2009.06.14, 17:36:48 »
I like Panorama fine but it is incredibly slow for 3d and complex 2d and is just... terrible for scrolling content (webpages, large folders, text documents, MrMessage buddy list, etc etc etc). It does however, FLY compared to SNAP VESA.

osw

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #4 on: 2009.06.14, 18:56:55 »
Hi all!

Well, your questions are easy - to ask. Answers however are not so simple.
If panorama sucks? If you want to have os/2/ecs just working somehow - it definitely doesn't suck. It allows you to install aged os on very modern hardware. It is universal - so it supports wide range of hardware. In theory you must not bother if ecs will install on particular video card, no matter what you have you will get screen working. In those aspects it's similar to other drivers presently developed like acpi, uniaudio and genmac.
All those drivers are about to cover wide range of hardware and increase chance that ecs will find it compatible enough to install and work on it.
But here similarities end. While uniaudio supports more than 2 audio channels on hd hardware, acpi let to use more than single core of modern cpu's (among other things like apic for instance) and genmac allows to use wi-fi cards - panorama does not provide any benefits from having better software. No matter how fast video card you put into - you will get VESA performance.
While other drivers give you progress over past (more audio channels, more cores, faster wi-fi standard) - panorama gives regression - slower performance, no 2d acceleration, no native panel resolution programing, no nothing.....
To give you some clue...
In panorama faq, one of advices how to increase slow desktop operations...
"... to increase speed of screen operations you might try to disable "full window dragging"..." 
So, now we must answer to ourselves - what do we want from os/2/ecs in the future? Just to install on modern hardware. If so, then it's okay. We should be happy. Perhaps for next couple of years it will be still possible.
But in such case we must say good bye to comfortable work with office suites, web browsers, bitmap viewers and of course to video players. Maybe such limited usability is ok for somebody, for me it is not.
Such shrinking functionality will not attract new users. Instead it may speed up migration to other platforms developed with future in mind. What advantages will have warp over other platforms? WPS? With unpatched bugs inside and closed sources? Kernel? Dead and depending on "how long will ia32 instructions in new cpu's" be supported? Who's going to pay for ecs? Owners of 486's and pentiums I? Can you see many corporate users buing new machines to run ecs on it?
What will be next generation of ecs video drivers? Text mode monochrome for fullscreen non-wps apps?
It won't work that way for long. New bounty is needed here. Decent video driver with full 2d acceleration
similar to snap - or os/2 death will have to be confirmed.


rwklein

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #5 on: 2009.06.14, 23:51:06 »
Hi all!

Well, your questions are easy - to ask. Answers however are not so simple.
If panorama sucks? If you want to have os/2/ecs just working somehow - it definitely doesn't suck. It allows you to install aged os on very modern hardware. It is universal - so it supports wide range of hardware. In theory you must not bother if ecs will install on particular video card, no matter what you have you will get screen working. In those aspects it's similar to other drivers presently developed like acpi, uniaudio and genmac.
All those drivers are about to cover wide range of hardware and increase chance that ecs will find it compatible enough to install and work on it.
But here similarities end. While uniaudio supports more than 2 audio channels on hd hardware, acpi let to use more than single core of modern cpu's (among other things like apic for instance) and genmac allows to use wi-fi cards - panorama does not provide any benefits from having better software. No matter how fast video card you put into - you will get VESA performance.
While other drivers give you progress over past (more audio channels, more cores, faster wi-fi standard) - panorama gives regression - slower performance, no 2d acceleration, no native panel resolution programing, no nothing.....
To give you some clue...
In panorama faq, one of advices how to increase slow desktop operations...
"... to increase speed of screen operations you might try to disable "full window dragging"..." 
So, now we must answer to ourselves - what do we want from os/2/ecs in the future? Just to install on modern hardware. If so, then it's okay. We should be happy. Perhaps for next couple of years it will be still possible.
But in such case we must say good bye to comfortable work with office suites, web browsers, bitmap viewers and of course to video players. Maybe such limited usability is ok for somebody, for me it is not.
Such shrinking functionality will not attract new users. Instead it may speed up migration to other platforms developed with future in mind. What advantages will have warp over other platforms? WPS? With unpatched bugs inside and closed sources? Kernel? Dead and depending on "how long will ia32 instructions in new cpu's" be supported? Who's going to pay for ecs? Owners of 486's and pentiums I? Can you see many corporate users buing new machines to run ecs on it?
What will be next generation of ecs video drivers? Text mode monochrome for fullscreen non-wps apps?
It won't work that way for long. New bounty is needed here. Decent video driver with full 2d acceleration
similar to snap - or os/2 death will have to be confirmed.



The 32 bit computer arena will not leave for at least another 5 years and that is a modest guess. Second a lot of video cards will keep some kind of VESA Interface in the video card.

I have no clue what your talking about with Panorama performance. But both me and Joachim (on a T60) use Panorama at 1024x768 64000 colours. I can use Open Office, Firefox with Flash. I can even drag a window playing a flash movie in Firefox without any real performance hit.

I guess a lot of people don't understand what a pain it is to develop code for nice broad chipset support.
You can come up with a bounty, but its not realistic ? Sounds pessimistic ? I know how much work Scitech had to build support for some video chipsets. So a bountry of a few hundred dollars won't cut the cake. It will need much more and it will need continued funding to stay current.
One thing is certain the Panorama performance is much faster then standard GRADD/ SNAP Vesa.

Make certain GRADD.SYS in \OS2 is 4635 bytes big and then in the screen object the frame buffer is switched on.
I'm sorry but to proclaim that OS/2 is dead with Panorama is a bit of a wild guess.

What you should also not forget is that the statement on ecomstation.ru is from a Russian perspective. The Russians for eCS 1.2R made a special release of the eCS demo CD with low memory usage (below 64 MB ram!). So Panorama on  Pentium 60...
But a duo core, its like a TGV..

Roderick Klein
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abwillis

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #6 on: 2009.06.15, 00:34:49 »
To a large extent performance is subjective and not objective.  On this T42 I use SNAP but have tested Panorama.  In usage, I don't really see a difference (subjective) but the benchmarks showed quite a difference (objective).  However, I then installed on a T61 and SNAP only works in VESA mode so there I used Panorama and the benchmarks on it were higher than with SNAP on this T42.  I have now been running on a Thinkpad Z61M and though I haven't had a chance to benchmark it yet, subjectively I see it as being quite good (running 1680x1050).  I'd love to see what accelerated drivers on either of those systems would do but it largely would be seen only on the benchmarks and not noticed in day to day operations. 

Blonde Guy

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #7 on: 2009.06.15, 04:16:39 »
I've benchmarked Panorama vs SNAP VESA on an  Intel Corporation Eaglelake Integrated Graphics Controller built into the motherboard, and found SNAP VESA to be faster. However, Panorama (plus the widescreen activator) supports greater screen resolutions, 1920 x 1200 vs. 1440 x 900. But at higher resolutions, Panorama image quality is bad, so I wind up running at 1440 x 900 even with Panorama.

Best way to support Panorama would be with an active developer fixing those small, annoying bugs based on public input like a forum or newsgroup.
Expert Consulting for OS/2 and eComStation

Radek

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #8 on: 2009.06.15, 09:22:37 »
(1) "Sucks" is not the correct word. It is, at least, something. Naturally, in comparison with an accelerated driver, Panorama sucks. But when you have no accelerated driver? Panorama is many times faster than SNAP VESA driver, so that it's SNAP who is now sucking, not Panorama. If you have no driver then no Panorama = total disaster.
(2) Fullscreen DOS ok. XFree86 - I don't know. BUT ...
- Panorama isn't compatible with dive. Well, the Panorama guys state that it's the (dive) soft who is buggy but try even the simplest demos from os2 toolkit or from EDM. They are "buggy" as well - and they are "buggy" the same way as the supposedly buggy soft. Therefore, who is here buggy? Most likely, Panorama needs its own dive.dll . Examples: no dive = no VPC, no SDL based apps, ...
- Lot of software relies on SNAP today. This soft will not run with Panorama or it will run with restrictions.
(3) Far better than SNAP VESA, far worse than SNAP.

Sigurd

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #9 on: 2009.06.15, 09:28:23 »
Hi,

regarding Panorama and the Lenovo SL300 I used for the video:

- usually Panorama works fast enough with this laptop (for me)
- Playing a video with Warpvision or SMP Player works, but from time to time it seems not to be as fluent a it ought to be, mostly it is running stable and fast enough

what I really would like to have:

- correcting of this annoying colour fault when using SDL applications (like ScummVM or DOSBOX)
- a simple way to use the VGA output of the Laptop
- from time to time parts of the Windows of programs are missing or not displayed properly, once you click at those missing parts those appaer

For me SNAP was allways more stable and faster but I guess there will be no chance to bring 2D Accelaration to Panorama.

Sigurd

Radek

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #10 on: 2009.06.15, 09:31:51 »
2 Blonde Guy: It seems that it depends on the HW. ATI Mobility Radeon X700 here, !6 MB shadow buffer, write combine enabled. SNAP VESA is unbearably slow, Panorama is many times faster so that I can run at 1920x1200 true color and I can move even large windows around the screen almost completely smoothly. Windows, not frames.

abwillis

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #11 on: 2009.06.15, 22:27:38 »
The latest SDL is designed to work with vman.dll (if I recall correctly) so that it will play nice with Panorama.

cytan

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #12 on: 2009.06.15, 22:51:44 »
I know this might be daft :-), but is it possible to just REALLY support one ATI video card family like the HD4550 so that at least we have one card that will have 2D acceleration.

cytan

DougB

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #13 on: 2009.06.18, 05:39:39 »
Quote
I know this might be daft :-), but is it possible to just REALLY support one ATI video card family like the HD4550 so that at least we have one card that will have 2D acceleration.

I think that "daft" is the wrong word. "impossible" is closer to reality. Many new motherboards, and all laptops, come with whatever the manufacturer decides to include. When you convince all manufacturers, to use only one chip, your idea will work. I expect that IBM will pick up OS/2, and develop it properly, before that will ever happen.

cytan

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Re: Criticisms of Panorama VESA
« Reply #14 on: 2009.06.18, 20:53:18 »
Hi Doug,
   I know that I'm not too bright :-). But since most of us eCS (OS/2) enthusiasts do build our machines with hardware which are compatible with eCS, it wouldn't be out of the range of possibility that for desktop machines that we have one family of video cards which are very well supported. The reason for this suggestion is that there are just so few developers left and asking for resources to support every known card in the universe is just too much. Perhaps that's the reason why the Panorama developers are only writing to the VESA standard. We do need 2-D acceleration, and so by narrowing our view, it has a better chance of happening than broadening it.

   Just my 2 cents.

cytan


Quote
I know this might be daft :-), but is it possible to just REALLY support one ATI video card family like the HD4550 so that at least we have one card that will have 2D acceleration.

I think that "daft" is the wrong word. "impossible" is closer to reality. Many new motherboards, and all laptops, come with whatever the manufacturer decides to include. When you convince all manufacturers, to use only one chip, your idea will work. I expect that IBM will pick up OS/2, and develop it properly, before that will ever happen.