Author Topic: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?  (Read 19776 times)

Grackle

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Greetings everybody, longtime lurker, first time poster here.

At the risk of getting flamed on my first post, I will ask a very basic question.  I am your average computer duffer, not an IT guy, don't know my way around HTML or anything-- just a guy who uses and needs a computer for their everyday life.  My curiosity of all things OS/2 came from a long-ago conversation with a guy who did know his way around a computer's guts, and who adored this OS for its stability and elegance.  Fast forward to my first laptop (had a desktop for years) in September 2008, a Dell XPS.  Not a bad system, but sweet jebus I got so tired of the Blue Screen Of Death happening weekly.  My writing and consulting business is starting to gain some traction, to the point where I'm going to need a dedicated work system, and leave the Dell specifically for home use.

I live in Germany so my concern is to get a system that won't let me down/lose information, dodges most viruses and hacks out there, and lets me go about my daily routine without fanfare-- my experiences with the Dell (and Vista/XP/the truly awful Me, etc.) make me want to steer clear of Microsoft products though, and Apple holds no allure either.  I was thinking eCS.  Blondeguy has been very cool in this regard, and if I am to get a eCS laptop, it'll likely be one of his pre-loaded systems, but I'll ask the board-- can a computer illiterate like me (one who's used to 100% compatibility) live with eCS, and will I be able to use it with zero changes in my daily routine?  This means using a wireless mouse (never could get the hang of a touchpad) surfing the web, playing music (i.e. visiting Last.fm, buying and playing MP3's), watching videos and movies online, writing, sending, receiving and printing documents and spreadsheets -- you know, normal duffer stuff.  It would appear that the eCS 2.0 addresses most of the quirks of the previous generations of eCS & OS/2, but I'm no expert. 

In theory anyways, I am what Serenity is looking for-- an average Joe user willing to make the leap of faith from MS and Apple products and into their product.  But am I ready for it?  And is it ready for me?  Flame on people!

G

Pete

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #1 on: 2009.07.24, 15:51:16 »
Hi

I use a Logitech EX110 Desktop (wireless keyboard and mouse) with my eCS system without any problems - apart from needing mouse batteries replaced every few (3/4) weeks. Guess that answers question 1  :-)

You will want to look to add some software (mainly free  :-) to an eCS system in order to accomplish most, if not all, of your requirements:-

Probably an updated version of Firefox browser and Thunderbird mail/news - or Seamonkey "Internet Suite" - free
OpenOffice for M$ Office capability - costs

mplayer (media player) and Smplayer (a gui for mplayer) for multimedia playback - free  - there is a "how to get this working with a browser" here http://www.os2world.com/content/view/17999/2/

Flash playback - Flash7 is free - can be a pain; sometimes it works fine, sometimes it does not - and it can crash the browser. Hopefully the Flash10 for eCS will become available soon and resolve most, if not all, Flash problems. I understand Flash10 will be a freebie for eCS2.0 systems - probably requires the eCS2.0 system to be Registered.

There is an mp3 package that hooks into the system and makes the system natively capable of playing mp3 files - free  - hopefully someone else will provide a few details as I *never* bother with compressed noise.

I think the above answers your main queries.

If/When ordering your system from Blondeguy you may want to ask if he can supply, install and configure the extra software. Be aware that could involve some extra cost - especially if you order OpenOffice.

If you were reasonably competent using a WinPC then there is no reason that you should not be able to adapt to other systems - but these things do take a little while  :-)

Regards

Pete



chennecke

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #2 on: 2009.07.24, 16:03:33 »
I'd say no.

  • Watching movies online will probably give you a headache. Flash 10 is under development, but still very unstable.
  • There is no easy-to-use accounting software available. I'm using Textbuch my Martin Vieregg (www.textbuch.de) but that works like a compiler. If you are looking for something that includes creating offers and invoices, managing your customers base, and accounting, you are out of luck. There are some open sourced web-based applications but they are notoriouly badly documented and last I looked they required modules that are not available on OS/2. There are also some for OOo, but see below.
  • Online filing of tax reports is not possible. Elster does not exist for OS/2, and the online version requires a later Java version. Textbuch includes a feature for generating a file for Winston, but I never got that to run on OS/2 with the Odin wrapper.
  • Given that OOo relies on a current Java for several features, those are not available on OS/2.

All in all, I wouldn't advise SOHO users to switch to OS/2 or eComStation. You'd probably be better off with Ubuntu Linux.

Blonde Guy

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #3 on: 2009.07.24, 17:13:31 »
Thanks for the kind words.

My preloaded computers already come with the Flash 7 and OpenOffice.org mentioned above. I try to give my customers the software I use every day on my eCS system. No system is perfect, and I just do what I can.

I love watching music videos, but I use YouTube. I just tried Last.FM, and it doesn't work. My Flash 7 is too old. Playing MP3 and watching movies works fine if you have the actual media files, but if it's some commercial web site, they may have it locked up so I can't use it. This could all improve a lot with the new Flash 10. (See other OS/2 World posts about that.)

Exchanging MS Word docs, spreadsheets etc. works very well. The new DOCX format from MS Office 2003 is problematic, we have a beta that doesn't always work for me. I do not currently include the beta on my systems.

Finally, apologies for everyone about my website. I've sold every machine I built, so please be patient while I build up my inventory again.
Expert Consulting for OS/2 and eComStation

wesco

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #4 on: 2009.07.24, 22:44:11 »
my company quit ecs last year because of ancient java, adobe reader, flash, etc. our network engineer, a former forum member and financial contributor, warned that these must have programs were more important than acpi, etc. and was flamed for it.

linux really isn't much more practical than os/2 with openSUSE being the best for an out of the box windows replacement. we tested it for a month. not practical. a computer is merely a tool. while i agree that os/2 is the most elegent operating system in the world, it is now useless and expensive.

we replaced 24 os/2 engineering work stations mostly with Vista. we run ecs in virtual pc in the accounting department for on line banking. not a single crash or shell freeze, we're glad we dumped os/2 and aren't looking back.

we are sad to have been forced off os/2; but, we are a business and serenity isn't about keeping os/2 practical. we absolutely wish os/2 users well.

cyber

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #5 on: 2009.07.27, 10:27:31 »
Thats what I'm talking for years.  >:( It become more and more Useless and expensive.  And years just passes away and nothing changed.  Except ACPI ?  ;)

melf

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #6 on: 2009.07.28, 01:24:03 »
I guess users have quite different starting points. For me eCS has become more and more useful. I think the following years will be better as quite a lot of bugs have been taken care of the latest year.

We have Open Office, Thunderbird (though I know exchanged it for PMMail), Firefox and a coming updated flashplugin. There is plenty of plugins for Net drive, eg I'm using sftp to access documents on my work. I use PMView for viewing and "light- processing" pictures and GIMP via hoblinkx11 for more heavy work on images. I use Mercury (1.9.5) for MSN. We have Smplayer for nearly all kind of videos an eg PM123 for mp3:s oggs and so on. Paul Smedley has ported and developed uniaud also for HD sound and have made a lot of other ports - eg the Scribus port for desktop publishing which seem to work great. We've had a great time with genmac although this developement maybee is ending. A lift of the desktop is eschemes, in 1.50 quite stable, though I look forward to further developement. DVD toys is also a great utility for CD-dvd burning. Well - not to forget bootable JFS developed in the last years...and the ongoing ACPI-project. I can see a quite heavy lift and developement from lets say 5,6,7 years ago..and related to resources..... what could one expect? We all know the weaknesses and what we don't have - like accelerated graphics, latest java - and access to the latest hardware but we also know why.

So for my part I can use my eCS system for most of the things I have to do, and I am happy to have a responsive system in opposite to work in a Windows based one. So if you  don't need extensive multimediasupport and access to the very latest hardware I say eCS is a great choice.
/Mikael

warpcafe

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #7 on: 2009.07.28, 19:19:22 »
Hi melf,

well - that was a good summary and viewpoint! Nice read.

Cheers
Thomas
"It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority.
By definition, there are already enough people to do that"
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cyber

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #8 on: 2009.07.29, 09:07:33 »
Hi Melf,

different starting points really.

So for my part I can use my eCS system for most of the things I have to do, and I am happy to have a responsive system in opposite to work in a Windows based one. So if you  don't need extensive multimediasupport and access to the very latest hardware I say eCS is a great choice.

I like You use my OS for MOST of the things I have to do, but this is the My main problem.  I can pretend that I do not need Google Earth, online games, pdf documents, red-eye filter for photos, bluetooth file transfer, that I do not care about my dc++ client is now unable to comunicate with 30% of windows clients, that I do not want to copy files for my friend flash, and similar, but there is lot of things I must do, and for that I use second PC with other OS.  :( For any newbie I can just say that eCS is so fast and stable OS compared to any other on Earth, that is probably ported from Alien crashed spacecraft, only problem is that You sometime need to steal hardware from local museum, and lot of things just isn't developed yet, and another year is passing away.    :'(


ivan

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #9 on: 2009.07.29, 13:03:47 »
There may be as many points of view as there are readers and users of OS/2.    I say OS/2 because we are told that eCS is OS/2 but improved.

From reading this and other sites it appears that the underlying OS/2 is unchanged because the source code is unavailable.  The drawback of this is the fact the kernel does need improvement.
There are few other things that need improvement like access to new network devices, IPv6 etc.  ACPI, while an improvement, appears to be going backwards at the moment if the number of posts recommending backing out of the latest version to get a stable working system is anything to go by.

There are a number of things required of a modern OS.  The ability to run the latest Java apps, a good flash player, support for the latest video cards etc.  I leave out Acrobat reader because we have Ghost script even if it does need a better front end.

For things like Google Earth we need an update of Odin, such an update might even answer some of the other perceived needs of users.  The one thing I have not seen anywhere is a list of things people would like to do with OS/2.  Maybe we should compile such a list to see what people think is needed.

To start such a list here are some of the things I would like:

Update of native Java.
A better front end for Ghost Script.
An update to Odin.
Video drivers for new cards.
A native version of Open Office.
A way of using MS network card drivers - something like ndiswrapper which allows you to add a win driver on the fly.
A viewer for MS Reader e-books.
An update of the WfW input and output filters for Describe.


As a last thought I would like to see Mensys, Serenity or whoever, package the various addons they have and offer them separate to eCS so those of us using OS/2 could also use them.

cytan

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #10 on: 2009.07.29, 14:45:08 »
Here's what I know about what you said:

Update of native Java   --- Agreed. This is also critical for me.

A better front end for Ghost Script --- ghostview is the frontend. Works well for me BUT there is a shared memory leak! If you want to read pdf's Lucide works great for me.

An update to Odin ---- the flash 10 port now being done is updating Odin. Hopefully will enable more win32 programs to run

Video drivers for new cards  --- Panorama is supposed to be good enough. See Panorama thread.

A native version of Open Office  -- We already have this. The beta version actually works quite well. I'm using it everyday.

Don't know anything about the following:

A way of using MS network card drivers
A viewer for MS Reader e-books.
An update of the WfW input and output filters for Describe.

ivan

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #11 on: 2009.07.29, 15:05:07 »
cytan,

I use Ghostview but it could be much better - like having the pages popup open all the time and a few other things.  I keep on hearing about Lucide  but it , like Panorama, the new flash 10 and Open Office, appears to be only for eCS and I have OS/2 on all my machines here and have no need to purchase eCS just to get the addons.

Now what else would you add to my list of needed items?

cytan

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #12 on: 2009.07.29, 15:19:36 »
cytan,

I use Ghostview but it could be much better - like having the pages popup open all the time and a few other things.  I keep on hearing about Lucide  but it , like Panorama, the new flash 10 and Open Office, appears to be only for eCS and I have OS/2 on all my machines here and have no need to purchase eCS just to get the addons.

Now what else would you add to my list of needed items?


For ghostview: what do you mean "pages popup open all the time"? I use ghostview all the time and am pretty happy with it except for the shared memory leak.

Another thing which I really would like is to have a newer version of XFree86. Our version is just too old!

cytan
« Last Edit: 2009.07.29, 15:22:43 by cytan »

ivan

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #13 on: 2009.07.29, 16:03:52 »
Quote
For ghostview: what do you mean "pages popup open all the time"?

The 'Select Page' pointing finger.  You select a page and the selection box closes - when you are flipping back and forward frequently in a document (e.g. a manual where you have to keep referring back to a diagram) it becomes very annoying.  In that respect Acrobat reader has the advantage of the pages pane.

I agree with the XFree86, though I tend to use HobX11.

chennecke

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Re: This Noob wants to know: Is eCS right for me (long-ish)?
« Reply #14 on: 2009.07.29, 16:42:38 »
From reading this and other sites it appears that the underlying OS/2 is unchanged because the source code is unavailable.  The drawback of this is the fact the kernel does need improvement.

Well, the kernel in eCS actually has been changed. It's patched at run-time to enable operation on modern CPUs.

An update of the WfW input and output filters for Describe.

I don't know who owns the rights for those. If it's the Describe owner, forget it. From what I've read about its history, the owner will never ever open source it. Anyway, the source code for those is most probably long gone.

As a last thought I would like to see Mensys, Serenity or whoever, package the various addons they have and offer them separate to eCS so those of us using OS/2 could also use them.

You've got to be kidding. Those are serious selling points for eComStation. Mensys/SSI would be shooting themselves in the foot if they made those generally available.