Archive for October, 2014

Warpstock 2014

Warpstock 2014

Warpstock 2014

Now its time for the yearly OS/2 conference about the current OS/2 and eComStation related developments in 2014. There were several interesting presentations starting with the 2nd new OS/2 focused development company “Arca Noae” with bitwise being the first one. Bitwise is mainly working on applications and Arca Noae will be more focused on developing drivers. A side note of this: there seem to be now 2 main developers for the Firefox port.

“Arca Noae” by Steven Levine
Introduction of the new OS/2 company, the goal and the agreement to work with current well known OS/2 companies or organizations. They are also open to work together with Mensys/XEU, but till today there is no such an agreement. For the Subscription Service of eCS that includes programs and driver updates it will be a good thing when XEU will have an agreement with Arca Noae to continue to refresh the drivers for existing customers. The goal of Arca Noae is to provide updated drivers that will support OS/2 to run on new hardware.

The planed services for registered customers are the following:

  • driver updates on the website via WarpIN-packages or rpms
  • software subscription service
  • software package purchased in bundles
  • software packages purchased individuality


  • ACPI
  • USB driver stack
  • Panorama Video driver
  • os2ahci driver
  • multimac network drivers


  • Apache OpenOffice 4.x
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • GUI front-end for RPM/YUM

The future of eComStation by Menso de Jong
The presentation first started with the history of Mensys, founding of the company before the internet age and the first years, the e aim was to sell OS/2 and OS/2 application licenses. Next Mensys became an IBM reseller with all IBM products including the Warp3/4 releases at this time. In the beginning of the year 2000 OS/2 OEM licenses were purchased from Serenity System and later directly from IBM. In 2009 Mensys bought eComStation from Serenity System. In 2012 Mensys ran into financial problems because of the drop in eComStation sales and problems in other areas. Next was the founding of a new company, which took over the main parts of Mensys including eComstation. From 2014 on Joachim Benjamins works for and is
the responsible Manager for eComstation. The plan for 2015 is to found another company for eComstation itself. Mensys/Xeu has/had big sales of licenses of eComstation but the feedback there is no feedback from these corporate customers in the opposite to the private users. Like this is unknown what kind of features these customers like to see added, it was said that they want just a stable base (with no changes?) but on the other hand they plan the transition to new hardware.
Somehow its not clear how Mensys/ have a roadmap of developments for customer needs. In this case of new hardware support both customer groups are in the same boat – they need updated or new drivers and of course this requires developers and money. A good project in the past was the development of the SATA AHCI driver and the Java port that was partly funded by Mensys.
There was an internal application developer for customer specific applications, and he thought that he can do other development of drivers and the system but that failed. That was probably in the year 2012/2013 when Mensys lost the contact to the other developers. It’s maybe one point why the renewal of existing contracts with developers failed. This situation leads to another delay of eComStation 2.2. The new plan is to have an agreement with Arca Noae for future developments of eComstation. Another interesting fact was the question about the SNAP driver development and the answer that the CEO doesn’t know anything about this internal project.

USB driver updates by Lars Erdmann
Lars was talking about his development history and never released software that was partly unfinished. He develops software for fun or because of the interest to resolve existing problems, for this reason he came to the usb driver development. His computer with a SIS chipset had hangs or other issues with usb drivers at that time. The main work was to fix existing bugs in the usb driver mainly reported by Ruediger Ihle because of his work on the Emperoar TV application. Ruediger already had binary patches to address most of the problems. Right now he’s working on the usbmsd.add driver to resolve the problems of devices such as card readers that need logical unit number support, this code is missing in the source. Another problem is the clean unmount/eject of connected USB mass storage devices during the shutdown process of the system. He is developing in his spare time only that’s why there is no plan to work on a new usb 3 host controller driver.

Warpstock 2014 Lars Erdmann

Warpstock 2014: Lars Erdmann

The list of the main fixes/updates to the usb drivers:

  • usbehcd.sys: implementation of the isochronous transfer mode
  • usb.sys: change the way of device enumeration (based on the work by martin kiewitz)
  • usbcom.sys: fixes for the prolific com device class problem, vendor/device tables updates and code to handle prolific devices
  • usbhid: include fixes by ruediger ihle, fixes for enumerating combined mouse/keyboard devices
  • usbmsd.add: removable devices attach fix, in progress: unmount/eject on shutdown and large floppy support

“Arca Noae” driver updates by David Azarwicz
David gave an overview about the ongoing driver development and the plans for future updates. The only way to report bugs and to get support is the arca noae website and not the existing project website.

  • acpi
    • incorporate the latest acpica from intel
    • shutdown fixes for XWorkplace
    • new high resolution timer that is smp safe
    • nvidia chipset problem not solved (and hardly will)
  • USB driver
    • include all usb driver updates from lars
    • usbport.sys: fixes for smp issues
    • usbport and usbaudio drivers are now included in the usb driver package
    • updates to usbcalls
  • Multimac
    • a new system library (drv16/drv32) that is free but cannot be open sourced
    • a new layer/library for porting linux and bsd drivers (lcl32/bcl32)
    • the work on the bsd lib bcl32 is 95% done
    • the driver lib allows the port without changing the driver source, some debugging is maybe still required
    • work on a new wired broadcom driver
    • future plans for multimac wifi drivers
  • Uniaud
    • restructure of the uniaud project to make it easier to include newer ALSA updates
    • this task is 20% done, the next release will be ready in 2015 (based on ALSA 1.0.25)
  • Panorama
    • latest version 1.07
    • detecting video buffer size problem
  • JFS: v1.09.06 fixes a problem when a log redo would corrupt a disk

OS/2 ports by Paul Smedley
Paul gave an overview on his main work on important software ports that are used by other projects such as GCC for OS/2. The current klibc is already 2 years now and requires fixes for annoying bugs that make the work for porting application more time consuming. There have been some new updates recently but in case of slow progress of fixing bugs its required to do a fork of klibc. Paul is porting lots of different software to OS/2 and there is a need for continued feedback by the end users when things are working well and not only when not. The first task is to check the readme before complaining about errors, then a detailed bug report and how to reproduce the problem is required when opening a ticket. Another update for QT5 is required because most of the QT based application have switched to QT5.

The list of proudest porting achievements:

  • GCC for OS/2, current GCC is required to port applications from other platforms
  • CUPS (modern printer support for OS/2), hplib
  • libusb 1.0 which is used by Sane and CUPS
  • the work on uniaud in the past