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Mar 4, 2018 | Feb 11, 2018 | Jan 28, 2018 | previous

The shocking.com email service has been unreliable at times, so I have set up an alternative email address

Latest News

Arca Noae released (2/12/2018) their ArcaOS Bootable USB Stick Image Package. This package follows onto the included USB stick creation utility shipped with ArcaOS 5.0.2, allowing you to create a bootable USB ArcaOS 5.0.2 installation stick without a running OS/2 system. It includes native binaries to restore the stick image from Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as OS/2.

VLC media player version 3.0.0 has been ported (2/11/2018) to OS/2. This is a highly portable multimedia player and multimedia framework capable of reading most audio and video formats (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, DivX, MPEG-1, MP3, OGG, AAC) as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

Lewis Rosenthal reports that Warptock 2018 will be held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 14-16. If you register before May 1st, you'll get a $30 early bird discount, while students can attend for free. For last year's event in Toronto, you can view a picture gallery, the presentation materials, and YouTube videos of the presentations.

Ryan C. Gordon, of icculus.org fame, spent a bit of time hacking on "'2ine,' pronounced 'twine,' which emulates OS/2 binaries in the same way that Wine emulates Windows binaries." He managed to get quite a bit of command line OS/2 apps running on Linux (including compilers), as well as some bare bones Presentation Manager windowing support (just enough to draw a rectangle on the screen). It's unlikely that he will spend any more on it, but the source code is available for anyone else to play around with.

There is a nice 45 minute YouTube video celebrating 30 years of OS/2. It goes over some history, as well as how it can be used today.

VOICE has been organizing IRC chats (VOICE SpeakUp) with developers and organizations supporting the OS/2 community. The first two events were with Arca Noae: Saturday, February 17th, and Sunday, February 25th. The third was with Bitwiseworks, the company that works on ports like OpenOffice and Fiefox, on March 3rd. For these events, you can use an IRC client, or the webchat channel #os2voice. From VOICE News.

ArcaOS 5.0.2 has been released (2/10/2018). This refreshed install contains various updates, including an updated Samba client, and the new ability to install from an ArcaOS bootable USB stick. Note that the ArcaOS installer does not support upgrading a previous install, so if you are already successfully running 5.0.x, it is recommended that you simply apply any updates that get released separately, rather than do a fresh install. You may also like to read my earlier mini review.

Lars Erdmann and Wim Brul continue to improve the USB drivers; the latest features are support for 24-bit audio, and sample frequencies greater than 64KHz, on USB audio devices (speakers and headphones) that support such features in hardware. Hopefully, someone can take that work and extend it to UniAud as well. In other USB news, Arca Noae has begun converting some of the USB code to 32-bit, in anticipation of USB3 support, and Lars has expressed concern that the driver interfaces will become incompatible with third-party USB driver work, such as the work that he and Wim continue to invest.

The VOICE Foundation has outlined a list of plans for 2018. They include: a TeamViewer kind of solution (packaging up an existing port of VNC?); Warpstock Europe 2018 in Berlin; a tool to install LAN Server components on ArcaOS; the browser funding campaign (which really starts as a Qt5 funding campaign, I think); and a free RPM software library for OS/2 applications. They also commit to financial transparency for all donations. From VOICE News.

Last September, Adrian Gschwend wrote a retrospective article for the 20th anniversary of netlabs.org. He also did a remote presentation for Warpstock 2017 in Canada. He would like to replace the aging netlabs.org server, and is looking to raise $3000 in sponsorships.

The UniAud sound drivers have been refreshed (1/17/2018), with some fixes for Realtek mixers, and MSI support. This is based on the GPL ALSA Project from Linux and provides drivers for various sound chipsets, including HDA, AC97, and PCI cards. Note that the cause of repeating system sounds has been found to be a bug in IBM's SND.DLL, and there is a workaround available. For what it's worth, this project has stagnated for quite a while now; ALSA 1.0.24 is from early 2011, while the current upstream version is 1.1.5.

Dave Yeo has released (12/19/2017) an updated OS/2 build of SeaMonkey 2.42.9, based on the Bitwise fork of Firefox. There are additional external dependencies required now; see my Warpzilla Tips page for more information, as well as mozsupport and mozmedia packages. Note that the SeaMonkey project skipped from version 2.40 to 2.46 on other platforms, and Dave has back-ported some fixes. The refreshed build has fixes for full screen, and plugin support; reports suggest that disabling Chatzilla may prevent some heavy CPU usage.

The OS/2 Guest Additions for VirtualBox were updated (12/18/2017) as part of the recent VirtualBox 5 update (for other platforms). If you are running OS/2 on a Virtualbox VM, use "Devices - Insert Guest Additions CD Image...", then check the OS/2 CD drive inside the /OS2 directory. From OS2World.

The fork of OpenWatcom has refreshed (11/3/2017) their version 2.0 of the C, C++, and Fortran 77 compilers. It appears that the improvements in this fork are mostly related to other platforms (DOS, 64-bit Windows and Linux), but OS/2 installers are available. Meanwhile, OpenWatcom proper is still (6/5/2010) on version 1.9.

Intel announced in November that they would be removing legacy BIOS support from their platforms by the year 2020. Arca Noae is researching the best way to handle UEFI booting and GPT. In other Intel platform news, there is the potential for exploits of some processor flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre; Arca Noae posted a policy statement.

Rich Walsh has released (10/23/2017) XWorkplace version 1.0.12 beta 1, which is mostly bugfixes. Also available (12/14/2016) is XWorkplace version 1.0.11; the primary new feature was Xview, an improved version of the split folder view. It includes all the features of XFolder 0.85, virtual desktops using xPager (formerly PageMage), a replacement for WarpCenter (XCenter) with lots of widgets, a trash can, most of the NPSWPS and WarpEnhancer features, object hotkeys, lots of new settings pages, and more. XWorkplace is an open source project at netlabs.org. From VOICE News.

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A LAN Server installation tool has been released (2/26/2018). This allows installing the LAN Server components (from WSeB) on top of ArcaOS.

Quick 'n' Easy Finances version 1.12 has been updated (2/25/2018). It is a personal finance program which requires DB2 or PostGRE. There is also a Yahoo Group discussion list.

The ACPI driver has been updated (2/20/2018) to version 3.23.08 for Arca Noae subscribers, and no longer has a requirement for eCS. Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is a replacement for APM, PnP, and related hardware features. It features support for multiprocessor systems (SMP, Dual Core, and HyperThreading), there is an APM driver, and an ACPI Setup tool that replaces the Power object. There is an ACPI Tools web page as well, which includes a battery monitoring widget for XCenter.

The Netlabs EPM Distribution version 1.18 has been released (2/20/2018). It extends the functionality of EPM with new features and countless bug fixes.

Panorama VESA video driver version 1.10 has been released (2/16/2018). This is a generic VESA driver, which supports all VESA 2.0 compatible video adapters. The latest versions have a PAT fallback when using MTRRs fails, and support for custom / widescreen resolutions. Users with widescreen panels may find this useful if there isn't an accelerated driver available.

DFSee version 14.12 has been released (2/15/2018). DFSee is an FDISK, display, analysis and recovery tool for disks and filesystems, including HPFS, NTFS, FAT, JFS, EXT2, EXT3, ReiserFS, and EXFAT. It includes the ability to resize partitions, cloning and imaging, undelete files, and more. It now allows browsing the contents of compressed images and VirtualBox disk images, and has full support for the GPT partitioning style. There is also a support forum available. From VOICE News.

FAT32.IFS version 0.10 r336 has been released (2/15/2018). The latest work on this filesystem driver has focused on improving the format and chkdsk functions, VFAT support for FAT16, and early exFAT and FAT+ support. You can find the latest version via FTP.

Testlog version 3.09 has been refreshed (2/14/2018). This program collects data about your system and the driver under test, and puts it into a log file for diagnostics.

Quick Text Editor version 0.9.6 has been released (2/12/2018). This is a simple editor and viewer for plain text files, intended as a replacement for E and AE, but with seamless Unicode support, selectable text encoding independent of system codepage, and anti-aliased text display. It requires the Qt4 runtime.

David Azarewicz has updated (2/11/2018) Drv16/Drv32, a "development kit to make developing new device drivers very easy." These contains header files and a library that contains all of the system related things necessary to build a device driver on OS/2; Drv32 also has the thunking modules necessary. The latest MultiMac drivers are based on this kit.

LAME version 3.100 has been ported (2/9/2018) to OS/2. LAME is an MP3 encoder, and includes a graphical frame analyzer.

Jmol version 14.29.5 has been released (2/9/2018). This is a Java molecular viewer for three dimensional chemical structures; it requires Java 1.4 or higher.

Amoebax version 0.2.1 has been ported (2/7/2018) to OS/2. This is a cute and addictive action-puzzle game.

USB drivers build 10.221 have been released (2/5/2018); included are the base USB host controller drivers, USB HID drivers (keyboard and mouse), USB printing driver, USB serial driver, USB audio driver, USB ethernet driver, and USB MSD driver. The latest work is focused on much improved USB audio support, as well as USBMSD supporting non-partitioned USB sticks (usually formatted as FAT32 for Windows); unlike the last official IBM version, it does not (yet) support multi-LUN devices such as card readers with multiple slots. These USB drivers also feature support for isochronous devices, such as webcams, and improved hardware compatibility, including proper PCI PM (power management) support. This allows USB ports to be used when warm booting from Windows, which can sometimes leave them in a powered down state.

lSwitcher version 2.90 has been released (2/2/2018). lSwitcher is an enhanced PM and fullscreen Alt-Tab task switcher, and feature-rich task bar. There are both stand-alone and XCenter widget versions. Thanks to Gregg Young for the info.

MailRedirect version 0.9.5 has been released (1/29/2018). This Mozilla extension allows you to bounce / redirect email messages from Thunderbird and Seamonkey.

kmididec version 0.1.0 has been released (1/28/2018). This is a a library to decode MIDI to PCM using fluidsynth, and a simple MIDI player using that library.

Paul Smedley has released an OS/2 build of GCC 7.3 (1/26/2018), which includes features to help combat the Spectre CPU flaw. This compiler is required to build numerous open source projects.

Paul Smedley has released (1/3/2018) OS/2 builds of PostgreSQL versions 9.66, 9.4.15, and 9.3.17. Also available is his earlier port of version 9.0.6. PostgreSQL is an open source relational database.

WebServe version 1.7 has been released (1/28/2018). This web server now supports server side includes for *.shtml files.

Some libraries related to reading DVD media have been ported (1/22/2018) to OS/2, including: libdvdread version 6.0.0, which does low level DVD access; libdvdnav version 6.0.0, which handles DVD navigation, such as menus; and libdvdcss version 1.4.1, which does DVD decryption without region checking.

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