OS/2 Warp! Warpstock

Bringing you OS/2 Warp News and Rumors since August 1997


Feb 11, 2018 | Jan 28, 2018 | Nov 5, 2017 | previous

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Latest 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.

VOICE will again be organizing IRC chats (VOICE SpeakUp) with developers and organizations supporting the OS/2 community. The first two planned events will be with Arca Noae, targeted at different timezones: on Saturday, February 17th @ 19:00 Moscow / 11:00am New York / 08:00am Los Angeles, and then on Sunday, February 25th @ 02:00 Moscow / 0:00 Amsterdam / 09:00 Sydney (Feb 24th @ 18:00 in New York). It is intended to have multiple Arca Noae developers on hand to answer questions, and last around 1.5-2 hours. You can use an IRC client, or the webchat channel #os2voice. From VOICE News.

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.

VLC media player version 2.2.8 has been ported (12/16/2017) 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.

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.

EDM/2 (Electronic Developer Magazine/2) has had another batch of updates to the wiki; as a wiki, it is possible for everyone to add or edit articles. From VOICE News.

The bitwiseworks Firefox fork has released (10/5/2017) a new build, based on Gecko 45.9.0esr. Note that 45esr has been obsoleted by 52esr, with 45esr no longer getting security updates since April. This build has several bugfixes, and is no longer considered a beta release; native printing support other than Postscript was dropped, although printing to PDF is possible. There are several additional external dependencies required now; see the README file for more details. Note that Bitwise has abandoned the ZIP packaging for an RPM package (which is not publicly available), and instead offers an archive based on the RPM package. If you prefer the classic packaging, you can find a suitable version on Hobbes. The next release should be based on 52.4.0esr, which has already been imported into the master branch. However, 52esr will be the end of the road, as newer versions require the Rust compiler, which is unlikely to be ported to OS/2. Potential future alternatives include Otter (which requires newer versions of Qt) and Pale Moon (a Mozilla fork). Note that the SeaMonkey project is also undecided on how it will proceed beyond 52esr (on all platforms), as Mozilla long ago stopped caring about anything other than Firefox. You can donate to bitwise projects by buying sponsor units via their online shop.

Warpstock Europe 2018 will be held in Berlin, on May 26-27. Registration should be available soon. From VOICE News.

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Latest Files

FAT32.IFS version 0.10 r332 has been released (2/10/2018). 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.

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

Testlog version 3.09 has been released (2/9/2018). This program collects data about your system and the driver under test, and puts it into a log file for diagnostics.

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.

Quick Text Editor version 0.9.5 has been released (2/3/2018). 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.

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.

Bitwise has released (11/27/2017) builds of CUPS version 2.1.3, cups-filters version 1.17.2, and cups-drivers-magicolor5430dl version 1.8.1 (for the KONICA MINOLTA magicolor 5430 DL printer); they can be installed using yum (or ANPM), or you can download ZIP packages. Also available (3/4/2016) in WarpIn format are CUPS version 2.1.0, as well as Gutenprint 5.2.10, HP-LIP version 3.15.11, and Splix version 2.0.0. Also available is a CUPS port driver, which allows interfacing the standard OS/2 printing subsystem with CUPS. CUPS is the Common Unix Printing System; the goal is to improve the printing support in eComStation. You can see what printers are potentially supported; those mentioned as working with CUPS or Gutenprint should work. There is a newsgroup dedicated to discussion and feedback, as well as a HowTo. From OS2World.

Arca Noae released (11/17/2017) an update for the IBM LAN product in ArcaOS, which brings the IBM Requester and Peer files up to the latest level; it is only for ArcaOS versions 5.0 through 5.0.1.

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.

Icon Themes and Toolkit version 2.2 has been released. This allows the desktop icons used throughout the Workplace Shell to be changed, based on installable icon sets or 'themes'. A number of themes are included, and various others are available from third-party sources.

Arca Noae Package Manager (previously code-named YUMIE) version 1.0.2 has been released (1/20/2018). This is an open source graphical front-end to the YUM and RPM package management tools, with plans to also support WarpIn packages in the future. There is a wiki with first-time installation notes and other tips.

David Azarewicz has updated (1/18/2018) 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.

Btrieve Commander has been updated (1/17/2018). This is a Btrieve file viewer / editor.

VX-REXX Extras library version 1.3.1 has been released. This is an object and API library designed to extend the functionality of Watcom VX-REXX, which provides a Warp 4 style notebook control, a tooltip control, a color selection dialog, and a few useful functions.

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