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Dec 2, 2018 | Oct 1, 2018 | Sep 9, 2018 | previous

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Latest News

The UniAud sound drivers have been refreshed (11/26/2018). 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 1.1.7.

There was a Presentation Manager Programming Workshop held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 in the Netherlands, by the hcc eCS User Group. The documentation used is available online on the EDM/2 Wiki. From VOICE News.

Warpstock 2018 was held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 14-16. You can see the schedule, it was streamed live on YouTube, and the presentation materials are also online. Arca Noae announced that the first beta for 5.0.4, which will finally include an update option, is already in testing. Version 5.1 is scheduled for release in 2019, with a host of new features planned, including NLVs for several popular languages.

VLC media player version 3.0.4 has been ported (9/3/2018) 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.

ArcaOS 5.0.3 has been released (8/19/2018). This refreshed install contains various updates, including an updated Samba client, and the ability to install from a 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.

XWorkplace version 1.0.12 has been released (7/31/2018). A recent new feature is 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.

The presentation files from Warpstock Europe 2018 are available online; of particular interest are Lewis Rosenthal on the ArcaOS Roadmap where some details about 5.0.3 and 5.1 are shared, and Silvan Scherrer on Bitwise projects.

VOICE News posts are now posted to Twitter, in addition to the mailing list and newsgroup feed. In other VOICE news, they are testing a remote support tool, which is essentially VNC over SSH.

Warpstock Europe 2019 will be the 20th Anniversary event, held at the Stay Okay Soest in the Netherlands on May 18-19. Registration will be $120, with a discounted rate of $105 until July 31st. It's hoped that there will be some collaboration with the Dutch Hobby Computer Club for the event. Thanks to Roderick Klein for the info.

Dave Yeo has released (6/6/2018) updated OS/2 builds of SeaMonkey 2.42.9 and Thunderbird 45.8.0, 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 a few fixes, but reports suggest that disabling Chatzilla may prevent some heavy CPU usage.

The bitwiseworks Firefox fork has released (5/20/2018) a "GA2" build, still based on Gecko 45.9.0esr. Note that 45esr was long ago obsoleted by 52esr, which in turn was obsoleted by 60esr, with 45esr not getting security updates since April 2017. This build has more bugfixes, but the "GA" releases have generally been worse than the earlier "beta" releases. Also, 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. It is unclear if there will be any releases based on 52esr, but that will be the end of the road, as newer versions require the Rust compiler, which is unlikely to be ported to OS/2. 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.

Roderick Klein posted a couple updates on the VOICE browser fundraising campaign, indicating that $12,650 has been collected. However, the real news is that the project to port Qt5 has begun, with the roadmap projecting a full year of work on porting Qt itself, and then another 6 months on porting QtWebEngine and Chromium components. If you want to help with funding, you can contribute to Bitwise directly, or to the VOICE campaign.

Sigurd has been successful in getting OS/2 running on the 25th Anniversary ThinkPad.

OS2World recently celebrated its 18th year online. It continues to be a great resource for the community.

The currently available RDP client (remote desktop protocol, for remotely controlling Windows desktops) on OS/2 is RDesktop, ported by Andrey Vasilkin. However, RDesktop is being superseded by a more active project called FreeRDP. Andrey proposes porting FreeRDP to OS/2, but needs support from the OS/2 user base; sponsoring units for this work may be purchased in the Arca Noae store.

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.

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.

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.

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Wireless LAN Monitor / XWLAN version 3.14 beta 9 has been released (12/1/2018). It is available as a XCenter widget as well as a standalone program, and features connection monitoring, multiple connection profiles, generation of WEP keys, and more.

Jmol version 14.29.29 has been released (11/30/2018). This is a Java molecular viewer for three dimensional chemical structures; it requires Java 1.4 or higher.

Weasel version 2.5 has been released (11/25/2018). This is a "lightweight" SMTP/POP server that has multi-domain support, and is now open source under the GPL. From VOICE News.

Testlog version 3.21 has been updated (11/25/2018). This program collects data about your system and the driver under test, and puts it into a log file for diagnostics.

An unofficial Virtual Box Additions for OS/2 version 5.0.51 build 184 has been released (11/20/2018). It includes a video driver, mouse driver, clipboard sharing between host and guest, and shared folder support.

IMAPD for Weasel has been updated (11/20/2018). This IMAP4 server for the Weasel mail server features disk quotas, and a POP3 server with SSL/STLS support.

WebServe version 1.9 has been released (11/13/2018). This web server now supports server side includes for *.shtml files.

USB drivers build 10.225 have been released (11/10/2018); 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 (including USB audio 2.0), 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.

PM Printer Manager version 0.81 has been released (11/10/2018). This is a graphical printer management tool for creating standard OS/2 printers (local and LAN), creating CUPS-based printers, upgrading or downgrading IBM 'PrinterPak' driver packages, and creating new PostScript printer drivers by importing PPD files. Also available is cupswiz version 1.15, which is specifically for creating CUPS-based printers.

The eCo Software runtimes have been updated (11/8/2018). These are libraries and PM controls used by programs written by eCo Software. The latest updates are available via FTP.

Logical Config.Sys Sort version 0.6.5 has been released (11/7/2018). This sorts the CONFIG.SYS file into logical sections.

QXmlEdit version 0.9.12 has been ported (11/6/2018) to OS/2. This is a tree-based XML editor, which uses the Qt4 libraries.

PMPrintf version 2.60 has been released (11/4/2018). This is a debugging tool with a PM viewer and programmer interfaces.

MailRedirect version 0.9.7 has been released (11/1/2018). This Mozilla extension allows you to bounce / redirect email messages from Thunderbird and Seamonkey.

HathiDownloadHelper version 1.1.7 has been ported (10/31/2018) to OS/2. This Qt4 app is for downloading books from hathitrust.org.

DFSee version 15.4 has been released (10/28/2018). 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.

Hocoslamfy has been ported (10/27/2018) to OS/2. In this game, you are a small bee, and must fly around the bamboo shoots.

PM123 version 1.39 has been released (10/23/2018); there is also a skins package. This is an open source MP3, OGG, WAV, and CD Audio player. Some of the features include sharing of the sound card, playlist with drag/drop support, HTTP streaming, and the use of skins to change the program's look. From eCSoft/2 via OS2World.

The Netlabs EPM Distribution version 1.19 has been released (10/23/2018). It extends the functionality of EPM with new features and countless bug fixes.

Agena version 2.14.1 has been released (10/21/2018). This is an interpreted language suited for sophisticated procedural programming, with syntax like simplified Algol 68, with elements taken from Lua and SQL.

TxWindows version 5.15 has been released. This is the text-mode windowing library used to build DFSee. From OS2World.

Stendhal version 1.28.1 has been released (10/17/2018). This is a multi-player online adventure game / MMORPG, which requires Java 1.5 or later.

FAT32.IFS version 0.10 r378 has been released (10/16/2018). 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. From eCSoft/2 via OS2World.

Quick 'n' Easy Finances version 1.14 has been updated (10/15/2018). It is a personal finance program which requires DB2 or PostGRE. There is also a Yahoo Group discussion list. From eCSoft/2 via OS2World.

Smilla Enlarger version 0.9.0 has been ported (10/14/2018) to OS/2. This is an image resizing tool, which uses the Qt4 libraries.

Lucide version 1.4.1 beta 10 has been released (10/6/2018); this is a multi-purpose document viewer, using plugins for different formats. It currently supports PDF, DjVu documents, and JPEG files; additional formats can be added by third party programmers. The program is open source, and distributed under the CDDL and LGPL. The latest version can be found on netlabs.org FTP. From eCSoft/2 via OS2World.

AVxCAT (formerly FFMPEGCA) version has been released (10/8/2018). This is a GUI front-end for ffmpeg and other tools, which allows converting audio and video between formats. From eCSoft/2 via OS2World.

NetRexx version 3.07 has been released (10/1/2018). NetRexx allows you to program in REXX, and compile your program into Java bytecodes. From eCSoft/2 via OS2World.

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