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Communicator for OS/2 Bug-Tracker

Last updated on July 11, 2001


Bugs in Comm/2 Bugs fixed in 4.61 Tips for more functionality

IBM has refreshed (7/5/2001) Netscape Communicator 4.61 (with strong encryption). It includes a list of fixed APARs (bugs). Note that it was recompiled on June 29th, but is still servicelevel 5. The Plugin Pak has not been updated.

InnoTek has released (8/30/2000) the new Macromedia Flash Plugin for OS/2 Warp. Operating as a plugin inside Netscape Communicator for OS/2, it now makes it possible for every OS/2 desktop to view websites based on the Flash technology.

IBM has released the Plug-in Programmer's Toolkit for Communicator 4.61.

There is a mailing list dedicated to the discussion of Communicator. You can sign up for it here.

Problems in Comm/2 Status
print preview is not available noted in READ.ME
NetHelp takes a long time to come up, and to close using the "X" button noted in READ.ME
help text at bottom of window is incorrect for many menu items bug from Windoze version
URL resolution locks cursor, have to hit stop before you can click something else bug from Windoze version
PgUp & PgDn in Composer don't update cursor position bug from Windoze version
followed links do not immediately change color, as they should bug from Windoze version
loopback device ( takes forever to time out bug from Windoze version
Saving Location window uses ellipses (...) instead of showing full URL for file downloading bug from Windoze version
links on web pages occasionally are ignored, and right-click menus don't work; browser must be killed bug from Windoze version
using set as wallpaper when desktop properties is open causes hang WPS bug
drag & drop of URL object to Netscape program object causes it to be opened as text, instead of opening URL unfixed
helper applications editor is quirky, doesn't always save correctly unfixed
black bar / WarpCenter appears on top of bookmarks / other windows sometimes unfixed
drag & drop to WPS hogs CPU unfixed
columns in some tables are displayed much wider than they should be (100% scale is ignored) unfixed
plugins won't play attachments in mail and news unfixed?
plugins fail when hex codes (like %7C) are in URL unfixed?
news servers sometimes all get set to the same news.rc file, so only one gets saved e-mail me for workaround
address book export to txt and csv doesn't work

Problems fixed in 4.61 Confirmed?
Netscape causes system lockup after repeated open / close fix is in ConvPak FixPak
can't use keyboard to select an entry in History window Yes
browser has raised priority delta of 31 Yes
you can't drag to a folder in details view Yes
You can't use Ctrl-drag to save a web page Yes
scrollbars in browser are frequently not correctly proportioned Yes
items in bookmarks with & show up with && when "drag" menu is used Yes
some pages trigger SYS3175 Javascript bug Yes
there are sometimes problems deleting folders, renaming folders, and emptying the trash Yes
saving an image will delete it from disk cache (Alzheimer's bug) Yes
most drag & drop does not work Yes
text field for helper apps program name is too short Yes
sending a URL to browser with frames displayed results in new URL opening in frame instead of full window Yes
dropdown lists go past the bottom of the screen Yes
some tiled backgrounds don't display correctly (Indelible Blue) Yes
scroll bars don't scroll smoothly in Messenger and bookmarks Yes
File Upload tries to send the entire local path and filename Yes
crash when Bookmarks window is open and all browser windows are closed Yes
FTP downloads cause hang on some configurations, when mouse moves over download window Yes
NetHelp has some stray garbage characters Yes
incoming mail is not always shown unless folder is compressed Yes
takes a long time to close, monopolizes input queue while closing Yes
there seem to be some serious memory leaks after extensive use Yes
poor newsreader performance on large newsgroups Yes
not all options are available on Document Encoding menu, due to lack of room new preferences
Personal Toolbar limited to 15 links limit is now 25
bookmarks menu sometimes displayed upwards off the screen fixed?
some pages don't load fully until you hit Reload fixed?
some pages display blank, but appear fine in Composer if you use Edit Page fixed?
spell checker sometimes causes crash fixed?
progress bars sometimes have incorrect percentage fixed?
cache doesn't always work correctly; web pages are reloaded when they should load from cache fixed?
loading local files often results in long delays fixed?
using IMAP, Netscape often reports server unavailable when switching folders fixed?
opening several browser windows can cause SYS3175 crash fixed?
in HTML news messages, "Save Image" does not work correctly fixed?
"throbber" (Netscape logo) sometimes stops animating before page is done loading fixed?
fonts occasionally become really huge for no reason fixed?
occasional hangs in newsreader fixed?
"Transfer Interrupted" messages stay on page unless you do a shift-reload fixed?
deleting large messages can take a very long time fixed?
temp files for helper apps fail on FAT filesystem fixed?
Inbox sometimes temporarily disappears after emptying the trash fixed?
unsubscribing dead newsgroups causes hang fixed?

Tips from the developer (except where noted)
From the ns4os2 mailing list:

If you are having trouble with files being downloaded in ASCII mode, you can try adding this setting to prefs.js:
user_pref("browser.download_unknown_as_binary", true);

From Rich Walsh:

If repeated opening and closing of Netscape 4.61 causes lockups for you, there is a solution that has worked well for some people. Rename the WPS drag & drop module (NS46DRAG.DLL) so that it does not load.

From someone on Usenet:

If you are having problems with Netscape using 100% CPU utilization, make sure that your disk cache is not set to zero, even if you are using another form of cache.

It is possible to create your own throbber (Netscape animation). Create two bitmaps, one for small and one for large. The small bitmap is composed of 16x16 pel frames in a horizontal strip. The first frame is the still frame, while the rest of the strip is the animation. The large bitmap is the same as the small; the only difference is the size of the frames - 32x32.

Before adding these lines to your prefs.js, BACK IT UP! If you make a mistake, you could lose it.

user_pref("toolbar.logo.frames", 33);  // Number of frames
user_pref("toolbar.logo.win_large_file", "d:\\webexl.bmp"); // Location of large bitmap 
user_pref("toolbar.logo.win_small_file", "d:\\webexs.bmp"); // Location of small bitmap
To get you started, here are the large and small WebExplorer animations. Team OS/2 Austria has a huge archive of replacement animations, and WarpCity has a few as well.
Many of the OS/2 specific preferences have at last been documented (some of them are below). Check out the Release Notes (in the Help menu).
The default fixed width font in the 4.61 GA is Courier New. This doesn't work on all systems, it causes mail/news messages to be invisible, and text entry fields to be very tiny. The fix is to switch the font to Courier (or your font of choice).
From someone on Usenet:

Pressing Ctrl-Alt-T opens a popup window that displays the status of connections in use by Netscape.

From Denis Radi:

You will find a page with links to most of the plugins that work with Communicator/2 here. Note that it hasn't been updated in a long time.

From Duane Chamblee:

Duane has cleaned up the Netscape icons, so that they display better at all resolutions. This will likely be included in some future version of the IBM distribution, but until then, you can apply them with Duane's package. The APPLYICO.CMD file also changes the Communicator icons titles (removes the word "Netscape").

If you get a message in 4.61 about the spellchecker being damaged, go into your prefs.js file, and remove lines that say:

pref("SpellChecker.DefaultLanguage...blah blah
pref("SpellChecker.DefaultDialect...blah blah

Note these lines get added back sometimes when you use the spellchecker on 4.04.

From Klaus Staedtler:

If you insert in prefs.js the line:

user_pref("mailnews.start_page.enabled", false);

then Netscape NetCenter will not display every time you start Messenger.

From Tim Sipples:

"Kiosk mode" provides a way to lock down Netscape and remove many user control elements. The normal kiosk mode is invoked using the -k option. For example:

It's also possible to remove the title bar from the browser window by using this undocumented (or at least poorly documented) option:

From Keith Gorham:

To get a stock quote, just type "quote stock_name" in the location bar. Other location bar features, like "smart browsing," also work

You can get the old drag menu style (for the bookmarks menu) that was in the 4.04 GA release, and every other version of Communicator, by adding the following to PREFS.JS:

user_pref("os2.drag_menu", true);

From John Fairhurst, of WarpZilla fame

Typing "about:config" (no quotes) in the URL bar shows a list of several Communicator preferences and their current values. You can look through these and add what you want to your prefs.js file. This is color coded; it appears that black items are hard-coded, blue items are changed from default value, and green items are at default value.

Viewing source in an editor, using AIM, Host On-Demand, or Netcaster (unsupported)

OK, the following CMD file is a catch all for all of the above. First the CMD file:

/* IniName points to the location of your NSCP.INI */
/* Change NSDir to the directory where NS40 is installed */
/* Change InstallDrive to the drive where NS40 is installed */
/* Change en to be the two character identifier for your browser */
IniName = 'C:\OS2\NSCP.INI'
InstallDrive = 'C:'
NSDir = InstallDrive||'\NS40BETA'
InstallDir = NSDir'\Program'
NSVersion = '4.04 (en)'
call RxFuncAdd 'SysLoadFuncs', 'RexxUtil', 'SysLoadFuncs'
call SysLoadFuncs

/* Add ini entries for Netcaster */
call SysIni IniName, 'Netcaster', 'CurrentVersion', NSVersion
call SysIni IniName, 'Netcaster-'||NSVersion, 'Install Directory',NSDir'\Netcast'
/* Add ini entries for Host On-Demand */
call SysIni IniName, '3270', 'CurrentVersion', NSVersion
call SysIni IniName, '3270-'||NSVersion, 'Install Directory',NSDir'\3270'
/* Add ini entries for AOL Instant Messenger */
call SysIni IniName, 'AIM', 'CurrentVersion', NSVersion
call SysIni IniName, 'AIM-'||NSVersion, 'Install Directory',NSDir'\AIM'

/* Add Registry entries for View Source */
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry',
'\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\viewsource','URL:View Source'
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry','\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\viewsource\shell',0
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry','\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\viewsource\shell\open',0
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry','\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\viewsource\shell\open\command','C:\OS2\E.EXE'

Now how to use it:

Install Netscape on windows, copy the contents of NETCAST, 3270, and AIM directories to the appropriately named directories under where you installed NETSCAPE:


Note that these three products are NOT supported, but feel free to try. Note that the AOL pulldown will just launch AIM.EXE in the AIM directory, so you can put anything there.

Once you have added the View Source entry, you can modify the settings for it in the Preferences->Applications.

Misc undocumented OS/2 features:

All these are entries you can add to your PREFS.JS file to do various things. Have fun experimenting:

If we see a web page with Arial, Helvetica, we pick Helvetica if this preference is true
user_pref("os2.arial_pref", false|true);

Specify a wave file for new mail sound. REMEMBER double backslashes!

Prevents ALL filename mangling when downloading (dots and extension) if set to false
user_pref("os2.replace_dots", true|false );

Turns off URL bar completion if set to false
user_pref("os2.url_completion", true|false );

Causes User Defined Encoding to use default codepage of OS/2 if set to true. On Russian systems, this allows you to see 866 web pages. On default OS/2 systems, you can see 850 pages.
user_pref("os2.use_oem_charset", true|false );

Other notables:

Viewing any language web page in Communicator - If you use Times Roman MT 30 as your font for ALL encodings, you will be able to see stuff in any language.

Chinese and Korean only work on FP 5 or later (I think)

Causing helpers to be launched by the WPS - If you check the application radio button when EDITING (not creating) a helper, but leave the application entry field blank, the item simply gets passed to the Workplace Shell. This can be used to launch Windows helpers with proper settings, as well as just letting the WPS handle all misc types.

From Duane A. Chamblee:

I've just noticed that some RSU scripts don't run right and fail with a "message not found" error when using RSUINST.EXE as a helper app in Comm/2 4.04 release...

I've got a workaround - RSU is not included as a helper in Comm/2 by default so follow these steps...

1) In Comm/2, choose Edit->Preferences->Navigator->Applications.
2) Add a new type:
    Description: RSU Install
    extension:   RSU
    MIME Type:   application/rsu
    Application: RSUINST.EXE
   ...and press OK
3) Select the newly added "RSU Install" app. and Press Edit.
4) Clear the Handled By->Application entry field. (remove RSUINST.EXE)
5) Hit OK twice to get out of Preferences.
6) Find RSUINST.EXE (usually in the TCPIP\BIN folder)
7) Open the Properties for RSUINST.EXE and choose the Association page.
8) Enter:
     *.RSU the "New name" field and press add.
Now when Comm/2 starts an RSU, it uses the Workplace shell to run RSUINST.EXE and some problems are avoided.
From Roger Lindmark:

Earlier it was impossible to convert the addressbook from PMMail to Netscape Communicator for OS/2, but it is possible now, if you follow following procedure.

1. Use PMMACONV by Rolf Lochbuehler ( in Hobbes Incoming). I just ran it in the X:\SOUTHSDE\TOOLS directory after checking the proper commands with the parameter /h. This produces an address book in html.

2. This html file was converted with a utility MakeLDIF by Dick Goran,to a LDI file that later can be imported to the Netscape Communicator for OS/2 address book. This program is available at Dick Goran's website.

From Sergey:

Adding the following line to prefs.js will cause Communicator to report itself as the Windows version. You should only use this if you are locked out of sites that check for the Windows version; leaving it in there all the time will not let people know that you are using OS/2! When you come across a badly written site that checks for the Windows version, be sure to let them know the error of their ways! Note that it does not matter if it is set to true or false, it works the same.

user_pref("", true);

To hook an external mail program into Communicator, you need to download the API. Add the necessary code for your mail program, and compile it with VisualAge C++. Then add the following lines to your prefs.js:

user_pref("mail.use_altmail", true);
user_pref("mail.altmail_dll", "NSMAPI32.DLL");

This page is maintained by Steve Wendt.