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The Warp Wishlist
December 26, 2004As of October 6, 2006, there is now a Wiki on netlabs.org for The Warp Wishlist
This is a list of operating
system and application enhancements that current eComStation and OS/2 users believe are
worth paying for. It was originally created by Steve Wendt and is
maintained by Kris Lake.
For reference, the earlier wish list
from 1999 is still available.
This page may be subject to Steve's editing, so feel free to direct
Our OS of choice has benefited from the hard work of a lot of
people. It may be that neither IBM
Systems, as the sole OS/2 OEM, will be able to provide us
with the desired enhancements at an affordable price. By offering
potential third-party developers ideas about OS/2 projects they might
create, a number of gaps in the library of OS components, middleware,
end user applications, and programing tools could be filled.
As you can see, many of our wishes have
already come true! There are links below to software for
OS2/eCS which delivers a great many of the requested enhancements
either today, or will do in the near future! An indication of the
status (freeware / shareware
/ commercial status) is given in many instances. Your help with links
in identifying other OS/2 software that may fulfill the wishes of
different readers is greatly appreciated!
Due to the sustained efforts of dedicated,
skillful OS/2 contributors such as
Möller, Daniela Engert, Sander van
Leeuwen, Klaus Staedtler, Vincenzo Venuto, Eberhard Mattes, Eugene Romanenko, Platon
Webster, Stefan Neis, Sebastian Wittmeier, Chris
Wohlgemuth and Yuri Dario in Europe; Aaron Lawrence in New Zealand;
Maeda Haruyuki and Takayuki Suwa in Japan, Brian Havard and
Peter Moylan in Australia and a whole galaxy of talent in North
America (such as Darwin O'Connor
and Rich Walsh)
- the value and quality of OS/2 and eComStation based systems
and software is increasing every month.
Have some ideas to add to the Warp Wishlist? Please send them to me. Your name and e-mail address
will NOT be listed unless you specifically request it. Changes to the
wishlist below will be shown in red.
The Top Ten Wishes
The Programer's Cauldron
commercially supported, full featured GCC
port, at the same code level as that of the equivalent Linux package
Your Language", below)
- Great tools for converting
applications written for Win32 or for
XWindows into GUI native PM apps such as the extraordinary
project Everblue from
Netlabs, which should make it
easier and much faster to bring applications originally written
for the Linux and Unix platforms
"Ready for eCS" certification process (to go with the logo)
hardware and software - to enable eCS buyers to see whether products
are certified to work with their eCS system BEFORE they
them. Four criteria for this logo might be (a) installs to
optional drive locations using WarpIn
or something better (such as an RPM-style package
in all the same NLS versions as eCS; (c)
fully supports the InnoTek-Font
Engine for OS/2; (d) uses the SysTray API from ErOS2; and (e) has been
updated within the last twelve
JFS, though this file system
may be seen as "too alternative"
for desktop use by John Q
Public (or in any SOHO account unfamiliar
it lets us walk away from HPFS and FAT16 boot drives, thereby reducing
the number of required filesystems to one
(like the ubiquitous Win* platform) -
IBM already supports booting AIX and Linux from JFS,
so how come they're dragging their collective feet on facilitating the
code changes needed for bootable JFS to become a reality on OS2/eCS ?
- The ability to easily install,
load and run ubiquitous Win32
applications (eg MS Office XP)
the average business has already paid for, and prefers to keep
using, without the need
for any Windows
licenses on our PCs ( CrossOver Office
gives Linux and FreeBSD
users this ability already).
- Develop eCS 2.x as the first
Desktop Virtual LAN (DVL) for x86 PCs.
The idea is to virtualise a complete heterogenous LAN consisting of two
virtualised workstations and a virtualised file and print server
machine. The virtual server
machine could run generic Linux and Samba, first virtual workstation would run
eComStation 1.2 and the second virtual workstation could
run Windows NT or Win2000 (see "other
wishes" - below).
latest release of the Sun
Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE)
platform. A native OS2/eCS port of Java 1.41 is available from Golden
Code Development Corporation, while Innotek has
released their own Java 1.42_05
product, which uses their unique
to run unmodified Win32 Java code from Sun
- The seamless integration of the
Innotek Web Pack Plus for OS/2 and Castlesoft Colour Manager into the
1.x and future 2.x products.
media player, like the very
project that is packaged with
whatever license is needed to legally play back commercial DVD movies.
- Support for
fourteen NLS versions; eg
Spanish, Italian, Portugese,
Swedish, Trad Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hungarian
and Klingon (as soon as commercially
Our platform of choice needs constantly
improving tools. The very
sophisticated cross platform wxWidgets
application development framework is a good example of
OS2/eCS. Other steps forward may include :
Mind Your Language
development of the
potentially very important OSS Eclipse Java IDE for
the OS2/eCS platform (brought to
you by Netlabs )
- Increased C99 and C++98 standards
compliance for compilers and tools running on OS2/eCS.
updates to the EMX runtime, to
it feature compatible with the latest GNU C compilers available on
Linux distros such as Xandros.
- A new edition - dusted off and
scrubbed clean of anachronisms of the pre-MCP2/eCS era - of at least one mainstream book that
focuses on the unique
of the OS2/eCS platform
- A versatile, full featured Help
File authoring package such as
by Martin Vieregg (shareware)
or VyperHelp by Mektek
- Feature sets equalling those available on
the fascinating-Linux, solid-NetBSD-and occasionally notorious-Win32-platforms today.
- A native OS2/eCS 32-bit parser and editor
for XML and SGML files (gX from
- Add support for compression of LX
executables to the OpenWatcom C/C++ linker.
- An annual OS2/eCS developer seminar -
held immediately after, and in the same city, as a large IT event
to OS2/eCS. Seminar attendees can reduce their time away from the
office and, perhaps, charge their airfare to the non-OS2/eCS event that
needed to attend in that city anyway.
- Add Intel SSE1 and SSE2 instruction set
enhancements to the OpenWatcom compiler
- A port of the modern, standards compliant
Comeau C and
tools to OS2/eCS (commercial).
The OS2/eCS platform is well supported by languages and associated
toolsets today and, due to the generally thankless work of many gifted
OS2/eCS programers, the available choices are constantly
improving. Languages and application development tools ready for
your next OS2/eCS project include :
Must Have - Features and
Much of the best software available for
today is available at no cost under open source licences.
large commercial users often prefer to pay for a commercially
product (eg. StarOffice) rather than use free software of equal
( eg.OpenOffice.org 1.2 ),
because of the legally enforcible obligations commercial software
may place on software vendors. Having such choices is great
! Whether "running native" or
utilising the very
sexy Odin subsystem, there are some standard / mainstream applications
that OS/2 and eCS need to support in order to offer aid and comfort
to Windows survivors taking those hesitant first steps toward a
brighter, less costly x86 alternative.
Priority Applications for Porting
for ACPI, without which OS2/eCS may cease to be a viable OS on
mainstream PC hardware.
- A "single pass" unified installer
that lets end users Doubleclick once to install mutually compatible
versions of Sane/2 and Tame/2 to any directory nominated.
WPS folder views for many archiver formats (like ZIP, RAR, ARJ, etc) -
should be similar to the implementation in Object Desktop, but inherit
the extensions from e.g., XWorkplace ( eZIP ).
- Enhancements to both the
Manager (GUI) and command line (CLI) user interfaces, in particular, a
robust new 32-bit command interpreter to replace the archaic IBM 16-bit
CMD.exe that still ships with every copy of OS/2 and
- A "single pass" unified installer
that lets end users Doubleclick once to install
both Ghostscript for eCS/OS2 and GhostView to any
- Provide support in OS2/eCS for the
and DCE standards and for Kerberos authentication.
- A cool GUI internet dialer out of
with a modern feature set (like ISDNPM)
- the new eCSCoNet in eComStation 1.1 has banished DOIP to a museum.
Also available are the deservedly popular InJoy Dialer (character based) and SafeFire PPP/Links
- A single sign-on facility, to
secure access from OS2/eCS to files and resources on Unix, Windows,
Netware, Linux and Mac OS X servers - either over a LAN or across the
- ALL configuration
info to reside in a readable and editable set of files, saved in one
known place (i.e. x:\System\OS2\ini).
- Full support for reading and writing
more modern Adobe .PDF documents within OS2/eCS word processors.
- A highly scalable mail server with IMAP4
support - (CommunigatePro
- Better support for PalmOS PDA
devices ( JSyncManager
Barclay - free GPL ).
- Project scheduling software with
charts ( so far, there is PTime/2
by Wolfram Schmid ).
- An up to date Citrix
ICA Client such as the very
Kit for Citrix ICA Client 7.100 Release 1 from Innotek GmbH.
featured, bloat-free equivalent to MS Outlook - to ease transition from
the high-cost Windows environment to OS2/eCS for price sensitive
corporate users (the Lookout/2
- Adobe Acrobat 6 - while GSView or ePDF can do the job (mostly),
and Windows ex-users will forever insist
on using the latest version of a product
they have known and used for year after year. For the moment,
Innotek are offering release four
of their OS/2 kit for Adobe
Acrobat Reader 4.05 and
release one of their planned OS/2 kit for Adobe
Acrobat Reader 5.1.
Evolution and Ximian
is a highly regarded open-source MS Outlook look-alike, now fast
gaining users on the Linux platform. Ximian Connector allows non-Microsoft clients to connect to an MS Exchange
Server. Novell "loved it so much,
they bought the company".
For OS2/eCS to fit easily into mainstream corporate
networks, something like these two
GNOME based products
need to be ported from Linux and/or Solaris as a high priority.
- Macromedia Flash 7
Player, not yet available for
OS2/eCS, as the hard working team at
Innotek are yet to
obtain a licence (is this because of high cost ?).
- RealPlayer 10 - needed mainly for the
reasons as Acrobat 6. The
Helix DNA client has been
sourced by RealNetworks, which should lead, in time, to an OS2/eCS port
of this versatile media player. Maybe it is not needed,
but Windows refugees would sorely miss it.
- Intuit Quicken
- because it is nearly
ubiquitous and its absence is a show-stopper for many SOHO users, who
have all their financial skills/records tied up in this one, simple to
Workbench, a modern full
featured alternative to
Microsoft Project. It's code has recently been released under the
GPL (see OpenWorkBench
) - free
- VirtualDub, a multimedia editor, with useful
features for everyone with a digital video or
still camera. Can you port OpenDub to OS2/eCS ? (free GPL).
- Port XLib to OS2/eCS Presentation Manager
to swell the flow of applications written for Linux and Unix that can
be adapted with relatve ease to run on OS2/eCS (eg. project Everblue, from Netlabs)
- VideoLan, is
a full featured open source
player and streaming server with
a plethora of Codecs and skins
- is the toolset needed to port this great looking application to
OS2/eCS available ?
Not so long ago, OS/2 was arguably less crash
prone than other x86 choices (notably Win9x), but in more recent times
WinXP and some Linux distros have reversed this lead. Key GUI
architecture decisions taken over ten years ago by the designers of PM
and the WPS make it impossible to terminate some failing processes,
including the WPS and PM themselves. If OS2/eCS is to retain
support from its current users, let alone attract new users, increased
stability for PM and the WPS and a bullet-proof process killer are
essential OS enhancements.
- Multiple asynchronous input queues - the
OS/2 Holy Grail - without this, process-killers often fail.
- A new 32-bit command processor (4OS2 by JPSoft -
free and being actively maintained, or 32-bit
Command Interpreter by JdeBP - Free)
more capable Graphics Rendering Engine
- a prerequisite to provide all applications
anti-aliased fonts for low resolution monitors (i.e.
unable to show 104 dpi on a CRT
or 114 dpi on a TFT display).
- The ability to utilise
multiple virtual CPUs on Intel processors with its Hyperthreading
- Support for AMD's x86-64 CPU (64-bit superset of
the IA-32 architecture)
- Support for AMD's 3DNow!
- Support for Intel's SSE1 and SSE2
- X11/Motif API's (XFree86/OS2
project - Free, HOBLink
X11 - Commercial).
- Remove the 31 character font-naming
limitation - to ease document exchange and interoperability.
- Symmetrical Multi-Processor (SMP) support
for both Client (eCS
with the SMP Pack) & Server (IBM WSeB)
- Better hibernation support - support for
JFS/LVM, SCSI, HPFS, etc
- Elimination of the former 512MB limit for
memory addressing (already fixed in IBMs MCP and Serenity's eCS 1.0 or above)
- Allow "mounting" a device under an
arbitrary path name ( as in Windows 2000 and WinXP )
- IBM completes (or releases for others to
develop) SOM 3.0
in the form initially released as a beta in Februrary 1996, thus
providing a CORBA 2 compliant object request broker for OS2/eCS. [The System
Object Model (SOM), is an IBM implementation of CORBA
and forms the base on which the WorkPlace Shell (WPS) is built. The WPS
in OS/2 4.52 and eComStation still uses the outdated, less capable IBM
SOM 2.1 ]
System Security "Out of the
There have been at least four products or
projects which delivered multiple-user functionality (eg.
desktop prefs/settings are determined by a user's login ID) to OS/2, but none
of them has ever been distributed as a part of the base OS, in
the way that Microsoft has for Windows since at least 1995. For
lack of distribution with the base OS, this product category
has stagnated on OS2/eCS. The lack of even the most basic
multiple-user features "out of the box" makes OS2/eCS almost unique on
x86 - but not in a good way ! A number of valuable projects will let
us eliminate this deficiency :
- Security/2 is now a
requirement to run OpenSSH/2 and is currently expected to form a
part of eCS 2.x product
- For more secure connections, installation
of OpenSSH/2 by
default (instead of rLogin and Telnet).
- Better security - C2 while connected to a
network (based on extending SES in Warp 4.x)
rusted-on IBM branded OS/2 users, multiple user features are offered with
by Cristiano Guadagnino - Free
- Access control (IBM Secure
Entry and (perhaps in
future) Sesame by Golden
Code - Commercial)
- Filesystem with password encryption of
all data stored - as
- Anti Virus options with modern virus
scanning engines (Norton
Antivirus by Symantec, Viruscan by McAfee or the very popular Virus Control
by Norman Data Defense Systems Inc.)
- An easy to install and use firewall
application based on Stateful Packet Inspection technology.
- Strong file encryption/decryption with
both VIO and (in future) PM interfaces (TeaTime/2 by
File System Support
Drivers R Us
- Better FAT32 and NTFS drivers -
for large disks (NTFS
utilities - Free, FAT32
drivers - Free)
- Ability to boot the operating system from mainstream
file systems such as NTFS, FAT32 and EXT2 (FAT16 and HPFS are at a
- Add UDF-support for
removable Magneto-Optical storage to the existing file system drivers.
- Better support for VFAT long file names
often used with Zip Disks and with plain Diskettes (VFATMon
by Jason Stefanovich)
- Read/write access to Macintosh disks (HFS drivers
from Marcus Better - Now GPL on Hobbes)
- Read/write access to Linux file systems (ext2-os2
drivers by Matthieu Willm - Free)
- The ability to share a fast to recover
64-bit journalling file system (eg JFS2
) with AIX and Linux.
- The ability to boot from and read/write
to the much admired XFS journalling file system.
- Integrate TVFS support into the kernel (TVFS -
version 2.11 is now on Hobbes)
- A bullet-proof FDISK, display, analysis
and recovery tool for disks and filesystems ( DFSee )
- Logical Volume Manager (no reliance on
drive letters, provides sophisticated drive spanning)
- A database-like journalling filesystem
with support for metadata (ie Extended Attributes) like BeFS in BeOS or
like AFS in AtheOS .
The Front Office
- IBM completes the KEE API to allow
pure 32-bit physical device drivers (no more thunks, thanks!)
for the Broadcom BCM4401 chipset, as many mainstream laptops (eg. the
Dell Inspirion 8600) use this Broadcom
chipset for the integrated NIC.
not licence the surprising Panasonic USB drivers for DOS
and include them in the eCS
entry level product ?
- A driver for a PCI sound
card, any sound card, that supports the MIDI hardware
connection. This can be via
the joystick port, USB or Firewire or whatever.
- A revolutionary video driver model (Scitech
SNAP - Commercial & Free variants)
- A universal driver for scanners
(including USB 2.0 models) along the same lines as SNAP.
- Better CD-ROM / CD-RW / DVDs device
manager drivers ( JJSCDROM
by Takayuki Suwa )
- Better support for FireWire 800 and other new enabling
technologies such as
- Support for the Serial
ATA standard likely to replace EIDE for PC hard drives within two
years is already included in Version 1.6.4 of Daniela Engert's Danis506
drivers - Great to hear it !
- Drivers for the proposed Serial Attached SCSI
standard may be of special value to OS2/eCS users in future for
attaching more demanding peripheral devices (such as scanners and disk
- Better PCI sound card drivers (SBLive! driver - Free, Universal
Audio drivers from Innotek - for IPA subscribers, or from eCS)
- Better support for modern video cards (Scitech
SNAP Graphics - Commercial)
- Better support for IEEE 802.11g,
802.11b and 802.11a wireless networks (WLAN), including PCI cards and
the general availability of drivers for IBM devices based on the Lucent
- Better USB 2.0 Scanner support - a
serious deficiency today (USBScan.Sys
will hopefully integrate with SANE/2 - Free and TAME/2 by Goran
Ivankovic and Klaus Staedtler - Free)
- Better USB 2.0 Camera support (USB on OS/2
maintained by Martin Iturbide)
- Better Serial drivers (SIO2K by Ray Gwinn - Shareware)
- Better printer drivers (IBM drivers for postscript,
- Better DVD, DVD-RAM / DVD-RW and CD-RW
support (IBM's UDF
2.01 - for IPA subscribers, or from eCS, RSJ CD Writer
- Better TV card support for BT878-based
cards (TVShow Project -
from Kiev Elephant)
- Better support for cable modems and xDSL
cable modems like an NIC)
- Support for USB 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 (UHCI,
OHCI and EHCI USB
drivers - for IPA subscribers, or from eCS)
- Support for multi-function Printer / Fax
/ Scanner / Copiers.
- Support for Sis7012 and Sis7018 audio
(hopefully to be provided in a future release of UNIAUD).
- Updated DIVE, DART, and RTMIDI (for
multimedia AND games)
- Universal device driver porting kit -
something like IBM Open32, only for drivers
- Support for more and better joysticks
with all their latest features (new joystick
driver - Free)
- 32-bit PC Card 5.0 support (CardBus
drivers - for IPA subscribers, or from eCS)
- 32-bit TCP/IP stack and applications (version
4.3.x - for IPA subscribers, or from eCS)
- Enhanced support for removable media
(LS120, LS240, Zip 250, Zip 750, Jaz, Syquest, etc.)
- Support for modern optical and "wheel"
drivers - Free, Amouse)
- Support for the PCTel HSP56 audio modem
Few business or home users would
consider OS2/eCS worth buying as as an alternative general purpose
platform without a choice of high quality Office productivity software
ready to go. Happily, our preferred platform offers a wealth of
alternatives in this area and our choices are getting much better in
Servers for Every Purpose
- Microsoft Office, dust
off that old Windows licence, you can soon use it to run MS Office in
an OS2/eCS virtual machine such as SViSta (commercial)
- OpenOffice.Org, the
ultimate Office application for the Linux platform is coming to
OS2/eCS, with Innotek
once again applying its Odin skills to good effect !
- Lotus Smartsuite,
recently updated to version 1.7.3
with many improvments - particularly for those needing to
work with MS Office documents (commercial).
- ROMLogic Papyrus Office, recently
updated to version 10 - in both the German and English languages - a
surprisingly compact Office solution (commercial)
- SunDial Office, the
Rodney Dangerfield of powerful, well designed Office suites - for those
who prefer a different way of getting the job done (commercial)
- Lotus Notes, one of the
main rivals to MS
Exchange/Outlook in the Fortune 500 space is apparently to be released in a Java version by IBM.
The abscence of this key application on
our preferred platform was likely cited as a reason for walking
away from OS/2, so a Java version usable on OS2/eCS would be great !
Client (not a netdrive
plugin) to allow eCS/OS2 to transparently access resources and
files held both on (the formerly ubquitous) Windows servers and on the
Linux and FreeBSD servers which have now won acceptance everywhere from
SOHO to the Fortune 500
IBM Warp Server for eBusiness (WSeB) was
once, but has fallen far behind the pace and is unlikely to ever be
substantially enhanced by IBM (it also costs a lot, for what you
get). The modern open source server software for OS2/eCS included
in the list below offers so much performance and value. . . perhaps we
will one day be able to buy a commercially supported OS2/eCS
ServerSuite from eCS resellers ?
Until then, you can be up and running with some of the great free and
commercial server software below !
Improved Multimedia Support
Servers, such as Apache
for OS/2 (open
source) the svelt and efficient
or the W3C Jigsaw server (written in
Servers, such as Zope (open
source) & IBM WebSphere
Servers, such as MySQL and PostgreSQL (free) or IBM DB2
& Print Servers, such as Samba
(free) or IBM WarpServer
for eBusiness (commercial)
Servers, such as OpenLDAP
(will this LDAP server be
ported by Takashi Yano ?)
Servers, such as ZxMail
(commercial) and Weasel (also
very well regarded).
Servers, such as the Q-Systems
solution, able to boot diskless OS2/eCS PCs over a LAN
Servers, such as the superb FTPServer
by Peter Moylan (shareware).
Servers, such as CoStandby
server for eBusiness by Innotek (commercial).
and Recovery Servers, such as BackAgain/2000 Server
by CDS Inc. (commercial).
Cache Servers, such as Squid for OS/2
Name Servers, such as BIND
8 from the ISC (free). Is anybody porting BIND 9 ?
Server suites, such as InetPowerServer
mail, web and ftp use
Servers, such as that which ships
with WSeB, or a port of something from the OSS world ?
Servers, like IBM CICS for
OS/2 (apparently IBM has withdrawn
it from sale).
- A fully licenced DVD movie
with no crashing during playback & flawless audio-synch
- An elegant, up to date port from the Linux platform
of Xine for
OS/2 currently a work in
progress by Darwin O'Connor.
- A commercially supported Warpzilla based browser
that integrates the Macromedia Flash 7
Player, Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 as a helper application and a DVD licence.
- Regular updates to the very useful Universal
Audio Driver for OS2/eCS (free GPL version).
- Ability to record DVDs - CDRecord ProDVD is now
available for OS2/eCS (free)
- Complete replacement for MMOS/2 WPS
Multimedia classes by Chris Wohlgemuth)
- Create audio & data CDs in a snap
using the power of the WPS ( Audio/Data
CD Creator )
- Multimedia playback with support popular
audio/video codecs (WarpVision
- Better hardware accelerated video support
- from the Kiev Elephant)
- Improved MP3 media players (WarpAmp -
Free, PM123 - Shareware).
- Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and MP3 playback (Multimedia IOProcs
and the CW
- Support for RealAudio & Video streams
( can Innotek get RealPlayer 10 running using its Odin technology
- Sound drivers that accomodate
simultaneous audio under OS2/eCS and WinOS2
- Sound scheme editor (Sound
Scheme Editor - Free)
- A full-featured sound recorder/editor
(such as the promising D-Tape project
from Paul Ratcliffe)
- New Audio-Video and Graphics Codecs - not
yet another player (we have VERY good ones today)
- More and better plugins/helper
applications for Mozilla/Netscape (i.e. for WAV, MPG, etc etc)
- A PM utility comparable to Norton SysInfo
that every OS2/eCS user
0.8.20 by Alexey
Smirnov - Free)
- A utility that automatically mounts USB
media, updates the list of the accessible devices and assigns the
corresponding drive letter ( USBmountD
- User friendly PM application for editing
your Config.sys (Tyra/2-
- Another PM application for system
Tool by Goran Ivankovic - Free)
- A compendium of Config.sys information
(Joerg Sievers' Config.Sys
Documentation Project, ConfigTool database
- Association editor, like the utility of
similar name (AssoEdit
by Henk Kelder - Free)
- INI editor with repair function (UniMaint -
- Free EWS)
- Defrag program for all OS2/eCS supported
file systems (Graham
Utilities - was Commercial)
- Uninstaller that monitors installations
for perfect cleanup later (UniMaint -
- Better internet dialer applications (InJoy - Shareware, ISDNPM - Shareware, Dialer/2 - Free, SafeFire PPP/Links)
- A process killer that grabs Ctl-Alt-Del,
REXX interface (CAD
Commander - Commercial)
- Priority manager (Priority Master - Commercial)
- Work Place Shell (WPS) class manager (XWorkplace
- File Phoenix/2, an effective FAT and HPFS
undelete tool (Version
1.35 - Free EWS)
- GUI File Manager, with a tree view like
that in Windows 3.1 (FileFreedom
2.02 - Shareware)
- Ability to open command line from WPS
- Better network utilities: traceroute,
nbtstat, ping, etc included in eCS and IPA subscriptions.
- A really useful Character Map applet (Character
Map/2 by Glassman)
- Benchmarks to test OS2/eCS performance on
your own system (SysBench)
There are a number of good native PM and CLI
web browsers available for OS2/eCS, some bulky, some slim, some older,
some startlingly new. What
I wish was on my own desktop right now is an
"eComStation themed" browser based
on the latest Mozilla
code (used by Apple's Safari-web browser for OS X, by
KDE in its Konqueror
browser for Linux and in ABrowse
- with integrated multimedia helper
applications to smoothly handle PDF and Flash content. This sought-after browser would, ofcourse,
provide by default
bookmarks, including for the eCS updates site, OS2/eCS developer sites,
news pages and free / commercial
software provider sites. For the
here and now (or yesterday if you prefer) try these six choices - all
of them have their own strengths and
User Interface Enhancements
- For IBM Passport Advantage (IPA)
subscribers there is the IBM Web Browser
- For other OS2/eCS users (or those who
to use the latest versions) there are two other Mozilla based browsers;
eg. Warpzilla, and the
browser-only version now known as
Mozilla - Firefox.
- There is also the older but still widely
used Netscape 4.61 for OS/2 web browser (Free)
- If you want something really different,
you can even pay for Opera
5 for OS2/eCS - Commercial
- For nostalgic OS/2 users, there will
always be IBM WebExplorer - it coulda been a contender - too bad IBM likely won't release the
code either to the OS2/eCS community or else to Serenity Systems or an
ISV such as Golden Code.
The WPS and PM "are OS2/eCS" to most
users. To replace either of these two elements of the OS2/eCS
platform is to lead users to choose a whole different OS, like Red Hat,
MacOSX or FreeBSD. If OS2/eCS becomes "more like Windows" (as is
happening with many Linux distributions) we would be losing one of the
key advantages our favorite OS platform retains - its unmatched user
interface. That advantage can be increased yet further - here are
some ways :
Warp Legacy OS Sub-Systems - the Next
enhancements Rich Walsh has
created in his DragText
3.8 product are just
great. I wish they were integrated into eCS 1.x like Dialog
Enhancer and eWorkplace. For the forseeable future, it seems
likely to remain one of those must-have products, like oven mitts,
aspirin and electric lighting.
- Include a tiny widget on
the system bar allowing easy switching between different LAN
with a single click; eg toggling
between "Work/Office" with a fixed IP
and a proxy and "Home", with DHCP and no proxy etc. There is already
that allows this available.
color scheme editor (ColourManager/2 originally by Richard
Castle - Shareware)
- The ability to easily create a directory, by
default, in any "file, save" option (even windoze has this often useful
- Make Scitech SNAP the default video
driver under OS2/eCS.
- Tabbed windows, like Mozilla's tabbed
pages, but useable with any OS2/eCS application. The-Ion
window manager for X servers uses this user interface idea.
- Give REXX scripts access to WPS objects
(using XWorkplace or the very
- Replace the IBM Presentation Manager (PM)
with an open source clean room re-implementation optimised for stability,
not performance. This PM clone should not break tools or key
- Christian Langanke has provided us with (Animated Mouse Pointers
1.01 for OS/2 - Free)
- Develop a plan to systematically replace
every original WPS class with a better designed, more stable,
equivalent (preferably to be released under dual commercial / BSD syle
licences. Hmmm this seems,
gradually, to be happening. . .)
- Transform OS2 titlebars, backgrounds,
buttons etc (Styler/2
by Alessandro Cantatore - Shareware - variants are included in
eCS 1.0 and 1.1)
- Transparent windows and folders (Candybarz by Netlabs)
- Allow small (32x32) icons in high resolutions (Dialog Enhancer by Richard
Castle - Shareware)
- While eCS 1.2 now bundles
the Snowstorm screensaver, those still using MCP or earlier releases of
OS/2 may like to try Screensaver
by Siegfried Hanisch or else take
a look at Screen
Jostein Ullestad - Shareware
- Add a Recycle Bin with options for managing deleted files &
WPS objects (XWorkplace
- Free, TrashCan
2.71 - Free)
- Logout, close apps, and restart of desktop - like Windows98 does
- Dynamic resolution changing.
- Better, centralized configuration for display driver and other
- A Shutdown folder and the option to reboot when shutting down (XWorkplace
- Improved selective install - change hardware or software,
without having to do both.
- Option to have full path name in title of folders (XWorkplace
- Ability to readily locate all Shadows of an object and all
replacements for the venerable WarpCenter (XWorkplace -
Free, Systray Widget for XCenter based
on the original work of
Dmitry Zaharov - Free)
- Determination of file type by header info (so Windows .HLP files
open with WinHelp, and OS/2 and eComStation .HLP files open with NewView)
- A font manager to avoid absurdly long font selection lists (XWorkplace
- Free, FontFolder
OS/2 has a long, proud history of supporting
legacy software such as 16-bit DOS and Windows. Several teams have done
amazing work to enhance DOS, the 32-bit DPMI DOS environment, Win16,
GeOS and other legacy software environments for which OS2/eCS already
support. Yet relatively little of this work has so far been made
in a form usable by ordinary OS2/eCS end-users.
Many OS/2 users say "Let those who want it,
pay for it". Removing MDOS and WinOS2 from the base OS2/eCS
product and offering a seperate Legacy OS Sub-System CD to
interested buyers, might be the fairest way to fund a very extensive
refresh of DOS, DPMI
and Win16 support. This CD would provide end users with a
"single-click" installation of the original WinOS2 sub-system, plus
an eCS-themed GUI (perhaps using the Calmira II technology) plus
plus-Paragon DOS or
the newly released DR-DOS 8.0 (for
speed, ongoing development status and features eg. FAT32
all of the patches and fixes available for the OS2/eCS DPMI host (0.9x
1.0) for 32-bit DOS apps.
16-bit resource limits in
WinOS2 and in DOS Virtual Machines a.k.a. "DVMs".
- Full 16 bit WAVE and MIDI
support in DOS boxes and Win-OS/2.
- New look & feel for WinOS2 sessions (WPS for Windows -
Free or Calmira II - Free or
- Improve OS2/eCS DVM compatibility with
DPMI games (vCOMPAT
by Martin Kiewitz - Free)
- Installs of WinOS2 to include
support for Win32s up to version 1.25 (Win32s
- REXX in DOS sessions (like IBM PC-DOS 2000 or Regina-REXX-
- Provide VFAT long file name support for
DOS and WinOS2 sessions.
- Display short versions of long filenames
so that DOS & Windows can see them.
- Provide a "start" command in DOS sessions
(4OS2 by JP Software -
now free or "StartB" by Christian Langanke)
- Ability to run the many K-12 Educational
applications from Breadbox.com,
using the Industry
Standard GUI version of GeOS
running on OS2/eCS.
- Distribute the DPMI version of the Seal 2 graphical user
interface for use with DOS VMs (free).
Other Wishes for OS/2 and
Virtual LAN (DVL) - see top ten wishes above. The
underlying technology is meant to be absolutely invisible to the
end user. After booting, they would only see a regular eCS
come up, but when they click on the icon for, say, Microsoft Access 2000
that appears on their eCS 1.2 desktop, Access just launches as if the user
sitting at an ordinary WinXP machine. For this different approach
to running unmodified
Win32 applications (and unmodified Linux CLI apps) on OS2/eCS to have
adequate "useability", then the virtualised machines running
a copy of Windows 2000 and a copy of Linux would each have to be
started up as soon as the PC was
powered on. This idea is one possible use for the existing HOB
XServer, VNC Server/Viewer and SVISTA technologies. I suggest
"secret host" OS would be 64 bit NetBSD as it has significant respect
and mindshare among developers, is under heavy
development, has no licencing fees to pay and, unlike OS2/eCS, supports
all modes offered by the AMD x86-64 platform; likely to displace the
x86-32 platform within three years or so.
- Provide Firefox / Mozilla
with any easy to use extra function eg. to convert PMMail *.msg files
to Mozilla / Firefox format, perhaps using the PMM2MOZ
program to "import" the *.msg
- Opera 7 - do you feel the need for speed
? A successful effort to port the Opera
browser to OS/2 and eCS should result in a great product that adds
credibility to OS2/eCS as an alternative on the x86 platform.
- In the interests of coherency and understanding, stop referring to DOS Virtual Machines "VDMs"
(rename them as "DVMs" so acronym mirrors "JVM")
- The ability to host Linux, WinXP, other
OS choices in a virtual machine under
OS2/eCS - Serenity Systems is now working on SViSta (commercial)
- A rewrite of MPTS PROTMAN, which allows
dynamic network driver (re)configuration (a necessity for properly
utilizing TCP/BEUI in a DHCP environment).
- Examples of newly developed and
maintained embeded systems that use OS2/eCS for mission critical
applications, such as EMS telephony (Total Recall
System by Chris Martinic - Commercial).
- Install a single variant of the REXX
interpreter (Object REXX by IBM) as it is intolerant of flaky
programming habits, compared to its less discerning sibling
- Ability to map "Windows
Special" and other keys to useful
functions (XWorkplace or
eStylerLite in eCS 1.x; Win95Key - Free)
- A Chinese
and other Language
package that runs on eComStation (free).
- Support for multiple monitors "Dual-Head"
Graphics by Scitech Software - Commercial)
- A native PM graphical configuration
utility for the promising InetPowerServer
- Better support for Daylight Savings Time
(eCS Clock in eCS 1.x; DSTswitch - Shareware)
- Provide an eComStation Pluggable Look And
Feel (PLAF) for Sun Java applications, so that every
running on an eCS JVM will take on the appearance of a native PM
application written for OS2/eCS.
- A heavily refreshed PM native VNC
Viewer ( and ongong
development of Eugene
Romanenko's promising new PM
VNC Server 1.02 for OS2/eCS
- Implement eCS 2.x as series of tightly
linked virtual PCs running on an SMP 64-bit OS-platform such as GNU
Darwin, NetBSD or GNU Linux (with one VM capturing C-A-D for crash
- Make the OS2/eCS CD bootable for
installation or maintenance (BootAble
by Hayo Baan)
- An easy browser-based system for
end-users to submit problem reports
the eComStation.com web site for eCS Bug Reporting !!
- A better, and more intuitive, method of
integrating OS2/eCS with MS Windows in peer networks.
- Enable the Shift-Printscreen key combo
for windowed OS2/eCS sessions
- A "Network Browser" to quickly navigate
around the network attached devices.
- A better file manager - perhaps based on
the source code of FM/2.
- A "WebExplorer" style browser - with the
- Leave the NumLock on if it's turned on at
startup by the BIOS (XWorkplace
- Update bootable OS2/eCS or eComStation
install CDs with fixes (UpdCD
by Zsolt Kadar - Free)
utility to help clean-up of INI files, so that
broken WPS links need not be stored forever (XWorkplace
- Enhanced APM 1.2 (power management)
- Start OS2/eCS applications from a DOS
prompt: avoid swapping windows (Seamless
OS/2 - free)
- Integrate fully working Watchcat or a supported functional equivalent such as CAD-Handler into eCS !
- Better Plug and Play adapter support, but
not as "good" as Windows ME
- Further polishing of
impressive OS installer
- it is now becoming one of
the best elements of the user experience !!
This page is maintained by Kris Lake.