posted by Eugenia Loli on Tue 4th Dec 2001 17:47 UTC

I always had a great respect for OS/2 in general, but my online OS/2 friends had already warned me about the somewhat problematic installation process. The hardware used for this review was a CTX eZBook 800 laptop with an AMD K6-2 300 Mhz CPU and 64 MB of EDO RAM.

This version of OS/2 comes on 3 CDs. The first CD is the installation CD with all the default software, the second CD is the OS/2 Warp4 CD, which includes the whole IBM Warp4 OS (used to extract additional drivers or features as needed) and the third CD has additional third party software. You have the choice of either upgrading your existing Warp installation or to make a clean installation. I did the clean install.

You will need at least 500 MB of hard disk space, so I gave it a primary partition of 850 MB (my laptop also has BeOS, AtheOS and Windows on it, all 4 OSes on the tiny 3 GB hard disk ;) and I rebooted to explore the unknown world of OS/2 with only the help of an installation manual in PDF format found at the eComStation web site.

Windows 3.1, Java front-end for LVM, Screen setup and File Attribute editing with Attman The installation process has three phases. My first effort to install the OS failed. The OS started to boot off the CD ROM, but just before going to graphics mode, it crashed. I Rebooted, changed the EIDE driver to 'Standard IDE' in the boot options, and this time the OS booted to the GUI just fine. My next task was to choose the partition, format it, and install the OS files. The biggest obstacle here was the Logical Volume Manager - LVM. Some OS/2 users had told me that in older versions of OS/2 the installation was very hard because of LVM, but that currently it's quite usable. So, LVM is a text-mode program (a Java GUI front-end is also available) that allows you to configure partitions, create new ones etc. But LVM is far from being self-explanatory or easy to use. In my mind its layout and options do not make very much sense. I had to resort to Google to find information about the philosophy of LVM. I tried to create partitions, but it never asked me which kind of partitions these should be, neither was my hard drive was shown in the Logical view (LVM has two modes, a physical and a logical view). Not being able to go very far with it, I turned the machine off and did some more research. Soon after, I realized that OS/2 exercises the notion of HPFS or JFS compatible volumes, it does not care about the physical layout of your partitions.

So, it was already midnight, but I could not go to sleep until I got it working. I booted the installation CD again, set LVM to Logical Mode, created a new Volume, assigned the Volume to my hard drive, gave it a drive letter, and then I picked the 850 MB partition. Now came the scary part, I saved the changes not being sure if I had converted my whole hard disk to HPFS and consequently losing all my other data. In the next screen, I was asked to long format the partition (around 25 minutes for the 850 MB partition) as the OS/2 default file system.

The partition was created perfectly, but to make a long story short, because I chose to install drivers for my graphics and sound cards, this installation effort was also fruitless. OS/2 was booting, but it was not loading the WPS (Workplace Shell) desktop. I installed for a third time without picking any particular hardware, rebooted, inserted the registration key required, rebooted again, and this time, OS/2 loaded the desktop successfully (in VESA with no sound).

I found the installation process to be fragile. Installation time takes an average OS/2 user about 1 hour including 3 reboots, but being an OS/2 newbie it took me several hours to install it.

Table of contents
  1. "History"
  2. "Installation"
  3. "User Interface"
  4. "The guts"
  5. "eCS 1.0 Conclusion"
  6. "The Future & eCS 1.10"
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