eComStation 1.1 is finally available for purchase one and a half years after the release of eCS 1.0. What’s new in this release and is it really worth $200? Read on to find out.To start with, I am puzzled if I should write at length about the installation process (which has changed since 1.0) or just describe the experience in a few sentences. I think I prefer the second method, as I don’t want it to be as painful for our readers as it was for me over a span of two weeks.
So, Serenity Systems re-wrote the installation procedure. It is now simpler overall. It has three stages (like SuSE’s); the first stage deals with partitioning and what software is to be installed. The second and third stages (with equal number of reboots) deal with the networking settings, etc. However, the ‘normality’ of the whole thing stops there. The experience I had from the installation could only be called “good enough” if it would actually work as expected. It didn’t. I had to try three machines to get eCS 1.1 installed. After it didn’t install on previously-compatible hardware, I got a newer ISO directly from Serenity Systems, but that didn’t work either. It finally installed on the third system I tried.
Please let me say at this point that the Serenity Systems guys are great. They were as helpful as they could be, and I am grateful to to work with them for the creation of this review. But the fact remains, the installation procedure is buggy and it might work or might not work for you. Three major bugs stopped this new installation procedure from working on the first two machines (which are fully eCS-compatible and were able to run eCS 1.0 before with no problems). From the three bugs found, the most annoying is the one that wipes out your current bootmanager even if the user is very careful to not install any boot manager (in detail, this new app that does the partitioning needs a real debugging kickout).
As I wrote earlier, the third machine was the lucky one and I got eCS 1.1 installed on a 12 GB primary partition (it still wiped out the boot manager on that machine too, but at least eCS did install fine). All my hardware works fine except the sound cards. I have two sound cards there (a very common VIA on-board AC97 (1.5 year old version) and a Yamaha YMF754 PCI one (3 year old version) and while they have been out on the market for a while, eCS didn’t come with drivers for any of them. Later, we found in the IBM software update web site a driver for the YMF754, but it wouldn’t work. After installing the driver, it recognizes the sound card, it now displays the sound card in the “hardware manager” folder, but playing sound files results in errors like “no audio hardware device found.” I ran eCS with ALT+F1 in recovery mode in order to force the system to re-detect hardware and then rebooted, as per the sound card’s README, but still no audio joy.
However, eCS does come with enhanced hardware compatibility, just not the one I needed. Thankfully, my RealTek network card and graphics card are all working, and the mouse wheel too (though not at the speed I would like it to). There is also a USB preference panel to identify and access your USB devices.
eCS boots fast; it usually comes up in about 30 seconds or so. Launching applications and using the system is also fast and responsive. The OS comes with Java 1.3.1, a number of networking tools (with ways to log on to workgroup/domain networks) and of course DOS and Windows 3.1 compatibility, as expected. Mozilla 1.0.x is also ported, and there are a few thousand applications to choose and download over at Hobbes.
The main new feature that a 1.0 user will notice (besides the new installation procedure) is the new SciTech Display Doctor preference panel. It makes changing monitor resolution, color depth and refresh rate very easy. And of course it adds 2D support for a truckload of graphics cards. Additionally, you will find this very panel able to control the brand new virtual desktop application. Truly, a nice addition to the OS.
The rest of the OS hasn’t changed though. It is pretty much as we described it in our review of eCS 1.0, so if you are really curious about eCS and OS/2 (or want to check more screenshots), please refer to that article for a more detailed description of the OS.
Now, is this version worth the $90 of upgrading your 1.0 or the $200 for the full purchase of 1.1? While I am a huge fan of alternative OSes, I simply can’t justify these amounts of money only for a new installation that doesn’t always work (at least the previous installation method was difficult, but quite usable), some additional hardware/internet support and a virtual desktop application. The eCS OS still looks dated (even more than it did one and a half years ago), it still requires hacking around config.sys and autoexec.bat to add new features to the OS. OS/2 started in the same time and level with Windows back then, but Windows has evolved and eCS 1.1 still feels like a small update over 1996’s OS/2 Warp.
I don’t believe that Serenity Systems has a winner with this OS running on its own (maybe this is why they are moving their business to trying to run eCS as a guest OS over FreeBSD/Linux and Windows). Linux has already gained the place of the “Windows alternative” and while eCS does many things better than Linux (faster, responsive, easy application installation, unified looks and expected usability, some integration), Linux is evolving much faster, supports more hardware, it is sexier, it has more applications (including Windows 9x/XP apps via WINE) and has an active developer community. eCS can still survive by focusing its marketshare on existing customers who still run important software under OS/2 in their companies. But these people are certain to migrate one day and eCS may not present a compelling option for this price.
OS enthusiasts are encouraged to try it out if you have the money, but don’t try to install it on mission-critical computers since your boot manager is likely to be deleted. Other than that, eCS is a pretty good OS to run.
Hardware Support: 5/10
Ease of use: 7.5/10
Credibility: 7/10 (stability, bugs, security)
Speed: 9/10 (UI responsiveness, latency, throughput)
Overall: 6.41 / 10
I myself would buy OS/2 Warp 4 from eBay for – let’s say 20 bucks – and then install all the free software which is available for that…
I’ve never seen Warp 4 go for that cheap, but I tend to agree. I won’t be buying the upgrade, and I’m a little angry with myself for paying for 1.0.
good review, Eugenia. unfortunately, everything you wrote was true.
One of the big advantages of eCS is that it will install on current equipment (caveats noted) out of the box. Buying Warp 4 (ebay)and expecting it to install smoothly on current 2003 HW is overly optimistic. I have installed Warp 4 plenty and it has to be carefully coaxed along and patched to install on some of today’s commmon hardware. Then you will want to install the fixpaks probably to get it working to your requirements. This can be very time consuming to be kind. Remember Warp 4 is old.
eCS offers a very much needed product for those wishing to run OS/2 and that is an updated install package. If you end up having to install OS/2 on current hardware I suspect you will find eCS a great value compared to the alternative (Warp 4).
IF eCS actually gets installed. Chances are it will be if you only have a single hard drive in your PC, a primary partitions only, all for eCS. In this case, you will probably be in luck. Any more complicated setup than that, OS-sharing or a different bootmanager and you will most probably have trouble in most cases (the new installation routine doesn’t always work, even for previously supported systems).
depends on whether you put more value on your time or your money, I guess. the extra time for updating, software installation and configuration isn’t that bad, compared to the price they have on the eCS releases. I don’t know why I thought eCS was going to somehow be magickally better than Warp, so it’s my bad for paying for it. BUT, I do believe that I could have gotten every bit as good of a system by pulling out my old copy of Warp 4 and investing a little time.
to put it simply, I set aside a day or two minimum to get FreeBSD working the way I want it to, so a few hours to get Warp 4 up and running isn’t that bad.
what exact problems did you have installing? primary partitions are a given, considering the age and heritage of OS/2. was it user error with a confusing installation or actual bugs? I haven’t seen the eCS 1.1 installer, so I’m a bit curious.
did they change the 1800 character product key, or is it still really, really long?
They are actual bugs. I have already discussed the situation with the Serenity people. All the partitions I tried were primary, but still…
> did they change the 1800 character product key, or is it still really, really long?
Let’s just say that you don’t want to type it.
OS/2 is dead and IBM is now improving only linux.
Why pay for a proprietary and dead OS when I can get linux for free ? To run Win 3.1 and DOS programs ?! With wine and dosemu I can do the same on linux…
Marcelo, normally, I would mod you down as trolling.
But truly unforturnately, you aren’t far from the truth this time. IBM doesn’t care anymore and Serenity doesn’t have the resources to really take OS/2 into a new level.
eCS would be really impressive, if it was a free hobby OS, but $200? No way!
Honestly: I’m no MS fan, but Windows (2k/XP, not 9x/ME) has a better price/performance/features ratio than eCS.
The positive thing is that eCS uses SciTech SNAP Graphics for graphic card support. More alternative, commercial OSes should use it. Propably cheaper than developing so many drivers.
I do have an eye on alternative OSes. My two candidates as main alternative desktop OSes are Zeta (near future) and Syllable (maybe a year or two until it’s usable as a day-to-day OS).
Syllable is a long way off, 2 years easily. after I finally found a single good floppy disk and figured out how to install with 1 floppy, I took it for a drive.. it looks very nice in the screenshots, but it needs tons of work beyond the desktop. menus are all out of whack, the filemanager needs too much work to discribe, drivers are a major problem, speed is a major problem and the overall system just seems to need like 5-6 coats of polish.
actively browsing the filesystem with the filemanager seems to easily consume 80-90% of my Athlon XP’s power(guess it’s from using the BIOS for disk access, dunno), clicking copy without anything highlighted leaves the window unresponsive, copying a directory to another location with an identical directory works but it doesn’t refresh the display properly and you see duplicates, etc, etc…
On the other hand, I hope Zeta does to BeOS what eCS wasn’t able to do for OS/2. I’m looking forward to it, either way.
Really, this is not sarcasm, but for instance you people would be better off if you where starting to redesign the OS while keeping backwards compatibility where possible. Maybe borrow a BSD kernel? You know it better, just my 2c.
<em>The positive thing is that eCS uses SciTech SNAP Graphics for graphic card support. More alternative, commercial OSes should use it. Propably cheaper than developing so many drivers. </em>
We couldn’t agree more;) In fact we have out lined the costs of going it alone on our website (includes basic QA costs..):
If I remember right, OS/2 had a really nice boot manager, the same one that shipped with partition magic a few years later?
I think lilo should be put to a quick death.
I don’t use LILO.
Hi Eugenia. Don’t take this as a flame or insult or anything. I’m just trying to be helpful. You wrote “…a trackload of…” in your article. I understand what you mean, but the actual phrase is “a truckload of” (or as I like to say it “a butt load of”). I can’t wait till I attempt to use coloquial sayings in French or Japanese… I imagine the mistakes will be hilarious.
Two minor gripes: CONFIG.SYS is part of the OS/2 methodology. It is the One True Configuration File; thus, arguing to be rid of it is like arguing to be rid of BSD rc.conf or whatever the Linux SysVquivalents are. You can argue for more user-insulation from it, or that switching to some sort of RCng-like “defaults plus overrides” methodology would be nice, but it’s part of what makes OS/2 OS/2, and the installation procedures for the legacy software eComStation is sold to support would certainly break were it to somehow disappear.
Similarly, AUTOEXEC.BAT is only used for the DOS VM. I forget what the *actual* AUTOEXEC.BAT-equivalent was (BOOT.CMD?), but it was certainly a .CMD for interpretation by the OS/2 shell. .BATs would be passed to COMMAND.COM.
All that said, redesigning the kernel might not be a great idea- OS/2, as of Warp, had a number of scheduling options, from the dynamic timeslicing that made the Warp kernel ‘Warp’ to some supposedly “realtime” modes. I’ve seen a lot of industrial equipment that does use Warp, and it’d probably be a major task to ensure compatibility (and/or bug-compatibility) if you just tried to port the API to NetBSD or something. As far as I can tell, eComStation’s main purpose in life is to be a $200 drop-in for situations where that cost is cheap vs. porting labor. (I could be wrong… wasn’t there another OS/2 licensee that was even more focused on the ‘legacy systems’ aspect?)
It’s sad to see it going, but as a desktop OS, the average Linux distribution *has* caught up- which is why we can afford to say “$200, the installer’s buggy, and it’s only got Mozilla 1.0.x?” Now if only a few more concepts from the UI could make it back into today’s desktop environments before it’s forgotten for good…
[P.S.: The Boot Manager rocked, but it had its bugs, too, mostly relating to the ‘4GB limit,’ and IIRC, the need/want for partitions to start on cylinder boundaries, and some trouble with unidentifiable types (OpenBSD)… I moved up to XOSL on my last multiboot system, though that has its quirks, too.]
Your review was definitely biased in my opinion. However, it is a good thing I don’t write my opinion of Windows or Linux. Mine would probably be more so.
To begin with, eCS comes with various pricing. To get a true idea for what the various flavors cost, go to Mensys.
The installation is better than the previous version even though it may not be perfect. Every Windows version I have tried (95, 98, ME, XP) has had problems with its installation too. If not for some innovative ideas from me, my friend would never have got Windows XP installed on his machine.
“From the three bugs found, the most annoying is the one that wipes out your current bootmanager even if the user is very careful to not install any boot manager (in detail, this new app that does the partitioning needs a real debugging kickout).”
How can it wipe out the Boot Manager if it was never installed? If you have Boot Manager installed, it does wipe it out and replaces it with a fixed Boot Manager that can read the larger hard drives.
“All my hardware works fine except the sound cards. I have two sound cards there (a very common VIA on-board AC97 (1.5 year old version) and a Yamaha YMF754 PCI one (3 year old version) and while they have been out on the market for a while, eCS didn’t come with drivers for any of them.”
eCS has not even shipped yet. It is still in manufacturing. There are three CD’s with the second containing the sound drivers. For those that had upgrade protection and could not wait for the whole CD set to be shipped, Serenity allowed them to download the iso for the operating system itself. However, sound card detection and installation will have to wait till the next version.
“Thankfully, my RealTek network card and graphics card are all working, and the mouse wheel too (though not at the speed I would like it to).”
How fast is fast? My mouse wheel is every bit as fast as the Windows version. There is a better free driver called “Amouse” one can download if one knows where to look.
” OS/2 started in the same time and level with Windows back then, but Windows has evolved and eCS 1.1 still feels like a small update over 1996’s OS/2 Warp.”
Yes Microsoft kept developing their operating system while IBM did nothing with OS/2 for years. Serenity is playing catchup with limited resources. However, I can tell you have not used this system too much. The WPS itself still has no equal in my opinion as far as versatility.
“I don’t believe that Serenity Systems has a winner with this OS running on its own (maybe this is why they are moving their business to trying to run eCS as a guest OS over FreeBSD/Linux and Windows).”
Again this is your opinion and not theirs.
It’s interesting how you in both your reviews have pointed out have fast OS/2 is, since it is contrary to my experiences. Have Serenity managed to throw out the bloat or is it just that hardware has caught up with OS/2?
Some years ago, I installed Warp 3 on a PS/2 56SLC2, with 8 MB of RAM and a SCSI hard drive. It was unbearably slow. Later, I installed Warp 4 on a 200 MHz Pentium clone, 64 MB RAM, supposedly supported graphics card. Still hideously slow.
One can only conclude that OS/2 had unsupportable RAM demands for its age (which probably hampered its success in the PC marketplace), but that lack of further IBM-style development has given the hardware manufacturers a chance to supply enough MHz and MB for the system to actually seem quick.
>How can it wipe out the Boot Manager if it was never installed?
Because of its bugs. As I said, Serenity have my full report, I was in full communication for a month. You don’t have to be apologetic for anyone David. Your comment was kind of agressive, for no good reason.
>How fast is fast?
As fast as a user need it to be. There was no way to set that up.
> However, I can tell you have not used this system too much. The WPS itself still has no equal in my opinion as far as versatility.
I have used more than 10-12 OSes in my life (not counting distros). I used eCS for more than a year. I am no new to WPS. While it is a powerful system, it is not elegant. It is aged. I did the same remark 1.5 years ago, and surely, after all this time, looking and behaving exactly the same as back then, won’t make it any better, would it?
>Again this is your opinion and not theirs.
Of course it is my opinion. I am the reviewer here.
> or is it just that hardware has caught up with OS/2?
Anything above 200 Mhz will be more than enough for OS/2. Hardware has probably caught up.
What you reviewed was based on a late release candidate and not the 1.1 GA that just went to manufacturing the end of last week. In addition, you didn’t get to see CD 2, which has all the multimedia drivers, including the sound drivers you complained about not having. So maybe you would consider doing another review of eCS 1.1 with the actually GA product?
>including the sound drivers you complained about not having
I downloaded and installed the driver as per instructions of Serenity, didn’t work.
>So maybe you would consider doing another review of eCS 1.1 with the actually GA product?
I doubt that they have fixed the installation bugs, as I didn’t hear anything from the team. If they have fixed them, I could give it a go. If not, not reason to.
granted b/c ibm has cross-licensing agreement with m$ it cannot OPEN its code base, i am surprised ibm doesn’t allow people to download os/2 for FREE, or to allow vendors to install os/2 on their pc’s for FREE.
any word on qt rtos?
True, and worse still, Microsoft know that if it was opensourced under a liberal license such as LGPL or some sort of BSD/X11 like one, they would have one heck of a time trying to compete against it.
With the technical know how of the OSS community combined with the already established user interface and rich API’s it would be only a matter of time before it could easily be turned around.
As for IBM, if IBM want to do something really good, they should invest into getting wine 100% OS2 compatible so that users an run OS2 applications on *NIX under wine then we’d be able to run Lotus Smart Suite on *NIX, which would be a nicer replacement for OpenOffice.org which IMHO is a bloated POS that takes ice ages to load and the font rendering is crap. Hopefully in 1.1 they get their act together and implement Xft and Fontconfig into OpenOffice.
“True, and worse still, Microsoft know that if it was opensourced under a liberal license such as LGPL or some sort of BSD/X11 like one, they would have one heck of a time trying to compete against it.”
sounds like a pipe dream to me. I try to stay off the pipe, it makes me goofy. 8)
I’m sure that this thought has never crossed anyone of any importance in MS’s mind. if it has, I doubt it raised more than a chuckle.
“With the technical know how of the OSS community combined with the already established user interface and rich API’s it would be only a matter of time before it could easily be turned around.”
you’re assuming a lot here. I seriously doubt it would attract all that much attention. the Samba crew would probably get to tear apart the LM and and SMB portions pretty thoroughly which would be great, a compatibility layer would most likely spring up pretty quickly, and I’m sure a few people would jump on it with the intention of continuing development. no doubt it would do great things if it were released, but I really can’t see the OSS community jumping behind it to do the things that need to be done. there may be some minor kernel/lowlevel work, but the GUI needs tons of work, too. you’re also looking at making it more portable, since x86 is on its last legs.
I doubt it would be killing MS anytime soon, and it could take a few developers away from projects that have the potential of actually competing.
Open Office is slow loading. No doubt about it. It takes lets click on writer now: It took 15 seconds to load on this Redhat 9 distro running on a p3 powered laptop with a 4500 rpm drive. Is that a long time? Yeah, unfortunatly in modern computing it actually is. I have closed it but lets click it again: 3 seconds. So its still in memory. SO what you can do is preload it on boot, linux can do this. Windows version lets you set it up by default.
Its fonts suck? Mine don’t. You need to grab some new fonts for your system, such as the bitstream fonts, or windows true type fonts. Looks great.
As far as OS/2 apps. Dont really care for them, there is nothing I need that hasnt already come out for the open source community. However, I do remember reading an article about the oldest running software, and there are people who need to still use lotus, so your point is valid. Besides it would be choice and choice is good.
I used to be an eComStation fan, but I stopped using it. First of all, IBM stopped much (not all) of its development, it has a uncertain future, unlike Linux and *BSD. It is quite unstable, I often ended up with a crash. Yes, for mid-90 standards OS/2 was really stable (especially compared to Windows), but right now Unices are setting the standard for stability. The UI feels really old, there is some theming support right now, but most controls just look boring. It has not got anti-aliasing font support (which is actually very difficult to implement in OS/2). There are many freeware applications and also many opensource apps, but no potential commercial killer apps. And driver support is really lagging behind.
I know the Serenity (and many other people) are putting much energy in this, but it is not worth trying for most people if the price doesn’t drop somewhere between $50 and $99. In such a price range it is acceptable for most people to just try it out and run it if they like it. And, of course, more users means more developers, means a faster pace of OS/2 development. But the prices IBM charges for OS/2 licenses does not allow them to make the package cheaper.
well, thanks for the review.
I do not have the GA of eCS 1.1 yet, as is simply _is not Genarally Available_ right now.
regarding soundcard issues: AC97 does not say much. it might be interesting to know for your readers that a turnover is taking place regarding sounddrivers to the new UNIAUD drivers (that are basically a ALSA port). so we will have another option soon (already for many soundcards).
the same can be said for things like SANE that is available for eCS as well in a recent version. and there is a better frontend for it (TAME/2 0-9-4[google for it]) than I have seen on any Linux version yet.
additionally there are eCS versions of GIMP, Apache, Phoenix, Zope, JDK 1.4.1_02, mySQL, PostgreSQL, cdrecord to name just a few of those I work with on a daily base. and yes, you get GIMP integrated on your PM desktop because eCS (since 1.0) ships with a X11 server (Hoblink) that has a multiwindowed PM-output. if you want, XFree 4.3.0 is available as well. as is gcc 3.2.x and perl and, and …
you get the picture.
of course Mozilla is available not only in the mentioned 1.0 but 1.3 and 1.4a.
don’t take me wrong, I would like to have a new and shining non-OS/2/eCS OS. I wanted to have a Unix-like OS on x86 PCs more than 15 years ago (anybody remenbers Coherent?), I spent hours of religeous download in front of ftp to get my first pre-1.0 linux on 17 3,5″ disk images and I have spent a lot more money in buying Linux distributions off the shelf tham I have invested in OS/2 and eCS. I thank about myself to be very open-minded regarding software.
every half a year I take a new look at the distros around, the last ones being Suse 8.0, RetHat 8.0, Mandrake 9.0 and Debian 2.2 [now I know that someone will start to tell me that starting with some x.n+1 version everything is completely new and better…]. until now I have to say: Linux (and *BSD as well last time I looked) are not there yet. I cannot do my work I do with eCS with Linux. and all those other might-be OSes that get reported about here on OSNEWS have an even longer way to go.
[don’t make me start commenting on Windows XP]
“and there is a better frontend for it (TAME/2 0-9-4[google for it]) than I have seen on any Linux version yet.”
Thanks for the flowers. We currently try hard to implement printing and faxing (and later then OCR via GOAT too). But current GA version is 0.9.6, soon there will be a ‘interim’ release with all updates done so far (some fixes went too into SANE Code to fix a bug with epson 640U which happens with all Sane Versions, for all OS, the fixes have been passed to the SANE backend maintainer too). So not only OS/2 is profiting from *nix ports, sometimes they profit from OS/2.
Although there are some things missing for OS/2, in my experience (using MacOSX on a notebook, Linux in several flavours since years now, servicing Windows in all variants for my customers) I’ve seen none that can compare, so unless this happens I stay with OS/2 as my main OS and doing some tasks with the other ones (until there are the missing apps for OS/2).
There are too many free additions (e.g. the CW-MM classes, the Audio-Data-CDCreator,the MMAUDIOPak) which enhance OS/2 capabilities and which are not delivered with eCS. And finally for servicing the config.sys there are some tools available (e.g. our configtool 1.3, which too does some checks and makes suggestions how to optimize it).
Getting OS/2 to run takes a little more efforts than the other OS i’ve mentioned, but once it works servicing it, adding/removing applications … is ways easier.
About the onboard Via audio. Did you try the driver from Via? They have an OS/2 driver.
I tried OS/2 Warp 3, 4 and eComStation 1.0 but they wouldn’t run on my comp. I only got into Warp 4, but it then ran very unstable. (Exceptions all the time.)
You mention a price of 90 USD for an upgrade from eCS 1.0
This is incorrect, the upgrade price from eComStation 1.0 is 59 USD. The upgrade from OS/2 Warp 4 is 89 USD.
All in all, these seem very reasonable.
You neglect to mention that eComStation 1.1 ships with:
– Mozilla 1.3 (stable) in addition to the IBM branded version of Mozilla 1.0
– OpenWatcom 1.0 C/C++/Fortran Compiler
– VoiceType: use your voice to control the desktop
– Productivity apps, like IBM Works, Fax, etc.
– strongly enhanced Internet access (and configuration) with built-in NAT and support for ISDN, PPtP, PPPoE, Cable and direct connections.
– Newer kernel than 1.0 and integrated updates from IBM
– scriptable and extendible installation method
– CD boot support on lot’s of hardware
– _lower_ hardware demands than 1.0
Still, thank you for the review!
Joachim Benjamins – Mensys BV.
I’m sorry this install went wrong, and as far as eCS 1.1 is not GA, I cannot say if your problem has been solved, or if I will get the same difficulties… The only thing to do is “wait and see” : and I won’t say anything more about bugs until eCS 1.1 is GA.
I only regret that you didn’t mention this, nor did you mention the fact that many OSes show problems when you try to install them on a disk that has more than three partitions and BeOS boot manager (I remember having spent one entire week on a same problem three years ago. The main matter came from Redmond…). Okay, this doesn’t forgive the eCS problem, but…
I find your review serious, but not complete. Just one example (I won’t repeat the information already given by other people on the board) : you can’t honestly say that the user interface has not evolved since v1. XWorkplace integration is one of the greatest evolutions OS/2 has known since 1993. You don’t even mention it (maybe it’s not blinking enough… When M$ changes a window border everyone agrees to call it “revolution”, even if there’s no change behind. Serenity just did the contrary…).
I’m sorry some other data lack in the article. I won’t blame you for these, you’ve done it, it’s a work I respect. But I think that complementary data will be needed when you have the GA version. You can’t make definitive conclusion on a RC version.
Thanks for your work
>You neglect to mention that eComStation 1.1 ships with:
>- Mozilla 1.3 (stable) in addition to the IBM branded >version of Mozilla 1.0
>- OpenWatcom 1.0 C/C++/Fortran Compiler
Mozilla and OpenWatcom are both available for download
from the Internet for free.
>- VoiceType: use your voice to control the desktop
This has been with OS/2 since 4.0 came about.
>- Productivity apps, like IBM Works, Fax, etc.
Are these the same legacy apps that came with OS/2 3.0?
If so, I don’t see these being of much value to anyone
in the modern office unless they are using the products already under an older OS/2 release… In which case, couldn’t they just install the BonusPacks themselves
from their previous OS/2 CD’s?
>- Newer kernel than 1.0 and integrated updates from IBM
Do you mean IBM FixPaks have already been installed?, nice, but also downloadable if this is so.
>- scriptable and extendible installation method
I like this option
>- CD boot support on lot’s of hardware
About time OS/2 was CD Bootable, although with fiddling
you can make an ISO yourself of OS/2 3/4 and make it bootable, I have seen these instructions online on how to accomplish this.
My conclusion is that I sure do not see any valid reason for anyone to pay an upgrade version price from OS/2 4.0, and if you must run OS/2, then I would suggest that you should have the intelligence to install fixpacks and make a boot system to get OS/2 running on your hardware if it is possible.
While I applaud eComStation for attempting to keep a good OS alive, I have to look at my wallet and alas, say No… atleast for myself.
I take your point, however,
Some of the fixes/updates are only available to OS/2 users if they have a commercial Software Choice subscription. Most of this is included in an eCS licence, so it is a cheap(er) way to keep your system up to date.
People buy new versions of Linux despite the source presumably being available/compilable from the web. Nothing wrong with that, and very sensible IMO.
Personally, I would rather pay a small upgrade fee (59 USD) to have all the latest updates in a single manageable format. In fact, I just have
If you consider that the main market for eCS is corporates, a small fee is nothing compared to being able to continue running their software on newer hardware platforms. I’m not sure how Serenity deal with larger customers, but I assume that they provide some form of consulting service which brings a value-added element to eCS.
These customers are unlikely to have multiple OS’s/boot managers on their PC’s either, so the install issues that Eugenia came across should not be so evident (hopefully!). I imagine that if they want Win9x/2000 support, they would run the Microsoft OS under VPC rather than having a multi-boot setup.
Yeah you’re right, apart from Java 1.3, Smartsuite, applause and the other apps that will be bundled in the separate application pack, eCS doesn’t add much value you can’t download on the www and install yourself (err, not so sure because the latest IBM additions, put in eCS1.1, are not free).
My own opinion is that the price of the connection, my own time, the thought that I only have to put a CD in and click some options to get the latest OS are worth $90. But what’s great in this world is that everyone can choose.
I purchased eComstation a year and a half ago like many others and had a terrible time installing it. It was actually a “science” getting it installed. I don’t have any trouble installing it anymore but have found that eCS is not as stable as OS/2 Warp 4 CP2. So I use CD2 and install Warp 4 Convenience Pack 2 that is included with eCS. (of course you need to create boot floppies from CD2 to install it…argh). It gives me no trouble at all. And I don’t have to enter that stupid product key when I install it. Wise Machine? Totally useless and buggy. I like to add my own “fat” to OS/2 as I see fit. The eCS only add on features contribute to unexpected behavior and don’t add any real benefit. I don’t use OS/2 on the desktop anymore, it is just a Web/FTP/email server. OS/2 on the desktop is no longer a viable option.
Eugenia is your bootmanager located in the MBR ??
LVM makes a few changes to the disk – the first time it is being run, actually it is recommended that you perform all partitioning with the LVM, also for the other operating systems if you do that there’s really no problem (Except that Windows 2000 and SuSE Linux 8.2 wipes out the IBM Boot Manager, W2K at every boot until it has been updated to SP1 and SuSE during the Install),
The LVM was created for the WSEB 4.5 Server – a server seldom hosts multiple operating systems (Unless they’re run inside a Virtual Engine) …
Live long and prosper…
Sounds like the Serenity Systems folks still have a lot of work to do on the installation…
> primary partitions are a given, considering the age and > heritage of OS/2.
Actually, OS/2 has been able to install its boot partition in a logical drive since v2.0 in 1992, assuming you use IBM’s boot manager, and that’s been a very common install configuration for the past decade.
If you have another boot manager already in place and no primary temporarily available, though, it’d be a tougher task to do the installation…
> Why pay for a proprietary and dead OS when I can get
> linux for free ?
If Linux does what you want, then you have an excellent point. However…
> To run Win 3.1 and DOS programs ?! With wine and dosemu
> I can do the same on linux…
If you think DOSEMU even comes close to OS/2’s Virtual DOS Machines, I’m afraid you’re sadly mistaken. One can run DOS games and multimedia apps like MPXPlay or QuickView under an OS/2 VDM (or even somewhat esoteric programs like New Deal Office or Executor/DOS) with full sound support, something DOSEMU is very poor at doing.
Also, OS/2’s WinOS2 isn’t an emulation or a recoding of the Windows API’s — it’s an actual IBM-licensed copy of Microsoft Windows that was rewritten as a DPMI client and which runs under a VDM. Its compatibility with Windows 3.1 software is relatively close to 100%.
Of course, both of the above are of little use to most folks nowadays, so the correction/clarification is mostly moot…
I agree that eCS is very expensive. Too expensive to be a real competitor to Linux or *BSD, I think. Some of us in the OS/2 community have tried to tell Serenity that over and over.
Unfortunately, I think their hands are somewhat tied as long as IBM insists on charging them for an OS/2 license for each eCS license they sell.
If you have an interest in eCS but feel it’s out of your price range, let the Serenity Systems folks know! The more constructive feedback they get on this issue, the better the change that some movement on pricing will occur…
“Actually, OS/2 has been able to install its boot partition in a logical drive since v2.0 in 1992, assuming you use IBM’s boot manager, and that’s been a very common install configuration for the past decade.”
would have to look, but I’m sure you’re right, sorry. I avoided nondos drives in extended partitions like the plague in my DOS days, and more recently I’d prefer not having another boot manager trying to take my MBR.
eh, I keep the first primary partition free to install anything that may be questionable, seems to work out better for me that way.
“I agree that eCS is very expensive. Too expensive to be a real competitor to Linux or *BSD, I think. Some of us in the OS/2 community have tried to tell Serenity that over and over.”
You cannot compete with an OpenSource and basically free OS of course. However, the pricepoint is much more attractive now than it was with eComStation 1.1. An upgrade from Warp 4 for 89 USD is not too expensive in my opinion. It will give you full access to IBM Software Choice features which retails at double that price, alone)
“Unfortunately, I think their hands are somewhat tied as long as IBM insists on charging them for an OS/2 license for each eCS license they sell. ”
Of course, there is always the license fees to IBM which prohibit us to give away the OS.
Joachim Benjamins – Mensys BV
AFAIR Windows 3.1 is the property of IBM – a few years back it became too silly for Microsoft to renegotiate the IBM licenses, since Win 3.1 had been EOL’ed a long time ago! I’m sure they did not just hand over the shell, but got someting in return!
Live long and prosper…
“However, the pricepoint is much more attractive now than it was with eComStation 1.1. An upgrade from Warp 4 for 89 USD is not too expensive in my opinion.”
This should be:
“…more attractive now than it was with eComStation 1.0…”
If EcOS is like OS/2 WARP, then while you can install much of the OS to a logical partition, you still need at least a small primary partition for booting.
OS/2 had some flexibility, but not as much as one would like for a multi-booting system.
A good boot manager like System Commander is easy to re-install when the MBR gets over-written by an OS installation.
Joachim, I would love to see an indepth interview that would explain some of the questions some of us may have. would you be willing to clarify where you plan to take OS/2, the current state of the union, what major improvements you have incorporated and intend to incorporate, how(or if) you intend to attract new users or if you just intend to provide support for legacy systems and what’s left of the OS/2 community.
are you continuing to refine the underlying OS, or is eCS simply geared at providing maintenance updates for the OS/2. to what extent is IBM still developing OS/2?
Now that’s a first… a mission-critical machine with dual-boot? Do you even know what you’re talking about? Do you know what’s a mission-critical machine, even?
eComstation is a corporate OS. It’s not for home, it’s not for games, you should know what you’re doing when you’re messing around with it. You should be reviewing things more down your level, like windows or something. Did you even read it’s specs?
So people can realize how much his review is out of whack, this is a description of eCS from the ecs site:
eComStation(tm) (eCS) is an Internet enabled platform for business desktop computing. The focus of eCS is to provide an organization with a set of world class business applications and an application engine which can support multiple API sets. eCS is REXX enabled and comes with support for DOS, Java, Windows 3.1, OS/2 applications
oh please. don’t try to set OS/2 up as a world class OS that only the most gifted are able to use. it started life as a consumer OS, it just lost bigtime. what can it do well on the high end? oh, well… it’s Internet enabled, yeah in the meantime *nix is the Internet. it’s REXX enabled… you know, just last week my boss and I were going over purchase. I recommended Linux, but he killed the idea because it wasn’t REXX enabled. download an interpretor. jeezz.. what else can it do, SMB/LM Samba and MS have taken that places OS/2 couldn’t(or wouldn’t). web servers, maybe? oh but wait, *nix does that the best, so why settle for less? high end workstations maybe? where’s the hardware support? what manufacturor sells a high end OS/2 workstation? where’s the CAD/CAM applications? as far as I can see, this OS doesn’t do anything really highend. how about your average corporate workstation? haven’t seen it for years, where’s the apps?
the reason you “you should know what you’re doing when you’re messing around with it” is because it’s so antiquated that no one remembers the way things worked in 1990 anymore.
this review is about 1000x better than when they review IRIX or Solaris and talk about how the ui is dated, so don’t complain.
Actually it did NOT start life as a consumer OS, OS/2 Warp 3.0 was launched as a consumer OS but after a few months the plug was pulled – the SOHO use wasn’t worth the trouble (We wanted drivers for non-IBM PC’s and good damn we even insisted on using the help-desk).
I didn’t loose the fight, it was forfitted!
NO CURRENT CAD/CAM APPLICATIONS – OH MY GOD!
I guess you’re right the only evidence that matters is “are there any large CAD/CAM application packages?” otherwise it is dead. Are there any CAD/CAM applications for SymbianOS ?? No – ARGH it isn’t fit to live!
Talk about antiquated architechtures, talk about *NIX!
Live long and prosper…
NO CURRENT CAD/CAM APPLICATIONS – OH MY GOD!
sorry, the only reason I need high end workstations is for engineers, I guess there is need in production companies, the music industry, etc. where are those apps? I guess it sucks as a highedn workstation, so that takes us back to the lowend workstation. where are the apps that make it suitable for a corporate desktop???
Talk about antiquated architechtures, talk about *NIX!
and it still does EVERYTHING better than OS/2 and runs on good hardware. must really get to you OS/2 people that IBM decided to advance UNIX, while OS/2 whithered, huh?
What exactly is OS/2 good for? what can it do that can’t be done better with another OS?
“What exactly is OS/2 good for? what can it do that can’t be done better with another OS?”
oh wait, it runs ATMS, right? seems like I saw a Toshiba POS in Ralph’s that was running OS/2…
well, when there’s need for a corporate cash register on every desk, OS/2 will surely be one of the tops 6 choices I look at.
>sorry, the only reason I need high end workstations is for >engineers, I guess there is need in production companies, >the music industry, etc. where are those apps? I guess it >sucks as a highedn workstation, so that takes us back to >the lowend workstation. where are the apps that make it >suitable for a corporate desktop???
I’m fully aware that OS/2 is not Power-material, but who is talking about high-end workstations!
What do you need on the modern coporate desktop ??
Actually if you take the e-business concept to the limit, all you need as a modern Web-browser.
But there are productivity packages, minor DTP programs, image manipulation programs, Java 1.4.1 (SDK), GCC, wxWindows support and so on – actually OS/2 is still able to do the job.
>>Talk about antiquated architechtures, talk about *NIX!
>and it still does EVERYTHING better than OS/2 and runs on >good hardware. must really get to you OS/2 people that IBM >decided to advance UNIX, while OS/2 whithered, huh?
Actually they have decided på advance Linux, not UNIX (And it seems they are preparing to dismantle AIX) and Windows.
And no my furry little friend – it doesn’t do everything better than OS/2 … and if good hardware is only non-x86 hardware then you’re quite right, but if you’re talking about x86-hardware – then you’re utterly wrong again!
>What exactly is OS/2 good for? what can it do that can’t be >done better with another OS?
It is great for hitting arrogant know-it-all’s on the head!
UNIX, Linux and OS/2 ought to have a place in the world (Did you notice I left out MS-Windows ? :o)
But by all means keep on trying to monopolize the toy-chest in the kindergarden!
Live long and prosper…
Nuclear powerplants, banks, electrical distribution, communication, airports.
DB2, MySQL, PostreSQL, Apache and PHP has been ported (Apache even now has thread-support – not only support of the antiquated processes) .. but then again these are worthless packages, noone will ever use these.
Live long and prosper…
“What do you need on the modern coporate desktop ??
Actually if you take the e-business concept to the limit, all you need as a modern Web-browser.”
ok, then why should we pay $200 if that’s all we need?
“But there are productivity packages, minor DTP programs, image manipulation programs, Java 1.4.1 (SDK), GCC, wxWindows support and so on”
“actually OS/2 is still able to do the job.”
if the job is simple, or you can afford to retrain every user you have and every new user you get.
“Actually they have decided på advance Linux, not UNIX (And it seems they are preparing to dismantle AIX) and Windows.”
first, who’s talking about windows? don’t try and spin this off into an OS/2 vs Windows discussion, cause it isn’t. second, IBM has just recently decided to go this route, and it doesn’t really matter either way. *NIX, as “antiquated” as it may be is still being advanced by IBM.
“it doesn’t do everything better than OS/2”
ok, then I’ll ask this again. What does it do well? would you answer this time?
“but if you’re talking about x86-hardware – then you’re utterly wrong again!”
I’ve never seen it on good x86 hardware, but in the old days it was an option on Proliants, at least. I would have to see what decent x86 hardware is well supported. of course, the best hardware generally isn’t x86.
“It is great for hitting arrogant know-it-all’s on the head”
be prepared to duck if we ever bump into each other on the street. 8)
“UNIX, Linux and OS/2 ought to have a place in the world”
I totally agree. it’s really not worse than a lot of OS’s. my original troll(hehe, yes it was) was aimed at Shana for acting ridiculous.
Peace and long life…
Eugenia, you say unified looks is a plus compared to Linux, but those screenshots rivals the worst examples I have seen on a Linux desktop; I couldn’t find two apps with the same looks!
another of my complaints, when was the last nuclear powerplant built, the 70s?
“DB2, MySQL, PostreSQL, Apache and PHP has been ported (Apache even now has thread-support – not only support of the antiquated processes) .. but then again these are worthless packages, noone will ever use these.”
most likely not on OS/2. hehe…
sorry, I meant in the U.S.
Peace and long life…
Sorry wlsb but you get a bit defensive when everybody tells you that your choice is wrong, and that it is useless and got no hardwaresupport in other words in daily basis we encounter trashing of OS/2 – usually by people that has very-very little or no knowlede of the system at all.
Well actually it got great support of my Broadcom GBLAN, 3Com 100Mbit LAN (And PPPoE DSL link), SB Live, WinTV Go, USB-MSD devices, KT400 chipset, Gigabyte Maya R9000Pro and full support of my Cordless Desktop!
My SuSE Linux 8.2 with the 2.4.20 kernel is unable to give me UDMA support, without pulling the plug on my SB Live and my Cordless Desktop Keyboard, but on the other hand it got support of my Epson Scanner (A port of this driver is on its way to OS/2).
Oh it is now able to handle my PPPoE DSL link – earlier only W2K and eCS had that capability….
Live long and prosper…
eCS has trumpeted about their two years of work to “improve” the OS/2 installer but success has eluded them. Warp 4.52 (the newest version of OS/2 from IBM) has an updated installer that is not fancy and has no bells or whistles but, unlike eCS, actually works consistently and reliably. I have never seen an x86 Intel or AMD system that Warp 4.52 could not be installed on. As implemented by IBM on Warp 4.51/Warp 4.52, the Logical Volume Manager (LVM) is a powerful and effective method for creating and managing storage volumes. The Workplace Shell (WPS) desktop on Warp 4.52 is not ‘extended’ with skins, new icons, or other extensions, as on eCS, but it is reliable and efficient. I know of no better or more powerful method of viewing and managing data that with the OS/2 WPS which is a joy to use compared with the tedious drudgery of the Windows desktop. Serenity has claimed to be offering a new-and-improved OS/2 in the form of eCS but what they have really been offering is an old out-of-date version of OS/2 with improvements that don’t work.
Sorry wlsb but you get a bit defensive when everybody tells you that your choice is wrong, and that it is useless and got no hardwaresupport in other words in daily basis we encounter trashing of OS/2 – usually by people that has very-very little or no knowlede of the system at all.
nah, I got temp banned from /., so I kinda took that out on you. hehe.
I though that the eCS 1.0 install was brain-dead easy,though I will admit to skimming through the LVM reame as the onscreen warnings suggested when I installed it for the first time. In light of how easy 1.0 was to install, Eugenia’s claim that 1.1 is “simpler overall” is impressive indeed.
I am a little curious as to what Eugenia means by “it didn’t install”. . .I don’t think that I have seen this before with eCS 1.0. I have seen the 1.0 version fail to detect some hardware at first but have never seen it just not install. That, combined with Eugenia’s claim this it can only be installed on systems with one hard drive and then only on primary partitions is quite disturbing. This would indicate that Serenity Systems work on eCS has radically reduced hardware compatibility rather than improving it. Unnerving, to say the least!
Concerning the eCS install replacing BootManager, this was explained in the LVM readme in ver 1.0. I assume a similar document is available for the 1.1 version? In any event, the new BootManager is indistinguishable from the original and in all instances that I have seen the old BootManager configuration is migrated. If BootManager is actually being ‘wiped out’ and not updated then this is certainly a serious bug that would probably block the GA release. . .I don’t think that I have to worry too much about that bug then.
Anyway, the install problems that were mentioned sound pretty incredible. I find it difficult to believe that the GA version will have substantial drive/partition limitations that older versions lacked. It seems fairly safe to disregard Eugenia’s problems with these issues if I am interested in the GA.
With regard to the reviewer’s impression that the desktop is ‘dated, the comment that Linux ‘is sexier’ leads me to believe that perhaps the reviewer is more concerned with the appearance of the bitmaps used to define widgets and window frame elements rather than actual desktop functionality. To my knowledge (and I’ve been looking hard) there isn’t a user interface yet that can touch the power and versatility of the WorkPlace Shell. The user interface is ‘dated’? Perhaps. . .but only relative to itself. When the WorkPlace Shell was released it was ahead of the competition by a decade or, as is now starting to look likely, two. It hasn’t really had to change much to stay ahead of the game. This UI stability is a good thing to me. Maybe I am just old fashioned or something but I actually believe that the user interface should be responsible for more than just looking pretty at LAN parties. . .which isn’t to say that there are not a whole bunch of things one can do to make eCS look really exotic 😉
Thanks Eugenia! Based on the power of your review I have decided to purchase Serenity Systems latest!
>first, who’s talking about windows? don’t try and spin this >off into an OS/2 vs Windows discussion, cause it isn’t. >second, IBM has just recently decided to go this route, and >it doesn’t really matter either way. *NIX, as “antiquated” as >it may be is still being advanced by IBM.
i was a generel remark and actually if you by recently means in 1996-1997 then yes. A part of the deal was to tone down the OS/2 involement!
>I’ve never seen it on good x86 hardware, but in the old >days it was an option on Proliants, at least. I would have >to see what decent x86 hardware is well supported. of >course, the best hardware generally isn’t x86.
Compaq isn’t good hardware, it is expensive and T-rouble….regarding the best hardware – you’re absolute right!
>ok, then I’ll ask this again. What does it do well? would you answer this time?
If there’s applications for the task – it does it well :o)
Productivity, communications, transactions (The BSD TCP/IP stack improved the performance) – try the RMV in Boston …. .. you name it – it is more versatile than Windows (I mention Windows because it is its nearest relative) – except in one field, there’s no 3D Acceleration.apart from a few bugs in the WPS OS/2 is up to most tasks – what it lacks is applications (Native or pure Java).
I am not saying it is the best OS that ever has been made, neither is Linux – it is getting better but still lacks in some areas.
>be prepared to duck if we ever bump into each other on the street. 8)
Duck and cover ??? :o)
In the US … Hmmm Catalina Marketing, Ameritech, Coca Cola got a few licenses, and even NASA.
>another of my complaints, when was the last nuclear >powerplant built, the 70s?
You mean if the Germans ment that it was unsafe, then the kontrol system would not have been upgraded ?
UNIX, Linux and OS/2 ought to have a place in the world”
>I totally agree. it’s really not worse than a lot of OS’s. >my original troll(hehe, yes it was) was aimed at Shana for >acting ridiculous.
Ahhh OK – you’re quite forgiven … getting tired – I think I will pop into eCS (Before KDE drives me utter mad) and put on Pirates (The greatest DVD i got :o)
>Sorry wlsb but you get a bit defensive when everybody tells >you that your choice is wrong, and that it is useless and got >no hardwaresupport in other words in daily basis we encounter >trashing of OS/2 – usually by people that has very-very >little or no knowlede of the system at all.
nah, I got temp banned from /., so I kinda took that out on you. hehe.
DAMN – I never get banned – it seems like I am incapable of being banned… I feel so alone – I need a hug, now where was that blonde ?
Live long and prosper…
OS/2 is quite picky regarding faulty memory during install, when I first started using OS/2 it was regarded as the best available memory test :o)
Live long and prosper…
Uh, people never *read exactly* what I say.
> That, combined with Eugenia’s claim this it can only be installed on systems with one hard drive and then only on primary partitions is quite disturbing.
I never said that. I said that it will be EASIER on a PC with a primary parition and one hdd. The new installation on 1.1 is extremely *unpredictable*. It will work on some PCs and it won’t on others.
> Concerning the eCS install replacing BootManager, this was explained in the LVM readme in ver 1.0.
NOT for the 1.1 instlalation, if you have a primary partition. In that case, you DON’T need the eCS boot manager.
> the comment that Linux ‘is sexier’ leads me to believe that perhaps the reviewer is more concerned with the appearance of the bitmaps used to define widgets and window frame elements rather than actual desktop functionality.
Why do you only grab the word “sexier” from a sentence that had 30 words and you don’t also mention the GOOD things I said about eCS when compared to Linux? Why do you turn your comment into a slunt?
For an OS that costs $200, *everything* matters. Speed, looks, behavior, functionality etc etc etc. eCS is better than Linux in some regards and worse on others. Live with it.
“Compaq isn’t good hardware, it is expensive and T-rouble….regarding the best hardware – you’re absolute right!”
in the old days, the server line was pretty solid for x86 and had the best support. can’t say much for it now.
“DAMN – I never get banned – it seems like I am incapable of being banned… I feel so alone – I need a hug, now where was that blonde ?”
it takes the right string of profanity at the right moment. hehe.
Well, as I eagerly await delivery of my new eCS 1.1 release (Mensys assures me it should be this week), I continue to wonder if I am going to run into the same difficulty with the recognition of and the driver loading of the Adaptec AIC-7899 chipset on my MSI m/b? Really infuriating when you have to make the diskettes because the bootable CD-ROM won’t boot after your hard drive cannot be recognized. It would seem that the CONFIG.SYS processing uses a place holder for the Adaptec driver but for some reason the driver cannot be read from the installation CD-ROM. Shades of yesteryear.
I actually had to expand the driver, copy it onto the installation diskette and proceed in that manner which then reminded me of a process I had to perform for my UltraStor h/a almost 10 or more years ago. I was not a happy camper but was finally able to get the system installed, then updated to the most new revisions adding USB support and the like and was really impressed with what I ultimately saw.
Dual booting to Win2K on the same hard drive using Air-Boot and updating Win2K similarly, I can say I really didn’t lack for much in way of comparison of the two, even though I began to like booting into Win2K for some unknown reason. <G>
I, for one, find myself incessantly d/l’ing free software and implementing it on either of my two systems (which is a habit that I just cannot seem to break) which generally results in me fouling the system configuration somehow and then without having moved my DAT drive over to this system, I found myself having to wipe both installations after all the work I’d invested, but then agin it wasn’t the first time that I’d done that, nor I’m afraid will it be the last.
Anyway, with my CPU fan taking a dump on me at about the same time in this box, which is now sitting dead in the corner awaiting today’s arrival of a new CPU fan and hopefully to have the eCS 1.1 CDs arrive shortly thereafter, it looks like it may be an interesting weekend where I might finally realize whether I can successfully boot my 1.1 installation CD and get eCS “Up and Running” without incident.
Finally, and after this somewhat long diatribe, I suppose I might ask if anyone else has experienced this installation failure with any such a well supported chipsets such as this Adaptec? With such well known vendors leaving eCS without true support (ATI, etc.) I’m left wondering again where the ultimate destination of eCS is to be. It truly is a surprise to see it having made it this far against all the odds and in spite of itself with all the hobbling IBM seems to have managed to do to its once fine opsys.
Still I get more productive work with my OS/2 than any other opsys that I’ve ever used, even though they’ve all been some version of Windows. I’m still waiting on Linux to move forward a bit more before jumping off into that excursion.
So, all I can say is “eCS, good on you!”
They soaked you for only $200? Quite a few OS/2 customers were gouged a full $300plus and have waited more than two years for the eCS v1.1. I note you had to obtain it as in ISO format which is some 458 megs in size and has to be downloaded. Those who paid over $300 were promised/guaranteed the shipment of all three eCS CDs the moment it was GA. So far not one customer has ever received eCS on CD via the mail as previously paid for.
Serenity has done nothing but rip off the OS/2 community and most OS/2 users today realize that. Their private installation program is ridiculous when the IBM OS/2 installer works just fine. Serenity sells you an older version of OS/2 while every licensed OS/2 user can obtain the latest release of OS/2 Warp (version 4.52) directly from IBM (a fact Serenity hides/dissuades in their own illegal newsgroup spamming) and Serenity’s eCS is fraught with bugs, holes and problems.
Thanks for the somewhat honest review of eCS but you weren’t hard enough at all. There are far too many OS/2 users who bought into eCS and have been ripped off. Serenity has driven more OS/2 users away from OS/2 then any other ‘third party vendor’ to date.
The OS/2 Guy
Warp City Web Site
primary partitions are a given, considering the age and heritage of OS/2.
-OS/2 Warp 3 could install and boot off of extended partitions. You had to trick the install program, in a way. I used to ARJ up my DOS drive, then sacrifice it to the install program for Boot Manager, then wipe it out and unarj DOS/Win 3.1 after OS/2 installed. I used Partition/System Commander to multi boot.
…but that lack of further IBM-style development has given the hardware manufacturers a chance to supply enough MHz and MB for the system to actually seem quick…
-I would have hated to see windows of any kind on your computer(the 200mhz). Running a good multitasking OS like OS/2 is like getting a 33% boost in mhz for free, compared to windows.
You know how win nt/2000/xp is reportedly so much better than win9x? It is because of its shared heritage from OS/2….
Tim, even when your intentions are good i think you have missed some points. Serenity is not just selling the installation program, if you look into eCS 1.0 (i already saw your page and i noticed that the installer was not good for you) and eCS 1.1 you will see some things that doesn’t came from IBM but from Serenity and all the “support companies (individuals)” that are working on eCS. Examples are:
Sti Scan Drivers (outdated, but they will came with new ones soon -i hope-) and applause.
ISDN PM (i don’t remember the name they put on eCS) that will let you use ADSL on your eCS for no extra charge.
eCenter has been redesigned, so is not anymore the one from Lotus.
Wise Machies helps a lot on the installation if you have a network (even at home as me with 2 computers).
Extended support for win32 apps (be aware that this are not “emulated” but converted to native OS/2 programs) via Inotek, they will ship Acrobat 4.0.
Enhaced look and feel (outdated? no, i don’t think so but you can add life going to the eCS setup and oppening the appeareance object).
But not just that Serenity has grabbed all the OS/2 users and make them to join a goal with them to reencarnate Warp and take over the market. Is a hard work but we are all working, just have a look into the eCS yahoo groups discussion and you will see a receptive Serenity System guys and a proactive communitty like never before.
What’s the trouble? applications, Odin is doing it’s part, but authentic WPS apps are needed, and apps that can kick your socks off (i’m mexican so maybe you are laughing with this expression). You know you can do things in WPS that no one can do in ANY other system.
I can invite you to join this group, even if you don’t get eCS and provide feedback to get a version 2 that will be a winner OS for you and Eugenia. Let’s unite…:-)
Carlos de Luna
PS. I am not relationated any way with Serenity Systems or any people or relatives of them (AFAIK)
Os/2 Warp and it´s successor eCS have always been hardware critical. I remember trying to install Warp 3 on a machine that had already win3x and win9x on it. It would not work simply because one of the mem sims were faulty. After fixing that I was able to install Warp smoothly. So did Warp 4 and later eCS.
windows accepts any hardware, helped by (sometimes badly written) drivers and/or software, and as a result it clashed very often with, itself or any conflicting hardware.
When OS/2 and eCS are well tuned, there´s really no OS that can beat it in terms of multitasking, ease of use, etc.
As far as LVM matters, I do not like it, as I did not like the tricks microsoft pulled with there fat32 fat32X, or whatever they´re called partitions.
BTW I run eCS on the same machine with BEOS and Linux booted by …. yes : IBM Bootmanager !!
-I would have hated to see windows of any kind on your computer(the 200mhz). Running a good multitasking OS like OS/2 is like getting a 33% boost in mhz for free, compared to windows.
Actually, Windows (of a similar age to Warp 4) will run just fine on a 200 MHz Pentium. Really, Windows is slow, but not as slow as OS/2.
Michael A. Clem wrote:
> If EcOS is like OS/2 WARP, then while you can install much of the OS to a logical partition, you still need
> at least a small primary partition for booting.
> OS/2 had some flexibility, but not as much as one would like for a multi-booting system.
Absolute balderdash! OS/2 v2.0 did not require to be installed on a primary partition way back in 1992 when I first started using it. At that time, I had a primary C: partition with DOS, and then a logical partition in which I put OS/2. There WAS a small (very small; nowadays, with the cluster size of modern large disks, this tends to appear to occupy 7MiB, but it’s in reality much less than that) primary partition for the Boot Manager. SFAIK, only Windoze _insists_ upon its being on a primary partition, and so there really is no excuse for “using up” all the four that disk architecture permits:
1 for Boot Manager
2 for a primary C: partition for Windows
3 for an extended partition in which all the other logical partitions are created for other operating systems
4 is still spare
Since those days, I’ve upgraded firstly in 1997 to OS/2 Warp 4 (I skipped V3), and then to eCS 1.0; am currently eagerly awaiting delivery of my v1.1 CDs.
The system has changed a number of times since those days, with the O/S being moved to different disks and other OSes also being added, not to mention changes of motherboards and processors (in the plural, I happily have eCS SMP running on a dual Pentium system). Never in that time have I encountered any difficulty in multi-booting — the IBM BM is _good_.
> A good boot manager like System Commander is easy to re-install when the MBR gets over-written by an OS
It’s easy enough with eCS too; just boot from the installation CD and run LVM. Tell it to remove the BM, exit the program, re-enter it, and tell it to add the BM. Usually it will have preserved all the menu choices that you’d had previously selected. Then reboot off the hard disk and make one’s selection through BM.
I am a little curious as to what Eugenia means by “it didn’t install”. . .I don’t think that I have seen this
before with eCS 1.0. I have seen the 1.0 version fail to detect some hardware at first but have never
seen it just not install. That, combined with Eugenia’s claim this it can only be installed on systems with
one hard drive and then only on primary partitions is quite disturbing. This would indicate that Serenity
Systems work on eCS has radically reduced hardware compatibility rather than improving it. Unnerving,
to say the least!
From what I’ve cleaned in other forums, Eugenia was doggedly sticking to using her bootmanager from BeOS, and had already used up all her primary partitions (why?) so couldn’t and/or wouldn’t make room for the IBM/eCS Boot Manager.
Concerning the eCS install replacing BootManager, this was explained in the LVM readme in ver 1.0. I
assume a similar document is available for the 1.1 version? In any event, the new BootManager is
indistinguishable from the original and in all instances that I have seen the old BootManager
configuration is migrated. If BootManager is actually being ‘wiped out’ and not updated then this is
certainly a serious bug that would probably block the GA release. . .I don’t think that I have to worry too
much about that bug then.
Exactly. LVM is the way that operating systems are going anyway; AIUI, even Microsoft nowadays use something similar, but didn’t frighten people off with dire tales of how _difficult_ it is.
The concept of using FDISK or equivalent, which dates back to the early 1980s, in the C21st is crazy.
Anyway, the install problems that were mentioned sound pretty incredible. I find it difficult to believe that
the GA version will have substantial drive/partition limitations that older versions lacked. It seems fairly
safe to disregard Eugenia’s problems with these issues if I am interested in the GA.
Most, if not all, of her instalkl problems were due to her stubbornness and unwillingness to learn something totally new (to her), namely LVM. (Of course, LVM is not at all new, having been introduced in Warp Server for e-Business, aka Aurora, way back in 1998.)
(She’ll probably “moderate” this comment out of existence as well: it seems that she cannot stand criticism, even when it’s absolutely valid.)
OS/2 is quite picky regarding faulty memory during install, when I first started using OS/2 it was regarded
as the best available memory test :o)
I’ve just had a horrible thought that might be the cause of some people’s problems with installing eCS. Most motherboard BIOSes include an option for specifying that OS/2 is in use with more than 64MiB of memory. (For instance, Award BIOS has this on the “Advanced BIOS Features” screen, as “OS Select (for DRAM > 64MB)” and can take values “OS2” and “Non-OS2”.)
This feature was added to BIOS at least ten years ago (when just about the only people with that much memory were running OS/2, because they needed a 24/365 system), and overcame a problem (introduced by Microsoft: who else!) with memory size recognition through the standard BIOS enquiry mechanism. The manuals provided with motherboards tend still to include the advice to turn this option ON when using OS/2.
HOWEVER, this is BAD ADVICE. Since Warp 3 came out in 1994, one must NOT set this option on; it should always be left at “Non-OS2”. Having it switched on will cause eCS to mistake the correct size of memory (and I would guess that nowadays there are few people with less than 64MiB of memory: M$’s bloat has seen to that).
This in turn can lead to all sorts of problems with installing and running the OS.
I have seen the installation of eCS 1.1. It really install easely. No problems of any way. It was just quite long, but really pain-free. I really wonder where problems were found.
I install OS2 from v2. And YES, OS2 can be installed in extended partitions till v2.0.
eCS 1.1 is esy to install, for what I saw.
And when it-s installed, a lot of differences can be seen. Here is some of them:
– The ePager in installed by default.
– There is a software provided which immeditely allow to see the content and extract zip files. No need to buy a WinZip equivalent.
– Scietech drivers installed by default. Hey, THIS is Plug&Play for video card and screen!
– SIO drivers for serial port, which are commercial for Warp.
None of these were from IBM. They were integrated by Serenity to create a pain-free desktop.
And there is a lot of more tools and utilities that I haven’t tested yet (USB tools, and scanner drivers) which doesn’t comes from IBM and are present here due to the effort of Serenety System.
I agree to pay 200US$ for an OS who is stable and easy to use, and which can be installed right out of the box.
Installing 1.0 was not too bad.In 1.1 serenity has made it very simple. Never had a problem with installs except for one machine that was configured with ide raid. Other machines it installed pretty easily. Lvm would seem to be headache most go through. I would not recommend it for non os/2 users the lack of applications and not having the source code for improvements make eCS a poor path to go.
To be fair to a comment made above by VinGfel – SciTech Display Doctor was provided to OS/2 users by IBM, which is how eCS gained access to it. IBM has since upgraded to SciTech SNAP Graphics, which is a vastly improved technology over the previous SDD version.
SciTech SNAP Graphics adds support for additional features (dual head, and zoom to name a few) and modern hardware such as the i865g and virtually the entire ATI, Nvidia, and Matrox line of hardware. So here again it looks like the the IBM version has features/support not offered by eCs. However, it should also be mentioned that the people involved with eCs have done some great work against terrible odds and should be commended for their efforts. – thanks for the review Eugenia:)
The two principals of Serenity Systems, Bob St. John, president, and Kim Cheung, have responded to this review on Usenet. Here are some excerpts:
comp.os.os2.advocacy-7 May 2003-“eCS clowns start tap dancing”
[begin Cheung excerpt]
“She was warned early on that a LVM-aware bootmanager is required during installation. She refused to do that – because somehow she believes that BM is no longer needed in eCS 1.1. I have no clue where she got that information from. The going theory is that she got confused between VCU and BM. VCU is no longer required in eCS 1.1 (thank God) but a LVM-aware bootmanager is certainly needed or else the IBM CID backend would refuse to start (which is exactly what burnt her). We
still don’t see any technical reason why this is needed but you have to play the card you are dealt – not the card you wish you have. In order to install successfully on a multi-boot system, you need to have the OS/2 boot manager.
While it’s true that you can install eCS and OS/2 to a primary partition, LVM still writes to the MBR – which is the second part that burnt her. She was very keen on protecting her MBR (for no good technical reason) and asserted that this is a bug.”
[end Cheung excerpt]
Bob St. John”
comp.os.os2.advocacy-6 May 2003-“eCS v1.1 review @ osnews.com”
[begin BSJ excerpt]
“And while I wish Eugenia had a more positive experience for her review .. she didn’t. From what I can see .. it’s more of the same. A user who doesn’t like LVM. In this case, who wants to use BeOS Boot Manager and FDisk. Well .. these can be issues with any OS/2 install.
I certainly don’t consider Eugenia’s “environment” to be typical. For example, what do you do when you have already used up four “primary partitions”? In fact, it might have been useful if Eugenia had taken the time to describe the systems she was working with and how they were configured.
But, in the end, a review is an opinion, and I’m not going to criticize an honest opinion. So, in the words of Leo Bloom, I’ll wait to hear from the majority. A trend, not a data point. And, as much credit as I will give Eugenia, here experience is her experince. Anecdotal … I consider any one user’s experience to be anecdotal. It may or may not be representative. In this case, I certainly don’t believe it is.”
[end BSJ excerpt]
I thought OS/2 was dead, oh well. I might give it a try I might not. I cannot stand the thought of spending $200.00 on an OS that still runs Windows 3.1 Apps. No trolling, no flaming but seriously What can I use OS/2 for ?
after reading a few threads, all I can say is I’ve never seen a president of any company behave quite that badly. Serenity is looking like a shady operation to me.
Hey wlsb, you should read EVERYTHING posted over there on the usenew groups (c.o.os2.misc and ad) the last couple ‘o days …. there are some true blooded ‘net kooks over there the are a BLAST!!!!! to read and I’am not talking about the Sorenity guys either.
just seems weird that the president of Serenity is rolling around in the mud with these guys. I can’t imagine Bill Gates or Scott McNealy doing something like that. ok, maybe Balmer would.
He’s the “Dir, New Business Development”. Read his signature.
…and while I’ve also been surprised to see both he and Kim mix it up on USENET with the likes of OS/2 Guy and company, they’ve managed to be relatively informative while doing so.
Hello, Andrew. Actaully, eComStation users and OS/2 users (Software Choice or Passport Advantage) receive the same software. Our agreement with IBM allows us to do this. So, the same SNAP which appears on IBM’s SWC server is included with eComStation 1.1 GA. The reason SDD was used by Eugenia was because she had been supplied with an early release of the beta, before SNAP was distributed by IBM.
Just wanted to be clear, because it’s important to us that eComSation users don’t miss out on anything IBM makes available. Of course, this means that both eComStation users and OS/2 users should be looking at an upgrade to SNAP Pro, which has more expansive support.
Thanks to you guys at SciTech for you continued support of OS/2.
New Business Development
Well, I’ve skimmed throuh all this to date (5/10/2003 to be exact). I have found that while the LVM Partitioning tool to be somewhat strange, the rest works for me.
I have a DELL 4300, a machine that will be 2 years old in December 2003) with 8 hard drives, Windows XP and eCS running with the IBM Boot manager, Virtual PC for OS/2 running Win95, Win98, WinNT 4, Win XP, Linux, BSD, OS/2 Warp 3, and OS/2 Warp 4 running, all networking together and using files, printers, all VPC machines on the eCS Host have sound (except Linux). VPC also runs faster than one would expect. (By the way, I’ve run Virtual PC with the above OS’s on eCS and Windows, and the version on eCS outperformed the Windows version.)
My eCS Machine will run just about anything, and since they network togeter, its like running everything seemlessly as one PC. It didn’t cost that much either and worth every penny to me.
Do I have limitations? Yes. I cant run my USB scanner yet (but eCS does have USB support). Is software a problem? Well, I have lots of it. I can’t go to the corner store and by stuff, so that in itself saves me money,
When I look an an alternative OS, I go research it objectively and learn how it works, not to compare it to my favorite and say, “see, Linux (or whatever) is best”.
That being said, I think eCS is best
The problem seen with the installations had be curious as I’d not seen anything similar myself, but then I hardly ever install to Primary partitions unless it is really needed as with Microsofts products. I did a little research to find out what kind of problems could show up. I found problems to be quite rare. Using Linux FDISK can have a tendencey to create a partition table that is not in sequenial order, but even some of that was tolerated in tests I ran. Anyway, I made some notes, so I’ll see if I can paste them in here..
Some things I have found out in the last few days…
Use of Primary partitions for installing eCS:
If there is no room for BM, it is possible to install still.
Make a primary “active” by setting the “startable” flag in MiniLVM.
That volume will be the only option to install on even if other
primaries are not in a hidden state as partitions, or if they have a
volume letter even. It is only when Boot Manager is in operation that
alternate primaries can be set to hidden states automatically. Just
using the FDISK type of utilities allows differnt things of course, but
that would be intoducing unusual and perhaps something concidered a rule
breaker for some operating systems. If using Partition Magic for
instance, you will get a warning if you do that. The eCS installation
does not seem bothered by that state however, and only the “startable”
flag is taken into account with no BM around apparently.
I even used DFSee to set two primaries “startable” (active) to see
what point things would get broken with the eCS installation. It was
only at the reboot when the BIOS had a problem knowing what to boot to
continue with phase 2 of the install that I had to intervene and set it
back to just the one “startable” primary. I’ve even tried some really
weird BIOS setting for the test drive that prevent the DOS in Primary 1
from booting, to see if that prevented an installation. It didn’t. OS/2
ignores it and uses what is really available it would appear.
If the BEos is using it’s bootman in MBR:
There is a possibility that it may still work even though LVM writes
to the MBR. On several alterations with LVM the bootman kept on working
in my test system. It was only when issuing a LVM /newmbr:1 command
that I was able to wipe bootman. During an install of eCS a user of
that bootman may want to set the eCS target as the default boot as the
installation reboots continue automatically that way.
One thing a user of bootman can’t do is use it to boot an eCS in a
logical drive. It would need the IBM boot manager to install to a
logical anyway, but bootman can’t boot eCS other than by pointing to the
IBM boot manager first, and even then it will not work if Int13X is
required to boot eCS. An alternate such as VPart or AirBoot would be
more versatile than the BEos bootman, even if it can boot eCS on a
primary. IBM Boot Manager can boot BEos on either primary or logical.
MBR code can be funny stuff. An operating system definitly needs to
write to it when the disk is blank and no partitions at all, so how is
it to be decided that it should not? Some write of code there is to be
expected. This is not a bug. It may be dependent on sector sizes or
something that could prevent bootman from staying out of the way of code
being written. It happpend to survive the times I tried to destoy it
just using simple LVM activities, but somethign is not quite right in
Eugenia’s MBR I suspect, and possibly this has something that causes an
SEINST error. None of the things I tried could reproduce that error so
far. Does BEos have a “newmbr” routine I wonder…?
The first test machine was a target with only a logical drive to install
on I understand. Unfortunatly The IBm code has this
requirment of using it’s own Boot Manager when you want to do that.
Fortunatly there are a few more places where that can fit than the old
limitations allowed, so although I also would like to see that
requirment gone, I probably could find a place to put it on almost any
drive. Even ones with 4 primaries, but then I’d have to resort to
cheating with the use of DFSee probably…