The President's Message
by Tony Butka
With too much personal business going on, I failed to write about last month's meeting, where the main presentation was a demonstration of JP Software's terrific program, 4OS2. I won't go into all the details; suffice it to say that even the jaded SCOUG crowd were sufficiently impressed to go out and give it a whirl. Time permitting, I'll do a mini-review of this great software, which I use under DOS (4DOS) and Windows 2000 (4NT) as well. Absolutely essential program.
As to this month, yours truly was finally able to download the full Mensys distribution of eCS 1.2. That includes CD1 (the installation CD), CD2 (which has some older programs and trial versions of stuff), and the Application Pack CD, which includes the eCS/Innotek port of OpenOffice 1.1 Suite together with the Innotek WebPack for OS/2, Lotus Suite 1.7 (plus a 1.71 upgrade), and the beta version of Serenity's SVISTA which is designed to allow running multiple 'guest' operating systems.
For pricing details, go to either the BMT or Mensys websites. As we go to press, BMT had sold out their initial run of CD's and has another order in for more. As to the Mensys site, you may want to order the media; when I downloaded the ISO's, it was painfully slow even though I had a fat broadband connection. I wound up running the downloads in the background for most of a day to get all three CD's worth of ICO's. Maybe Mensys has solved their server problems by now. If not, order the media, even though I know that it takes a while given the European mailing system's speed to the US - maybe the CIA is secretly opening everything marked computer stuff to scope out all those sneaky terrorists?
Anyhow, thanks to Jordon Fox, we decided to do an install/migration onto an existing eCS 1.1 partition, just to see if it would work. At some point I vaguely recall saying something to the effect that "real men don't back up!" as we took the plunge.
The computer system was a Fry's special Soyo barebones box with a Soyo SY-K7VME motherboard and an Athalon XP 2400+ processor; I added 512 Mb of OCZ 333 DDR RAM, and a Seagate 120 Gb 8 Mb buffer 7200 rpm hard disk. Removable media was a floppy and a NEC 8x DVD burner. This is the box that we used last month for the 4OS2 demo, where we discovered that eCS 1.1 will not pick up the chip of the month onboard NIC that comes with this board, and where the Uniaud drivers that I tried did a hard lock-up of the system requiring a reinstall. For this month's install (and because I intend to put Linux on the box as well), I took an old 3COM 905 NIC and put it in one of the two PCI slots in the machine, after which all should be well under OS. The 3COM network cards also seem to run faster than the chip of the month stuff anyhow. Also as we also figured out last month, this mobo has an off brand video chip with 32 MB of RAM included on the motherboard, and eCS 1.1 wasn't too happy with the chip using the defaults for installation. I wound up booting with VGA and later on switching to a relatively current version of SciTech's SNAP graphics software. For those who care, a nice feature on this cheapie all-in-one system is that there is a 1.5V AGP slot, in addition to the two PCI slots.
OK, with all of that out of the way, on to the install. The short answer is that booting from CD1, the installation and migration worked flawlessly, with a couple of reboots. What we did notice (since our members wanted to check out all of the options and goodies) were a few grayed out sections in the advanced installation choices, and that the online help is not really enabled/useful or context driven. I'm sure, however, that eCS would welcome any volunteers to write the installation help! C'mon, folks, just step up and help out the OS2 community.
There was no problem with the install; eCS picked up the 3COM NIC automatically, installed the audio driver (no crash, no issue, no less), and set the video to 800x600 automatically. I'm impressed - this was hands down the best and smoothest eCS installation I've done to date. Not only that, Jordan's migration request worked as well. eCS created an "Old Desktop" folder, and both 4OS2 and Open Office Suite showed up with the installation, just like we had tweaked them last month. Very impressive and with no hiccup. Personally I like to do clean installs, but that's just me. A lot of our members like to upgrade or migrate, and this shipping version of eCS 1.2 should be a boon to them.
As I really work with the new version, I'll continue to fill everyone in, but for now eCS 1.2 is a winner.
As to the application pack, I think that it is a must-have for most of us, since you really should have Open Office and the Innotek WebPack on your system, and the only way to get the Lotus Suite without bankrupting yourself is going to be via the third CD. Finally, there is that oh so intriguing beta of SVISTA. It really is a beta - we were not able in our time requirements (read we didn't read no stinkin' documentation) to get it much beyond the installation part, but the program looks intriguing.
See you next month.
If you have comments or other suggestions, email me at
The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA
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