OS/2 and AS/400, the story

So, this is the blog about my OS/2 - AS/400 experiences. Everybody should have a blog, espesciellay if it directs to some usefull information for others! To help, you can find a page with links here.

Installing OS/2 (9. April, 2006)

When OS/2 ver. 2.0 came around in 1992, I became a member of the Danish branch of Team OS/2 (in fact, I was a group leader of the Aarhus branch). In the period from1992 until about 2001 I must have installed OS/2 more than 200 times. I have written manuals, user guides and done a lot of lectures on OS/2. So naturally, I have forgotten more than most people have ever known about OS/2... In fact, I could not remember much, when I started, except that I knew it would take time.

I dug out the Merlin CD-Rom and it's 3 companion diskettes, and booted the Toshiba. I choose a selective installation, so that I can format the harddisk (getting rid of FreeBSD!) and make it into a pure HPFS-disk. I am not interrested in FAT (or FAT32) as I am not going to make a dual boot situation. Either OS/2 or nothing!

The installation of the standard system is running smoothly, but OS/2 cannot find my sound card, and it doesn't know anything about my screen resolution. No surprise there, because the Toshiba is newer than the OS/2. I'll fix that in time (I hope!). I am impressed that the FDISK program got rid of the FreeBSD filesystem without any hichkups, and I am reminded about the fact that OS/2 formats the harddisk in the background, while the installation is running in the foreground. Nice touch!

I have a wireless accesspoint and also a LinkSys CardBus (PCMCIA-standard for those who cares) to access it, but I know that wireless was not available at the time when OS/2 was around. It may have been fixed, but not yet. But I also have a PCMCIA-3Com III LAN adapter for Ethernet, and that is known to OS/2 Merlin. In it goes, and now the funny part of configuring the network starts...

...It's actually not that easy! My lack of memory here is a hindrance. Back in the good old days, I was running OS/2 on a Novell network, but today I want OS/2 to be able to connect with my Windows XP (and later on, the AS/400). After several reinstallations - and I do complete reinstallations when I get stuck; at this time it doesn't take too long, and I get rid of several stupid files - I have at last reached a point where I can access the Windows XP computer (name is Mimer) from my OS/2 laptop (name is Ratatosk) and also the other way. The secret is the software MPTS and some good hints and advises from other people in trouble (NETBIOS over TCP/IP).

Now I know that I must install fixpacks! They are easily found here, but there was a set of minor things, that I forgot. Such as: A fixpack is a collection of diskette-images (!), so you'll have to produce some 16 diskettes using the tool LOADDSKF. According to a readme-text: LOADDSKF.EXE can be found on the OS/2 Warp installation CD in the DISKIMGS directory - which is true. In order to install the fixpack, I need a toolkit for that, and that can be found here.
Another thing to remember is that a Danish version of Merlin must have a Danish version of the FixPack and so on. Irritatingly enough, the fixpack-number is 15 for US-English, but only 12 for Danish. I hope, that this is OK!
So the procedure is now to download all the diskette images, create all the diskettes (yes, I know that I could have used a virtual diskette drive, but somehow this old-fashioned method appealed to me), and then install it using the FixTool-application. Here we go...

...Phew! 17 diskettes later (about 2 hours), I have produced and installed the FixPack. The reason why I did that now is because I have noticed that upgrading the sound and display drivers before the fixpack seems to invite disaster (or in any case: problems difficult to solve). Now, this is the time to upgrade some drivers. I will start with the sound card driver, as it is easier to deal with (it is difficult when the screen becomes garbled, much easier if no sound comes). To do so, I downloaded a driver for the Crystal Semiconductor Corporation Audio Device. The driver can handle the following devices: CS4248, CS4231, CS4232, CS4236, and CS4237. The Tecra uses the CS4232-chip. I followed the instructions in the read.me-file, and it worked! Better stop now and save the CONFIG.SYS file!!

Well, I have to try this! Ordinary, I have found a driver for the Chips & Technologies 65550 video card that the Toshiba is using, but I have had problems installing it. Black screen seemed to be the siituation here. But somewhere on the net, a link to the SciTech SNAP Graphics system was found, so I have to try this! A minor point (I hope, that it is minor...) is that the driver is buyware, but if it works...
...Well, the driver worked, but the mouse pointer became big as a brick. Some 64 x 64 bit or more in size, which is quite strange - and unacceptable! I have now uninstalled the SNAP-driver and will try once more with the dedicated Chips and Technologies 65550 driver (the black screen issue was before FixPack installation, so this might even work). At least I now know that the Toshiba monitor should be set to 1024x768 mode.
- And to round this off, it actually worked nicely! I had to follow the installation guide for the driver (placed on a diskette) as well as have the diskette in the computer while doing a selective install of the video driver (because WARP was looking for the *.DSP-files). But now it runs and with full resolution. Probably not as fast as the SNAP-graphic driver, but it works!

Now to sleep - and what tomorrow will bring, we'll see!