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Warpstock Europe 2011: Mark Dodel messages

Day 1: Some highlights from Warpstock Europe

Just a short report from Haarlem in the Netherlands where Warpstock 2011 started today. A lot of folks I haven't seen in a long time as well as a few I have never met. The main news is that eComStation 2.1 will be released here on Saturday, with an ISO available for download shortly there after. This will be both an English and a German version. Dutch and Italian are still being translated. This release will have all the updates since 2.0, and specifically the following new features:

  • Airboot to replace the IBM Boot Manager (though if BM is installed it can be used). This will save a primary partition.
  • New Graphical disk checker for install.
  • A brand new AHCI driver based on Daniella's driver.
  • Firefox 4.0 will now be included.
  • The new File Open Container will be available for install but not default.
  • The new MultiMac network driver will be available for supported network devices.
  • A new CPU throttling utility that I'm told will provide significantly better battery use times for laptops.
  • ACPI will be at the 3.18 level.

eComStation 3.0 was discussed. This will include an updated version of the Panorama video driver. an update to the USB stack, updated ACPI driver, the eCUPs printer driver, more new MultiMac network driver support (including Intel wireless chipsets), Flash 10 and Java plugins for Firefox (I also heard today that there is a fixed version of Odin32 being tested that stops the SMP system hangs). Compatibility with the newer EFI boot standard was discussed as well. IPv6 is being investigated, butit's felt that backward compatibility with IPv4 will remain widespread for some time to come.

To me probably the biggest news was that Mensys has recently renewed their OEM contract with IBM through 2014 (this was the 3rd contract renewal), and they seemed reasonably assure that further renewals will continue. This is because 2010 saw a 3 fold over 2009 (which had been the best year for sales to date) increase of new eCS licenses being sold and this trend is continuing into 2011. More and more companies are coming to Mensys for eCS to run on replacement hardware for mission critical OS/2 installs. Several major companies were mentioned including the US Postal Service and Iridium Phone Communicatipons. There is also some new expanded commercial use which is also helping to fund new eComStation development projects. I think the entire event is much more upbeat this year then it has been in years.

More news over the next 2 days. I am also looking forward to the next Warpstock event, this October in Raleigh/Durham North Carolina, in North America.

Warpstock Europe: http://www.warpstock.eu

Warpstock: http://www.warpstock.org

Day 2: Some highlights from Warpstock Europe

eCS 2.1 was not released on Saturday as hoped for. There was a regression introduced into the build related to the new AHCI code which would cause some non-AHCI systems to have a problem so we hope to see it fixed by tomorrow. If not, then soon.

A lot of good sessions today.

Silvan Scherrer and Dmitriy Kuminov gave a session on Java6. It uses the Odin API, but is compiled, so this version of Java is not a wrapper version. This is a benefit in getting the work completed faster and also benefits the entire community as they are making fixes to the Odin code which benefits other projects like Flash 10. It will use the OpenJDK source code so we should have the latest versions when available. Several Java applications were demoed including JEdit, and JAlbum. After the GA version is released they will work on an enhanced version that will include a Mozilla browser plugin and Java Webstart. They still need some funding to complete the project, which has already been 2/3rds funded by Mensys. For more on this project see http://svn.netlabs.org/java

Another important session was Steven Levine's on how the eCS project is being managed. Primary goals are to release a stable version that runs on modern hardware, and supports as many NLVs as possible. He listed a number of successes like Uniaud fixes, updates to the Daniela driver for AHCI, progress with Java. and bootable JFS, They need enduser help with QA testing, so if you find any problems or have suggestions for enhancements please be sure to submit a ticket on the eComStation bug tracker.

At lunch I was interviewed by Eugene Gorbonoff of eCo Software fame and his beautiful camera person, Olga. No idea why anyone would find anything I have to say of interest since I don't do any development, but someone really needs to interview Eugene. This guy is full of great ideas.

Ben Rietbroek gave a really good presentation on Air-Boot, the replacement for the IBM Boot Manager that is coming with eCS 2.1. The major advantages over IBM BM, is they will have the source code, it doesn't take a primary partition, it is compatible with Windows 7, has support for booting huge drives (over 502GB), as well as a number of other benefits. It also is configured without having to boot to an operating system.

One of the main reasons for my coming to Haarlem, besides seeing the beauty of the Netherlands, was to meet a number of OS/2-eCS developers and fellow users I only get to communicate with on the mailing lists and Usenet. One guy I was happy to finally meet was David Azarewicz. His session on the Uniaud sound driver was great and he got a lot of positive feedback from the attendees. People really appreciate all that he has done along with others to bring support for modern sound chipsets to the eCS world. He discussed all the work he has done to date fixing the code. Like Steve Levine he stressed the importance of filing proper problem tickets on the bug tracker (this is a netlabs project http://svn.netlabs.org/uniaud ) so that any problems can be tracked and fixed.

Finally sorry for the late post tonight, but I just got in from an extremely nice evening social event with many of the attendees. It was a fun cruise along the canals of Haarlem. Keith Merrington (developer of EasySync who gave a presentation yesterday) is a lot of fun with endless good humour. I had dinner with him and Bruce Rossi (who flew in from Australia for this event) as well as several of the Dutch guys who are helping to put on this years Warpstock. After the cruise it was fun to sit in a cafe with Joachim Benjamins and Gerrit Schoenmaker of Mensys, and my longtime online friends who I had never had a chance to meet in person before, Thomas Klein and Peter Koller. Honestly this is the reason I love going to these events.

Only one more day of fun and back home. This long weekend is going fast. Time to grab a little sleep before day 3 starts.

Message 3: eCS 2.1 available now at Warpstock Europe

It's not available for download yet, but I have in my hand the eComStation 2.1 English media kit available for attendees. They are still making the German CDs. An ISO should be available for download tomorrow. The Englishrelease will require an active eComStation Software Subscription. Since they never released a German 2.0 the German 2.1 will be available for free download to anyone entitled to a 2.0 German upgrade. The installation will work with a valid eCS 2.0 key.

The media kit includes a printed, 72 page Quick Install Manual, and 3 CDs. CD 1 Is the install CD. CD 2 contains Bonus applications and CD 3 is OpenOffice 3.2. I hope to try an install on my laptop here shortly. Bonus applications include Java 1.3.1 and 1.4.2, ClamAV and GUI, Some QT apps, AMP (Apache/MySQL/PHP); the old IBM Bonus apps (Faxworks, IBMWorks, Videoin, IBM VoiceType and HyperAccess Lite); trial software from eCoSoft as well, Maul Publisher, and the Graham Utilities; and a TCPIP Configuration utility. There are also developer tools like OpenWatcom 1.9, GCC, WDSibyl, and Free Pascal Compiler Version 2.4.0 as well as the OS/2 Developer Toolkit.



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