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January 2002

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Installation of Win32-applications using Odin - Part 5

By Herwig Bauernfeind © January 2002, Translation: Philhard Ackermann

It's still not working - what can you do now?

Alas it happens rather often that, in spite of all efforts and carefulness, you reach a point where there's nothing more you can do and you have to realize that a particular program simply doesn't yet run on OS/2 and Odin.

The most complicated way to get on with things is to get all the stuff necessary and start developing for Odin to get the desired program to run; however this is a very hard thing to do for most of us endusers (as it is for me).

So, if this is not possible one should at least try to help the Odin team indirectly. You should realize that a large part of the ongoing odin development is being performed in the spare time of a small bunch of people.

That's why it's very important to refrain from doing something like:

1. Fire emails to the developers. In my opinion we, the endusers, should do whatever possible to enable the developers to care about further development. They just can't deal with all the problems the usage of Odin inevitably poses at present. We shouldn't forget that Odin is still in an alpha stage.

2. Require immediate help in a curtly manner when posing questions to the odinusers mailing list. This is useless, doesn't help anybody and simply puts people into a bad temper. As already mentioned, there's no formal odin support, everything is based on volunteers. That's why we should always be patient, polite, discrete and encouraging.

3. Repeat a question 4 to 5 times when you're getting no feedback. Of course it is possible that in all the mailing lists traffic something may be overlooked, but odds are high that simply nobody has something reasonable to reply to a given problem. Alas we're only a rather small community...  

So for every Odin user, I would like to paraphrase the following line from John F. Kennedy: "Do not ask what Odin can do for you, ask what you can do for Odin!"  

Well, I myself as a non-developer have taken this to heart in the first place. Since I at least have some knowledge of (VX-)REXX, there are a bunch of small utilities that emerged from writing this article series. Their usage and possibilities will be described in short in the following paragraphs.  

1. OdinBug:

OdinBug is a bug report generator, the format of which is laid out by the Odin team in the text file ReportingBugs.TXT. The drawback: it means quite an effort to correctly create a bug report by hand.

This and the fact that Sander van Leeuwen and other members of team odin had to write emails to endusers each and every day pleading for valid bug reports made me develop OdinBug.

The second reason was that, in writing these articles, I often had to get a quick overview about a particular program, why it wouldn't run with odin and whether there are similarities to or differences from other program packages.

In the meantime OdinBug has even become a part of the weekly Odin build. To be honest - this is something I'm a little bit proud of.  

So what exactly does OdinBug do?

It collects all the information needed for a usable bug report out of several different files all over the system. Then it generates a valid bug report out of this collection, and in the ideal case for users of Netscape Messenger 4.61, PMMail (and in the next release also for PolarBar) it also generates a corresponding email to the odinusers mailing list, ready to be sent.  

So now how do I create a bug report when a program doesn't work?

At first you have to make sure you using a debug build (those odin builds containing the string debug in their file name). Only these debug builds are capable of creating the log files necessary for the odin team to benefit from a bug report at all.

This debug build must at least be initially installed in WPI format to make sure that Odin is installed properly. If afterwards a build in zip format is installed over the WPI build, Odininst.EXE will have to be run to make sure that all required registry entries have been made.

To make Odin actually write these log files, you'll have to set the following environment variable correctly:

This command has to be issued from a command line, and afterwards the program in question must be started from the same command line.

This results in one or more log files named odin32 ?.log and pe ?.log (where ? stands for 0, 1, 2, etc.) The most important files for bug reports are the ones named odin32 ?.log.

Be careful, these files may easily get somewhat large, so make sure there's always enough space on your hard disk.

Now to create the actual bug report you'll have to start OdinBug.EXE with the log file odin32 ?.log as a parameter, and on the first notebook page fill in some data about the program: its name, version, maybe the location one can get it from and a verbal description of the problem. Only then the 'Create' button may be pressed.

Before clicking on the 'email' button for the first time you'll have to open up the 'email' notebook page and enter the name of your email program and its parameters.

By the way: OdinBug meanwhile contains an extensive help system, which hopefully explains each and everything in detail.

Suggestions and criticism concerning OdinBug should be sent to me directly, because at present I'm the only one working on OdinBug.  

2. OdinTool:

OdinTool is a small program intended to correctly install Odin builds in ZIP format.

Besides that it calls a Win32-regedit via Odin after the installation which registers a file called CUSTOM.REG into the odin registry. This provides the possibility to adjust some registry entries which OdinInst.EXE defaults to certain (english) values according to your own needs and thus save these entries over subsequent installations without having to change them manually with regedit each time.

OdinTool also provides a button to directly start regedit and also a button to edit Odin.INI (which is also being set up with standard entries by any given odin installation).

OdinTool is still in a very early stage and is based on code from OdinBug. Future plans include a GUI to work on Odin.INI.  

3. Win2OS2Reg:

As I mentioned in an earlier part of this article series the files that OS/2's regedit2 works with and those Win32 regedit processes are quite the same, but not completely alike.

Now Win2OS2Reg converts files that the Win32 regedit export function creates to something OS/2's regedit2 can deal with correctly.

Win2OS2Reg is in a very early stage as well.



In an earlier article of this series I stated that Mozilla for OS/2 also uses the Odin/Open32 registry. Apparently this is false: Mozilla uses some special registry of its own. 


Now I have reached the end of my article series dealing with the installation of Win32 programs on OS/2 and Odin. I hope that my articles have been of some help to my valued readers, and would really appreciate suggestions and criticism of any kind.

The appendix provides an updated list of all those utilities that have been referred to.  


The utilities mentioned in my articles are now to be found at hobbes, where they reside in a directory especially created for this purpose:  

Via the Hobbes Web Search http interface:

For downloading via ftp:

and later at:


The Netlabs Odin Project -
Odin Weekly Builds -
Odin Daily Builds -
Win32 Installation Utilities -
Odin Users mail list -

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