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February 2002

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OS/2 Tips

We scan the Web, Usenet and the OS/2 mailing lists looking for these gems. Have you run across an interesting bit of information about OS/2 or eComStation recently? Please share it with all our readers. Send your tips to If you are interested in joining a particular OS/2 mailing list, check out the VOICE Mailing List page for subscribing instructions for a large variety of existing lists -

Editor's note: these tips are from OS/2-eComStation users and in some cases can not be verified by myself. Please heed this as a warning that if you are not sure about something, don't do it.

December 15, 2001 - Our first tip of the month is from Ralph Cohen, posted on the WarpBrowsers Yahoo mailing list, concerning the Turbo mode parameter for the Warpzilla web browser.
The recent drops of Mozilla (0.9.5 & 0.9.6) can be started with the -turbo option which is supposed to dramatically shorten the startup time for subsequent sessions. Unfortunately, I had never been successful in getting the -turbo option to work for me. I had added the -turbo option to the Parameters line in my Mozilla program object, but all that would happen when I tried to start it is that it would briefly pop up a white screen and then close. If I tried double clicking on the program object again, it would appear to start but then it would just stop. Looking in Watchcat, I could see that a Mozilla process was still running so I would terminate it and when I tried starting the Mozilla -turbo object again, I would get the white screen popping up and then closing.

After repeating this process more times than I care to admit, it finally occurred to me what I was doing wrong. The first Mozilla -turbo session needs to continue running in the background in order for a second Mozilla session to open up at turbo speed. In other words, my solution was to create TWO program objects for "Mozilla -turbo", one that I placed in my startup folder and the other one on my desktop that I use to open up Mozilla sessions. Now when I click on the desktop Mozilla object, new sessions open in about 3-4 seconds!
Very nice.

December 16, 2001 - Someone wanted to know if there is a way using REXX to remove a specific item from the OS/2 PATH. Peter Volsted offered the following on IBM's news group on their server:
One solution is to use the SETLOCAL/ENDLOCAL pair of commands (the Rexx-versions can be nested as opposed to the OS/2-command-versions!). I have e.g. for nearly a year been running Netscape in its 'own environment' using this script:
/* netscape start program 190101 */
'@echo off'
ab=setlocal() 'c:' 'SET BEGINLIBPATH=c:\netscape;c:\netscape\program;C:\netscape\program\LANG\en_US;C:\netscape\program\PLUGINS;C:\netscape\program\SPELLCHK;c:\netscape\users\pvolsted;c:\JAVA11\BIN;C:\JAVA11\DLL;C:\JAVA11\ICATJAVA\DLL;C:\JAVA11\ICATJAVA \DAEMON;'
'SET PATH=c:\netscape\program;c:\netscape;c:\mptn\bin;c:\ibmcom;c:\tcpip\bin;c:\os2;c:\os2\system;c:\os2\install;C:\J AVA11\BIN;C:\JAVA11\ICATJAVA\BIN;'
'SET DPATH=c:\netscape\program;C:\netscape\program\LANG\en_US;c:\mptn;c:\ibmcom;c:\os2;c:\os2\system;c:\os2\install;c :\;c:\os2\bitmap;c:\ibminst;C:\JAVA11\ICATJAVA\HELP;' 'NETSCAPE -browser -len_US'
drop ab
/* end program */

Exploiting that Rexx, when it doesn't 'understand' a command, passes it to OS/2's command processor. This setting is for my bank connection, who don't speak java 1.3. The netscape- & java-libraries in the programs path, dpath & beginlibpath are not in the settings in config.sys.

Another example. In my startup.cmd I have:

/* */
'cd c:\os2util\tid\binos2'
'detach daytime -l tidlog -c 14400 -w 20 -s -u'
/* end */

which manages my computers clock with help from my providers SNTP-server: Thanks to Kai Uwe Rommel for that program.

December 21, 2001 - On the os2user Yahoo mailing list someone was asking about Dual port Network cards. Stanley Sidlov offered the following bit of experience on an Intel model:

The Intel one is the Intel Pro/100+ Dual Port Server Adapter. If you hunt around on the Intel Site it used to be, and may still be available as a promo, you can get two of these for half the retail price of one (same for some of the other cards, it's a enterprise promo so that companies can test the cards, you can only get two server card and two client cards). It has ONE MAJOR REQUIREMENT, your motherboard MUST support PCI v2.0 cards. This usually means that you must enable the PCI Bus delay feature in the BIOS of your motherboard.

It has nearly all the features of the Windows drivers, except the fall-over feature. If you are short on PCI slots, a good bet.

December 21, 2001 - Here's a tip about new VIA sound drivers I found on comp.os.os2.multimedia, posted by Andrei:
I read some discussions in the newsgroups about the problems with the drivers for VIA 686 audio, but I must say that to my pleasant surprise, the new drivers from the VIA web site do work without any patches at least with my new EPOX 8KTA3Pro board. AC' 97 sound works fine with these drivers. I also installed the Sound Blaster Pro drivers to have sound in DOS. This one also works, but Sound Blaster Pro has to be enabled by the VIADT.EXE from the VIASP09C patch package. The problem then is that this also disables AC'97 sound which I didn't find how to re-enable without rebooting. Well, at least some good news.

December 22, 2001 - Ralph Cohen again, this time on group, with a tip about speeding up the trash folder emptying in PMMail:
PMMail's emptying of trash can be greatly speeded up if you drag and drop all messages to be deleted to an empty trash folder in another account - even one specifically set up for that purpose - and then empty that account's trash folder completely. Completely emptying a trash folder is orders of magnitude faster than a partial emptying.

December 22, 2001 - On the netscape.public.mozilla.os2 news group, Mike Kaply posted the following suggested fix for an entry display problem in the Warpzilla (Mozilla) web browser:
If you encounter problems with entry fields being too small for text (like here is the fix.

Edit the file bin\res\forms.css

Search for and remove the following lines:

font: field;
font: list;
font: list;
font: button;
The issue is that Mozilla has chosen to use the OS fonts for certain HTML elements (which I believe is wrong by the way, and have communicated such)

On OS/2, this means that WarpSans is uses for entryfields, but if a website like microsoft makes the entryfield smaller in pixels than WarpSans is tall, the font doesn't get scaled down because it is not a bitmap font.

So by removing these lines, you cause webpages to use the webpage font for entryfields which is the correct thing to do.

December 23, 2001 - Ever wonder where OS/2 stores the hardware detection information for your system? According to Nick Saxon on comp.os.os2.setup.misc its in the following location:

December 24, 2001 - Someone posted on comp.os.os2.apps the following interesting hint on how to get your OS/2 Warp 4 registered:
I managed to register my Warp 4 last year (I did so because I thought it might be necessary to receive the MCP). After doing some research, I finally found you have to mail the registration form (printed from "Artchron" program) to:
IBM Customer Record Center
Sortemosevej 21 DK-3450
Alleroed Denmark

I received my registration info by mail a few weeks later.

December 27, 2001 - Doug Bissett figured out why he couldn't get Opera/2 beta to run on his system and shared his discovery with the folks on the news group:
I was looking at why I cannot run the new OPERA beta, and discovered another BAD thing that the VisualAge C++ V3.0 package did to me. There were TWO lines, that said "SET SOMBASE=". The first one (put in there by LOTUS SS), pointed to D:\OS2, while the second pointed to the IBMCPP directory structure. By REMing the first one, and placing the D:\OS2 directory ahead of the IBMCPP directory, in the second line, OPERA AND DTOC now appear to work (I haven't proven that DTOC works, yet, since my browser on the "other" machine is just quiting, but I can get the browser to "talk" to it on the local machine, which didn't work before.

December 30, 2001 - On , Peter Moylan told us how to get IBM Works to work correctly under eCS/MCP:
After having to reinstall eCS, I found that the IBM Works appointment book had yet again lost all of my appointments. This time, however, I vaguely remembered what the problem was. The installer loses track of which directory it's in.

The fix is in fact easy. Go to the directory in which IBM Works is installed, and edit the text file IBMWORKS.INI. Change all references to

(replace drive letter as appropriate) so that they are references to the directory in which IBM Works is really installed. In my case that was

December 30, 2001 - Having a problem getting TCP/IP Java Configuration to work? Perhaps its really a problem with your CONFIG.SYS file. At least that is what Klaus Staedtler suggested in comp.os.os2.setup.misc:
Add an empty line at the end of your config.sys (just curious, but this worked for me).

December 31, 2001 - On the mail list, Felix Miata gave the following pointer to a "fixed" version of the e editor.
For those who don't want their copy of E.EXE appending the problem EOF character to their text files, a patched version is available at More explanation is at I submitted a bug report to IBM summer 2000, but they make the stone age claim WAD.

December 31, 2001 - On the General Australian OS/2 mailing list, Ed Durrant found a work around to get the latest UDF installed on a non-US system:
Anyone in OZ installing the latest UDF (V1.5) support, please note, if your system language is set to Australian, the DVDINST.EXE will report an unsupported language and refuse to install !

To get around this, from the command line in the temporary directory where you expanded the package, type SET LANG=EN_US and then type DVDINST and it will work. Note you have not permanently changed the language setting in your system, just in the one OS/2 command window session, so you don't need to reset this value (you will be rebooting to make the UDF change effective and at this time your settings will be reset when the config.sys runs at reboot).

January 1, 2002 - Worried your classic REXX program won't work under ObjectREXX? On comp.lang.rexx Mike Ruskai says you should do the following to see if it will work:
Needless with OREXX. Use the REXXC utility program, which will perform a syntax check without execution.

That won't guarantee compatibility, of course, since it won't check any of the migration issues with CREXX versus OREXX.

At this point, I don't think there are any guaranteed show-stoppers, other than broken CREXX code that simply wasn't executed (and therefore never found).

January 2, 2002 - Need to turn on logging in Pronews/2? In comp.os.os2.mail-news Britt Turnbull says its possible by doing the following:
Try pronews /? this will give a list of logging choices....
pronews -0 => logging off

January 3, 2002 - On the InJoy mailing list, Julian Thomas offered the following steps to clone an existing working InJoy dialer configuration:
I agree - this would be a NICE feature - to clone a config. It can be done with a bit of kludgery.
1. Save the default config as something else (defawlt)

2. Save the current config as default.

3. Create a new config - it should start out with the settings from the other - now in default.

4. Load defawlt and save as default.

January 7, 2002 - Here's something I learned on from Scott E. Garfinkle. I've been running Dual Pentium Pro's for a few years now, and this was news to me:
Probably not, but nobody's ever tested the case where they aren't the same, so it's a bit risky. What's more important, particularly for people using the Pentium Pro (yuck), is to try to get matching stepping levels so that when we try to work around the numerous CPU bugs, we get it right on both CPUs. The OS/2 kernel assumes that the stepping level on CPU0 is valid for all CPUs.

January 9, 2002 - On comp.os.os2.misc, Trevor Hemsley posted about how to setup case sensitive filters in Pronews/2:
A small correction on this: it's the case of the *verb* that causes the case sensitive/insensitive search to happen not the case of the search argument. So, to perform a case *sensitive* search you need to specify
and to specify a case insensitive search you need to specify
or Subject or SUBJECt or any other spelling except SUBJECT all in upper case.

The same holds for COMPOSER vs composer.

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