VOICE Home Page: http://www.os2voice.org
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By: Mark Dodel email@example.com
Though the driver development application is for hardware/software developers,
it is of interest to OS/2 users, because it presents a possible solution to a dilemma
that has plagued OS/2 since it's first release, lack of hardware support. As you
will see in the Interview below, this product will fill in some gaps which currently
exist in OS/2 hardware support, assuming developers purchase the product and make
the resulting device drivers available to OS/2 users.
The WinDriver for Windows is listed at $1499 (academic prices are available for
students and academic institutes), with various other combinations of driver development
packages ranging as high as $5999, this is not a solution for the home user to roll
their own driver. No price is currently listed for the OS/2 version. For hardware/software
developers who currently use the WinDriver for other platform driver development,
now have the added advantage of using the same source to generate a driver for OS/2
just by purchasing the WinDriver for OS/2 version. We need to make hardware and
software developers aware of this multi-platform solution when it becomes available.
I downloaded the newly announced beta from http://www.krftech.com/dnload.html.
Instructions for how to get started can be found at http://www.krftech.com/how-to-os2.html.
Installation involves unzipping the downloaded archive and moving a driver (WINDRVR.SYS)
to x:\OS2\BOOT and WINDRVR.DLL to x:\OS2\DLL and then rebooting. There are several
sample diagnostic examples included with source to show how to access the included
WinDriver API's. Documentation includes some windows version oriented HTML files,
and a 279 page, PDF version of the Developers Guide. According to the manual, creating
a driver is a relatively simple process:
1. Start up the DriverWizard, and detect the hardware and its resources.
2. Automatically generate the device driver code from within the Wizard.
3. Call the generated functions from the User Mode application.
Since I don't run any windows boxes, I can't as yet try the GUI Driver Wizard
, but don't fret, KRFTech says they will be porting that to OS/2 in the next two
months as well. I did run the compiled examples, which include a program that reads
the Date/Time directly from CMOS, a program to display all the ISA PNP cards in
a system with resources used. and several for scanning for PCI cards. Each sample
program includes the C source code. I don't program in C so I didn't attempt to
compile the examples. I leave that for those who are far more knowledgeable then
Shortly before the first beta of WinDriver for OS/2 became publicly available,
I decided I'd see what I could find out about it. I asked KRFTech some questions
about their new OS/2 version. Ms. Michal Rutzky of KRFTech Sales and Derry Shribman
of KRFTech R&D, responded.
VOICE:First off, What products does your company provide
and what platforms do you support?
Ms. Rutzky: KRFTech provides a complete product line
which automates and simplifies writing PCI/cPCI/USB/ISA/EISA device drivers for
Windows 2000/NT/98/95, Windows CE, NTE, Linux, Solaris, OS/2 and VxWorks (please
VOICE:I'm not a PC hardware expert, but how are you
developing your OS/2 product? Is it being written from scratch or as a port from
one of your other supported platforms?
Ms. Rutzky: Since the OS/2 kernel is completely different
than any of the other OSs we support, we needed to write it completely from scratch.
VOICE: Will it have all the functionality of your existing
Ms. Rutzky: WinDriver for OS/2 includes:
* Full integration with WinDriver, to provide you with the source compatibility with Windows CE, Linux, Solaris, Windows 2000/NT, Windows98/95 and VxWorks.Currently not supported in WinDriver for OS/2:
* Support I/O and memory access.
* Easy interrupt handling.
* Contiguous DMA support.
* Multiple boards/CPU handling.
* Address Mapping.
* Enhanced support for PLX, Altera, QuickLogic, V3, Galileo, AMCC and PLDA PCI chips and cores.
* Four months Free technical support from the R&D team at KRFTech.
* Kernel PlugInVOICE: Is there a timeframe yet for the GUI Wizard availability for OS/2?
* Scatter gather DMA
* The Wizard is not yet supported natively. You can run the Wizard on a Windows machine, generate code, and compile on an OS/2 machine. We are currently working on porting the GUI to OS2.
Mr. Shribman: We plan to have available a GUI version
of WinDriver Wizard for OS/2 in two months.
In the meantime, we will release a remote Wizard version, that talks via the
TCP/IP network. This remote Wizard will allow you to install on a Windows computer
the Wizard, and talk to the hardware on your OS/2 computer.
If you wish to receive a beta version of the network Wizard, please contact Ofer
Fryman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VOICE: Does the OS/2 version exist at this point?
Ms. Rutzky: It has been in alpha testing, and now
it is available for final beta testing. You can download a free full featured evaluation
version at http://www.krftech.com/dnload.html.
It will be released in Q2/2000.
VOICE:I'm not clear on exactly what this product does.
Does it provide a full IDE, or does it just create source for a driver and then
require a separate platform specific compiler to build the executable?
Ms. Rutzky: It provides an easy API to write drivers
in 32bit user-mode, without using a special 16bit compiler. It also includes a lot
of samples to access different types of devices.
VOICE: Is all generated source in C/C++?
Ms. Rutzky: The source code is generated in C.
VOICE: Is the Source code generated optimized for any
particular C compiler?
Mr. Shribman: No. The source code generated is a
very thin layer above the WinDriver API exported by WINDRVR.SYS.
VOICE: What kind of device support can OS/2 users expect
to see from this product in the future?
Ms. Rutzky: The current version supports ISA, ISA
PnP, PCI and Compact PCI. We are currently working on adding support for USB and
VOICE:Right now OS/2 only has base USB support for
Intel based chipsets. Would >someone be able to use your device driver kit to
develop USB drivers for other chipsets as well, or do you just build on existing
platform specific support.
Ms. Rutzky: We plan to support both UHCI and OHCI
(i.e. also support non-intel USB
VOICE:Do you see this product mostly being used by
the large corporate OS/2 users, or will the small business/non-business OS/2 user
also benefit from device drivers developed with your product?
Ms. Rutzky: We assume it will be used both by large
and small businesses. AMI for example is using WinDriver OS/2 in large scale.
VOICE: Besides AMI, have any of your other customers
expressed an interest in the OS/2 release?
Mr. Shribman: We had many requests for OS/2, and
there have been many downloads of WinDriver OS/2 from our web site in the last few
days. You will also find a partial list of our customers at http://www.krftech.com/testimonials.htm,
all are market leading companies who have chosen WinDriver as their device driver
VOICE: I noted in browsing your web site that for the
linux version of WinDriver you recommend using the graphical Wizard under windows
to develop Linux drivers. Is native platform development possible also?
Ms. Rutzky: As I wrote above, we are working on porting
the Wizard to non-Windows OSs, including Linux and OS/2.
VOICE:Is this a product that a small developer can
use? Or is it meant mostly for hardware manufacturers to create drivers for their
Ms. Rutzky: This product is very useful for accessing
data acquisition hardware. WinDriver is also used by many 'small developers' who
want to quickly access their hardware from a user-mode application, and don't want
to waste a lot of time learning the 'secrets' of kernel-mode development. There
are even a lot of electrical engineering students who use WinDriver for their projects.
VOICE:Have you had much contact with IBM in regards
to OS/2 support?
Ms. Rutzky: We were not in technical contact with
VOICE:From reading the Developers Guide, I see that
licensing is solely based on a per developer charge, not a runtime. So can all drivers
created by a licensed developer be distributed without any further royalties?
Ms. Rutzky:WinDriver is licensed per seat / per developer.
After purchasing the license from KRFTech, you own your driver. The executable that
is created is yours to distribute freely in as many copies as you wish. No royalties
are to be paid to KRFTech.
For those who would like more information beyond that found at their web site,
Ms. Michal Rutzky can be reached via Email: email@example.com
or the following:
Phone: 1-877-514-0537(USA) +972-9-8859365(Worldwide), ext. 110
Fax: 1-877-514-0538(USA) +972-9-8859366(Worldwide)