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April 2000

KRFTech WinDriver for OS/2 Beta

By: Mark Dodel editor@os2voice.org

A couple months ago when I first heard about a company developing a device driver development package for OS/2, my first thought was what next? Hell freezes over? Things keep looking up for the denizens of the OS/2 community. First we had Scitech with their universal Display Driver, Netlabs reviving the Odin project to allow OS/2 users to run some win32 applications under OS/2, and recently rumours of a new Warp client from IBM of all sources. Now if only we can get a full fledged Small Business financial package for OS/2. Oh well, hell will truly freeze over then.

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 myself.

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 see http://www.krftech.com/products.html).

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 supported platforms?

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.
* 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.

Currently not supported in WinDriver for OS/2:
* Kernel PlugIn
* 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.

VOICE: Is there a timeframe yet for the GUI Wizard availability for OS/2?

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 oferf@krftech.com.

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 PCMCIA.

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 development tool.

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 products?

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 IBM.

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: michal@krftech.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)

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