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April 2001

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Networking FixPaks under OS/2 Warp

Article by Alex Taylor ©March 2001

A Visual Guide to Networking FixPaks under OS/2 Warp


The range of software updates for OS/2 Warp's myriad components is extremely complex, and finding the appropriate ones can be very confusing. This is especially true for the various networking components, where the available upgrade paths are truly labyrinthine.

I ran up against this myself at work, where I inherited the task of certifying several OS/2 machines as Year 2000 compliant. These machines had had various conflicting versions of various OS/2 components installed on them at various times, and I quickly discovered that none of their components were at the service levels I expected.

Imagine OS/2 Warp 4, except with User Profile Management (but no LAN Requester or Peer) at the Warp Server level, and MPTS at the Warp Connect level.

Well... on second thought, don't.

In an effort to make sense of it all, I did a lot of digging: in FixPak documentation, on IBM's website, in some other informative websites, in the newsgroups, and by setting up a test OS/2 PC and just playing around with various FixPaks. My findings took the form of quasi-geneological diagrams, hand-scribbled at first, then later drawn up in MS Paint -- with a fair bit of added commentary.

I think it was reasonable to guess, given my own experience, that other people had or would run up against the same tangle. Hence, this article. I originally published it as a web page, and the latest version should generally be available through my computing website at http://eddie.cis.uoguelph.ca/~alex/computing.html

What follows is an attempt to demystify the available upgrade paths for OS/2 Warp's networking components.

OS/2 Network Components

Newcomers to OS/2 are often surprised to discover that the networking components are not updated by OS/2 FixPaks. Instead, they have their own dedicated set of FixPaks and service updates: a different set for each specific component. The reason for this is largely historical. IBM used to sell the networking components as different products, not as part of OS/2 itself. Theoretically, there could be many customers out there who have different versions of the networking products running under the same version of OS/2.

The underlying network subsystem in OS/2 Warp is called the Multi-Protocol Transport Services, or MPTS. (Under earlier OS/2 versions, this product was also called LAN Adapters and Protocol Support, or LAPS.) MPTS contains all of OS/2's networking protocols, such as TCP/IP, IEEE 802.2, and NetBIOS. It is also responsible for managing Network Interface Card (NIC) drivers for LANs and WANs.

However, networking services (applications which provide the functionality that makes protocols useful) are not part of MPTS. Each set of network services, such as LAN, NetWare, or TCP/IP networking, has its own separate software package. And each of these packages has its own set of FixPaks and service updates -- as does MPTS.

The two most important services are LAN domain (or workgroup, if you prefer Windows parlance) networking, and TCP/IP (Internet-style) networking.

The software package which allows LAN domain networking is made up of a number of smaller components. These include: LAN Server (for defining and managing a LAN domain, only available in the expensive server editions of OS/2), LAN Requester (the client side of side of LAN Server), User Profile Management (for creating and authenticating LAN users), and Peer (a kind of "poor man's" server, only available in the client editions of OS/2).

The software package dedicated to TCP/IP networking is called, not surprisingly, TCP/IP for OS/2. TCP/IP networking is what is used to operate and access the Internet, as well as similar, smaller internets and intranets. You need TCP/IP installed if you want to access the Internet yourself.

The following sections describe the possible upgrade paths available for each of these three networking products:

These pages cover all versions of OS/2 from OS/2 Warp Connect and up. The original OS/2 Warp 3 (non-Connect) does not include any networking components, except for a stripped-down version of TCP/IP v2.0 which only allows network access through a modem or other serial port connection.

How to read the diagrams

Some of the diagrams look extremely complicated, but reading them is actually fairly simple. First, determine which version level you are starting at. Base versions are listed across the top of the diagram.

Once you know which version level you are upgrading, just follow the arrows as far as you like. To upgrade to the latest level, follow the arrows as far as they will go, and ignore any detours.

You can only follow the lines in the direction the arrows are pointing. If the line is unbroken (i.e., continuous), then you can upgrade directly to the last revision level to which it points. If, however, a line "breaks" around a particular revision level, then that revision level must be applied before following the arrows any further.

Many of the diagrams use additional visual keys, such as colour, in order to indicate certain details. These are explained in the text accompanying the diagrams.


I've tried to provide relatively straightforward upgrade guides for what is an extremely confusing topic. These summaries do not include minor, single-file patches -- only FixPaks/ServicePaks and major versions are listed here.

Oliver Rick's excellent Warp Update Summary covers these topics in much greater detail, although the sheer volume of information on his site can be overwhelming. I've tried to present the information in as simple and as readable a manner as possible, at a sacrifice of some of the more obscure data.


The information here was mostly obtained through careful reading of the documentation accompanying each fixpak, as well as some experimentation.

In addition, the following sites (from IBM's "Beginner's Guide to Understanding OS/2 FixPaks") were invaluable in determining version levels and upgrade paths:

Finally, Oliver Rick's Warp Update Summary was most helpful with filling in gaps, locating links, and for comparing notes.

Article References:
Alex Taylor's: http://eddie.cis.uoguelph.ca/~alex/computing.html
IBM's "Beginner's Guide to Understanding OS/2 FixPaks":http://ps.software.ibm.com/pdocs-usa/FIXHELP.HTM
Oliver Rick's Warp Update Summary: http://www.warpupdates.de

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