Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education
VOICE Home Page:
April 2002

[Newsletter Index]
[Previous Page] [Next Page]
[Feature Index]

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.

February 18, 2002 - Our first tip of the month is from Bob Eager on the news group. Someone asked how to have a network password that was longer then 8 characters:
Use UPMCSET /E to set it to 20.

February 19, 2002 - Bill Snell asked in the news group "How can I print out the chart and anotations in Lotus 1-2-3?". Then Bill answered his own query:
In response to my own question: To print the items from the drawing and text submenus of CREATE one must 'select' the items by using the control key with the left mouse button. Ctl-LMB. the pointer will change to normal pointer and '+'. To deselect hold the shift key and the left mouse button. Shift-LMB. To pointer will change to a pointer and "-". Make sure the anotations are in the preview window in the position that you want them. They are not positioned exactly as they appear on the chart.

February 19, 2002 - There is a new version of RSJ out 4.0, and one of its new features is support for FreeDB, which is a music title data base available over the internet. Someone asked on the RSJ support news group news:// about the lack of documentation on this feature and Falko Eickel responded with the following -
They have a new user guide created about the same time as 3.60 or 3.61 was released, but they forgot to include this new one with the package, and they still have this very outdated PDF in 4.00 - get the seperate user guide from the RSJ website (it won't cover the enhancements from version 4.00, but at least it is not completedly outdated).

There are five help files in the CDWFS directory, so you shoud try to VIEW the FREEDB.HLP file.


a) The icons of the to be burned tracks are nearly invisible (at least with SDD like in eCS). With the older RSJ versions and the Matrox drivers, this problem didn't exist.

b) There's no way to get rid of the status dialogs for each and every track, and that damned thing always pops up in the same place, even if you moved the previous instance out of the way. If you do something else, like editing a message, it can happen very easily to abort a reading of worse a writing process. Duh :-(.

c) The online help talks about "standard" and "alternate" format for downloading the whole database (over 100MB packed size, about 500MB unpacked size), but nowhere the meanings of "standard" and "alternate" are defined (neither in RSJ, nor on the website). I found out, that standard means the unix files in *.tar.bz2 format - as I didn't have bzip2, I downloaded the windoze *.rar file instead ... and it was the wrong one. Luckily, I have a DSL line with a flat fee, so the second monster file is just half an hour away. The required space to unpack a *.tar.bz2 file is much higher compared to normal PC archive programs. You first have to unpack the file and get then one huge *.tar file. Then it's time to get the individual files from the *.tar file. Instead of about 600MB (100MB archive plus 500MB for the individual files) you need now over one gigabyte (100MB plus 850MB first, then 850MB plus.

RSJ, please tell your users, that they must download the unix database and not the windoze one. And tell them how to unpack that beast (nearly all OS/2 users know ZIP, most know RAR and some other PC archivers, but few TAR, and even less BZIP2). BZIP2 has a very good compression rate, but it is very slow. It needs the EMX runtime (\EMX\DLL and a DLL from BZIP must be in the LIBPATH). Warning: Both BZIP2 and TAR tend to delete their input files - you might do a backup first or at least make a copy ...

You need TAR from the GTAK/GTAR package, UNTGZ doesn't support links:

And if you're already at hobbes, don't forget to get THIS unzip:

And another warning: The windoze version contains ONLY(!) about 2000 files, the unix version comes with files GALORE - more than half a million! This is even for a modern file system a heavy task and a waste of resources. The average file size is about 2.5 sectors, plus one sector for the directory entry on HPFS. So even if DIR /S lists only nearly 500MB, the true usage is up to 900MB. On JFS with 4KB Blocks this will be two gigabytes plus an unknown amount for the directories.

BUNZIP2 freedb-complete.tar.bz2
TAR -x -v -f freedb-complete.tar

[Editor note: You can avoid this by connecting BZIP2 and TAR via a pipe when unpacking the file, e.g. like
BZIP2 -d -c file | tar -xvf -]

d) RSJ FreeDB access has some bugs (ok, it's the first try). On the Cache page one field label reads "Max. Groess" (somehow the ending "e:" was lost). Resizing the notebook doesn't work, the content isn't scaled with it (applies to other notebooks in CD-Writer, too). Even without changes and with pressing cancel, the revision number is increased. RSJ fails if multiple CDs have the same ID, and displays the contents of the wrong CD (happened to me with the other Cyndi Lauper CD "True Colors", web request gives the correct result, but local lookup thinks it is a Jazz CD from Holly Cole). If multiple CDs are found, a dialog should list them and let the user decide which title it is (or if it is a new one).

February 22, 2002 - Someone was looking for the SmartSuite English and German dictionaries on the news group. Here's where Cees van Veelen says it can be found:
It is in the \extra\compnent\spell directory, together with many other languages Read the file extra.txt in the \extra directory on the CD for hyphenation, grammar checking etc.

March 1, 2002 - On comp.os.os2.apps, Wayne Bickell passed on the following tip from Darryl Sperber in answer to a reported problem with installing FaxWorks Pro which will crashes when trying to 'unpack crszip.exe':
Darryl Sperber has the answer to this. I hope he forgives me for reposting his whole message:

Amusing problem.

I'm finishing up a UPDCD-produced Warp 4 reinstall, with all fixpacks and maintenance already applied in the newly burned installation CD-ROM.

The effect is to create an OS/2 that's already FAT32-aware, at FP15+D002, and with TCP/IP 4.1 with MPTS 8610/8621 and TCP/IP UN2001, and Netscape 4.61, Java 1.1.8, up-to-date printer drivers, and Adobe Acrobat already applied.

There's even more that gets (or can get) integrated by UPDCD, but what's most important is that the installed OS/2 is already at FP15 for me.

Now as part of my follow-on application software reinstall, I got to the step where I install my FaxWorks Pro product (bought back in 1996, when Global Village was still around). And I've NEVER had any problem reinstalling this package in the past, anytime I've had to reinstall OS/2.

Well tonight, the install failed. First time it ever failed.

And it died with a very strange message out of PKSFX, which is the built-in self-extractor within two files on the FaxWorks Pro installation CD-ROM: CRSZIP.EXE and CGIZIP.EXE. The claim was that it "couldn't find CRSZIP.EXE" or some similar gibberish, even though it was clearly invoked as how else could it be producing the error message! Obviously, a distractingly inappropriate message, but certainly an indication that something was wrong.

Well I tried lots of things to determine what the problem was (e.g. maybe the drive it was being unpacked on was "too big") but it just failed hard. It would simply not self-extract, producing this misleading error message.

As part of my diagnosis research, what was curious is that InfoZip's UNZIP 5.42 had no trouble at all unpacking the self-extracting EXE. So there really was nothing wrong with the file itself on the CD-ROM. It's just that for some reason the self-extracting PKSFX was suddenly not working.

Well the messages indicated that this PKSFX program was actually from version 1.02 of PKZIP for OS/2, dated way back in 1989. Now all of my (and everybody else's) successful installs over the past six years have always been at GA level OS/2. Obviously that's how it had to be, since that used to be the only way to install OS/2. I believe I used to install FaxWorks Pro very early after the install, before getting to FP15. At least that's what I must have been doing.

And this is the first time, thanks to UPDCD, that my install of FaxWorks Pro was to a system that was already at FP15. And my guess is that PKFSX is incompatible with FP15! What else could it be?

Anyway, not to be bamboozled out of getting this product installed, I decided to recreate CRSZIP.EXE and CGIZIP.EXE using InfoZip ZIP 2.3. So first I unzipped it with UNZIP 5.42. Then I re-zipped it as CRSZIP.ZIP with ZIP 2.3.

Then I converted the CRSZIP.ZIP to CRSZIP.EXE using the neat ZIP2EXE.CMD that comes with UNZIP. And I repeated the process with CGIZIP.EXE.

And I confirmed that both new EXE files would successfully self-extract when invoked with the command performed by the FaxWorks Pro INSTALL program (as found on the failing INSTALL.OUT log... "CRSZIP.EXE -x -o -d h:\faxworks"). This was successful, and I was nearly home.

Then I re-burned the FaxWorks Pro CD-ROM (for future posterity), copying the original but replacing the two problem old PKZIP-produced CRSZIP.EXE and CGIZIP.EXE files with the new ones I had just built with ZIP and ZIP2EXE. And then I attempted to install FaxWorks Pro one more time using my new CD-ROM, and sure enough this time it installed perfectly.

Case closed. Problem behind me.

So if it's not that PKSFX 1.02 is incompatible with FP15, then there's something else (undetermined) which must be the result of the UPDCD-produced most-current OS/2 which prevents PKSFX from working properly.

I even experimented with removing FAT32.IFS temporarily (although I kept DaniDASD.DMD so that my drive letters were still there), thinking perhaps FAT32 around might be interfering. This accomplished nothing. PKSFX 1.02 still failed to self-extract.

So unless someone can suggest another possible explanation, I'm going to blame it on a very very old PKZIP for OS/2.

March 3, 2002 - Yet another tip found on Usenet, this time in comp.os.os2.setup.misc where Will Honea answered the reprise "After I migrated my first FP15 upwards box to MCP2 I noticed something!
"Oh where oh where has our NOWHERE gone?
Oh where oh where can it be?
With its files so short and it paths so long.
Oh where or where can it be?"
Try dir nowhere* /ah It now has a hidden attribute.
Then Lorne Sunley added the following:
Nice poem..... :-) The Nowhere directory is hidden, you can find it with the command
attrib nowhere run from the root of your boot disk

March 5, 2002 - On comp.os.os2.misc, Christian Hennecke had the answer when someone reported having problems with the "man" for OS/2 program. "Every other package of man pages I open causes the "man.exe" program to refuse any attempt upon exiting with: Process terminated by SIGPIPE and then I just can't kill the process, or any of the (many) child processes that had been spawned by man."
You've been hit by the infamous "long paths eat up environment space" problem. The problem is that CMD.EXE only has a certain amount of memory for processing certain environment variables and pipe operations. Long paths take away from it so less is available for pipe operations. Try to shorten your LIBPATH and PATH variables in CONFIG.SYS and the problem will go away.

March 8, 2002 - Someone on comp.os.os2.multimedia was looking for the free version of RealPlayer 8 to install under Odin. Michael suggested the following:
RealPlayer 8 Plus:
RealPlayer 8 Basic:

March 7, 2002 - I found the following interesting information posted by Steve W. on that helps clarify what the difference between the free SDD/SE version and the SDD Pro versions of the Scitech Display Driver.
Here's a quick list:
1) tech support
2) newer chipset support (G550, GeForce3)
3) size selection for icons and fonts
4) full set of resolutions from 320x200 to 2048x1536
5) create your own custom resolutions
6) fully programmable refresh rates from 60Hz -> 120Hz

March 9, 2002 - Pete offered this advise on getting a PCMCIA Compact Flash device to work with Daniela's driver in a post on comp.os.os2.apps:
If you are using Daniela's latest drivers, try these parameters:

basedev=danis506.add /A:2 /IRQ:x /PCMCIA

What this does is set up your pcmcia adapter as "IDE2" (after IDE0 and IDE1) using irq x. It's been my experience that IRQx must be available for PCMCIA use exclusively--no sharing. Then the only statements you need in your cardbus stuff are basedev=pcmcia.sys and the controller chip dirver (basedev=ibm2ss14.sys or what ever--this one is the only really tricky part; it must match your slot's controller chip). Remark out pcm2ata.add and os2pcard.dmd.

Insert a card, wait for the beeps (the high pitched ones come from the actions of danis506.add), then Click the status button in plug and play for pcmcia to see what it shows. All three tabs will have to show information before the card can be read. If you have two slots, sometimes only one can be used without causing system problems because each slot uses a different IRQ. With my system, one uses 5, the other, 11, which is my scsi card. So I only use the one slot (on 5) to read cards.

The other thing you will HAVE to do is issue "eject x:" to your cardbus drive letter *before removing* a card, or there's a good chance you will trash the card's formatting. This is Daniela's advice; I didn't quite believe her; and on one occasion I wound up having to use fdisk to recover the card (the camera couldn't do it). Now I have a clickable cmd file which issues the eject command. I've had more problems using doze with these cards than with DOS or OS/2 combined.

March 10, 2002 - For those experiencing sound problems with win32 apps under Odin on systems with Crystal based sound cards, here's a possible solution from Christian Hennecke on the Odin User mail list:
I just found a possible solution for the problem with Crystal Semiconductor sound drivers and sound distortion under Odin.

Increasing the interrupt rate seems to help. To do so do the following:

Mode 2 drivers (1.7x):

Add an /R:x option to the DEVICE=<drive>:\MMOS2\CWAUDIO.SYS line. Valid
values are 1 to 60. I guess the result depends on your machine. Anyway,
60 works for me.

Mode 3 drivers:

Add an /IRQrate:x option. Valid values are 1 to 64.

March 13, 2002 - Someone asked for help on comp.os.os2.setup.misc where he was getting an error trying to install the Matrox display driver where the install reported that " \tcpip\bin\vdostcp.sys not being a valid file". Klaus Staedtler suggested the following:
Already done after the driver came out ;-) Try to use 'install /U' The reason for this behaviour is curious enough, if the config.sys (or any file named config.* in the root directory) exceeds a certain (but yet unknown where the border is) size, dspinstl fails to update the config.sys correctly. Using the /U switch seems to be a valid workaround.

[Feature Index]
[Previous Page] [Newsletter Index] [Next Page]
VOICE Home Page: