Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education
VOICE Home Page:
November 2001

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

Warpstock 2001 - An OS/2 Odyssey

By Mark Dodel © November 2001

Despite the recent renewed reports of it's death, OS/2 and the OS/2 community remains very much alive. That was evident at the latest Warpstock event held in Toronto last month.

As one of the people involved with organizing the event I must admit to seriously wondering if anyone else but the event team was actually going to show up this year. With recent events in the US, flying and for that matter traveling of any kind is the last thing most people want to do right now. As soon as I hit the hotel lobby and saw several people wearing former Warpstock event shirts, I started to feel good about things. Turned out I had nothing to be worried about. Warpstock 2001 was a great show that encompassed sessions from the very broadly applicable "How to setup a web site" to the very technical like "how to write a USB driver".

Where to start? There was so much going on in the sessions and the exhibit hall. I can only touch on some of the high points I witnessed, and unfortunately do to requirements to staff the VOICE booth I missed a few sessions I would have liked to see. First off let me thank the folks that volunteered their time to help at the VOICE booth - Tim Cardozo, Pete Grubbs, Scott Lambert, Walter Metcalf and Gregg Young.

The VOICE Warpstock 2001 booth: Scott Lambert, Mark Yuabov and Mark Dodel

Photo courtesy of Brian Chung (ThriKreen on #OS/2 on Undernet), the Warpstock event team photographer. For more Warpstock 2001 photos see -

With everyone's help I was actually able to attend a few sessions this year. :-) Also a big thank you to the folks that joined and renewed their VOICE memberships at Warpstock. It is through the financial support of our members that we can afford to support events like Warpstock. And this year VOICE will have a presence at Warpstock Europe.

I guess I'll start at the beginning. I arrived on Friday afternoon, but the real activity didn't start until Saturday morning. Registration did start on Friday evening, and the registration packet included a folder of tips from SCOUG, a SCOUG CD of the month, a JunkSpy demo CD from Sundial Systems. As part of a special Warpstock promotion by Sundial 25 of the JunkSpy CDs had a winning code on them for a free registration. others could get a Warpstock discount price of $30.

John Edwards, event chairman, got the show off Saturday morning to a start with his "Welcome to Warpstock 2001, and Welcome to Canada" message. He introduced the Toronto event team members, including event Co-Chair Jim O'Connor, and a minute of silence was observed in memory of the events of September 11th in the US. Then Stan Sidlov, Warpstock treasurer gave a short address on the passing of Dan Casey, reading the letter of thanks from Dan's mother in regard to Warpstock's contribution to Dan's memorial charity - Edelweiss House.

The exhibit hall was well laid out. Jacaranda Business Systems booth was front and center, promoting Serenity's eComStation. For the Warpstock event they were selling the eComStation products at a special discounted price. Finnegan Software had a booth showing off a dual Athlon pc running eCS Pro, and it looked like they sold a few right there.

VOICE and POSSI had booths next to one-another, and we were helping one-another with the network access, which seemed to be really slow to non-existent at times, and of course helping Joyce Clarke install eCS on her laptop. :-) A big thanks to Chuck McKinnis for setting up a mail server on his machine so I could send some mail from the booth. Unfortunately I couldn't get my wireless LAN installed in our booth's PC, because of the ISA cards odd configuration, and obstacles to getting it seated correctly, so no roaming IRC coverage of Warpstock was possible this year. Hopefully we'll be able to get that going again next year.

Data Representations was back again this year as an exhibitor and presenter with their excellent Simplicity Java development products. Eric Lavoie, of Zeryx Software, had a booth showing off his latest version of ZxMail, a native OS/2 mail server and also presented a session on it.

Lone Peak Automation's booth was showing off UPS monitor and the House/2 X10 home automation software as well as a weather station monitoring software. Computer Data Strategies (CDS)'s Brent Bowlby, was there as well with a pre-release price for their latest version of BackAgain/2000, version 3.0. This version adds the ability to span CDR media. This is a feature I have been waiting for for a long time.

Golden Code Development was exhibiting their Golden Code Tracing Suite which had special Warpstock event pricing and Starfire Technologies their Enterprise System Administration tool, Starfire Titan in the remaining exhibitor booths.

Warpstock had a booth for disbursing all the golf shirts and Warpstock mugs that were purchased. Also every attendee received a small Canadian flag pin, courtesy of the Canadian Tourist Board. The last booth was donated for use by Netlabs to present their materials and signup developers.

There were three sessions going on in three different rooms during most of the show, so there is no way I could attend more then a fraction of them all. For a list of all the presentations please see the Warpstock web site -

I will just comment on the few sessions I was able to attend. I will try to be brief, but it isn't going to be easy. ;-)

The Odin folks were back this year with a session called "Odin Update and Tips & Tricks". They claim they are "trying to be very compatible", hence some errors carried over from windows. They talked about some of the main apps they currently have running like Lotus Notes R5, RealPlayer 8, and Framemaker.

Some tips they talked about were things like making sure you install Odin on an HPFS drive for LFN(Long File Name) support; make sure you install the ODINAPP which is not only a good test of you Odin install, but includes some legal distributable DLLs from Microsoft for their C/C++ compiler runtime. Concerning the ODIN.INI, the presenter, Achim Hasenmueller suggests trying different windows version IDs by changing

[Win Version]
VERSION=WIN98 (also 95,NT but not yet ME, 2000, or XP)
Default is NT SP6. Some applications react differently to different reported versions of windows.

Another item in ODIN.INI, that Achim suggested was adding:

This give the Odin run apps an OS/2 look, rather then the default windoze appearance.

Another session I attended was "Developing USB device drivers" by Markus Montkowski. I also attended Markus' presentation on "Using USB devices from Ring 3 Applications (PM/Console)". Someone had stolen Markus' laptop on his way to Toronto, so he had to borrow a laptop and have someone send him his presentations. Markus discussed his soon to be released USBRESMG.SYS (USB Resource Manager) which will allow you to turn devices on and off and provide a Ring 3 application programming interface allowing other programmers to support USB devices.

The last session on Saturday, and one of the best attended presentations, was "A Dream comes true: Virtual PC for OS/2", again the speaker was Achim Hasenmueller. This was the only session in it's time slot but silly me decided to stay at the VOICE booth in case anyone stopped by, but just about everyone else was there. Needless to say I spent a lonely two hours. They ended up canceling the session that was to follow just so they could continue this one. All I can say is this was a big hit for people that want to run win32 apps on OS/2.

Saturday night was a trip on school buses to see a dinner and show. The food was a buffet, and the quality was delicious. I made sure to save room for the great looking deserts. The play was a British comedy - "Things we do for Love". The British humour was at times a bit tough to fathom and I'm sure the non-English speakers in our group may have had some problems with the fast pace of the speech, but overall everyone seemed to have had a good time.

Seems like half the sessions I went to at Warpstock 2001 were presented by Achim. I popped into his Co-Standby Server session. Innotek has taken over development and support of Vinca's Co-Standby server for OS/2. This is definitely not a SOHO application, but it had me interested. CSS mirrors drive data volumes. The mirroring can be bi-directional, so if either server fails, the running server picks up any application that was running on the failed server. The mirroring is done on a sector by sector basis, so it's not a backup solution, at least not in it's normal use. However it allows for near zero downtime backups by means of closing down an application breaking the mirror link, restarting the application, or re-opening the database on one machine, and backing up the now closed database on the other mirror machine. CSS supports any file system including JFS. LVM spanned volumes are also supported. One of the newer features is that identical harddrives (sequential serial numbers) is no longer required for mirroring. The mirroring is very fast as CSS runs at the kernel level (Ring0). So CSS can copy locked files without a problem.

I covered Oliver Mark's session on the Convenience Pac2 in this month's editorial, so I won't go into that any further. Despite the downside of that session, the next session I attended was full of information about new drivers for OS/2. This session was Oliver Stein's "OS/2 Device Driver Update". Oliver first talked about wireless networking. I hope to have a review of OS/2 wireless solutions in a future issue of the Newsletter. While on the topic of networking, Oliver mentioned that a Gigabit ethernet driver for OS/2, based on the Intel chipset will be available on Software Choice at some point in the future.

IBM has committed to writing drivers for all USB standardized devices. This includes keyboards, mice, generic modems, generic printers, mass storage(including bootable floppy, removable media and CDROM/CDRW/DVD, USB to serial support (Belkin), USB to parallel support, USB ethernet support(Kawasaki chipset), and a USB Compact Flash adapter(Sandisk). Scanners and cameras present a problem because there is no standard and IBM will not write proprietary drivers unless someone contracts to have them written. Oliver suggested that potential ports from Linux (LibUSB) and Markus Montkowski's USB Ring3 interface as a possible solution for these non-standard items to have non-IBM support.

IBM is continuing to work on printer drivers(80+ new printers supported next year). There is talk of an EPOMNI5 driver for support of some newer Epson printers, but this has just been talked about, not decided on yet. One of the things IBM will be releasing is a full IrDA stack for OS/2. It was actually 5 years old, but never released by IBM. It has been updated by IBM Germany and may just be released onto hobbes. If you have a cell phone you may want to pick up IrDD2 off of hobbes. This has the IrComm package included which works with 56K capable IR cell phones, Nokia, Ericcson and Siemens phones and includes a ringtone manager and a phonebook manager for GSM phones attached through the IrDA port.

The serial port driver, COM.SYS has had support for PCI modems with PCI interrupt sharing added, and will be released in MCP2. The latest UDF file system has added extensions for CD-RW. You can now FORMAT /FS:UDF a CDR-CDRW media. Also the LTModem (Lucent WInmodem) driver is set for update to v90 support. 12 new video drivers are planned. And the mouse driver will be unified.

Finally there are some things that may or may not ever appear. These include USB hard drive support, Bluetooth v1.1 (specifications due out 4th quarter 2001, devices in 2002). Universal audio support (port of ALSA from Linux) may be supported by IBM. And finally FireWire support, possibly only for disks, and only if someone will contract with IBM to write the driver.

The final session of the day was the "Don't Ask Me!". This was an audience participation session, where attendees submitted questions and the experts in the audience tried to help with answers. Interesting was that in response to a lot of the questions asked, the answer given was Ulrich Moeller's XWorkPlace. Too bad Ulrich didn't make it to Toronto this year. There actually seemed to be a cheerleading session for XWP, who by the end of the session were shouting out "XWorkPlace" to just about every question. I heard at least one person say they were definitely going to check out XWorkPlace. :-)

I spent Sunday night in the hotel, helping Dr. Jeffrey Race get his laptop working with the cable modem in one of the session rooms. So I didn't get to see much of Canada, but it was a lot of fun. I didn't get to see Jeff's presentation on Monday. I hope his internet connection worked. :-)

Before I packed up the VOICE booth and left I managed to get to one last session on Monday morning. This was Stan Sidlov's "Whither Warpstock?" session. Stan asked the moderately crowded room what they wanted from Warpstock - The social aspect; The ability to exchange ideas; An opportunity to exchange rumours, get information on the future. As much as people enjoy the social aspect many said they don't come primarily for that, and if Warpstock became strictly a social event many said they wouldn't come.

A couple of data points were discussed. Attendance at Warpstock has steadily declined over the past five years; And advocacy sessions have all but disappeared from the schedule. Where do we want to see Warpstock go? Do we want to bother any more? The Warpstock board plans to have a Warpstock 2002. I wouldn't have joined the board of directors if that weren't the case, but we need your input. Warpstock 2001 was a success, but it wasn't guaranteed. It was a large last minute turnout of attendees that helped make it a success.

First off do you want to see Warpstock continue? Should the promotion of Warpstock be changed to represent the more technical nature of the event? Would a dual personality event be a good idea? A technical conference for the large corporate OS/2 users to attend officially with a more social/advocacy oriented Warpstock for the rest of us being held at the same time in the same location?

Do you have a preference for location? The past three Warpstock's have been on the East Coast of North America. Is it time to move it West of the Mississippi? Would you be willing to help an event team put on Warpstock in your area? We can't do this without local assistance. The Toronto event was a success because of the work of the local event team.

Please join the Warpdoctor Public mail list and voice your opinion.


Warpstock Web Site -
Warpstock Europe Web Site -
SCOUG Web Site -
Sundial Systems Web Site -
Jacaranda Business Systems Web Site -
Finnegan Software Web Site -
POSSI Web Site -
Data Representations Web Site -
Zeryx Software Web Site -
Lone Peak Automation Web Site -
Computer Data Strategies (CDS) Web Site -
Golden Code Development Web Site -
Starfire Technologies Web Site -
Netlabs Web Site -
ODIN Test Application -
Innotek Web Site -
XWorkPlace Web Site -

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