Inside the Next Release of OS/2 Warp

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by Cathy Longenberger

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Coming soon, the next release of OS/2 Warp, codenamed Merlin, consists of various products, including the OS/2 Warp Version 4 operating system, BonusPak, IBM's OS/2 implementation of Sun Microsystems, Inc Java technology (Java for OS /2), and networking/connectivity products.

The hype is that IBM's next generation OS/2 is the operating system that connects you whether you are at work, traveling, or at home. And it is the operating system that listens! We're told that OS/2 Warp Version 4 raises the bar on integrated functionality in a desktop operating system solution, ease of use and openness. And, guess what? It really does! IBM has added more than 100 new features and functions to the OS/2 Warp package, and these features really make Warp flashy and very competitive for both the business person's desktop and the corporate client workstation.

Instead of boring you with the long list of new features and functions, we'll cover those we believe are most interesting to our audience - programmers. Be sure to read the article Introducing the Developer's Toolkit for OS/2 Warp Version 4 on page 14 for information about the new tools and samples.

At a Glance

Some of the things you ll see at a glance in OS/2 Warp Version 4 include WarpCenter, WarpGuides (intelligent helps), a new look and operation for PM controls, animated icons, new 3-D bitmaps and icons, improved use of colors, horizontal style notebooks, and a new tutorial. Significant user interface improvements include an integrated installation. The installation program gives the user an Easy and a Custom path to selectively install, re-install or uninstall components such as the Migration Database. The Migration Database contains the optimal settings for popular DOS and Windows™ applications and is used during installation to migrate previously installed applications. Also, OS/2 Warp Version 4 and all networking components are CID-enabled for remote installation.

Speech Recognition and Dictation

In addition to many user interface improvements, the next release of OS/2 Warp delivers voice input using IBM VoiceType speech recognition technology. Now you can navigate the Internet or your desktop with your voice, dictate responses to your mail, and utilize speech macros to simplify repetitive tasks Using your computer becomes even easier when you can perform tasks without typing or using a mouse.

Because OS/2 Warp exploits Direct Access Routines (DART) in a multimedia subsystem, no special hardware is required other than a supported sound card and microphone. You can view a list of supported cards and chips on the Device Driver Pak CD that is included with your purchased OS/2 Warp 4 package.

The BonusPak

The BonusPak includes the following new functions and features:

  • CompuServe Information Manager (CIM) for OS/2 provides access to the CompuServe online service CIM 2.03 includes fixes and removes the OS/2 registration requirement.
  • VideoIN for OS/2 provides the ability to record and view digital video segments Supported coder decoders (CODECs) include IBM Ultimotion and Intel Indeo (playback only).
  • MarkVision for OS/2 allows users to easily install, configure, query, and troubleshoot network-attached Lexmark printers from the OS/2 Warp desktop.
  • HP JetAdmin allows users to easily install, configure, query, and troubleshoot network-attached Hewlett Packard printers from the OS/2 Warp desktop.
  • Remote Support for OS/2 allows IBM service representatives to dial into the user system to assist with problem determination and resolution.
  • AskPSP consists of an expert system with a natural-language interface It can be used to resolve OS/2 Warp Version 4 problems. The technical database, updated monthly, is available by subscription to the OS/2 Technical Connection (see the directory on page 24 for more information).

Application Sampler CD

Enjoy this CD containing a collection of OS/2 sample applications. These applications have been developed by independent software vendors (ISVs) and are made available to OS/2 users. Most applications are subsets, demonstrations, or limited-use products. The OS/2 user can contact the developer for keys to unlock the product or to order the full (unlimited) version. The applications are provided as is, and the user is referred to the supplier for questions and support.

Lotus Notes Mail 4.1

Lotus Notes Mail, a powerful e-mail application that enhances ease-of-use and helps improve personal productivity of end users, is included with the OS/2 Warp 4 package. Based on the cc:mail user interface, Notes Mail offers:

  • Simple-to-use mailbox
  • Quick access to message management tools
  • Full-featured word processing editor that embeds graphics and charts
  • Robust mobile support

OS/2 Connectivity

The next release of OS/2 Warp provides the following OS/2 Connectivity support:

  • File and Print Services Client combines the LAN Requester and OS/2 Peer product functions to provide a single administration workstation. Users can share peer resources (asynchronous ports, files, printers) and administer LAN resources from a single workstation. Objects on the desktop inherit peer functionality in their context menus.
  • NetWare Client for OS/2 provides NetWare Client Version 2.11 for OS/2 global administration capabilities for NetWare. Directory Services, the ability to install the OS/2 client and NetWare Server for OS/2 on the same machine, and includes substantial maintenance support
  • Remote Access Client provides LAN access by way of dial connections (asynchronous, synchronous, ISDN, or X.25). The Remote Access Client can dial into either a LAN Distance Connection Server or OS/2 Warp Server. Also, one Remote Access Client can dial another Remote Access Client directly to establish a virtual network.
  • Mobile Office Services transparently caches files used by a client while connected to an IBM-compatible or NetWare network and allows the user to continue using these files even when disconnected from the server. When the network connection is re-established, Mobile Office Services detects the differences between the cache and network files and prompts the user for resolution.

TCP/IP Version 3.5 for OS/2

New features in this release of TCP/IP include:

  • Dynamic IP Client supports the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), which eases network administration by dynamically allocating and reusing IP addresses, and Dynamic Domain Name Service (DDNS), which simplifies network access, operation, and changes by dynamically resolving IP addresses to IP hosts.
  • Socks Security permits TCP/IP applications to access the Internet through many standard firewalls and provides versatile socks client support such that a user can configure a direct connection to incorporate internal addresses and a socks connection to external internet addresses simultaneously and transparently.
  • WinSock 1.1 Open32 Support enables WinSock 1.1 to be used in conjunction with Open32 (formerly known as Developer API Extensions) for the porting of Windows TCP/IP applications.
  • Variable Subnet Routing allows a system with multiple LAN adapter cards to function as an IP router.
  • IP Alias Support allows a system with a single LAN adapter card to have several IP addresses. This enables OS/2 Warp Version 4 to support several Web servers (multihome) on a single system.
  • Multicast allows packets to be transmitted to multiple users. This feature is especially useful for multimedia, telephone, and video conferencing.
  • Personal Communications AS/400 and 3270 - TCP/IP Entry Level 4.1 (PCOMM Entry) is based on the full-function product available from IBM and is an enhanced replacement for the TN3270, TN5250, and PMANT emulators. The new emulator features 32-bit code, full font set and automatic font sizing, custom color palette, improved cut and paste, APL support, command-line file transfer (IND$FILE), context-sensitive help, pop-up keyboard, hot spots, PCMCIA support, and problem determination aids. Two sessions are supported.


OS/2 Warp Version 4 updated the High Performance File System (HPFS) to optimize software performance for 486 and Pentium exploitation, increase the maximum cache size from 2MB to 64MB, and optimize cache handling by allowing multiple lazy-write worker routines.

Application Compatibility

The next release of OS/2 Warp will strengthen its compatibility with other applications by adding the following new features:

  • Java for OS/2 Support for programs written in the Java programming language. Refer to the article Developing with Java on page 1 for more information on this new language.
  • Security Enabling Services (SES) enables an Installable Security Subsystem (ISS) to provide robust operating systems security services similar to the concept of RACF on VM/MVS systems.
  • OS/2, DOS, and Windows Support protects user's application investment by supporting OS/2, DOS, and most Windows applications (Windows 3.x and Win32s at the 1.25 level). DOS and Windows TCP/IP allows WinSock 1.1 applications to be run.
  • TrueType Engine provides new Presentation Manager (PM) support for TrueType.
  • OpenDoc, Open32 (formerly Developer API Extensions) continue to be supported and enhanced.
  • OpenGL allows software developers to include high-quality 3-D functionality in their applications.
  • Enhanced DPMI improves OS/2 support for DOS and Windows applications.
  • SOM/DSOM 2.11 supports a language independent, cross-platform architecture for sharing objects through SOM/DSOM.

Hardware Support

Hundreds of OS/2 device drivers are conveniently accessible in one place through the OS/2 Device Driver Pak. The drivers are either physically on the CD-ROM or users can download them directly from the Internet using hot links to the home pages of many third-party providers. In addition to the device drivers, the OS/2 Device Driver Pak includes the following:

  • New Device Support adds the following new drivers to OS/2 Warp Version 4 in addition to the drivers on the OS/2 Device Driver Pak Trantor (SCSI), QLogic (SCSI), IOmega (SCSI), IBM RAID, Mylex RAID, S3 Trio (graphics accelerator), optical, ESS 1688, ESS 1788, ESS 1888, and Aztech Washington 32 (audio) Support for more than 50 new printers, including the popular, low-cost HP DeskJet and Canon BubbleJet printers is added.
  • Plug-and-Play (PnP) enhanced PnP support automatically detects and installs enabled drivers for legacy ISA devices and PnP devices with no user intervention An enhanced Hardware Manager allows users to view system information about their physical devices, device drivers, and the system resources in use.
  • Display Data Channel (DDC) Adapter/Monitor is supported when used with DDC2-compliant systems such as the IBM Personal Computer 750 This support provides automatic recognition of enabled monitors and automatic setting of the highest refresh rate, reducing screen flicker OS/2 Warp Version 4 also continues to support DC, the current industry standard for display adapters and monitors.
  • Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology was enhanced to include a user interface that warns users of impending hard drive failure. Data transfer rates for PCI IDE hard drives are faster due to the use of Direct Memory Access (DMA).
  • Graphics Adapter Device Driver (GRADD) improves Presentation Manager (PM) performance and reduces the Independent Hardware Vendor (IHV) development effort with 32-bit capabilities.
  • PCMCIA Enhancements include card and socket services, cardbus and multifunction card support, and an enhanced user interface.
  • Advanced Power Management is updated to support suspend, resume, and device management control.
  • Warm Plug/Warm Docking supports docking/undocking and the swapping of diskette and CD-ROM drives in specific models of IBM ThinkPad 755 and 760 series.
  • Infrared (IR) Support is targeted for specific ThinkPad models. The support includes the ability to print from OS/2 and Windows applications through the IR port to wireless printers supporting the IRDA interface. The IR NDIS driver supports file and printer sharing.
  • TrueMode enables a user to quickly change from OS/2 Warp Version 4 to another operating system.
  • Realtime MIDI provides a framework for delivering quality, native MIDI applications. This support is available for IDE only.

Systems Management

The next release of OS/2 Warp will introduces the following systems management support:

  • System Anchor Block improves serviceability by providing pointers to the key data structures of the servers, minimizing the need for OS/2 symbol files.
  • First Failure Support Technology (FFST) probes capture all data relevant to an error at the time the error occurs.
  • Desktop Management Interface (DMI) is a server layer that masks the complexity of managing the desktop environment. It offers a standard way to instrument and manage desktop systems DMI enables vendors to easily add remote manageability to their products.
    Information processed by DMI includes, but is not limited to, FFST probes. Also included is information on most hardware and software instrumentation. A local browser to view this database of hardware and software information is provided in TME 10 NetFinity, whose features are described below
  • SystemView Agents provide a common agent framework to support the management of DMTP Desktop Management Interface (DMI) 1.1 compliant components and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) Distributed Protocol Interface (DPI) 2.0 compliant subagents.
  • Software Registration via the Axtive Registration Tool (ART). ART an online registration interface that enables the user to register software electronically by way of a modem or the Internet, FAX, mail, or telephone.

TME 10 NetFinity Services 4.0 Features

TME 10 NetFinity Services is positioned as a low-cost, highly flexible, hardware management program with general systems management functions. TME 10 NetFinity Services allows user and LAN administrators to view, initiate, and exploit management services.

General systems management functions provided include:

  • File transfer from TME 10 NetFinity Server or Manager.
  • Screen snapshots of remote workstations at the administrator's console.
  • Resource and performance monitoring, including CPU, DASD and swapper files, memory, video, SCSI subsystems, power management, peripheral devices, security features, vital product data, TCP/IP network protocols, system processes, IBM OS/2 LAN Server (if installed), and print job characteristics. Historical monitor data can be saved as ASCII text, SQL, DB/2, or Lotus Notes database files.
  • Built-in multi-level security
  • Built-in alert generation and logging that includes alerts to VIM-compliant e-mail and TCP/IP Send-Mail, alphanumeric pager, and visual alert condition settings.
  • Software configuration and inventory information supports user-definable configuration to detect nonstandard applications and executable files, in addition to standard libraries of common applications.
  • Operating system reporting (level and settings)
  • Application version, location, and run tracking.
  • Critical file monitoring allows monitoring of critical system files or data files such as CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT. If a change is made, an alert is sent to the server/manager.
  • Event scheduling from a manager allows events to be set to start on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly service
  • Ability to be managed via the Internet, from OS/2, Windows 3.1, Windows NT, or NetWare managers.
  • DMI support including browse (remote or local) function that supports the industry DMI standard as defined by the Desktop Management Task Force. Any DMI-standard manager can now access the DMI Management Information File stored at each workstation.
  • Multimedia support that includes the use of waveforms enabling the aural identification of specific alerts by sound as an alert is detected.
  • Exploitation of system partitions on PS/2 systems
  • ECC configuration management on PS/2 systems with ECC memory

TME 10 NetFinity Services can connect to a TME 10 NetFinity Server or Manager via the following protocols:

  • NetBIOS
  • TCP/IP
  • IPX
  • Serial


OS/2 has been a major IBM platform for more than 10 years and serves as both a standalone and client operating system solution for hundreds of businesses. It is robust, dependable, and continues to be enhanced.

Reprint Courtesy of International Business Machines Corporation, © International Business Machines Corporation