Unofficial OS/2 Beta FAQ Appendix v 0.20

This Appendix to the body of the Beta FAQ contains information on beta programs that are either over or only of secondary relevance(generally, in an informational sense). In most cases, as much information as was available when the products were officially released has been included. Please note that over time, some sections of this Appendix will drop out(e.g. Netcomber and Hawk info have been removed in this revision).

Appendix Index

OS/2 Warp Server v4

OS/2 Warp Server Version 4 was available as of 2 Feb 96. In what is something of a rarity for IBM, the initial release of OS/2 Warp Server was immediately available in twelve different languages. As of September(1996), IBM claimed over 180,000 copies shipped.

OS/2 Warp Server v4 builds on the proven combination of OS/2 Warp and OS/2 LAN Server 4.0. OS/2 Warp Server includes an integrated installation procedure, system management features previously available separately, an excellent backup mechanism(with a killer UI!), a remote access server, advanced print functionality, and improved networking support(including a combination of Dynamic DHCP and Dynamic DNS dubbed Dynamic IP).

Initially, two versions of OS/2 Warp Server were available - Entry and Advanced. Advanced includes HPFS386, as well as being architected and configured for support of up to 1000 client machines per server. Entry includes regular HPFS and is designed for smaller networks.

A free Symmetric MultiProcessing(SMP) addon for OS/2 Warp Server Advanced is available. Visit for instructions on how to order a copy. Please note that information regarding SMP is very subject to change once OS/2 Warp 4.1 is released(hopefully, by the end of March 1997). Please see the main body of the FAQ for the latest information.



IBM has been very tight-lipped about their plans for the CommonPoint technology. Though the IBM press release that announced the absorption of Taligent indicated that ComonPoint for OS/2 was available, nothing overt has really been heard since then. Some portions(especially internationalization stuff) found their way into OS/2 Warp 4. More will undoubtably find their way into future releases.

However, at this point, it is probably best to view Taligent's importance in terms of their work on Java. In early August, IBM announced the licensing of some Taligent technologies to Sun for incorporation into future versions of Java. According to the following Infoworld article, Taligent has certainly found enough work to keep busy.


OpenDoc for OS/2 went Gold on 12 Dec 95. It was subsequently included in the base OS/2 Warp 4 package. Updates and code for people with OS/2 Warp 3(FixPak 17 or higher) are available from Club OpenDoc. The runtimes are a rather hefty download. Since they are of little practical value at the moment(apart from the applications on Club OpenDoc), think carefully before updating.

If you would like to install the OpenDoc updates on OS/2 Warp 4 and would then like to run FixPak 1, I would suggest(based on the assumption that each updates SOM differently) that FixPak 1 be installed after OpenDoc.

Future File System Speculation

IBM has been keeping their future file system plans pretty close to their chest. I've added some comments and speculation on future developments, but apart from JFS, the reliablity of any of these file systems ever appearing is unknown. However, it is unlikely that anything "new" will appear prior to the release of OS/2 Warp 5.

Baring any major problems in testing, IBM will be releasing some enhancements to the existing HPFS code this year. Expect the current HPFS cache limit of 2MB to be lifted with the release of OS/2 Warp Server 4.1. On the client end, the HPFS cache "fix" should be rolled into a forthcoming FixPak(probably the second official OS/2 Warp 4 FixPak). Warp Server 4.1 and the future client FixPak should also include enhancements to CHKDSK that dramatically speed up its operation.

As recently as October, 1996, IBM was soliticing input from developers and its own programmers about the developed of a JFS filesystem for OS/2 Warp 5(currently scheduled for release by the end of 1Q98). Supposedly, the go ahead was given for the staff to develop this code. More news as it becomes available.

[The AIX Journaled File System(JFS) maintains a "journal" of what the file system will be doing in the future(i.e. pending write requests). After the write request is serviced, the journal is updated to reflect this. This allows the file system to recover from problems like OS crashes better.]


From: (Daniel McNulty)
Newsgroups: comp.os.os2.beta
Subject: Journal File System
Date: 10 Apr 1997 00:17:49 GMT

I've seen an old draft of the spec for JFS for OS/2.  Some of the
design criteria are:
1) As fast or faster than JFS under AIX (it screams)

2) As fast or faster than other JFS implementations under UNIX

3) As fast or faster than NTFS, or HPFS386

4) Very fast recovery from logical file systen problems, even for
very large disks (unless there is physical damage to the disk or
to the underlying structure; then recovery time could be lengthy)

5) Very reliable, due the journaling feature

6) Maximum partition size of 2 pentabytes using the maximum
cluster size of 4096 bytes (I'm not even sure what a pentabyte
is!).  This is likely to be artificially limited to some smaller
size, since there is no way to test a 2 pentabyte partition. 
With a cluster size of 512 bytes, the maximum partition size is
28 terabytes (I think).

7) The maximum file size is equal to the maximum file system
size; this would also be limited due to other constraints within
the OS; the document did not state what that size would be, but
is might be the current limit of 2 gigabytes, unless some other
unspecified changes to the OS are made.

8) Supports striping and spanning

9) Is efficiently scalable for systems running up to eight

10) Will be disk image compatible through some mechanism with
existing HPFS drives

The document made constant references to interfacing to a
microkernel, and constant references to ADD32.  Not sure what to
make of that.

Pretty cool, eh?
A second possibility for the future would be some kind of OO file system. There have been hints, but no one is talking. It seems to make sense that it would be based on OpenDoc, were such a beast to exist.

A third "file system" possibility is not really something that you would run on your local machine, but it would be useful to users on a network. There is apparently a DFS(Distributed File System) client that is part of the OS/2 DCE beta. This appears to be based(at least in part) on the Andrew File System (AFS).

David Charlap was kind enough to send me a brief overview of journaled file systems and AFS.

"I'm not too familiar with JFS, per se, but I do know a bit about how
journaled file systems in general work.

The idea is that you have a reserve piece of the partition where the
journal file resides.  Whenever the disk is idle, the head sits over
the journal space, over the track where the next data block will be
written.  (Which means there's probably a single journal partition
that's used by all journalled file systems on the drive.)  When writes
are requested, the happen immediately to the journal file.  This can
happen amazingly fast because there should be no head movement
involved.  After this is done, the file system will then do the actual
writeing and clean up the journal file.  (This will happen during idle
time, if possible.)

The idea is that if something catastrophic (like a power outage)
happens, recovery will be nearly immediate.  All to-be-written data
(a-la lazy writes) will be somewhere in the journal file.  So the
CHKDSK program has only to read the journal file, and apply the
journalled changes to the rest of the disk.  It shouldn't be necessary
to actually check out the entire file system.

As for the Andrew file system, Andrew is a project out of CMU for a
distributed file system.  It's sometimes known as AFS.

Like NFS, AFS creates a huge virtual file system, where you may have
drives from all over your network mounted in the same place.

Unlike NFS, AFS is designed for wide area.  You could have literally
thousands of drives all over the world mounted together.  Files and
file systems can be moved around and the client apps will never know
the difference.

AFS doesn't suffer from horrible performance bottlenecks by keeping a
huge cache on your local hard drive.  So after the first access to a
file, you no longer need network access to continue accessing it.

AFS has other mechanisms for distributed file/record locking, update
consistency, and other stuff."

Historical Odds and Ends

OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition) [Falcon]

[This section will probably not be getting much revision-ever.]

Bottom line: If you have an IBM PowerSeries PowerPC, you can order a copy of OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition) as described below. IBM will be supporting the current release, but does not plan on releasing any updates to the product in 1996. However, please note that the "common code" strategy that IBM is actively pursuing means that a great deal of the code developed for Merlin is almost immediately transferable to the PowerPC(or other RISC architectures).

The "Developer's Release" of OS/2 Warp PowerPC went Gold on 15 Dec 95(with availability on 5 Jan 96). The "Connect" portion of the name appears to have been dropped, as there is no integrated networking in this release. It is only available as a RPQ(Request for Price Quotation). These are used by IBM to offer standard and non-standard products and programs to a set of customers with unique requirements(in this case, customers with an IBM PowerPC). This release is targeted specifically at developers, but if you have an IBM PowerPC machine(sorry, it does not appear that other PowerPC machines are supported at this time), see below for order information.

Since IBM is the best(read _only_) official source of information about development plans, here is a quote from John Soyring(IBM Vice President of Personal Software Products).

Newsgroups: comp.os.os2.advocacy
Date: 26 Jan 1996 17:01:36 GMT

In no way is the work on the PowerPC version of OS/2 Warp
terminated. All we said to writers at the Wall Street Journal
(as well as to other members of the media) is what we described
to IBM employees earlier this week.

What we said is that our development focus in 1996 will be on
enhancing OS/2 Warp as both a client operating system (the
MERLIN project) and as a server operating system (the OS/2 Warp
Server projects) on the Intel and Intel-compatible platforms. We
are not planning additional releases of the OS/2 Warp family on the
PowerPC platform during 1996 -- as we *just* released in
late December 1995 the OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition) product.

During 1996 and beyond, we plan to grow our market share for OS/2
Warp both as a client operating system and as a server operating
system on x86 PC's. And we will be doing this aggressively.
We have just not announced future releases on the PowerPC

In no way should our announcement imply that we are backing away
from the PowerPC.

I ripped the following description of OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition) from Compuserve. There has not been an official announcement letter for this product(the announcement in June 1995 notwithstanding).

"Here is a description: OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition) consists of the following products: OS/2 Warp Version 3 for the PowerPC, IBM Micro-kernel, IBM File Server, IBM Registry, BonusPak and the Applications Sampler.

OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition) supports execution of OS/2 x86 DOS and Windows+ 3.x binary applications used on today's personal computers. It is shipped with an accompanying BonusPak of productivity applications and online connection software. The BonusPak, a value-packed suite of application programs includes:

  1. IBM Works with spreadsheet, word processing, database, report writing and charting
  2. HyperACCESS Lite for OS/2
  3. FaxWorks Lite for OS/2
  4. OS/2 based CompuServe Information Manager"
Please note that the Internet Access Kit is not part of the above list.

OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition) lists for $215 for the first license, and $209 for each additional license. If you are really interested in purchasing a copy of OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition), try these simple steps:

  1. Take a piece of your company letterhead.
  2. Write out a purchase order for program number 5799-QTZ.
  3. Find an IBM Marketing Representative and have them order you a copy. Unless you have dealt with your rep before(say, if he is your corporate account representative), you will probably have to pay up front.
  4. Wait for them to finish the paperwork and send the request down to the development lab.
  5. Receive your new copy of OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition) and go wild. ;-)
For 1996, the focus for OS/2 is most definitely on the Intel side of the house. More news as it slowly filters its way out of IBM.

Despite the above information, some people may still find the following of interest. I will update and consolidate this next portion eventually.

OS/2 Warp (PowerPC Edition) [Falcon] is the first commercial release of a product built on the IBM Microkernel(v1.0). Think of the microkernel as the base upon which the rest of the "OS" is built. The microkernel can serve as a base to multiple things at once(for instance OS/2 and a UNIX personality of some sort). By writing portable code for the "OS" portions, a vendor(such as IBM) can easily port their products to another platform that supports the IBM Microkernel.

Currently, the IBM Microkernel v1.0 runs on the Intel and PowerPC platforms. The IBM Microkernel v2.0 is supposed to support the Pentium, Pentium Pro, MIPS, ARC, and Alpha chips.

Developers can simply recompile their 32-bit Intel OS/2 applications and immediately have access to another platform. This process can take from hours to several weeks, depending on the amount of non-portable Intel specific code in the application. I also have one testimonial of a developer recompiling in NINE minutes. Evidentally, one line of code had to be commented out.

The following (old) speculation is almost certainly not indicative of future product plans. However, it has been left in this Appendix for a bit of historical perspective on where things used to be going.

The speculation is that eventually(not before 1997) there will be a converged Intel/PowerPC OS/2 release based on the IBM Microkernel. This version of OS/2 should have complete feature parity. This evolution of the Warp family to the Microkernel has been laid out for several years. Off the record, some IBMers have been saying since the release of Warp that "the next release"(i.e. Merlin) would be the last version to use the monolithic Intel kernel. Please note that no official information about these product plans has been released.

Project Eagle

The first batch of the "IBM Software Servers" were officially announced on 12 Mar 96. The official announcement letters are available from IBM by sending an email message to with "GET 696007 696006 296074 296072 296078 296075 296071" in the message body.

Try this horribly convoluted link to view a later, more integrated announcement letter.

IBM's Software Server home pages can be found at Information on how to order a preview CD for the Software Servers is also available from this web page.

IBM's Project Eagle is not one specific product. Eagle is IBM's strategy to compete more directly with BackOffice and to emphasize the wide range of solutions that IBM can provide.

Eagle will consist of "server stacks" that can be added onto your current or new servers. Do you need a Transaction Processing Server and a Secure Internet Server? No problem. Add them on top of the base server package and you will be all set. If you need a Communications or DSS server in the future, just build upon the common base. Many of these servers already exist as products in their own right. This strategy combines them into a single/multiple product that emphasizes IBM as a solutions provider, no matter what you are running under the hood.

It appears that IBM plans to make Eagle servers available on multiple platforms. At the moment, there appear to be plans for Win32 Eagle serversin addition to the OS/2 Warp Server packages. The server stacks strategy also applies to the RS/6000 and AS/400 platforms via AIX and OS/400 respectively.

IBM will not using the Eagle servers strictly as a means to promote OS/2. They appear to be interested in providing solutions for customers regardless of what platform that customer wishes to use. While IBM would obviously like that platform to be OS/2 Warp Server, AIX, or OS/400, they do not lose the customer if they need to provide a Win32 version.

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