Monthly Archives: June 2016

Blue Lion, by Arca Noae - Developer Interest

Arca Noae needs your help

In order to make the installation of Blue Lion as smooth and intuitive as possible, we need to update and maintain an extensive database of hardware we are likely to encounter during installation and the drivers associated with the various devices installed in current machines.

Luckily, during the installation of eComStation, a file is created: MACHINE.CFG, stored in <boot drive>\ecs\install\rsp. This file contains all of the relevant data we need to update our current database.

We are asking for community assistance to gather as many MACHINE.CFG files as possible. If you have installed eComStation systems, please attach the MACHINE.CFG file from each one to an email (you may attach multiple files to a single email or send separate ones) addressed to hardware-info at arcanoae dot com. This file should not contain any personally identifiable information, but to be sure, please review before attaching.

Many thanks from the Blue Lion Dev Team for your assistance!

Mozilla Firefox

Arca Noae’s support of open source projects: Firefox

Did you know that Arca Noae provides ongoing funding for continued Firefox development and maintenance on the OS/2 platform? Firefox development by our strategic partner, bww bitwise works, GmbH, enables building Thunderbird and SeaMonkey, too, as well as many ancillary components which are used by other programs, so like the space program, there are other technologies which grow out of this work and allow OS/2 users to get more out of their investment.

Sponsoring this important work helps to ensure that new releases of Firefox, Thunderbird, and SeaMonkey are available to all. The Mozilla for OS/2 Project aims to keep relatively close to the official Extended Support Release (ESR) cycle for Firefox as outlined by Mozilla, with additional components released as they are ported and/or developed along the way.



Convenience of shutdown/poweroff in a virtual machine

At one time, shutting down an OS/2 guest under VirtualBox meant full shutdown and virtual powerdown. With recent versions of VirtualBox (5.x), however, this has not been the case.

We’ve noticed, and we’ve done some work to address this.

Did you know that Arca Noae’s ACPI driver runs just fine under these latest builds of VirtualBox? Using the ACPI driver, it is possible to configure the OS/2 (or eComStation) guest machine for complete poweroff using ACPI, just as you might configure a physical workstation.

If you’ve thought that the Arca Noae Drivers and Software subscription didn’t bring value to your virtual OS/2 experience, think again. Now is a great time to subscribe.

Dramatically improve your virtual machine’s network performance

Current VirtualBox recommendations are to use the virtual Intel network cards for guest machines and to configure for bridged networking. Until now, the only choice for OS/2 was the older, IBM-supplied, Intel E1000 driver. The result? Performance just slightly better than the default AMD PCnet-FAST III virtual adapter.

Now, however, there is a choice. Arca Noae subscribers may use the all-new MultiMac Legacy EM driver (MMLEM). This driver is a breakthrough for virtual machines running under VirtualBox, with performance measured at more than twice the throughput of the older driver.

Some comparisons from netio 1.3 across a 1Gbps unmanaged switch, from an OS/2 VM running the latest 32-bit TCP/IP stack to a 64-bit Linux server running on bare metal1:


TCP connection established.
Packet size  1k bytes:  15.04 MByte/s Tx,  9168.71 KByte/s Rx.
Packet size  2k bytes:  19.64 MByte/s Tx,  11.99 MByte/s Rx.
Packet size  4k bytes:  22.38 MByte/s Tx,  13.58 MByte/s Rx.
Packet size  8k bytes:  23.72 MByte/s Tx,  17.62 MByte/s Rx.
Packet size 16k bytes:  24.83 MByte/s Tx,  20.62 MByte/s Rx.
Packet size 32k bytes:  19.52 MByte/s Tx,  17.82 MByte/s Rx.


TCP connection established.
Packet size  1k bytes:  13.19 MByte/s Tx,  9183.80 KByte/s Rx.
Packet size  2k bytes:  18.65 MByte/s Tx,  12.20 MByte/s Rx.
Packet size  4k bytes:  27.93 MByte/s Tx,  14.98 MByte/s Rx.
Packet size  8k bytes:  39.91 MByte/s Tx,  19.29 MByte/s Rx.
Packet size 16k bytes:  50.39 MByte/s Tx,  22.74 MByte/s Rx.
Packet size 32k bytes:  28.07 MByte/s Tx,  19.19 MByte/s Rx.

(Note that the falloff between 16 and 32k appears to be an issue within VirtualBox itself, as the same tests, when run against the host machine, actually report an improvement in throughput for the 32k packet size over the 16k one. A 32-bit Linux guest does not show this falloff.)

As you can see, peak transmit throughput, using 16k byte packets, went from 24.83MByte/s (198.64Mbps) to 50.39MByte/s (403.12Mbps). If you are transferring large files across your network to and from your OS/2 VM, this implies a possible reduction in the amount of time it takes for such transfers by more than one half2.

In addition, while the above tests were run using the Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop (82540EM) virtual network card in the guest, the MMLEM driver also supports the Intel PRO/1000 T Server (82543GC) and Intel PRO/1000 MT Server (82545EM) virtual network card options available in VirtualBox 5.x, either of which may yield even better throughput (the older IBM-supplied driver does not support these server-class cards).

There are other benefits of the Arca Noae Drivers & Software subscription for virtualized users of OS/2, including full shut down and virtual power off of the VM when using Arca Noae’s ACPI PSD. So if you thought there wasn’t much value in subscribing just to run virtual machines, you might want to look again.

  1. Guest machine running eCS 2.1, configured with 2GB RAM, Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop (82540EM) virtual network card, 32-bit TCP/IP stack, default sockets. Host machine running openSUSE LEAP 42.1 x64, 16GB RAM, single Intel 82567LF-2 onboard network adapter, and default adapter settings. NETIO target (host) machine running openSUSE 13.2 x64, 32GB RAM, dual Broadcom NetXtreme II BCM5708 onboard network adapters, in bonded active backup configuration, with default adapter settings for the physical bond slaves. Switch was Cisco SR2024 (unmanaged 10/100/1000).
  2. Many factors contribute to overall network throughput, including protocol, aggregate traffic, CPU activity, etc. These figures are meant as a guideline and not a guaranty of performance.
Blue Lion, by Arca Noae

Blue Lion in the news

It’s happened again… We’ve been slashdotted…

It all started when James Sanders wrote this piece in Tech Republic, which among other bits of Blue Lion news, correctly reported the official product name of Blue Lion as ArcaOS 5.0.

As was to be expected, this news took on a life of its own, and pretty soon, we were slashdotted.

Try a quick web search for “ArcaOS 5.0” and you’ll see what we mean…

Some of the comments which follow these articles can be quite humorous. Many people have fond memories of OS/2 (2.0? 3?), but have never had an opportunity to run it on modern hardware or even on a gigabit LAN, nor have they had the experience of running modern software on the platform, such as Firefox 38.8.0 ESR or Apache OpenOffice 4.1.2. (Both of these current applications have been ported and made possible on the OS/2 platform by our good friends and strategic partners, bww bitwise works, GmbH. You may find more great stuff from bitwise in our store.) For those of you who do take the time to post and respond in these venues, our heartfelt thanks for updating some of the users who seem a little out of step.

Of course, there are some great comments by well-respected people in the tech arena, like Brian Proffit and Brian J Dooley (thanks, guys).

Whatever your preferred language, enjoy the read, and be sure to add your own comments, including your more recent experience with OS/2 and the difference modern drivers and software make.