Author Archives: Lewis Rosenthal

Resolving issues with GMail and OAuth 2.0 requirements

At the end of May, 2022, GMail discontinued use of standard authentication methods for POP3, IMAP, and SMTP connections. The available OAuth2 authentication mechanism in the latest SeaMonkey and Thunderbird for the OS/2 platform is unable to properly complete the authentication procedure with GMail, and will leave the application in a hung state.

There are several methods to work around this, but perhaps the easiest is simply to generate what Google calls an app password, which is, quite simply, a 16-digit passcode which gives a non-Google application or device permission to access your Google Account.

To generate the app password, follow the directions available here. Remember, that in order to do this, you must have 2-Step-Verification enabled for your account.

Once you have generated the app password, copy it to your clipboard. Open SeaMonkey Mail or Thunderbird, and access the server settings for your GMail account. Ensure that the authentication method is set for Normal password (Google will not accept encrypted passwords for this). Make the same change for the GMail SMTP server. Note that in both cases, SSL/TLS should be selected for the connection security, and specifically not STARTTLS. Close the settings dialog and attempt to access the account. You should be prompted for a new password. Paste the app password into the prompt.

To configure a second system to access the same account, simply paste (or type) the same app password. This technique should work for other mail clients, as well.

For questions, there is an informative discussion in the OS/2 World forum on this very topic.

 

Some thoughts on the importance of driver updates for virtual machines

Just as bare metal systems may benefit from updated drivers for their existing (or newly added) hardware, the emulation of hardware in virtual machines may change or may be better leveraged by OS/2-based guests (OS/2 Warp, eCS, or ArcaOS) by utilizing the latest drivers available from Arca Noae.

We have seen instances where virtual machines are configured with a sort of “set it and forget it” mindset on the part of the user, believing that hypervisor updates will not impact configured virtual machines. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Various hypervisors (VirtualBox, etc.) may indeed alter the emulated PC BIOS and emulated firmware for other components (networking, USB, etc.).

If your virtual machines are running ArcaOS, keeping your ArcaOS Support & Maintenance subscriptions in force and applying the latest available updates will not only keep your drivers up to date, but the ArcaOS kernel, as well. In addition, other components of ArcaOS which affect usability may also be updated through subscription downloads (ArcaOS Desktop, bundled applications, etc.).

If your virtual machines are still running OS/2 Warp 4 or eComStation, keeping your OS/2 & eCS Drivers & Software subscriptions in force will allow you to keep your drivers current, as well as any other included content. (Note that kernel updates are not included in the OS/2 & eCS Drivers & Software subscription, as the ArcaOS kernel itself is not licensed for use with any distribution other than ArcaOS. If you have a need for the advanced features provided by the ArcaOS kernel, the best upgrade path is to purchase a license for ArcaOS.)

In conclusion, simply consider that virtual machines are, from the point of view of the operating system, just computers, after all, just like their bare metal counterparts.

GPT usability in ArcaOS 5.1.0

In our last post we discussed that the upcoming ArcaOS 5.1.0 release will be able to make use of laptops and desktops that only support booting in so-called UEFI mode.

When booting ArcaOS in UEFI mode, the disk partitioning scheme may use the traditional Master Boot Record (MBR) or the newer GUID Partition Table (GPT). Although MBR has been extended to support disks up to 2TB, with ever-growing disk sizes, this may be too limiting for devices which could otherwise support handling more data than this. Also, if installing to a disk which is already configured using GPT, releases of ArcaOS prior to 5.1.0 require a full wipe and repartition of the disk. This inconvenience should no longer be an issue in ArcaOS 5.1.

Thus, ArcaOS 5.1.0 will be able to utilize GPT disk layouts with the following benefits:

  • Support for hard disks and solid state drives larger than 2TB attached to AHCI or NVMe storage controllers.
  • On systems equipped with a single drive and Windows pre-installed using a GPT layout, there should be no need to wipe and repartition, as long as there is room for ArcaOS to create at least one partition for itself.
  • GPT eliminates many of the LVM issues you may have encountered in the past when preparing a disk to install ArcaOS next to other operating systems, such as Linux and Windows because ArcaOS will use the same LBA partition alignment method (for GPT disk layouts) as these other operating systems.

GPT usage has been integrated into the ArcaOS installation partitioning tool (Logical Volume Manager), giving you a seamless experience while installing and maintaining ArcaOS.

Of course, ArcaOS 5.1.0. will continue to support your existing hard disks that have been partitioned using an MBR disk layout, too. In fact, a mix of GPT and MBR disks is also possible, and you will also be able to install ArcaOS in a UEFI environment on an MBR disk (GPT is completely optional, and never a requirement).

It is also important to remember that while ArcaOS 5.1.0 will support hard disks and SSDs larger than 2TB, OS/2 filesystems are currently limited to 2TB per partition. Thus, in order to fully utilize, say, a 12TB device for ArcaOS, you would need to partition this into multiple volumes, each no more than 2TB in size. (Also, for volumes in excess of 64GB, you must select JFS as the filesystem.)

eCo Software Runtime packages updated to 20220413

Arca Noae is pleased to announce the availability of updated eCo Software Runtime packages, downloadable from our downloadables page.

The eCo Software Runtime packages provide support libraries for several components of ArcaOS and eCS, as well as eCo Software applications. The Base and Win packages have been updated as of 2022-04-13. The Win update addresses a minor issue in the File Open Container (FOC) used by default in ArcaOS, while some of the other updates address issues in other applications which utilize these libraries.

The eCo Software Runtime Toolkit has also been updated with this release.

These packages are provided by Arca Noae as a convenience to our customers, clients, and the community at large. Arca Noae does not produce these packages, and the software is provided “as is” without any warranty of any kind. Support for the eCo Software Runtime is provided by eCo Software, in their support forum.

ArcaOS Desktop updated to 1.0.15

Dynamic Icons

Arca Noae is pleased to announce the immediate availability of ArcaOS Desktop (ANXWP) 1.0.15 in English, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Russian. This is a maintenance release containing bug-fixes and updates that have accumulated since the last release. The primary improvements include:

Desktop Properties notebooks

  • XFolder: Prevent doubled entries in the Background page’s File dropdown.
  • WPPgm/WPPgmFile: Prevent <Esc> from dismissing the Language tab dialog.

XCenter Widgets

  • Pulse: Fix spurious 100% CPU usage after a WPS restart.
  • Window List: Refactor/simplify button positioning and drawing.

Menus

  • Trash Can: Ensure the Open As default is correct.
  • XView: Display correct whitespace menus for root folders.

Startup and Shutdown

  • XStartup: Restart automatically after fixing the order of class-replacements.
  • XShutdown: Added an optional “XWP_ACPIDELAY=xxx” environment variable to change the default shutdown delay of 250ms.

Localization

Add translated strings in Font Folder and in a folder’s Details dialog.

See the Version Information topic of the ArcaOS Desktop Users Guide and Reference located in the Help Center for more details about this release.

Arca Noae would like to thank Rich Walsh for his work on maintaining and improving XWorkplace and ArcaOS Desktop.

If you have ArcaOS, this software is available for download from the Arca Noae website as part of the Support & Maintenance subscription for your ArcaOS product. Please log into your account and see your ArcaOS order details page to access your software.

If you are still running OS/2 and/or eComStation this is a great reason to consider moving up to ArcaOS. This update includes reserved features licensed for use exclusively with ArcaOS.

 

UEFI support in ArcaOS 5.1 – update for February, 2022

Development and testing of Arca Noae’s support for UEFI continues. Here’s a brief recap of how this will work in ArcaOS 5.1:

When the installation media boots, if the system is determined to be in “UEFI mode” as opposed to “Legacy mode” (“Legacy” here refers to the configuration which presents a traditional PC BIOS), ArcaOS will begin the preboot process using its compatibility system. Essentially, this is a 64-bit environment which will provide a rather complete BIOS emulation for the ArcaOS kernel, including VGA services for video display.

If the user selects to use his own settings for installation (the preboot menu), the screens will look and act just like a traditional installer boot, but will, in fact, be provided by this new compatibility system.

Once control is handed off to the ArcaOS kernel, the OS itself is exactly the same as a traditional ArcaOS boot. That is to say, the kernel is identical. The goal of the Arca Noae Compatibility System (ANCS) is to provide a standard environment for ArcaOS, without the need to actually maintain different versions of ArcaOS files for each environment. Another benefit of ANCS is that because the video BIOS emulation is generally more complete than that provided by the CSM in many systems built in the past decade, DOS and Win-OS/2 sessions tend to run much better.

ArcaOS 5.1 should support booting in UEFI mode on a range of systems which provide a recent UEFI implementation, from either GPT or MBR partitioned disks. In the next post in this series, we’ll discuss GPT and MBR and how the boot process differs between the two partition layouts.

Apache Log4j vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228)

On Thursday, December 9, 2021, the Apache Log4j project disclosed a critical security vulnerability which may result in remote code execution on systems running Log4j. The exploit has been aptly named Log4Shell (CVE-2021-44228).

Log4j is a logging component which runs under Java on many different platforms, and is useful not only for Java applications, but for other programs, as well. It is commonly bundled with unrelated software, simply as a means of providing a standard logging engine.

Arca Noae has completed a scan of our internal systems and has determined that we are not affected by this vulnerability. Further, ArcaOS has never included any Log4j components, and is also unaffected. However, because the exploitable feature in Log4j has existed for some time, it is possible that Java and other applications may have been installed under ArcaOS which utilize Log4j, and these systems may be at risk.

The feature used for the Log4Shell exploit is in the JNDI (Java Naming and Directory Interface) lookup class which was added to Log4j several years ago during the 2.0 beta cycle. Log4j versions through 2.3 required only Java versions up to 1.6, and so may be utilized by some OS/2-compatible applications.

Risk assessment

To determine whether any of your OS/2 systems may be at risk, start by searching all accessible volumes for log4j-*.jar. If any are found, determine the version of Log4j by examining the content of META-INF/MANIFEST.MF in the core jar file:

[c:\] unzip -c log4j-core.jar META-INF/MANIFEST.MF | less

Note the Implementation-Version line content.

Edge servers as well as firewalled systems running various applications may be at risk, as queries may be submitted to the Log4j engine from other applications and potentially from outside the network.

Mitigation

Although the exploit has been addressed in Log4j 2.16.0, because versions above 2.3 are not currently compatible with OS/2’s available Java Runtime Engine, it is necessary to mitigate the condition by removing the JndiLookup class from the classpath, e.g.:

[c:\] zip -q -d log4j-core-*.jar org/apache/logging/log4j/core/lookup/JndiLookup.class

Additional information

Older (pre-2.0-beta9) versions of Log4j lack this lookup class, and do not appear to be at risk for Log4Shell (though some earlier security advisories may have been issued). Further research may be needed based upon the version(s) of Log4j which may be in use on these earlier systems. Also, this is not the only security advisory for Log4j 2.0-beta9 – 2.3. This notification is only related to CVE-2021-44228.

Links

https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2021-44228
https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2021/12/10/log4shell-java-vulnerability-how-to-safeguard-your-servers/
https://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/930724

ArcaOS

ArcaOS 5.0.7 now available

In our continuing commitment to ArcaOS 5.0 (Blue Lion), Arca Noae is pleased to announce the general availability of ArcaOS 5.0.7, the seventh maintenance release of the 5.0 line.

ArcaOS 5.0.7 includes refreshed driver content, updated kernel and included software, as well as installation boot fixes since 5.0.6 was released in 2020. If you have experienced difficulty installing previous releases of ArcaOS on your hardware, 5.0.7 may address your issue(s). If installing from USB stick, the image may be created using any major operating system at hand (Windows, Linux, MacOS, and of course, OS/2, eComStation, and ArcaOS). Once built, the USB stick can be inserted into any USB port in the target system to boot into the ArcaOS installer/updater.

For a complete list of updates in this release, see the ArcaOS wiki. Be sure to review the README.TXT, as well, as this contains critical information to ensure that you get up and running fast, and includes tips for getting things adjusted right away.

This update is included with your valid ArcaOS 5.0 Support & Maintenance subscription at no additional charge. To download your fresh ISO, simply visit your customer portal page, select the Orders & Subscriptions link on the navigation panel to the left, then click on the order for your ArcaOS 5.0 license. Once there, click the download link to request a fresh ISO, and wait for your notification email.

If your ArcaOS 5.0 Support & Maintenance subscription has already expired, and you missed your window of opportunity to renew at regular rates, you may still renew at less than the cost of a new ArcaOS license.

FAT32 Driver Package version 5.0.4 refreshed

We have identified a minor packaging issue with the FAT32 5.0.4 release which may impact systems using non-English language settings (%LANG% variable). The issue prevents the FAT32 message file from being installed with the driver, and removes any existing FAT32 message file. The refreshed package resolves this condition.

If you downloaded the 5.0.4 package prior to this announcement and your CONFIG.SYS includes a SET LANG statement which is something other than en_US, you should re-download the FAT32 installer from your subscription downloads page.

There are no binary differences between the content of this refreshed package and the original 5.0.4 release, and systems which are configured for LANG=en_US are entirely unaffected (no need for a re-install).

Please read the FAT32 wiki and the ReadMe for additional details and before installing this software.

The FAT32 Installable File System Driver Package is open source, licensed under the GNU LGPLv2.1, with source code publicly available (see the FAT32 wiki for details).

This is not the same driver as distributed by Netlabs, and cannot coexist with components of the Netlabs FAT32 driver. Please uninstall the Netlabs driver first if you wish to install the Arca Noae FAT32 driver.

If you have ArcaOS, this driver package is available for download from the Arca Noae website as part of the Support & Maintenance subscription for your ArcaOS product. Please log into your account and see your ArcaOS order details page to access your software.

If you have an Arca Noae OS/2 & eCS Drivers and Software Subscription, this driver package is available for download from the Arca Noae website as part of your Arca Noae OS/2 & eCS Drivers and Software Subscription. Please log into your account in order to access your software.

If you are still running OS/2 and/or eComStation systems and haven’t yet purchased a software subscription, this is a great reason to do so now. It may also be a good time to consider moving up to ArcaOS.

FAT32 Driver Package version 5.0.4 released

Arca Noae is pleased to announce the immediate availability of our fork of the FAT32 Installable File System Driver Package for OS/2 version 5.0.4. Arca Noae wishes to thank Gregg Young for his work on this update.

Highlights of this release include:

  • Fixed version string buffer overflow
  • CHKDSK now fixes bad media descriptors (a minor filesystem error)
  • Added /exclude command line switch to IFS to turn off lazy write on a per-disk basis
  • Fixed /Q so it actually is quiet
  • Fixed write failure when cache isn’t enabled
  • Fixed FAT32’s propensity to claim it can handle FAT12/16 volumes

Please read the FAT32 wiki and the ReadMe for additional details and before installing this software.

The FAT32 Installable File System Driver Package is open source, licensed under the GNU LGPLv2.1, with source code publicly available (see the FAT32 wiki for details).

This is not the same driver as distributed by Netlabs, and cannot coexist with components of the Netlabs FAT32 driver. Please uninstall the Netlabs driver first if you wish to install the Arca Noae FAT32 driver.

If you have ArcaOS, this driver package is available for download from the Arca Noae website as part of the Support & Maintenance subscription for your ArcaOS product. Please log into your account and see your ArcaOS order details page to access your software.

If you have an Arca Noae OS/2 & eCS Drivers and Software Subscription, this driver package is available for download from the Arca Noae website as part of your Arca Noae OS/2 & eCS Drivers and Software Subscription. Please log into your account in order to access your software.

If you are still running OS/2 and/or eComStation systems and haven’t yet purchased a software subscription, this is a great reason to do so now. It may also be a good time to consider moving up to ArcaOS.