Category Archives: General

Have a question? Be sure to read our FAQs

We’ve discussed the wealth of specific information available in our wiki pages in previous blog posts here and here, but there is still another resource available to get quick answers to “how do I…” and other questions: the Arca Noae FAQ.

Searching the FAQ is easy: just type one or more terms into the search box at the top. To browse questions and answers by category, select one of the available categories from the list, and scroll. Another way to search the entire Arca Noae website is to just use the site search box to the right of most pages.

If a FAQ answer has been helpful, please be sure to let us know by clicking the appropriate feedback link at the bottom.

If you happen to find something which doesn’t seem quite right (outdated or perhaps in need of further explanation), please drop us a note to let us know. If you have a suggestion for something to add, please tell us. We continually add questions as they are asked more frequently (hey, it’s a FAQ, after all), and we’ll be sure to consider any suggestions.

Just as the links to the wiki and the ticket system, the FAQ is available from the Support dropdown on the main menu.

Visited the Arca Noae wiki pages recently?

A few months ago, in another blog post, we discussed some things to do before opening a support ticket, including visiting the wiki pages to check for the latest technical and how-to information for your product.

These pages are regularly updated, so even if you’ve looked over them before, they’re worth a re-read.

Web searches are fine, but unfortunately, much of the available information pertaining to OS/2 is either dated or more specifically related to non-ArcaOS distributions or non-Arca Noae drivers. Your first, best place for information on Arca Noae products is right here.

If you happen to find something which doesn’t seem quite right (screenshots or directions outdated), please drop us a note to let us know. If you have a suggestion for something to add (a tip, how-to, or even a missing wiki), please tell us. We keep a running list of pages to update and add, and we’ll be sure to consider any requests we receive.

As always, and as frequently mentioned here, before opening a trouble ticket, be sure to check the wiki pages (self-help is often the best help).

Extended service outage due to Tropical Storm Isaias

All systems are back online as of 5:00am EDT, following a blackout which began at approximately 2:25pm EDT, yesterday.

Power, fiber optic broadband, and even wireless communications were impacted by yesterday’s passing of Isaias, rendering even the best of contingency plans inadequate. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

About requests for support

Whenever you encounter a problem with Arca Noae software which you cannot resolve on your own, you should consider opening a trouble ticket. If you have a current ArcaOS Support & Maintenance subscription or a current OS/2 & eCS Drivers & Software subscription, we’re here to help in any way we can. You paid for professional support with your software license and/or subscription, and you are entitled to it. To provide that level of service, however, we need a little help from you.

Before opening your ticket, please consider whether the issue is really in Arca Noae software or perhaps in a third-party component bundled with ArcaOS. Third-party software is not produced or directly supported by Arca Noae. Look at the program’s documentation. Where does it say support requests should be directed? If it is third-party software, you should probably start there. On the other hand, if it is a third-party component but your problem seems to have stemmed from the manner in which it was installed during an ArcaOS installation or update, that would be a problem for us to at least review first, because it may involve our installation software (which is our component).

Please don’t take offense if we refer you to the program’s developer or distributor for support. Those entities are probably closer to the source code than we are, and thus in a better position to assist you with your problem. We’re not passing the buck, just trying to direct you to the best place for the help you need.

If your issue is with an Arca Noae component, please review that component’s wiki pages for information on supported configurations as well as debugging instructions. The more you do ahead of time, the more you will know and the more information you will have available when we request it in your ticket. Be sure you’re using the right driver for your hardware. Be sure your system is in a supported configuration.

As a general rule when opening tickets, you should familiarize yourself with our Reporting Problems – Best Practices and Ticket Guidelines wiki pages. While these pages don’t change often, they document the framework within which we process tickets, give you an overview of what to expect from us, and likewise, what we expect from you (see mention above of “a little help from you”).

When a technician or engineer has been assigned to your ticket, consider that person your concierge to a solution for the duration of your problem. He or she is there to help. If that technician or engineer requests logging information, that’s not a suggestion. He or she requests that information in order to resolve the problem.

Always bear in mind that not all problems are reproducible by the technician or engineer, or your problem could be a configuration or usage issue. Often the only objective information the technician or engineer has to work with is contained in the log file(s) requested. If the log file(s) contain what you consider to be sensitive information (usernames, IP addresses, etc.), simply ask the ticket assignee to set your ticket to private status. When private, only you, Arca Noae staff, and developers have access to the information. You also have the option of sanitizing your log info to your satisfaction, as long as such anonymizing does not obscure the underlying data (your ticket assignee can provide more guidance, here; just ask).

If you fail to provide requested information or log files, your ticket assignee may very well resolve the ticket as “reporter unresponsive.” You may reopen the ticket within 30 days of resolution if you provide the requested information. See this FAQ item for information on reopening resolved tickets.

When you attach files to a ticket, please also post a comment. File attachments do not trigger email notifications, and do not change ticket status from Feedback, so without a comment added, the technician or engineer will have no idea that you have provided the requested information, and this may delay the ticket resolution process.

Please do not provide extra, not-requested attachments, such as configuration files and screenshots. If your ticket assignee has need of this information, he or she will ask for it.

Our goal is to resolve your issue as quickly as possible. Some issues may require more time than others. Some issues require group input, and thus, there may be some delays in responding to your ticket. Please be patient.

Above all, our goal is to provide quality software and attentive, professional support. All we ask in return is that you follow the procedures we have put in place so that we may work as efficiently as possible, and you may get back to the business of enjoying your Arca Noae products.

A brief, but very heartfelt thank-you to all of our friends

I don’t often post personal notes on the Arca Noae blog, but as I have been spending some time reviewing our sales over the past couple of months, I noticed something important, and I didn’t want this to go unmentioned.

While the world has been turned upside down for many of us, and for still others, finding new and different ways to work and to put food on the table has been challenging (not to mention staying healthy and well-distanced from COVID-19). Yet somehow, some way, quite a few ArcaOS, eCS, and OS/2 users have managed to not only renew support but to purchase additional licenses and – perhaps most importantly – purchase sponsoring units for our friends and hard-working developers.

Make no mistake, the whole Arca Noae team will come through this just fine. However, we’ll come through just a little better off, though, with friends like you out there. I — we — greatly appreciate everything you do for our hard-working developers, customer service staff, and admins striving to make our computing platform of choice even better.

So, from all of us, THANK YOU. Stay safe and healthy as we continue to weather this storm together. There truly are better days ahead, and we have some great things in store for 2020 (and we’re still working hard on them).

Lewis Rosenthal
Managing Member
Arca Noae, LLC

Arca Noae progress report: ArcaOS in your language

Translation work continues for ArcaOS. General availability of German and Spanish editions of ArcaOS are anticipated for the 5.0.5 release, with more languages slated to follow. We are making tremendous strides toward achieving the goal of a non-English reader to be able to install and run ArcaOS with minimal effort.

Translators are invited to join a core team working on the project. If you have the linguistic skills, enjoy a challenge, and would like to participate in a truly fun and rewarding endeavor, please let us know. Translators automatically become members of the test team, with early access to development releases (among other benefits).

Potential localized versions of ArcaOS include:

  • German
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian
  • Dutch
  • Portuguese
  • Japanese
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditioinal)
  • Korean
  • Russian

(This is by no means a promise to deliver any of the above. Partial work has at least been done on most of the above translations, however.)

Need a language not listed above? Need one of the above languages completed sooner? Talk to us about specific localization needs for your enterprise.

Don’t have ArcaOS yet? Now is a great time to pick up a license or two and replace that aging Warp 4 or eComStation installation and get to know what’s new and improved. ArcaOS runs the vast majority of existing OS/2 Warp 4 software, because it really is OS/2 – just better. ArcaOS supports more modern hardware than any other OS/2 distribution available today, making hardware upgrades much easier than ever before.

Arca Noae progress report: USB, ArcaOS updater, multimedia

Here are some of the recent happenings around the Arca Noae labs and design studios:

We’ve recently made significant progress toward localizing various parts, particularly for German and Spanish, and will soon have a new test build of the CWMM classes in Spanish (a completely new translation for this component).


We continue to improve the update process for the next ArcaOS release, as we find edge cases where the current updater doesn’t quite finish due to unexpected conditions in the target system. (As a reminder, please check the ArcaOS Updating wiki page before beginning an update to the latest release. There you’ll find hints and tips to help avoid – or resolve – some known problems.)


When IBM left off USB driver development, OS/2 had a working, 16-bit USB 1.x and 2.0 driver stack. Fast forward to 2019, and this is no longer adequate for the needs of today’s hardware.

The Arca Noae USB stack is now fully 32-bit, and USB 3 support development continues to make good progress. Implementing USB 3 support has been tedious because the OS/2 USB architecture didn’t accommodate the peculiarities of USB 3 well.

Adding USB 3 support was not as simple as just writing a new xHCI driver. Significant changes were required throughout the entire USB stack, including changes to USBD and the OHCI, UHCI, and EHCI drivers. The xHCI driver as it exists today in beta testing works quite well. There are just a couple of things that still need to be done before we will be able to release it for general availability. One thing is to implement support for Isochronous transfers (audio and video devices). The second thing is to improve the error recovery speed. Error recovery speed was not an issue with USB 2 because USB 2 devices rarely, if ever, had errors. Super Speed (USB 3) devices operating at the new USB 3 speeds have higher error rates so the error recovery speed is important. We are actively working to resolve these last two issues.

Once the xHCI (USB 3) driver is released, the Arca Noae USB stack will make it possible to install and run ArcaOS on systems which lack USB 2.0 (EHCI) controllers. (Even though many modern systems advertise the availability of USB 2.0 ports, these ports are indeed wired to xHCI controllers. Without an xHCI driver, this will result in loss of keyboard and mouse control shortly after boot and the inability to mount the installation ISO from USB-attached media.)


Don’t have ArcaOS yet? Now is a great time to pick up a license or two and replace that aging Warp 4 or eComStation installation and get to know what’s new and improved. ArcaOS supports more modern hardware than any other OS/2 distribution available today, making hardware upgrades much easier than ever before.

Arca Noae progress report: Bits and Pieces

We continue to explore new ways to make the ArcaOS desktop experience more user-friendly and useful. To that end, we’d like to share some upcoming enhancements which should be available in the near future.

An update to the Arca Noae Removable Media Monitor widget for the XCenter is currently in testing which handles JFS, HPFS, and FAT32 media changes better, avoiding a trap which could otherwise occur when removing one device and inserting another without a proper eject operation.

We also have a component in testing now which transparently switches audio output from the built-in audio device to a USB audio device and back again when the USB device is attached or removed.

If you have a Brother laser printer, and have not been able to print to it, even via CUPS, we have some possibly good news for you: The brlaser CUPS driver package (RPM) has recently been updated to version 6.0.0, and our port should be moving from our experimental repository to the subscription repository very soon.

Don’t have ArcaOS yet? Now is a great time to pick up a license or two and replace that aging Warp 4 or eComStation installation. Better yet, why not upgrade to newer hardware entirely, and install ArcaOS fresh? ArcaOS supports more modern hardware than any other OS/2 distribution available today.

Arca Noae progress report: ArcaOS on UEFI-only hardware

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is gradually replacing the traditional system BIOS. The vast majority of PCs on the market are now based on UEFI technology, and a number of these include what is called a Compatibility Support Module (CSM). This CSM “layer” replaces the traditional BIOS and provides backward-compatibility support for booting operating systems such as DOS, OS/2, and, of course, ArcaOS. (This is typically listed as “Compatibility”, or “Legacy” boot in the system setup menu of UEFI-based PCs.)

PC manufacturers and Intel specifically have stated publicly that they intend to phase out inclusion of a CSM layer in the next few years (in the case of Intel, beginning in 2020), leaving UEFI as the only boot option, eliminating the “Compatibility” selection. To prepare for this, Arca Noae has been exploring ways to boot ArcaOS on systems lacking a manufacturer-supplied CSM. We are pleased to announce that over the last several months our development team has made significant progress in achieving that goal.

In the lab, we are now able to boot ArcaOS all the way to a desktop on a system configured to boot in UEFI mode. All necessary drivers load, with all CPU cores running, and ArcaOS properly switches to graphics mode. The importance of this accomplishment cannot be overstated. To our knowledge, this is the first time ArcaOS has ever booted without the presence of an active CSM.

Having said that, this project is still in its research stage and not yet ready for release to our beta testers. Native UEFI support requires changes to the low level disk and video subsystems, and this work is ongoing.

We remain cautiously optimistic that we will complete our Proof of Concept successfully and will have a UEFI solution for a future ArcaOS version.

Oh, and Arca Noae has been an Adopting member of the UEFI Forum since 2015.