Category Archives: Tips

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.

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.

Critical fix available for ArcaOS 5.0.3 installations from DVD requiring USB keyboard and/or mouse

We have identified and corrected an issue in our production build system affecting the ArcaOS 5.0.3 ISO resulting in missing USB driver files normally loaded when booting from DVD.

If you normally install from USB flash drive or directly from the ISO you do not require this fix to install.

If, however, you normally install from DVD or from the ISO into a virtual machine which requires USB keyboard and/or mouse emulation, this fix is required in order to load the USB stack for the installation process.

The ending installation is exactly the same, with or without this fix, as no changes to anything installed to the local drive(s) have been made. This is only for the purpose of booting from the installation DVD and navigating through the installer.

Unfortunately, this fix requires a full download of a fresh ISO, as there is no practical way of inserting this small fix in an existing ISO or DVD. As a result, all currently cached ISOs here have been expired. At your convenience, please log into your customer portal, access your ArcaOS order from the Orders & Subscriptions page, and request a fresh ISO.

We apologize for any inconvenience this issue has caused, and thank you very much for your patience. Thanks also to those who reported the issue to us.

How to access your personalized ArcaOS ISO

Emails get lost. Emails get stuck in spam traps. Emails…well, let’s face it, you should never underestimate the power of an email not to arrive when you need it the most.

We understand this. In fact, the second email notification (the one advising that the ISO is ready for download) was supposed to only include a brief note that the ISO was ready for download and that the customer should log into his or her account page here and access the order to reach the download link. Adding the download link to the second email notification was a convenience feature.

So, in case you have ordered and it has taken more than ten or fifteen minutes for the email to arrive, here’s what to do:

Log into your ACCOUNT page from the main site menu. On the left, click on the Orders and Subscriptions link, which should be the second item from the top, just beneath Dashboard. In the list of orders, the top one should be the most recent. Click on the View button. Looking at the order details, you should see the following text beneath the product:

 

Your download is available here

 

Click the link and you should be greeted by a file to download.

Tip: ISO downloads are only kept available for a limited time, after which they must be rebuilt. Visit the link referenced above, and instead of a download, you should receive a notice that your ISO is being prepared. Follow the same procedure as when you initially ordered (or as outlined here) to retrieve the download within a few minutes.

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:

E1000:

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.
Done.

MMLEM:

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.
Done.

(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.