Tag Archives: uefi

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.)

Further progress on Arca Noae’s UEFI support for ArcaOS

The UEFI ForumIn our last post on this topic,we reported that much UEFI development work remained to be completed, primarily regarding DOS and Win-OS/2 sessions. Today, that work has advanced considerably, with more DOS and Win-OS/2 apps and games now running under ArcaOS on a wider range of systems than ever before. In fact, on systems which are incapable of providing usable DOS and Win-OS/2 sessions when booted in BIOS mode, DOS and Win-OS/2 run splendidly when booted in UEFI mode, thanks to the environment we create. This should provide a truly amazing experience for all retro-gamers seeking the ability to run classic DOS and Windows games in a native environment without the overhead of a virtualization layer.

Some of the classic DOS and Windows games which work well under current ArcaOS betas in UEFI mode include (note video modes and environments listed, as well):

  • 1869 (VGA 320×200)
  • Caesar 2 (VESA)
  • Many CGA games
  • C&C: Red Alert (VGA 320×200)
  • Civilization 1 (EGA/VGA 320×200)
  • Civilization 2 (Win-OS/2)
  • Colonization (VGA 320×200)
  • Commander Keen
  • Conquest of the New World (VESA)
  • Fallout (VESA)
  • Heretic (VGA 320×200)
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 2 (VESA)
  • High Seas Trader (VGA 320×200)
  • HomeAlone (VGA mode-x 320×200)
  • King’s Bounty (VGA 320×200)
  • King`s Quest II, IV (EGA 320×200)
  • Legions (Win-OS/2)
  • Lemmings (CGA/EGA 320×200)
  • Master of Magic (VGA mode-x 320×200)
  • Master of Orion (VGA mode-x 320×200)
  • Master of Orion 2 (VESA)
  • Merchant Prince (VGA 320×200)
  • Outpost 1 (Win-OS/2)
  • Outrun (CGA/EGA 320×200)
  • Planet X3 – (VGA 320×200, CGA 320×200, CGA 640×200)
  • Pool (CGA/EGA 320×200)
  • Quake (VGA 320×200)
  • Settlers 2 (VESA)
  • SimCity (EGA)
  • SimCity 2000 (VESA)
  • Space Quest I, III (EGA/VGA 320×200)
  • TES: Daggerfall (VGA 320×200)
  • Tie Fighter (VGA 320×200)
  • WarCraft (VGA 320×200)
  • Wolfenstein3d (VGA mode-x 320×200)
  • X-COM: UFO (VGA 320×200)

In addition, same very popular development and office titles are running quite well, such as:

  • Borland C 3.1
  • Boralnd Pascal 7.0
  • Image Alchemy
  • MS Word 5.5
  • Multimate 4.0
  • Lotus 1-2-3 3.4 and 4.0
  • Lotus Symphony
  • Q&A Write
  • QPV 1.7 (image viewer)
  • Quattro Pro 5.6
  • WordPerfect 6.0
  • WordStar 7.0

Both full screen and windowed DOS, Win-OS/2, and OS/2 sessions are operable, and OS/2 applications continue to run fine under UEFI in our testing, as well.

Installation in UEFI mode has also advanced considerably. Current betas install under traditional BIOS or UEFI from the same media, whether DVD or bootable USB stick. The current mode of the system is auto-detected without the need for user intervention. When released with ArcaOS 5.1 (anticipated sometime in 2021), this should provide for a truly effortless installation.

ArcaOS 5.1 will be an upgrade from ArcaOS 5.0. For a more complete list of planned enhancements for 5.1, please visit our ArcaOS Roadmap page. ArcaOS 5.1 will also continue to fully support traditional BIOS-based systems; UEFI is meant to expand device support for the latest generations of hardware.

Don’t have ArcaOS yet? Now is a great time to pick up a license or two and replace those aging Warp 4 or eComStation installations and get to know what’s new and improved. If you’ve never run OS/2 before, you’ll be amazed. If you last used OS/2 in the 1990’s, you’ll be even more amazed. 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. An ArcaOS 5.0 license now means steep discounts on future upgrades, including 5.1.

What Arca Noae’s upcoming UEFI support means for ArcaOS

The UEFI ForumAs we previously mentioned here, Arca Noae has been working to develop a solution to install and boot ArcaOS on UEFI-based systems. Many of these laptops, desktops, and servers lack a traditional BIOS, rendering them – until very recently – unsuitable for OS/2 (and thus, ArcaOS). Likewise, tablet devices and Chromebooks have been almost beyond our grasp, with very few exceptions.

If you have attended any OS/2-focused events in the past year, you may have witnessed demonstrations of UEFI-based installations of ArcaOS. We are extremely pleased to announce that this functionality is in our betas for ArcaOS 5.1, and should provide a very smooth and similar installation experience to our current system install (DVD, USB, or hard disk partition).

The work is not yet finished, and much remains to be completed, particularly in the area of DOS video support. Our objective, of course, is to have a fully functioning ArcaOS environment on this type of hardware, complete with full screen and windowed DOS and Win-OS/2 sessions. We are very close to accomplishing these goals.

ArcaOS 5.1 will be an upgrade from ArcaOS 5.0. For a more complete list of planned enhancements for 5.1, as well as what’s in beta now for 5.0.5, please visit our ArcaOS Roadmap page.

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. An ArcaOS 5.0 license now means steep discounts on future upgrades, including 5.1.

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.

The UEFI Forum

Arca Noae joins the UEFI Forum as an Adopting Member

For immediate release:

Leesburg, Virginia, USA

Arca Noae, LLC, a Delaware-based Limited Liability Company, is pleased to announce their membership in the UEFI Forum.

The UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) specification defines a new model for the interface between personal-computer operating systems and platform firmware. The interface consists of data tables that contain platform-related information, plus boot and runtime service calls that are available to the operating system and its loader. Together, these provide a standard environment for booting an operating system and running pre-boot applications. Essentially, this layer provides a replacement for the traditional BIOS, and is the future of small computing architecture.

The UEFI Forum is a clearinghouse for all current, related documents pertaining to UEFI, the UEFI specification, and its adoption by manufacturers and software developers.

In addition, the UEFI Forum performs a similar function for ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface). Arca Noae develops and maintains the current ACPI implementation for the OS/2 and eComStation platform.

Arca Noae is committed to running OS/2 on current hardware. UEFI, like ACPI, is a continuation of the trend to move more functions from the BIOS to the operating system. Arca Noae is looking into how this new technology can be supported under OS/2 in the future.

End of press release.