AOSBoot USB stickArca Noae is pleased to announce the immediate availability of our new ArcaOS Bootable USB Stick Image 2018-02-12 Package.
This package follows onto the included USB stick creation utility shipped with ArcaOS 5.0.2, allowing you to create a bootable USB ArcaOS 5.0.2 installation stick without a running OS/2 system. The package includes native binaries to restore the stick image from Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as OS/2. Once the image is restored, eject, re-insert, and simply copy your personalized ISO (separately downloaded) to the stick per the included directions, which are also detailed in the ArcaOS support wiki. The stick may then be inserted into any USB 2.0-controlled port in the target system, which is then booted into the ArcaOS installer.
If you are still running OS/2 and/or eComStation systems and haven’t yet moved up to ArcaOS, this is a great time to do so. It’s never been easier to install any OS/2-based operating system.
ArcaOS ArcaOS 5.0.2 now available Arca Noae is pleased to announce the immediate availability of ArcaOS 5.0.2, the second maintenance release of ArcaOS 5.0 (Blue Lion).
ArcaOS 5.0.2 is the result of many hours of collaborative work to update and refine ArcaOS 5.0. Post-install fixes are included, and these will be made available for separate download as part of the ArcaOS 5.0 Support & Maintenance subscription shortly. In the meantime, a full download of the refreshed media image is required to obtain these fixes and updates.
ArcaOS 5.0.2 includes well over 60 updates and fixes since 5.0.1, and introduces for the first time ever available, the ability to boot an OS/2-based operating system from USB stick media and perform an installation. This new facility – AltBoot – should enable ArcaOS to be installed on many systems where traditional DVD-based booting has not been possible.
A bootable ArcaOS 5.0.2 USB stick may be created from any major operating system at hand (Windows, Linux, MacOS, and of course, OS/2, eComStation, and ArcaOS). The USB stick image package will be made available as a separate download.
If everything is working in your current installation, it may be prudent to wait for the subscription content to become available, as Arca Noae has not classified any of the 5.0.2 updates as critical.
If you have experienced difficulty installing ArcaOS 5.0.1, the fixes and updates included in 5.0.2 may address your issue(s).
For a complete list of updates in this release, see the ArcaOS wiki.
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 license. Once there, click the download link to request a fresh ISO, and wait for your notification email.
Arca Noae, a longtime developer of modern hardware drivers and other utilities for OS/2, has released their own distribution of IBM's ill-fated OS.
In the 20 years since IBM announced the cessation of active development of OS/2, the niche OS has had a curiously long afterlife, prolonged by the needs of IBM's enterprise customers. Following the end of IBM's support in December 2006, development has continued under license by third-party organizations.
Arca Noae, a company which provides device drivers for modern hardware and other utilities for OS/2, announced a new OS/2 distribution in November 2015. The resultant product, ArcaOS 5.0 "Blue Lion" fills the vacuum left in the OS/2 community of eComStation 2.2 becoming vaporware, and was released to general availability on May 15, 2017.
SEE: VirtualBox 5.0: Performance upgrades and paravirtualization, scaling, USB 3.0 device support (TechRepublic)
Without belaboring the history of OS/2 and the neglect of the platform—and its planned successor-experienced at the hands of IBM, reviewing ArcaOS is a significant undertaking. The goal of ArcaOS is not only to patch an old operating system for use on new hardware. ArcaOS is designed to compensate for the usability shortcomings of OS/2 as it was left when IBM ceased publishing updates.
The best installer OS/2 has ever had
Foremost among the visible changes to OS/2 found in ArcaOS is the completely new installer. The historical installer that has shipped with IBM-branded OS/2 versions has been the source of extensive frustration among OS/2 users, even when IBM was actively developing the platform. To draw a comparison, the IBM installer makes installing Gentoo look easy. It does, however, have some quirks—creating a new primary partition requires a reboot, as it is necessary for the BIOS to read the new partition table for installation, according to Arca Noae. This requirement may be removed when GPT support is added in the future, though specifics are not yet known.
Bundled software, managing updates
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Cracking Hitler's unbreakable code: How the Colossus computer helped beat the Nazis 10 ways to protect your Windows computers against ransomware Want a Raspberry Pi-powered PC? This $50 case turns the Pi into a desktop Special report: The cloud v. data center decision (free PDF) Various developers—many of whom are independent, though still have an abstract connection to Arca Noae, given the closeness of the OS/2 community—have produced ports of various open source software for use on OS/2. Among these are the German company bww bitwise works, which supplies the port of Apache OpenOffice shipped in ArcaOS. To their credit, this is the latest version of OpenOffice. However, following the creation of LibreOffice in 2010 after a conflict with Oracle over the future of OpenOffice, development of OpenOffice has been all but abandoned. Calls for the discontinuation of OpenOffice gained traction in September 2016, with the planned security patch for Q1 2017 still unavailable at the time this article was published.
ArcaOS uses the Extended Support Release of Firefox, shipping with ESR 38.8, for which Mozilla had already ended support. A planned update to ESR 45 has been announced, though that is already near the end of the support lifecycle, as ESR 52 has been released. Despite being somewhat out of date, the browser is capable of normal activities such as playing videos on YouTube.
In a somewhat Fedora-like move, Arca Noae includes a port of the rpm package manager, including a graphical frontend, for managing software installation and updates. Ports of CUPS for printer support, and ALSA (as Uniaud) for audio interfaces are also included in ArcaOS.
OS/2, in 2017, is not well suited to being your daily-driver operating system. You certainly can use it as one, and be adequately productive in doing so, particularly with ports of software from Linux and Windows. The Workplace Shell has held up quite well from the last IBM release, and the extensions added in ArcaOS for tasks like safely removing a USB drive make it much more pleasant than in Warp 4.52. However, a 32-bit, single-core kernel design is impractical for modern, processor-intensive tasks. This criticism is not limited to OS/2, it holds true for DOS, Windows 95, and other operating systems which enjoyed varying popularity in the mid-1990s, like BeOS and AmigaOS.
The difference with OS/2 is the extensive enterprise install base which BeOS and AmigaOS never attained. While many, if not most, enterprises have migrated to Linux or Windows, a significant number persist in using OS/2 in some capacity. For these users, ArcaOS serves a practical benefit, and is a worthwhile upgrade. Though this is in part security through obscurity, an internet-facing OS/2 server poses substantially less risk than an equally old DOS or Windows system. For that reason, users with DOS or Win16 dependencies would benefit from migrating to ArcaOS as well. What it will not do easily is replace your main Windows, Linux, or OS X system—but that was not the goal to begin with.
How to get it
ArcaOS is available as a download from Arca Noae. Personal licenses are $129, with commercial licenses at $229. Personal licenses include six months of updates and technical support, commercial licenses include one year of updates and priority technical support. Personal licenses are discounted to $99 through August 15th, 2017.
ArcaOS 5.0: Full support for existing OS/2 applications Still running a critical application on OS/2? Still have some old, musty Pentium III workstations humming along, and hoping that a power supply doesn’t fail or that the noisy 20GB IDE disk doesn’t develop a bad spot because the workstation can’t recognize anything bigger? Afraid to power it off for fear it won’t start again?
Perhaps it’s time to look at new – yes brand new – hardware for that application. Let’s face it, that app has been around this long because it works. It’s worked all these years just fine. The fact that the hardware is showing its age and the application continues to be useful (critical, in many cases) is a testament to the quality of the software. Why do away with a perfectly good application, just because the moving parts are wearing out?
ArcaOS 5.0 runs all of those great OS/2 applications just like OS/2. Why? Because at its core, ArcaOS 5.0 is OS/2. No emulation. No compatibility mode. Pure OS/2 Warp 4.52 – with updates, fixes, and modifications to be compatible with the latest multi-core and multi-processor hardware available. Replace that old Pentium III with an i5 or i7 or AMD multi-core system, 16 or 32GB of memory, and a 240GB SSD, or move an existing Pentium 4 with 1GB of memory, and a 250GB SATA 3 hard drive from something else. ArcaOS 5.0 has lean hardware requirements, but can take advantage of some of the latest technologies.
Why replace an entire PBX system because the OS/2 workstation which has been storing voicemail all these years is in need of replacement? (We’d call that an often forgotten, yet critical, application.) Move that software onto a new system running ArcaOS 5.0. Need help? Let our team of engineers have a look. We don’t just develop and license software, we design, implement, and manage it, as well.
Have a glimpse of the new ArcaOS desktop We’ve added some screenshots of ArcaOS 5.0, and we’ll be adding more. For those who haven’t seen OS/2 in a long time, you may be surprised to see just how modern ArcaOS 5.0 looks. The familiar object-oriented Workplace Shell provides the framework for the ArcaOS desktop. Everything is an object, not just an icon. Different types of objects – classes – behave differently, and may be manipulated in different ways.
Preemptive multitasking, pioneered by OS/2, remains a cornerstone of ArcaOS, allowing the user to run many applications simultaneously, with each running its own processes in the background when another application is switched to foreground view for data entry or viewing rich media content. Thus, it is entirely possible to watch an HTML5 video in Firefox over the web, generate a large report in OpenOffice, and burn a DVD all at the same time, without missing a beat on today’s hardware.
How ArcaOS addresses privacy and data security Personal computers have come a long way since the 1990’s, and today, it seems like everything wants to connect to everything else – even when we don’t want that to happen. Worse yet, it seems that device manufacturers and software publishers aren’t satisfied with a simple product purchase or licensing fee; instead, they seem to want to harvest your personal information and either use it market more stuff to you or even sell it to unknown third parties.
Arca Noae understands this, and we respect your privacy. ArcaOS evolved from roots which predate this overly-connected ecosystem in which we find ourselves today. While there are some trade-offs for the insulation which that affords the user, we believe that these trade-offs are well worth the effort.
Here are some of the things which ArcaOS 5.0 either doesn’t have or doesn’t do. See if you don’t agree that when compared to some other operating system choices you have, ArcaOS looks like a much safer bet:
No Adobe Flash Player. Over the years, Flash has become a major attack vector for compromising not only the browser (when run as a plugin), but the entire system, planting many spyware elements on the system to beacon the user’s actions elsewhere or serve as a path for infecting other systems – regardless the antivirus or antispyware software in use on the system. We made a decision early in the development cycle that as the internet is moving to HTML5 for more native playback of rich media, we would not include such a weakly-secured component in ArcaOS. No centralized address book. A central address book is a common vulnerability, exposing all of your contacts to discovery (and spamming). There are methods for securing an address book in Thunderbird and SeaMonkey, however. Be sure that if you use anything which stores addresses you keep it password protected with a strong cipher to ward against theft. No centralized password manager. There is nothing wrong with having a password manager installed, and there are, in fact, several very nice ones which run quite well under ArcaOS. However, why should everyone know which password manager you use? Known exploits could leave you vulnerable even without divulging such information. Because there is no single password manager bundled with ArcaOS, would-be thieves will have to try to determine which application actually holds your valuable information. Samba 4 file and printer sharing client, including Kerberos and NTLMv2 authentication. No old, weak password hashes for ArcaOS. Instead, Samba 4 utilizes the latest methods for securing authentication to servers and even encrypting data transport to and from servers so configured. Updates via secure channels, keeping Arca Noae credentials safe. When accessing updates from Arca Noae servers, all transports are done using the HTTPS protocol, and when storing your login credentials in Arca Noae Package Manager, the credentials are actually tied to your local system. It is not possible for someone to steal your configuration and easily decrypt your username and password for your Arca Noae account on another machine. Arca Noae stores no financial information on our own servers. Should your account credentials actually fall into the wrong hands (a stolen laptop or a careless reminder note), your account information stored on our servers does not include any of your credit card data. We simply do not retain this sensitive information. ArcaOS doesn’t “phone home.” It’s true. If you ever find yourself stranded on a desert island with just your laptop and a solar panel for electricity, your ArcaOS-powered machine will never complain about not being able to “authorize” the installation for use, because it never looks to contact us. An ArcaOS installation is an island unto itself. It is even possible to retrieve software updates on a single machine and set that machine as a repository for all of the other ArcaOS stations on your network. None of the other systems would ever need to touch the internet to get the latest code. ArcaOS does not include any trialware or junkware. Many of these applications contact their own publishers over the internet (aside from ceasing to function after a certain period of time). Every bundled application on the ArcaOS DVD is fully functional and fully licensed for use with ArcaOS – forever, with no further registration required, anywhere. None of these applications send information over the internet to anyone else, and are perfectly happy to just run in their own space under ArcaOS, unless you want them to make contact elsewhere. Shouldn’t that always be the case? This is by no means an exhaustive list of how ArcaOS was designed to keep you safe in our overly-connected world, but merely a starting point for discussion and consideration. All that, and we managed to keep the introductory pricetag under a hundred bucks. How’s that?
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.
This entry was posted in Arca Noae, Tips on May 17, 2017 by Lewis Rosenthal.