Mr. Know-It-All has the answers to even the really tough questions.
OK, my eComStation GA CD's have arrived and I'm ready to install eComStation.
I don't want to crash and burn.
Does Mr. KIA have any tips?
The eComStation installation is quite different from what most
OS/2 users are used to.
The major differences are:
Overall, these changes are very good and give OS/2 much needed new
Many folks, including Mr. KIA, have installed the GA with few if any
problems. Even so, much of the eCS installer is new code and, as expected, there are some
new issues to consider.
- eComStation can install directly from CD on many systems.
No install diskettes are required.
- There is a preboot configuration menu
This allows the bootable CD
to work with a wide variety of special case hardware.
- The full WPS is available during the install.
You have access to a command line session or the drives folder, as needed.
- LVM is used to manage disk media.
You are no longer forced to rely on drive letter assignments
based on partition type or drive number.
The typical install problems fall into several classes:
- LVM setup is not foolproof.
- Data on removable media can be destroyed.
- LAN networking installation requires attention.
- NIC driver installation requires attention.
- WiseMachine is not always intuitive.
Some of these you might recognize from the old Warp installer.
This is because the eCS installer still uses parts of the Warp Installer.
Before file installation can proceed, the existing, formatted drives must be
made LVM compatible. When this is done, control data is written
to otherwise unused sectors on the cylinders that hold the boot records.
The program that does this is named VCU and the result is that the existing
partitions are converted to compatibility volumes.
It appears that it is possible to bypass the VCU run or for
VCU to fail without an explicit error report. The indication that this may have
occurred is that the install drive selection dialog will show no installable drives or
the LVM status display will show volumes without the expected drive letters.
To correct this, open a command line session and run VCU. Use the copy at
\os2image\disk_2\vcu.exe on the eCS CD#2. There is also a copy at
\eCS\vcu.exe on the eCS CD#1 which you should not use. Serenity forgot to include a copy of
If VCU attempts to report an error, you may not get a useful error message.
VCU will also fail to run if the drive has been shutdown dirty. If this
on all partitions and rerun VCU.
Data on Removable Drives
VCU and LVM both have a defect. Neither correctly handles removable media that
is formatted without a Master Boot Record (MBR). This is also known as large
floppy format. If VCU or LVM is allowed to write to this media, it will assume that the MBR exists
and will destroy all the data on the media. The workaround is to remove this type of
before running VCU or LVM. An alternative for some
media is to reformat it with a MBR.
Peer Networking Setup
During Peer Networking Setup you will be prompted for a domain name, a user
id and a password. Leave the domain name at the default value of IBMPEERS.
Select the values USERID and PASSWORD for the user id and password.
The installer appears to use the IBMPEERS domain name as an indicator of
the install type. If you change this, the installer may do a Lan Requestor
install rather than a Peer install and you will not get the correct set of
The installer ignores whatever user id and password you supply and uses the
values USERID and PASSWORD, so you might as well supply these values
so you know what to use later.
By default, the eCS installer installs the Null NDIS driver during Networking
Install. This is a good thing because it prevents NIC hardware problems
disturbing the initial installation.
After you have completed the initial install,
don't forget to run MPTS and change the
adapter to match the NIC you have installed.
WiseMachine is new to most OS/2 users. It will take some time to get used
to how it's organized and how you are supposed to use it.
There is some documentation, but more needs to be written.
WiseMachine is good at redeploying the applications it knows about.
It's a simple drag and drop operation to redeploy an application.
However, deploying an application is not the same as installing an application.
When you deploy an application you are recreating the desktop objects and, possibly, updating
config.sys entries. This is helpful if you have lost some desktop objects.
However, it's only a subset of what needs to be done to install an application.
WiseMachine can install some applications, but is still a work in progress for consistent operation.
To install an application, you need to know if WiseMachine can install the application
need to know which menu to use. Many of the applications you will want to
install will be found under the Utilities -> Selective Install menus.
A few applications can be installed from the left-hand Application window.
When installing from the left-hand window, there is a problem with the "meat."
This is WiseMachine's term for the actual application code.
When you attempt to install an application from the Application window,
WiseMachine will supply a default Source directory. This is where
the "meat" is supposed to be. The default directory is rarely
correct. You need to point WiseMachine at the "meat" which can be an
adventure. Some meat is on the eCS CD's. Some you might have to provide yourself.
None of this is fully documented.
None of these issues are show stoppers.
They just make WiseMachine more difficult to use, than need be.
Mr. KIA is hopeful that, in the near future,
Serenity will release a WiseMachine update that corrects this.
With a little planning, you have a good chance for an easy, first-time eCS
install. If despite your best efforts to read the readme's and follow the
directions you still have problems, there are lots of places to get help.
The eComStation News Server is
probably the best place to start. There are focused newsgroups and your
peers will help you get beyond your problems.
There's also the venerable SCOUG Help
Mailing List. Several SCOUG members have already installed eCS and can assist you.
Curious or in doubt, you can ask
OS/2 is his specialty and sharing solutions is his passion
Mr. Know-It-All lives in Southern California.
The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA
Copyright 2001 the Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS
SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group.
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Business Machines Corporation.
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