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The Southern California OS/2 User Group

Odin Today
August 2001

by Steven Levine

The information that follows was presented
at SCOUG's August 2001 general meeting.

Odin continues to progress. With every build it provides better support for more Win32 applications.

We will look at how to get Odin up and running on your system and we will look at some of the interesting places where Odin has turned up.

As with many other great pieces of software, Odin is beginning to find uses far beyond what the original authors may have intended. That's why we're taking another look at Odin now.

Table of Contents

Installing WarpIn

WarpIn is required for installing Odin's weekly builds. Will will discuss the different build types. Even if you plan on using only daily builds, which do not require WarpIn, I would still suggest you install WarpIn. It is quickly becoming the preferred OS/2 installer for complex applications.

Getting a WarpIn Install Kit

As with many of the Netlabs projects, is a primary download site for binary builds.
The most recent release of WarpIn at the time of this writing is WarpIn 0.9.13

Choosing an Install Location

The WarpIn developers have defined default locations for applications installed by WarpIn:
  • \Tools - Tools and utilities
  • \Apps - Applications

These can be overridden. If you use these defaults, you would want to install WarpIn to:


If you don't like WarpIn's defaults, you can change them after WarpIn is installed.


  • Create your directory.
  • Unzip the WarpIn package to this directory
  • Run warpin.exe

This will create a WarpIn folder and register the WarpIn class so that you can use the usual Workplace Shell (WPS) features to activate the installer.

WarpIn makes no changes to config.sys, so it is ready to use after installation.

Planning Your Odin Install

Odin is easy to install. However, there are enough options that you should do a little planning before you start. Also, it never hurts to understand how the pieces fit together.

Choosing a Build

First you need to decide how you are going to use Odin and how adventurous you are.

Odin binary builds come in several flavors. The main flavors are:

  • Daily
    • Daily builds are intended for developers and the adventurous who prefer to be on the bleeding edge.
    • Daily builds come in the traditional zip file format.
  • Weekly
    • Weekly builds are intended to be stable builds for end-users.
    • Weekly builds come in WarpIn wpi file format.

Both of these build types come in two sub-flavors:

  • Release - Release builds contain no debugging code and are generally smaller and faster.
  • Debug - Debug builds contain extensive debugging and logging code.

If you report a problem with a release build, you will often be asked to install a debug build to assist in diagnosing the source of the defect. If you need to run a debug build, be aware that the logs can be large and ensure you have sufficient free disk space.

Of course, if all of the above options are all too tame, you can always build Odin from source. That's one of the beauties of Open Source.

Getting an Install Kit

Weekly builds are available at the FTP site.

Builds are named based on the build date and style:

YYYYMMDD is the build date. STYLE is the build style and will be one of:
  • release
  • debug
Daily builds are available at the Daily Build Repository .

The builds are named based on the build date:
where YYYYMMDD and STYLE follow the same conventions as Daily builds.

Choosing an Install Location

The default install location for weekly builds is:


I prefer to override this and place the \Odin directory tree on an application drive with lots of free space.

When first installed the directory tree will be simple:


The Odin directory will contain documentation and readme files and the Sys.ini file.

The Odin\System directory will contain Odin DLL's and executables and Odin.ini.

Win32 applications will treat the Odin directory as if it were the Windows directory and, over time, installed Win32 applications will add files and directories to Odin\System and elsewhere in the tree.

Updating config.sys

Odin can run with or without the permanent updates to PATH and LIBPATH. If you only use one or two Win32 applications, you can set up a batch file to adjust the PATH and LIBPATH and invoke the applications.

If you use several Win32 applications, it's probably better to make the updates permanent.

Using the win32k.sys Device Driver

Odin includes a device driver, win32k.sys, that provides transparent loading of Win32 applications. You can click on their desktop icons or enter their names on the command line.

One minor disadvantage is that you have to reboot whenever you install a new Odin build.

Another is that the driver needs access to the OS/2 kernel and if you use a special kernel version or regularly run test case kernels you will need to provide updated symbol files that match your kernel.

Using the pe.exe Loader

If you don't use the device driver, you will use the PE method of starting your Win32 applications. To run your programs you will issue commands of the form:
     pe win32program win32programoptions...
Pe.exe is an OS/2 program so you can use it in batch files or in program objects.


Odin.ini stores a variety of configuration data that Odin uses to accommodate differences between the OS/2 and Win32 applications that may vary from system to system. The file is created when you install Odin and, if you use the WarpIn installer, it will be updated each time you install a new build. If you run daily builds, you will need to do the update manually.

Odin.ini is stored in the Odin\System directory. Older builds placed Odin.ini in the Odin directory - and if you find one there, delete it to avoid confusion.


The OdinInst utility initializes or updates the Open32 registry keys and Odin.ini. Many Win32 programs depend on the existance of certain Registry keys. OdinInst adds these keys to the Open32 Registry. In addition, OdinInst adds Odin.ini key values, as needed.

If you suspect that you are missing some required values, you can run OdinInst.

Generally, OdinInst only adds new keys. It does not change the values of existing keys. If a key was created with the wrong value, you will need to delete the key manually before running OdinInst.


OdinApp is a Win32 application. It serves two purposes.

OdinApp validates an Odin installation. If OdinApp installs and runs successfully, it indicates your Odin setup has no major problems.

When OdinApp is installed, the installer also installs msvcrt.dll, a core Microsoft runtime DLL. The Microsoft license does not allow Netlabs to distribute this DLL with Odin. It must be distributed as part of a Win32 application.

Click here to download a copy of

Installing Odin

Now that you have made your choices, you are ready to install Odin. Here are some step-by-step install cookbooks.

End User Install Cookbook

  • Get Warpin
  • Install Warpin
  • Get an Odin weekly build
  • Decide where to install it
  • Decide how you want to run
    • Device Driver
    • With or without PATH and LIBPATH updates
    • With or without PE
  • Install Odin using WarpIn
  • Reboot if needed
  • Run OdinApp to verify

Bleeding Edge Install Cookbook

  • Get an Odin daily build (.zip)
  • Decide where to install it
  • Unzip build to install directory
  • Update config.sys if needed
  • Reboot if needed
  • Run OdinInst to initialize the Open32 Registry and Odin.ini
  • Run OdinApp to verify

Installing Win32 Applications

Now that you have Odin installed, you might want to install some Win32 applications. Generally, you install applications as you would under Windows. You may have to make some accommodations because they are Windows applications, after all.

Most Win32 applications come packaged as a self-extracting executable with built-in installers.

There are several kinds of installers:

  • Full 32-bit
  • Full 16-bit
Odin should have no problems running the 32-bit installers unless they happen to require some feature not yet implemented by Odin.

The 16-bit installers can be a problem. Odin can not yet run these directly. If they are run under WinOS2, these installers will eventully attempt to run 32-bit code and fail.

Sometimes the 16-bit part of the installer, usually setup.exe, can be replaced with a 32-bit version. The Yahoo OdinUsers group maintains an OdinUsers File Repository which contains setup.exe's for some of the widely used Win32 installers.

Sometimes, the 16-bit part of the installer can be run under WinOS2. It will fail, but may leave behind the decompressed 32-bit programs. These can be run under Odin to complete the install.

If all else fails you can try to copy the installation from your Windows machine. But, it will not work if the application needs the installer to set up registry entries.

Some users are persistent and have succeeded in copying the registry entries using Regedit32 running under Odin.

Getting Help

If you have trouble installing Odin or running applications, there are lots of places to get support. The Yahoo Odin Users Group is probably one of the better places to visit. The Odin developers monitor the list and you will get focused help.

Another Yahoo group, the original Win32 OS/2 Yahoo group is still around. However most of the message traffic has moved to the OdinUsers group.

Help is also available on the USENET comp.os.os2.apps newsgroup and others, but you will probably do better on the Yahoo list.

Reporting Problems

If you want the developers to think well of you, you need to explain your problem in terms that others can understand. You need to provide more detail than a simple

  it does not work

To help you with this, a specialized Odin bug reporting tool has been developed. It's called OdinBug and is available from Hobbes and the Odin Users File Repository.

What's Working

Quite a few of major applications run between OK and perfect under Odin. As of 08 Aug 2001, there were 191 applications rated at 5. This is the top quality level.

Take a look at Applications that Work with Odin. Your "must have" application might be there.

What are SCOUG Members Running

Several SCOUG Members are already using Odin
  • I use RealPlayer v8 as my primary Odin test case.
  • Jerry Rash runs Notes under Odin when he's not trying to find the real OS/2 client for Notes5.
  • Jerry Rash also tells me that Take One, one of his favorite audio editors is very usable.

Odin in Unexpected Places

As Odin evolves, its technology is beginning to show up in unexpected places.


The Opera Browser beta that Dave Watson showed us last month uses the Odin libraries. It uses the Odin libraries but is built as a true OS/2 application. Opera is at Opera Home.

The download page for the OS/2 version is Opera for OS/2.


WarpMedia is a general purpose media player that's in early beta built by the Software Developer's Guild, the developers of WarpAMP.

You can get the Warp Media Technology Preview #1 from Hobbes or from the Software Design Guild. You will also want these patches.


Another project is WarpVision by our Russian OS/2 friends at OS2.Ru! This is an experimental player for video streams in DivX format with MPEG Layer-3 sound compression. I have not yet been able to get it running. However, Jerry Rash has.

Other Resources

There are a few other Odin related resources that you might find useful. The Warpin Home Page at Netlabs is a good place for more detailed WarpIn information. It's also a good place to go if you want to join the development team.

Ulrich Moeller, one of WarpIn's primary authors maintains his own Warpin Home Page.

Of course, there's the Odin Home Page at Netlabs which is where it all started.

Finally, there are several private Yahoo groups for the Odin developers. You will find details for joining up at the Odin Home developers pages.

If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me by email at:

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 RESERVED.

SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group. OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.