OS/2 & eComStation on the JVC 741

(This page last updated: 11 Mar 2007)

Warpstock Europe 2006

As usual, getting OS/2 (or rather: eComStation) to run on the JVC was a little bit of a PITA. The problem is partly due to OS/2's pickyness about hardware, but mostly to the not-very-flexible installation procedure invented by eComStation.
The latter insists on a RAM disk image to start installation from. During installation, somehow the drive letter of this RAM disk must be switched to that of the installation CD-ROM. There's no way to circumvent this, no HD-based or network installation is possible. Apparently the JVC boots from removable media in some sort of emulation mode; OS/2 seemingly cannot switch that to true 32-bit mode.
If you can access eComStation's BetaZone, you can grab floppy disks usable for a NETBEUI (plain NetBios) installation, e.g. over a home LAN.

I had to resort to the method used on my Libretto 110CT. Luckily I could use my girlfriend's USB floppy drive for this. My method involves:
  1. Wipe all partitions using WinXP except its own boot partition
  2. Boot from a Win98 DOS floppy
  3. Run DOS FDISK to remove the remaining primary WinXP partition
  4. Make just one small (100 MB)  primary DOS partition
  5. Format it (still from DOS) as FAT16 and transfer the system (Format C: /S)
  6. Copy the contents of an OS/2 maintenance partition from another PC to this primary DOS partition (I had such a partition on my desktop and on my Libretto 110CT; and I used Bart's Network Boot Disk to transfer the files to the JVC)
  7. Use Win98 debug.exe to grab an OS/2 boot sector to the hard disk:
    1. boot from the primary DOS partition
    2. put an OS/s floppy in the USB floppy drive
    3. start debug from the DOS partition:
    4. debug  <return>
    5. L cs:100 0 00 1   <return>
    6. n os2boot.br   <return>
    7. r cx   <return>
    8. 200   <return>
    9. w   <return>
    10. q   <return>     (Now there should be a 512-byte file named os2boot.br on C:\)
  8. Make a backup of the primary partition's boot sector, just in case:
    1. debug   <return>
    2. L cs:100 2 00 1   <return>
    3. r cx   <return>
    4. 200   <return>
    5. n dos.br   <return>
    6. w   <return>
    7. q   <return>
  9. Copy the boot sector to a DOS bootable floppy, just in case!
  10. Merge the OS/2 boot info into the primary partition boot sector:
    1. debug   <return>
    2. l cs:100 2 00 1   <return>
    3. m cs:010b L25 cs:060b   <return>
    4. r cx   <return>
    5. 200   <return>
    6. n os2boot.br   <return>
    7. L   <return>
    8. m cs:060b L25 cs:010b   <return>
    9. w cs:100 2 00 1   <return>
    10. q   <return>
  11. Reboot, and cross your fingers.
Of course, the procedure above is the way I got it together in one swoop the last time, after having tried it ten or twenty times with wrong BPB info length. Oh well....

The other thing is, eComStation (version 1.2) couldn't be installed using the USB CD-ROM. Halfway the booting sequence, the driver LOCATECD.SYS would ask to insert the ECS 1.2 CD-ROM. But it was inserted...... it's just that eComStation apparently cannot initialize the USB ports (3 UHCI and 1 EHCI) halfway the booting sequence. One time out of a hundred (...) somehow I managed to get through.
So I installed ECS 1.2 in a virtual PC session on my desktop, zipped it all up per root subdirectory, and NETBEUI'd it over by LAN using Bart's Network Boot Disk booted from floppy. But you can also install ECS 1.2 into a temporary primary partition on your desktop, as long as that partition is C:
  1. If it worked out, use OS/2 FDISK to make a second, large enough temporary primary partition of say 3 GB - it's just a place holder
  2. Behind this second primary partition, make a first logical FAT partition (say 400 MB; future D: partition), future maintenance partition and format it FAT16 (FORMAT /FS:FAT)
  3. Delete the placeholder partition, second big primary partition
  4. SYSINSTX the logical D: partition using the GT2GBW3.ZIP package (Hobbes)
  5. Copy all files from the primary OS/2 booted partition to this new logical partition
  6. Install boot manager
  7. Add the logical and the original primary partition to the boot menu
  8. Reboot into the logical partition
  9. Delete all primary partitions, including boot manager, then reinstall boot manager as first primary partition and fill the space between boot manager and the first logical partition with the final primary ECS/OS2 partition. Be sure to add the D:-partition again to the boot manager
  10. Format the new primary ECS/OS2 partition HPFS (FORMAT C: /FS:HPFS) and SYSINSTX C: (using the files from the GT2GBW3 package)
  11. Be sure to copy UNZIP.EXE into D:\OS2
  12. Now boot into Bart's Network Boot disk, connect to the desktop and copy all files over to the D: partition
  13. UNZIP all zip files to the ECS/OS2 partition (UNZIP *.tmp -d C:\)
Next, boot again into OS/ on D:, add the ECS/OS2 partition to boot manager, and reboot into C:
Hopefully ECS boots up. Then, open a CMD window and use LVM to delete and reinstall the boot manager and add the needed volumes to the boot menu.

An alternative option is to install over a NETBEUI (NetBIOS) LAN using the built-in Intel PRO 100 NIC and a thin network server/client. On the eComStation site in the Betazone is the boot floppy archive, allowing to make boot floppies w. the NetBIOS protocol. Theoretically one needs to start the server on another OS/2 / ECS PC with NetBIOS installed, boot the JVC from a USB floppy using the NetBIOS installation diskettes and cross your fingers.
That worked out OK (after changing "BOTH" in adpater numbers ion SERVICE.INI to "0") using ECS 1.2MR (Media Refresh). But not ECS 2.0 beta...... The server would start OK, but the setup program would yield an error message "Unable to operate your hard disk" or simply crash in PMDD.SYS..

Yet another alternative is to copy the contents of these boot floppies + contents of the ECS CD-ROM to a partition of -say- 800 MB, try to boot from that one and then install ECS on another partition.



In a quest to get the inoperative PCMCIA controller and SoundMax audio to work, I've put the output of PCI.exe, RMVIEW and a couple of other programs (scanpci, show_lnk and  show_pir) up.


In my case ECS booted into 800x600 resolution. I had to set GENGRADD, renameC:\OS2\ SVGADATA.PMI and make a custom PRIVATE.DIF file to be able to use the internal LCD screen in native 1024x600 resolution:
  1. In CONFIG.SYS, rem out the line SET C1=SDDGRADD and add the line SET C1=GENGRADD
  2. Rename C:\OS2\SVGADATA.PMI into anything else (this is VITAL!)
  3. Copy this private.dif file into C:\OS2
  4. Reboot.
Now you should be able to enter the screen settings and select 1024x600. Better use 16bit, in 32bit it is quite slow (because GENGRADD is unaccelerated by default).


The audio stuff can be put to work using the SPCIIRQ and SoundMax319 driver packages from Hobbes.
In the CONFIG.SYS you can find the SPCIIRQ.SYS settings needed for sound.
Not all multimedia stuff works OK. There's no sound in Warpvision or MPlayer, but at least there's a sound when dragging a window .....


The PCI-to-Cardbus controller is a Ricoh 475(II). No reliable Cardbus support exists for that one, only 16-bit (PCMCIA or PC-Card) mode.
Have a look here for a driver which helped to get the thing running at least on my Warp 3 BootOS2 maintenance partition.
I couldn't get it to work using ECS 1.2 though.


The JVC has 3 (three) UHCI USB 2.0 controllers (that is, both PCI.exe, Linux and WinXP hardware info tells me this). I added the following lines to CONFIG.SYS to be able to use various USB mass storage hardware and a USB mouse:

<below the line DEVICE=POINTDD.SYS:>
The USBMSD.ADD line may need adaptations to allow a bigger number of partitions on the removable device. AFAIK the default number = 4 (but the README.TXT in the IDEDASD package may tell more).


<not tried yet>


The internal Intel PRO 100 NIC works like a charm  using the ECS-supplied driver in C:\IBMCOM\MACS


To get the Intel PRO 2200 BG WLAN to work you need the Genmac wrapper and XWLAN 2.12 & up. This combination even supports 128bit WEP encryption and 54 Mbps (802.#g) wifi speed.
Using Genmac v. 1.00, the NetBIOS protocol won't work and consequently, Peer won't work either.
With Genmac 1.5 this works OK, provided the last section in \IBMCOM\PROTOCOL.INI has:
otherwise you'll risk a TRAP0008.
Genmac 2.00 in combination with WLAN 3.0 even supports WPA and WPA2 (using the same PROTOCOL.INI settings as given above)

Firewire / IEEE1394

<not tried yet>
(It does get an IRQ assigned ...)


<not tried yet>
Screen brightness hot keys work. Apparently these keys work outside of the ACPI stuff. Same goes for volume.


I've tried the last ACPI which was free for non-SWC subscribers on eComStation. Combining this with the CPU-program to speedstep the CPU, some power saving could be obtained.
As soon as ECS 2.0 is GA I'll buy and install that one and see if ACPI works better there.



eComStation 2.0 alpha installation (unfinished description)

As usual, a PITA.

How to do it:
  1. Grab the NETBEUI install floppies from the eComStation Betazone site.
  2. Make yourself a primary partition FAT partition cf. steps 1-5 above and make it the active partition
  3. Copy the contents of the three NETBEUI floppies to this partition; rename OS2KRNLI to OS2KRNL
  4. Cook up the OS/2 boot sector of this partition cf. steps 7-10
  5. Edit CONFIG.SYS, rem out all SRVIFS lines and the line SET PROTSHELL=PMSHELL.EXE
  6. Make sure the line PROTSHELL=\CMD.EXE is present and not remmed out.
  7. Rem out all CALL=CMD lines in CONFIG.SYS
  8. Make sure all paths point to drive letter C:
  9. Try to boot from it.
  10. If you are lucky, the system boots to a command line
  11. Partition the system: type LVM. 
  12. Make a logical placeholder partition of say 2900 MB 
  13. Make a logical maintenance partition of 300 MB (D:) plus a logical temporary ECS installation partition of 800+ MB (E:)
  14. Remove the placeholder partition and install boot manager somewhere in the empty space and add C-E to the boot menu
  15. Exit LVM and save all changes
  16. Reboot into C:, Format both D: and E: ( FORMAT <Driveletter>: /FS:FAT )
  17. Copy all files from C: to D:
  18. Edit D:\CONFIG.SYS, make sure all PATHS refer to boot drive letter D:
  19. ...rest to be added ..... sorry