Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z - Internet FAQ Archives

OS/2 New User Introduction

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Houses ]
Archive-name: os2-faq/new-user/part1
Version: 970724
Posting-Frequency: weekly

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Contents :

[1] Introduction
[2] Where Can I get OS/2
[3] OS/2 Frequently Asked Quesions List
[4] OS/2 Newsgroups
[5] OS/2 Web Sites
[6] Free Realtime Support and conversation about OS/2
[7] Where to report problems with OS/2
[8] Where to make suggestions for improving this document.

OS/2 New User Introduction

[Revised: July 24, 1997]

Welcome to the world of OS/2!  IBM OS/2 Warp 4.0 is an inexpensive,
full-featured, operating system for PC's using the Intel 486 and
compatible (or better) CPU's. In addition to running native OS/2
applications ( both 16 and 32 bit), OS/2 4.0 can run 16 bit DOS and
Windows 3.1 applications.

It is a very powerful operating system, supporting long filenames (
using the High Performance File System ), the built-in REXX scripting
language, Adobe Type Manager and TrueType fonts, a 32-bit flat memory
model, preemptive multitasking, excelllent networking and Internet
support, multithreading, advanced multimedia including software  motion
video, and robust communications, for example), yet its Workplace Shell
user interface makes it remarkably easy to use (and amazingly flexible).
Other features include support for emerging technologies such as Java,
OpenGL, ObjectREXX, NetREXX, and OpenDoc.

Warp 4.0 also contains the IBM Voice Type Navigation and Dictation
system, allowing the user to control and interact with the computer
using a microphone, and voice commands. The Bonus Pack that comes with
Warp 4.0 includes several useful applications, such as a spreadsheet,
word processor, database, and personal information manager. The network
support built in provides access to the Internet ( via modem or Network
card), as well as support for IBM Lan Server, Novell Netware, and
Windows NT based networks.  It also includes Peer-Peer Networking with
other PC's running Warp Connect, or Windows for Workgroups/Windows 95.

Unlike older versions of OS/2 Warp, Warp 4.0 comes in only one flavor --
it always includes Win-OS2 for supporting Windows 3.1 and Win32s 1.25
applications, as well as both modem and Ethernet/Token Ring card

In addition, Warp 4.0 comes with 3 additional CD ROM's, namely the
Sampler Pack, the Device Drivers Pack, and Lotus Notes Mail. The sampler
pack CD contains a large number of native OS/2 applications for a user
to try before buying. These applications are mainly commercial software
packages.  The Device Driver CD contains drivers for a vast array of
hardware devices ; updates to these drivers can be found at or at ( in Europe).

This brief document is intended to help you get started using the
Internet's OS/2 newsgroups and to help you obtain more information on
OS/2.  Read it carefully to get started with this exciting operating
system.  It will be posted regularly to the OS/2 newsgroups which new
users are most likely to visit.

Where Can I Get OS/2?

In the United States, IBM OS/2 Warp 4.0 is available from almost any
software dealer, including Egghead, Software Etc., CompUSA, Softmart,
Babbage's, and many others.  (Indelible Blue, and other vendors listed
in the OS/2 FAQ List -- see below -- will handle both U.S. and
international mail orders for the U.S. English version.)  It is also
available directly from IBM through the OS/2 Hotline at (800) 426-2255 (
USA) or (800) 465-7999 ( Canada).  In addition, a list of online dealers
for OS/2 Warp 4 around the world can be found at Academic editions of
OS/2 Warp 4.0 can be ordered from Indelible Blue ; these contain all the
features of Warp 4.0.

Warp 4.0 can be installed as an upgrade over any existing version of
OS/2 ( except OS/2 Warp Server and OS/2 2.11 SMP). It is also available
in a full version for machines with no operating system installed, or
those running DOS or Windows. The U.S Street price for Warp 4.0 is
around $ 120 for the upgrade version, and $ 200 for the full version.

OS/2 Warp 4.0 is available on CD-ROM only, and requires a 1.44 MB
diskette drive to start the installation. Warp 4.0 contains support for
the vast majority of CD-ROM drives.

In addition to these three packages, OS/2 2.11 is available in a
symmetric multi-processing version that can exploit computers that have
more than 1 CPU [ upto 16]. OS/2 Warp Server 4.0 is a Network Operating
System based on OS/2 Warp ; the Advanced version of this also supports
SMP machines.

Please see the OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List for further
information on OS/2 pricing, availability, and hardware requirements.

OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List

The OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List is a compendium of
useful OS/2 information.  It should be your first stop whenever you
have an OS/2 question.  Before you post a question to any OS/2
newsgroup, please check the FAQ List to see if it is already answered.
The first few sections of the OS/2 FAQ List are particularly helpful to
those who have never seen or used OS/2 before.

The FAQ is avilable online at It can also be
obtained via ftp, via the procedure described below. The exact procedure
may be different on your system, but you should try the following


(Press ENTER or RETURN after each command.)  When asked for a
username, type:


and when asked for a password, enter your Internet email address.
Then, type the commands:

get /pub/os2/newsltr/

To end your ftp session, type:


and you will be disconnected.

The FAQ List package will then be placed in your home directory on
your home system.  You can then download the file to your DOS or OS/2
machine.  This file is "zipped," as many OS/2 program files are.  You
need an UnZip utility to decode the file (and extract the files
contained in the package).  Versions of UnZip are available for many
systems, including DOS, Unix, and OS/2. The OS/2 version of UnZip is
the file /pub/os2/archiver/unz520x2.exe on that same ftp site.

The site is one of the Internet's largest
repositories for OS/2 software and information.  For more information
on, consult the ASCII (text) file /pub/os2/0readme
at that site.  For a directory of OS/2 files available at, retrieve the ASCII file /pub/os2/00index.txt.

Another major OS/2 ftp site is, especially for
fiding the latest versions of shareware software and device drivers.
There are ftp sites world wide that may be easier for users in
Europe and Australia to access, namely [ Germany], [ Britain], and [ Australia]. 
These also "mirror" or keep copies of the files from  

If you need more help in either retrieving a file using ftp or in
UnZipping the file, ask your system administrator.

If you cannot use ftp, you may retrieve the FAQ List by mail from an
ftp mail server.  Ask your system administrator (or consult the
newsgroup news.answers) for advice.  The OS/2 FAQ List is also
available from several online services, including CompuServe, and many
bulletin board systems (BBSes).  The OS/2 Shareware BBS
(+1-703-385-4325) and Greater Chicago Online (+1-708-895-4042) always
carry the latest version.

The newsgroup news.answers contains several help files, posted
periodically, which can assist you in using ftp, mail, Gopher, and
LISTSERV systems.  You may wish to consult these information files
before asking your system administrator for assistance.

OS/2 Newsgroups

After reading the OS/2 FAQ List you may have some unanswered questions.  If
so, you may post a message to one of the Usenet OS/2 newsgroups (You can use
NewsReader/2, part of OS/2 Warp's Internet Connection, to read and post
messages in Usenet newsgroups).  Note that crossposting (posting the same
message to more than one newsgroup) is generally frowned upon because it
defeats the purpose of having different newsgroups in the first place --
please try to post to just one newsgroup.

These OS/2 newsgroups are available:

	Discussion of installing and configuring OS/2, and for discussion of
	hardware/drivers (e.g. SMP boards, BIOS compatibility, mice, etc) not
	covered by other OS/2 newsgroups.
	Discussion of storage (drives, tape, CD-ROM) hardware/drivers
	under OS/2.
	Discussion of base video hardware/drivers under OS/2.
	Discussion of multimedia-specific (sound cards, TV video, etc)
        hardware/drivers under OS/2, and running DOS, Windows, and OS/2
	multimedia apps/utilities (AVI players, CD-ROM players, etc)
	under OS/2.
	Discussion of communications (modem, fax) hardware/drivers, and
	running DOS, Windows, and OS/2 comm apps/utiliities under OS/2.

	Discussion of running DOS, Windows, and OS/2 mail and news apps/
	utilities under OS/2.
	Discussion of running DOS, Windows, and OS/2 World Wide Web (WWW)
	apps/utilities under OS/2.
	Discussion of hardware/drivers/software dealing with TCP/IP
	networks/networking under OS/2 (e.g. configuring SLIP or PPP,
	running ftp, etc.).
	Discussion of hardware/drivers/software dealing with other networking.

	Discussion of DOS, Windows, and OS/2 general-purpose utilities
	(e.g. shells, backup, compression, screen savers, INI editors,
	system resource monitors, etc) under OS/2.
	Discussion of running DOS, Windows, and OS/2 general-purpose apps
	(e.g. spreadsheets, word-processors, databases, financial, etc)
	under OS/2.
	Discussion of running DOS, Windows, and OS/2 games under OS/2.
	Also welcome here is discussion of game-related hardware/drivers
	(e.g. joysticks, steering wheels, etc) under OS/2.

	Discussion about portable libraries (e.g. OWL), porting tools (e.g.
	SMART), and techniques related to porting software to OS/2.
	Discussion of system-level Object Oriented Programming (e.g. SOM,
	DSOM, OpenDoc), including tools and techniques.
	Discussion of running DOS, Windows, and OS/2 general-purpose
	programming tools (e.g. compilers, assemblers, source code revision
	librarians, linkers, etc).
	Discussion of any other OS/2 programming issues.

	Discussion of possible bugs (incorrect behaviour) in OS/2 (not
	drivers, apps, utilities, or beta versions of OS/2), and discussion
	of Corrective Service Disks, Service Paks, and Fix Paks.
	Discussion of beta releases of OS/2 (versions of OS/2 that are
	released for testing purposes by IBM and that you cannot buy in
	stores).  Also for discussion of desired features ("wishlists")
	you would like to see in future beta versions.
	Debating issues regarding OS/2 versus non-OS/2 operating systems
	and environments, where anti-OS/2 advocates attack OS/2 on various
	levels (e.g. OS/2 sales, marketing, features, support, installation,
	etc), and pro-OS/2 advocates defend OS/2 on those issues.
	For general OS/2 discussion.  Post here *only* if *no* other newsgroup
        category fits.
	Posting of OS/2-related commercial product/service ads, Wanted and
	For Sale ads, employment offerings and resumes, and recommendations
	of excellent deals (e.g. "<company name> is selling <OS/2 product>
	for <price>!!!").  Please prefix your subject line with the
	appropriate tag:
		Use Biz: for commercial ads.
		Use Wanted: for wanted ads.
		Use FS: for for-sale ads.
		Use Trade: for trading ads.
		Use Offered: for employment offerings.  Please also use
		   abbreviations for country and state/province (if
		   applicable), and city or county name.
		Use Resume: for employment resumes.
		Use Misc: for anything else.
	(e.g. ``FS: OS/2 2.1 3.5" '', ``Offered: USA-CA-San Diego  Device
	driver programmer needed'', ``Misc: I saw OS/2 Warp at half
	price!!!'', ``Biz: FooBlueTwo's mail-order catalog'')
	Discussion about Team OS/2, a group of volunteers who demonstrate
	OS/2 to potential users, and in other ways promote OS/2. Team OS/2 is
	not part of IBM, nor is it sponsored by IBM.

comp.os.os2.moderated : A moderated group for OS/2 related discussions,
        this typically will have smaller traffic, and a huge signal-to-
        noise ratio.
        has more details ; please read it before posting to the group.

The following newsgroups contain information about OS/2.  These are not
discussion groups.

comp.os.os2.announce (moderated)
	Carries announcements about OS/2 (e.g. new or updated software
	press releases, user group schedules, WWW and ftp site info, etc).
	At the beginning of every month, information about this newsgroup
	is posted in the form of a "Welcome" message -- please read it.
	This newsgroup is moderated -- you cannot ask a question here.
	OS/2-related announcements should be submitted to the address  ; the moderOBator of the group can be
        reached at address  Please recommend the name of
	an OS/2 newsgroup where you would like to have followup discussion.
	For questions on a particular announcement that you read, contact the
	submitter -- do not contact the moderator. Unfortunately, when
	posting (as opposed to emailing) a response to a moderated newsgroup
	many news software send that response to the moderOBator via email.
	Please email your response to the submitter -- please check the
	header for a "To:" line and make sure it has the submitter's
	email address.

You may also be interested in the following newsgroups which cover
OS/2 topics with great frequency:

	A general newsgroup covering the REXX programming language.
	Every copy of OS/2 includes a built-in REXX interpreter.

OS/2 Web Sites

There are many World-Wide-Web sites that contain information
related to OS/2. Note that they are not all IBM related, and 
may contain outdated, or wrong information. Nevertheless
they are a useful source of information related to OS/2.
A few of them are listed below :

IBM sites :  ( Main Link to IBM's OS/2 information) ( Information on Fixes/Updates to OS/2)  ( Device Drivers )  ( IBM Hardware, and OS/2 )

Non-IBM Sites : ( information, and links to most Internet OS/2 sites )

Trouble installing OS/2  ? :

Free Real Time Technical Support and OS/2 Discussion

If your host has an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client installed, it is
possible to get free help with installing, or any other problems by
joining the OS/2 channel.  Although the people in the channel are not
IBM technical support personnel , they can be very helpful.  To see if
you have an IRC client, try typing:


at the command line, and see if it works.  To join the OS/2 channel, type:

/join #os/2

Aside from Technical Support, IRC is also a good place to get information,
rumours, and tips about OS/2.  There are several IRC clients available for
OS/2 at ftp sites such as

Reporting Problems to IBM

If you have an OS/2 problem you may contact IBM directly.  Consult the
OS/2 FAQ List for details on OS/2 technical support (through
CompuServe, to CompuServe from the Internet, or by telephone).

Reporting Problems/Suggestions for this Document

If you notice any problems with or have any suggestions for this document,
please e-mail me at:  I try to keep up with any
discussions about this document that are posted to any of the newsgroups, but
occasionally I miss a few.  E-Mailing me will assure that I receive your
comment.  Also, please do not hesitate to give me suggestions.  Most changes
to this document are made because someone has suggested it!

Again, welcome to OS/2!
V. Phaniraj, Electrical Engg.
North Dakota State University 		(701) 231-1024 (Office)
Fargo, North Dakota, 58105		(701) 231-8677 (FAX) 
To YOU I'm an atheist; to GOD, I'm the loyal opposition --  Woody Allen

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM