ArcaOS is an operating system based on OS/2, developed and marketed by Arca Noae, LLC under license from IBM. It was codenamed Blue Lion during its development. It builds on OS/2 Warp 4.52 by adding support for new hardware, fixing defects and limitations in the operating system, and by including new applications and tools. It is targeted at professional users who need to run their OS/2 applications on new hardware, as well as personal users of OS/2.
ArcaOS 5.0.5 desktop
|Developer||Arca Noae, LLC (based on code from IBM, Microsoft, and other developers)|
|Written in||C, C++, REXX, Java, assembly language|
|Source model||Closed source|
|Initial release||May 15, 2017|
|Latest release||5.0.6 / August 31, 2020|
|Package manager||ANPM (based on RPM and YUM)|
|Kernel type||Hybrid kernel|
|Default user interface||Workplace Shell, cmd|
|License||Proprietary software with open-source components|
As with OS/2 Warp, ArcaOS is a 32-bit single user, multiprocessing, preemptive multitasking operating system for the x86 architecture. It is supported on both physical hardware and virtual machine hypervisors.
ArcaOS supports symmetric multiprocessing systems with up to 64 processor cores, although it is recommended to disable hyperthreading. As of version 5.0.6, ArcaOS is ACPI 6.1-compliant and includes the 20200717 release of ACPICA.
In addition to the device drivers included with OS/2 Warp 4, ArcaOS includes a variety of drivers developed by Arca Noae, and various third parties:
- Network adapters are supported either with Arca Noae's MultiMac technology, which employs FreeBSD driver code, or a selection of GenMAC drivers. Support for wireless networking is somewhat limited, though MultiMac support for additional chipsets is planned for future releases of ArcaOS.
- ArcaOS replaces the 16-bit IBM OS/2 USB driver with a new 32-bit driver capable of supporting USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 controllers.
- Audio support utilizes the Uniaud generic audio driver, now maintained by Arca Noae. Uniaud is based on the ALSA framework from the Linux kernel. In addition, a selection of device-specific drivers are included with ArcaOS. A new audio driver is planned for future releases of ArcaOS, based on FreeBSD audio drivers.
- Video support is provided by Panorama generic unaccelerated VESA driver, or SNAP accelerated video driver. Features such as acceleration and multi-head are supported for a limited number of graphics chipsets. Support for these features in additional chipsets, such as the Intel HD series, is planned.
- Storage drivers are available for IDE and AHCI, and a select number of SCSI adapters are supported. An NVMe driver is under development.
- Support for printers is provided by the eCups project, which is based on the open source CUPS printing system for Unix.
- Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird
- Apache OpenOffice
- Lucide, an open source document viewer
- XWorkplace, a set of open source enhancements to the Workplace Shell
- OpenJDK 6
- Qt 4 and 5
- Samba 4
- Heimdal Kerberos
- VirtualBox Guest Additions
ArcaOS includes a number of software components which allow it to directly run software developed for other operating systems, and to simplify the process of porting software to ArcaOS:
- ArcaOS includes OS/2's VDM and WIN-OS/2, allowing ArcaOS to run 16-bit MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 applications natively. ArcaOS features some improvements to these subsystems which are not found in OS/2, such as the ability to access volumes greater than 2GB from Windows and DOS, as well as ongoing work which will allow 16-bit Windows and DOS software to run on UEFI systems which do not have a traditional BIOS.
- ArcaOS includes Odin, based on Wine, which provides a subset of the Win32 API. Odin can be used to run certain Win32 applications directly, while other applications, such as the OS/2 port of OpenJDK, use the Odin API to simplify porting Windows software to OS/2.
- ArcaOS provides a Unix compatibility layer named kLIBC which facilitates the porting of open source Linux applications to ArcaOS. A variety of Linux tools ship with ArcaOS such as the Bash shell and the GNU coreutils, while others are available through the ArcaOS package manager, such as GCC.
- A port of OpenJDK is included, which allows ArcaOS to run Java applications which do not have platform-specific dependencies.
FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32 are also supported using either the kernel's own FAT driver, or a new Arca Noae-developed FAT32 IFS driver, included in ArcaOS since version 5.0.3. ArcaOS includes support for optical disc filesystems such as ISO 9660 and UDF.
NetDrive for OS/2 provides access to a variety of additional filesystems such as NTFS and NFS via its own IFS driver. The ArcaOS distribution includes a limited license version of NetDrive but the fully licensed version is capable of mounting a number of other local, native, and foreign file systems.
Installation and updatesEdit
ArcaOS features a new graphical installer which replaces the old IBM installer used in OS/2 Warp. Unlike OS/2, the ArcaOS installation process does not require a boot floppy, and instead the installer can be booted directly from optical media, or from a USB flash drive. The installer also provides an update facility, which allows ArcaOS to be updated to the latest release without reinstalling the entire operating system.
Installation and updates of individual software packages is provided through the Arca Noae Package Manager (ANPM), which consists of a native OS/2 graphical frontend on top of RPM and YUM. Software is provided through a mixture of freely available, and subscription only RPM repositories.
The minimum hardware requirements for ArcaOS 5.0 is as follows:
|Processor||Intel Pentium Pro or AMD K6|
|Memory (RAM)||512MB minimum
|Graphics Card||VGA video card with VBE 2.0 support|
|Storage space||2GB of available disk space|
|Removable media||Installation requires DVD-ROM drive or USB flash drive|
|Firmware||Traditional BIOS, or UEFI with CSM enabled|
|Input devices||PS/2 or USB keyboard and mouse|
ArcaOS was formally announced on October 23, 2015, at the Warpstock 2015 event (an OS/2 and eComStation user group event) under the code name "Blue Lion" by Arca Noae's Managing Member, Lewis Rosenthal.
Some of the planned features for Blue Lion announced at the time were:
- new SMP kernel
- new pre-boot menu
- new OS installer with support for installation from USB memory stick and across a network
- device drivers already produced by Arca Noae as part of their Drivers & Software Subscription
- the latest Workplace Shell enhancements
- updated CUPS print subsystem
- updated PostScript printer driver pack
- localization in several languages besides English
At the time of the announcement, the initial release was projected for late third quarter of 2016, but Arca Noae also stated that no actual release date had been set.
The name "ArcaOS" was first published in a Tech Republic article on May 26, 2016, while the arcaos.com domain was registered December 20, 2015. In the same Tech Republic article, Lewis Rosenthal was quoted as saying that the first release of ArcaOS would be version 5.0, as it follows onto the last release of OS/2 Warp from IBM, which was 4.52 (also known as Merlin Convenience Pack 2, or MCP2).
ArcaOS 5.0 was released May 15, 2017. The Register published an article about the release on May 19th, 2017. There were two editions released: a commercial edition, intended for enterprise use (including 12 months of upgraded/prioritized technical support), and a personal edition, targeted at non-business users (including six months of standard technical support) at a reduced price. Pricing was listed as $229 per license for the commercial edition, and $129 per license for the personal edition, with $99 promotional price in effect for the first 90 days following release.
ArcaOS 5.0 was followed by a number of maintainance releases between 2017 and 2020. In addition to bug fixes and driver updates, the maintainance releases added some significant features such as USB 3.0 support, the ability to install from a USB drive, and the update facility. During Warpstock 2020, Arca Noae announced that 5.0.6 would be the final maintanance release of 5.0, and that it would be followed by the 5.1 release.
Prior to the release of ArcaOS 5.0, ArcaOS 5.1 was originally planned for release in 2017 with a focus on supporting other languages including French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Dutch. Following the release of ArcaOS 5.0, Arca Noae began discussing a 5.1 release in their roadmaps, along with proposed new features. During Warpstock 2020, Arca Noae announced that 5.1 is expected to be released during 2021. Some features planned for inclusion into 5.1 include:
- Support for booting on UEFI-only systems without a Compatibility Support Module (CSM). This involves providing emulation of specific BIOS functionality which the operating system depends on (particularly interrupts INT 10H and INT 13H). As of 2020, Arca Noae have demonstrated ArcaOS installing onto a UEFI system and booting with the CSM disabled.
- Support for disks using GUID partition tables (GPT) is under development, which will allow disks larger than 2TB to be supported.
- Localizated releases of ArcaOS, known as National Language Versions (NLV). Planned languages include German, Spanish, French, Italian, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Dutch. This involves augmenting the localization in OS/2 Warp 4 with translations for the new software added in ArcaOS, such as the installer and XWorkplace.
- An upgrade facility to allow in-place migration of ArcaOS 5.0 to 5.1 without reinstalling the entire operating system.
- A migration facility to allow in-place migration of OS/2 Warp 4 and eComStation systems to ArcaOS without removing the existing operating system installation first. This feature is unlikely to be included in the initial 5.1 release.
- Desktop search functionality based on the open-source Recoll project.
- Replacing the monolithic IBM Selective Install utility with a number of Arca Noae-developed utilities.
- New device drivers, particularly support for NVMe drives.
The OS/2 software vendor Bitwise Works is porting QtWebEngine (based on Chromium) to OS/2 and ArcaOS in order to support a new browser to replace Firefox. This has been prompted by the increasing complexity of the Firefox codebase, and use of the Rust programming language in newer versions of Firefox - whose compiler is unlikely to ever be supported on the OS/2 platform. During Warpstock 2020, a demo was carried out which showed the Qt WebEngine Demo Browser running on ArcaOS and successfully loading modern web pages.
Originally the Falkon browser had been considered for porting to the OS/2 platform, but it has since been discounted due to Falkon's dependency on libraries from the KDE Frameworks. As a result, the Otter Browser is being considered instead. The new web browser will be added to the ArcaOS 5.1 release series once it is complete.
|5.0||2017-05-15||First public release of ArcaOS|
|5.0.1||2017-07-09||Installer fixes and driver updates|
|5.0.2||2018-02-10||Added ability to boot from USB media|
|5.0.3||2018-08-19||Updates to software and drivers|
|5.0.4||2019-07-21||Update facility which allows ArcaOS to updated without reinstalling|
|5.0.5||2020-06-06||USB 3.0/xHCI support|
|5.0.6||2020-08-31||Installer fixes and updates|
- "ArcaOS 5.0 from Arca Noae is the new release of OS/2 for the 21st century". arcanoae.com.
- Blue Lion Announcement at Warpstock 2015
- OS/2: Blue Lion to be the next distro of the 28-year-old OS
- "About ArcaOS". Retrieved 2020-08-31.
- Lunduke, Bryan (23 May 2017). ""OS/2 Based ArcaOS" - Lunduke Hour - May 23, 2017" – via YouTube.
- "Do you have plans for a 64-bit ArcaOS?". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
- "ACPI Requirements". arcanoae.com.
- "Have a glimpse of the new ArcaOS desktop". arcanoae.com. 2017-05-21. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
- "System Requirements for ArcaOS 5.0". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
- "Tested Hardware". Retrieved 2020-09-05.
- "Virtual Machine Configuration". Retrieved 2020-09-05.
- "ACPI Driver Requirements". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-06.
- "Readme for the ACPI Driver Package". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-06.
- Arca Noae wiki: MultiMac NIC Drivers
- Project: Generic MAC Wrapper Driver (GenMac)
- "Warpstock Europe Conference 2020 - Day 2". youtube.com. 2020-05-17. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Arca Noae progress report: USB, ArcaOS updater, multimedia". arcanoae.com. 2019-10-16. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "ArcaOS 5.0.5 now available". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
- "Arca Noae wiki: Uniaud - Audio subsystem". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- Arca Noae wiki: Panorama Video Driver
- Arca Noae wiki: Arca Noae SNAP Graphics for OS/2
- "How can I tell if my current disk drive is compatible with ArcaOS?". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Roadmap: Drivers". Retrieved 2020-08-24.
- "Welcome to eCups". netlabs.org. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
- "Third Party Work". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
- "Have a glimpse of the new ArcaOS desktop". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
- "ArcaOS 5.0 Changes". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
- "Getting the most out of DOS and Win-OS/2 sessions". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Why can't my DOS and Win-OS/2 sessions see more than 2GB of free space?". Retrieved 2020-09-03.
- "Warpstock Europe Conference - Day 1". youtube.com. 2020-05-16. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Java for OS/2 and OS/2-based systems". trac.netlabs.org. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Getting to know the Unix Compatibility Subsystem (kLIBC)". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
- "Compatibility Subsystems". Retrieved 2020-09-08.
- "Lucide Building Instructions". trac.netlabs.org. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "ArcaOS 5.0 Installation Guide" (PDF). arcanoae.com. May 2017. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Installation Planning". arcanoae.com. 2020-06-06. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "FAT32 Installable File System Driver". Retrieved 2020-09-04.
- "DVD/UDF". ecsoft2.org. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "ArcaMapper". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Network File System (NFS) plugin for NetDrive". ecsoft2.org. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "NTFS plugin for NetDrive". ecsoft2.org. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "NetDrive for OS/2". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Writing the ArcaOS installer". youtube.com. 2017-10-06. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "What installation media do I need to install ArcaOS? Will it install from diskettes?". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Updating from a prior release". arcanoae.com. 2020-06-24. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "YUM and RPM package manager update". youtube.com. 2016-05-31. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Package Manager". arcanoae.com. 2020-06-22. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Panorama". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
- Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?
- OS/2 comes back from the dead
- OS/2 resurrected: Blue Lion becomes ArcaOS, details emerge for upcoming release 
- "OS/2 Timeline". os2museum.com. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
- ArcaOS 5.0 release announcement
- at 02:00, Simon Sharwood 19 May 2017. "What is dead may never die: a new version of OS/2 just arrived". www.theregister.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
- "Warpstock 2020 - Virtual & Free". youtube.com. 2020-11-07. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
- "ArcaOS 5.1 Roadmap" (PDF). warpstock.org. 2017. Retrieved 2020-11-08.
- "Booting ArcaOS on UEFI hardware (demonstration)". youtube.com. 2019-08-08. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- James Sanders (2019-08-13). "Modern OS/2 distribution ArcaOS adds support for booting via UEFI". techrepublic.com. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Arca Noae's plan for supporting GPT disk layouts in ArcaOS". arcanoae.com. 2020-10-26. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
- "National Language Support for OS/2". youtube.com. 2019-04-19. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
- "Roadmap: ArcaOS". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-11-08.
- "Warpstock Europe Conference 2020". youtube.com. 2020-05-17. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
- Klein, Roderick (2017-10-11). "Sponsorship needed for new OS/2 web browser". articles.os2voice.org. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
- "ArcaOS 5.0.1 now available". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
- "ArcaOS 5.0.2 now available". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
- "ArcaOS 5.0.3 now available". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
- "ArcaOS 5.0.4 now available". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
- "ArcaOS 5.0.6 now available". arcanoae.com. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
- Arca Noae – Website of the developer of ArcaOS
- OS/2 World – Community of OS/2, eCS and ArcaOS users
- VOICE – The Virtual OS/2, eCS and ArcaOS Users group and newsletter
- EDM/2 – Electronic Developer Magazine for OS/2
- Bitwise Works – Developer of open source Software for OS/2 and ArcaOS
- eCSoft/2 – The Complete OS/2 Software Encyclopedia