'The Connecting Platform'
In contrast to the general opinion about eComStation, you can use it for a wide range of
different tasks. Because of the high availability it is used frequently for a dedicated mission
critical task. In various large companies OS/2 is already successfully used for years as a
stable multifunctional server system. Furthermore eComStation becomes used more and
more by home users as well as the medium and small businesses because of the low license
costs, its reliability and its resistance to Windows viruses. eComStation can be widely used for
various applications, like office, internet,
The multi platform support within OS/2 and eComStation is also valued highly by its users.
Multi platform support
eComStation comes with excellent support for Java. The Java implementation for eCS is not
coming directly from Sun though. Apart from the standard IBM Java versions 1.1.8 and
1.3.1 also a (SUN based) version 1.4_02 from Innotek (http://www.innotek.de) is included
eComStation has standard a 'Virtual DOS Machine' (VDM) which allows you to run all
DOS programs in a full screen session as well as in a window on the desktop. Multiple DOS
programs can be executed simultaneously
in multiple Virtual DOS machines. The Virtual
DOS Machine can be configured separately via a graphical interface for each program, by
which it can be adjusted perfectly to the program it should run, and to provide an optimal
eCS indeed offers 'a better DOS than DOS'.
Besides the perfect support for DOS, eComStation also delivers a very good Windows 3.x
emulation. With this it is possible to use all classic 16 bit Windows applications, again in a
window on the desktop or in a full screen session.
With the use of Odin (http://odin.netlabs.org), a Windows 32 bit API library which is
comparable with Wine on Linux, you can use programs on OS/2 and eComStation that
would otherwise only run on Windows. Odin is a very complex program, which is still
actively developed, so it might not be give a perfect compatibility with Windows yet.
Nevertheless, you can already use some very interesting programs with Odin, like Adobe
Acrobat, RealPlayer, etc.
eComStation also offers the opportunity to run Unix programs. This can be
done by using the included Hoblink X11 in a window on the desktop, or with XFree86/2 in a
full screen session.
A popular X-application is The Gimp, a graphical application which can take up the
challenge with for instance Photoshop. XFree86/2 is a free, open source implementation of
the X-Window system. A lot of information can be found at
The lack of 100% compatibility with Microsoft Office is not only a big problem for eCS, but
actually for each operating system that tries to be an alternative for Windows. This may not
apply to the MacOS, as Microsoft Office is also available for that platform.
However the situation isn't that dramatical for OS/2 and eComStation as you might think.
There are for instance different office suites available for eComStation which can compete
on functionality with Microsoft Office and which offer perfect data compatibility.
The popular 'open-source' brother of StarOffice from Sun is now also available for
eComStation, by which the often mentioned criticism about not having a 'serious' package of
office applications for the OS/2 platform is finally solved. OpenOffice.org for OS/2 and
eComStation is an excellent program package with an almost perfect exchangeability for
data files with MS Office.
With OpenOffice.org almost everything is possible. Creating a PDF file from a document in
OpenOffice or Word format is done in a wink, and also exporting a "Microsoft Power-Point"
presentation to "Shock Wave Flash" belongs to the possibilities. So even on OS/2
and eComStation it is no longer a problem to open complex MS Word and Excel files
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This is a complete suite of office applications with a word processor, spreadsheet, database
and presentation application. The most appreciated component of SmartSuite is its word
processor 'WordPro'. Lotus SmartSuite is part of the eComStation 1.2 Application Pack and
offers very good import and export facilities from and to Microsoft Office.
It is seperately available as part of the Application Pack
Although the company Sundial Systems doesn't deliver a
real office suite, they do deliver some separate programs for tasks like word processing
(ClearLook), spreadsheets (Mesa 2), relational databases (DBExpert) and personal
information management (Relish). The Sundial Systems applications, especially Mesa 2, are
a nice example of how the powerful WorkPlace Shell from OS/2 and eCS can give extra
value to applications which know how to take full usage of the special capabilities of the
For professional Desktop Publishing on eComStation and OS/2 the ideal program is Maul
Publisher from Peter Koller (http://www.manglais.com). Although DTP programs easily
take about 100MB disk space under Windows ©, Maul Publisher is satisfied with just about
20 MB already.
Maul is especially useful for making leaflets, posters, magazines and richly illustrated
documents in any format. Maul is loaded with a large number of accurate techniques which
are specifically meant for usage in the graphical market, like text comparison, printing
booklets (leaflets and periodics on A5), add colour separation, exact scaling of bitmaps,
Because Maul is designed to work with printer coordinates a far higher accuracy is achieved
then with a word processor. You will be surprised by the printing quality of the created
documents with Maul.
Here are some real life examples for which Maul can be used, for instance:
With its standard powerful TCP/IP environment, FTP and Telnet servers and
into the graphical Desktop, OS/2 has everything on board to serve as a great Internet platform.
- Creating company logos. Text following a flowed line is something that Maul can do
- Creating high resolution PDF documents. Maul has a special setting for creating PDF
documents. For this the free ePDF program is used ((http://www.subsys.de/ePDF)
- Creating graphs and "flow diagrams". The possibility that Maul can print text
vertically is very handy in this case.
Mozilla is the best web browser for eComStation available at this moment (and some think
that this is even true for every platform). Mozilla is an 'open-source' project and the program
is completely free. This browser has been specifically designed to be as compatible with the
international HTML and Internet standards as it can be and can be downloaded from
eComStation includes a standard firewall, which guarantees the necessary security when
your machine is connected to the Internet. This firewall comes from IBM's own AIX Unix
operating system and is of excellent quality.
Sharing files over so called peer-to-peer networks like Gnutella or OpenNap is very popular.
Unfortunately there are currently no native eCS and OS/2 applications available for this kind
of work. But Java applications like Xnap (http://xnap.sourceforge.net) or LimeWire
(http://www.limewire.com) run perfectly under eCS and are a good alternative. Gathering
MP3 files and movies and having nothing to fear for viruses and Trojan horses is pure
luxury these days. This luxury is offered by the operating system eCS.
eComStation is mainly looked at as a "business" operating system, but it has nevertheless
very acceptable multimedia capabilities. There is a limited offering in useful multimedia
applications, but most games are outdated, so this platform might not be for you when you
are a gamer. Thanks to the great DOS capabilities many DOS games can be played very
About all digital audio formats are, close to standard, supported by eComStation: WAV,
MOD, MIDI, MP3, OGG, etc. There are various programs or 'media players' available by
which you can play these audio files. One of the funniest abilities of eCS is that audio files,
like MP3s, can be seamlessly integrated into the Desktop and therefore you don't even need
a separate program to play the files or modify them.
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With the diverse "Z" player you can play audio files in MP3, OGG and WAV-format, and it
even supports streaming audio (Internet radio). The program contains an equalizer,
favourites, id3 editor and it can convert WAV files into MP3 format. The disk space it takes
is just 260 Kb! (dink.org/z)
Video - DVD
With eComStation you can view the most current digital video formats. The popular DivX
format is supported and also DVD movies are happily played. At the moment the best
'media player' on eCS to play video and DVD is WarpVision..
This 'donation ware' program supports streaming video and supports skins, with which you
can adjust the appearance to your own liking.
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(this document can be found in it's original form and language (dutch) at www.os2world.com/os2ecs)