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eComStation - What's the Next Step?

TITLE: eComStation - What's the Next Step?

DATE: 2012-10-01 21:31:02

AUTHOR: Eugene Gorbunoff

What is eComStation?

eComStation is an Operating System that you can install on your computer instead of Windows. Browsing the Web on eComStation is convenient. There's no viruses and trojan horses.

There are lots of applications for eComStation (many of them were ported from Linux), totally different user interface and it is simple to configure.

What's new in the eComStation world this year?

1) There's a progress in ACPI subsystem and the kernel: the suspend/resume for the laptop computers works now. The power management system has been debugged, so computers will be able to run in low power mode.

2) Several new native applications has been released.

3) Flash Player has been debugged, as well as Java 6 with a plugin.

4) USB drivers have been debugged.

We'll be able to make conclusions by the end of the year, when new version of eComStation is released.

What are the characteristics of eComStation's market?

(for developers) Our market is similar to any other market. A product has to be special, affordable and you'll need to advertise it to make people buy it.

eComStation's market is pretty limited. We need general purpose software, there's not enough buyers of dedicated software.

Changes in the PC world

We have to admit that PC market undergoes dramatic changes. Consumers prefer tablet PCs over traditional PCs. Chinese manufacturers have created lots of low-cost tablet PC models. Tablets are actively advertised on TV and internet.

Most users just consume content, not create it. All they need is a tablet for viewing, not a fully-featured computer to create something. Developers also try to enter mobile applications market.

That's bad news for eComStation - Windows users move to tablets, not eCS.

eComStation can't enter the tablet PC market

It can't indeed. Tablet PCs market is a separate self-sustained market.

Instead, we have to create communication tools:

  • eComStation tools for creation of software and data for the tablets
  • data sync and backup tools
  • turn eCS into a server for those "little friends"

On the other hand, eComStation works today on x86-based tablet and ultra-mobile PCs:

  • ASUS R2H
  • ASUS EEE Slate EP121
  • UMID mBook
  • Samsung Series 7 Slate

Is there an opportunity for competition?

There's always an opportunity to enter the market and occupy certain niche there.

An example: there are thousands of tablet PCs available, yet Casio creates something unusual: Casio

In our case:

  • there's a little chance to "invent" some super-fancy utility or application - all software you can imagine has been created for Windows already. Instead we can improve certain sides of eComStation, make it strong in specific domain. Offer a unique function.
  • UI improvements will make eCS much better in general:
    • Comfortable management of files/documents.
    • Usable controls and correct data visualization. (Here everything depends on application developers)

How do you need to change eComStation to attract new users?

It has to be even more user-friendly. Here's what we've got from OS/2 Warp:

  • Take a look at the tortures that Windows users have: you start tying and you have Cyrillic symbols. One has to look at the indicator - whether you change the language or not. In eComStation it is easy: press Alt-LShift and you get Russian layout, press Alt-RShift and English layout is back.
  • Developers of native applications always follow the rule: in error messages the system never accuses the user, but takes the blame upon itself.
  • Processor Pulse is always visible.

All these little features make eComStation very comfortable for work.

What can we add?

  • Auto-saving of application's state and user's documents (where needed)
  • More interactivity, increase the overall number of icons up to 20%
  • Add subsystems such as NetDrive (virtual file system)
  • Add 30 more additional applications and utilities, unify their look and feel.
  • Additional means of communication with gadgets and other peripherals.

How will eComStation change in the nearest future?

Let me ask a question: how do you plan to use eComStation? eComStation moves in the directions that are chosen by users and companies. (If you see a new niche for eComStation - share your thoughts with other developers and users.)

Right now I don't have enough information about how eComStation is used today. We encourage users and companies to share their success stories (and what software they use in their solutions.) (IBM OS/2 Warp)

Speaking of the operating system, there's no need to wait that dramatic changes will happen to eCS. To make system faster and more usable, we need to change 20 .. 50 .. 200 aspects of it.

When developing eComStation we follow the goals:

  • Run OS on real hardware, not inside of a virtual machine session. Drivers... drivers... drivers...
  • Offer 20 essential applications for our users.
  • Invest our resources into support of Intel x86-based laptop and tablet PCs

What applications will be created for eComStation?

The basic idea is: users need software that would automate their work. What you usually do with 3 different software, has to be combined into one. What you usually do using a command line probably is more comfortable to do with a GUI utility.

  • Supposedly, tens of Qt4-applications will be ported this season. (Currently there are about 200 applications ported)
  • New disk utilities will be created.
  • We need more applications and utilities for engineers. So that they can control their Arduinos and other DIY devices etc.

How do you plan to conquer the market?

For many years people buy ready-made PCs, communicators with OS preinstalled. They will not be able to install other OS there.

Selling computers with eComStation preinstalled is the only way to increase the number of our users. We offer several PC models with preinstalled eComStation.

eComStation is not advertised on TV

He have to find other ways of advertising/promotion:

  • Success stories from our users, professionals' opinions
  • We need more application reviews. Each user should contribute a review at least once a year (reviewing one application or a batch of 5 programs).
  • We need more videos, hands-on software reviews - see Sigurd's experience.

When will OS/2 (eComStation) die?

Sometimes it seems that nothing is happening and the end is near. But the next day you receive news from developers and fans... and you realize that there's still a lot of things to do.


What was the main problem of OS/2 back in the 90s?

1) For several years we hear here and there about Nokia: "don't buy products of this company because it has failed." Although these products are as functional as their competitors' devices.

Pretty much the same black PR campaign was held in the 90s against IBM OS/2 Warp. There was a massive attack on the system, yet the community was unable to protect itself. Users were convinced to migrate to other systems. What about the developers? It takes several months of hard work to write only one driver or utility. And just when that piece of software is done, developer announces it (in contrast, spiteful persons already published a hundred of messages).

2) Another problem - development libraries. Developers had to share the libraries, and IBM - choose the best of them and add them to the system. As far as I know, this did not happen.

What needs to be changed today?

At least we have to "plant the seeds and take care of them as they grow":

  • advertisement/banner exchange. It is obvious that the system depends on developers who create shareware programs and useful utilities. But eCS and OS/2-related website admins don't want to place banners on their websites.
  • Create an e-zine, similar to once popular OS2VOICE, and post monthly articles and reviews there.
  • Create and maintain a list of consultants (with location specified) so that companies can appeal to them when assistance with setup/configuration of eCS is needed.
  • Feedback-aggregator for developers. Currently they don't get enough feedback. We have to convince users to send more bug reports and advices.
  • Discuss development on an public forum, so that the knowledge is shared and available in the future.

Is it possible to manually update from eCS 1.2.5 to eCS 2.1

It can take up to several months: you'll have to manually take each step the system made in these 5 years.

We suggest that you install eComStation 2.1 to another partition and then move all your apps/data to the new system.

What new developers can do for eCS?

Reminder: Creation of a software product requires a lot of work. 80% of programs never see a release. Not every developer is able to focus only on essential things and cut stuff that is not important.

What do we expect from new developers? Adaptation of the OS to the new world. The way people work with computers is changing. The landscape is changing:

  • There was a FidoNet once --> now there are social networks.
  • There was a USB radio, databases on CDs --> everything online now.
  • ISDN modems are being replaced with 3G/4G USB modems.
  • Several separated utilities --> everything now has to be integrated into OS


  • Offer own subsystems (from your own system registry implementation to mobile devices monitoring system)
  • Offer user interface extensions
  • File indexing + WPS integration

There's a need for multi-purpose software:

  • Pipeline - automated file and data management
  • Image/photo processing.

Personal Information Management:

  • Notes, accounting software
  • Small web servers.

There are lots of projects waiting for developers at eCo Labs. If you feel like you want to start working on a project, you'll have to take the initiative. (But please make sure that the project is actual and still free)

eComStation is a more undisturbed and simple system. Any developer can have an influence on it and enter the world market at once.


Test the program:

Do you have questions about eComStation? eCo Software support service is the most professional on the market.


Dariusz Piatkowski
2012-10-06 20:22:26

When will eCS be opened up to general 'open source' type folks like myself?

I have software development experience, but attempting to get involved with either eCS or general OS/2 projects is nearly impossible as the critical decision making is controlled/held by several individuals.

When will the OS/2 community take a purely open source approach to this?

Right now it appears that the intent is to make the last possible $$$ out of this ever shrinking community, and that appears to be a recipe for a sure dead end.

We need to make it easier for new developers to enter the space.

Open up projects such as ACPI, or Flash, etc, for the community so we can contribute, either by wide testing of various types of functionality. Also consider selling individual parts of the functionality as opposed to a massive eCS system that requires a complete upgrade!

2012-10-08 15:41:37

eCS aka. OS/2 Warp 4.52 is closed source. MENSYS can treak the GUI surface and develop some drivers. IBM can not free the source-code because large parts of it belongs to Microsoft and other companies. As long as IBM gets money form MENSYS, OS/2 will not even enter the Abandon-Ware zombie state. So ... if you want to tinker around with this 20 year old OS you have a pay for a licence. This might change if MENSYS can not squeese any more money out of eCS and drops it.

The "Voyager" Project was a try to make a remake of a pure Open-Source OS/2 alike OS... still a work in progress or on-hold ?!

2012-10-09 18:32:12

Is there ever going to be a demo disc of an up-to-date ECS?

Lech Wiktor Piotrowski
2012-10-19 04:29:06

Mensys strategy does not attract new customers and pushes away old ones, like me. They want money for everything, even for testing the system or helping to fix it, which is ridiculous. For half a year of my software subscription I got almost nothing (it was unlucky timing) and of course no guarantee of getting anything in the future. So buying a software subscription is likely to be buying nothing, if you are not lucky in timing (nothing gets released, and releases are rare).

Now I am abroad only with my notebook and soon I'll get a new notebook. I would like to install new ecs on it, but how do I know if it will work? I don't. Can I find it out? Not for free. I will have to buy new ecs. Likely buy only to find out that I bought a system I cannot use. Sorry Mensys, this does not work for me and I guess for many users. On one hand you are helping to develop OS/2, on the other you are killing it with your greed.

2012-10-20 23:20:42

Hi. i want something say to eComStation adress. at the first please dont crucifi..me for that that i use some thimes eComstation in Virtualbox and not Legal copy. but i think problem of eComstation is not lack of software but lack of good drivers.. what i know in eComstation there is not native driver for my Radeon HD 6570 graphics.. look to Haiku they have free open source atom bios based KMS driver for Radeon and for Intel Hd graphics too. Panorama is for me not comparable to use with etc Haiku or Linux drivers.. second: there is not good File Browser like Nautilus or Windows XP exploer (is say here xp becouse is 10 years old and is better than new ecs2.1)... viruses? dont be stupid.. eCS is very similar architecture to Windows. what this mean ? viruses are posible maybe there is noone who code it becouse all love ecs.. ECS needs better video driver, better suport for ACPI.. i have still problem boot eCS on my pc with default options.

i want say something good to eCS adress: you have ported QT4 and openJDK this is GOOD its better than run old software. its not sin run QT4 apps . example Haiku too have now ported QT4 and OpenJDK..

i have one question how suported is programing of mikrokontrolers such as Atmel AVR or Microchip PIC on ecomstations? programs like avrdude, cross port of GCC-AVR and GPUTILS with SDCC compiler???


not eCS user but fun from slovakia

2012-10-22 18:34:15

Recently my ECS system failed to boot. It is a legal copy, can I get help?

2012-10-23 23:07:23

What has happened?

Eirik Romstad
2012-12-16 16:27:19

Why do we continue to use eCS? The answer is simple -- because we like it (better than the alternatives). In my case, it is a matter about getting things done. And I work faster on an eCS machine than a Win machine, partly because Win tries to "think" for me. Unfortunately, Win and I operate differently.

With eCS it is different. I can fine tune the system to my needs. The WPS makes it easy to tailor things the way I want them. I would not be surprised to see that many other eCS users are of the same mold. Hence, eCS users are above average when it comes to computer literacy.

Tablet users on the other hand take what they get. With Android making its way into the tablet market we will have a good, open and user friendly interface on tables. Hence, I think there is limited space for eCS here.

The future for eCS lies in being able to communicate with other systems. Drivers are imperative in this context, as is the Samba client, modern USB support, and remote server software. In addition, we need drivers to connect. For some systems there are MultiMac drivers, wired or wireless, preferably both. For other systems, drivers are still missing.

Some piece of advice for new PC-buyers. eCS users can look at the hardware section on these pages to get a feel for what to buy, and what not to buy. In addition, check specs on computers one thinks about buying and compare those specs with the MultiMac driver section -- are there wired or wireless drivers for what you plan to buy?

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