PS2 FAQ - Operating Systems

Archive-name: PS2-FAQ - Operating Systems
Last-modified: 1996/02/20
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Version: 4.0
Author: Chris Feeny <Alkemyst>

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S) 8.0 Operating Systems (OS)

Q) 8.1 Can I run UNIX on my PS/2? Which UNIX variety works?

Yes you can run UNIX, actually AIX is the IBM UNIX and should run the easiest
though it is not the best implementation. UNIXWare by Novell will also run
out of the box and is a very good implementation. LINUX is probably the best
implementation widely available though it will need a lot of patches.

Note from Mark Wilson

I have successfully installed and run Linux 1.2.13 with a 65sx using either
the Adaptec 1640 or Bustek(Buslogic) BT-640A. The IBM scsi card doesn't work
although it has the same Adaptec chipset. I believe the problem is in the
Bios Address settings. The IBM card has a weird 'non-standard' settings
3540-???? etc. While the other cards do 'standard' bios address(ie. dc000h).
Maybe someone can explain this. If someone wants to send me their Trantor
MCA card I'll try it for them. If you want my adapter settings email me. Now
all we need is an MCA Ethernet driver!

Mark Wilson

Q) 8.2 Why won't certain UNIXs run on my PS/2?

The only thing that stops anything type of program from running on a PS/2 that
would normally run on any other machine with the same CPU/memory etc are
usually the device drivers. In the case of UNIX more than likely it is just
a matter of obtaining the correct disk drivers. If you have ESDI and want to
run LINUX there is a ESDI fix avaliable. If you have a SCSI that is
compatable with any of the supported drivers you are ok also. Currently there
is a large Linux/MCA following and Linux is by itself a great OS...32bit and
totally stable.

For questions on Linux/MCA go to:

I would like to thank these two people for the time they put in on this.

Also Novell UNIXWare will run on a PS/2 and supports the disk controller
common to them. (However verify your setup before purchasing) and SCO Xenix
System V will run. Though I feel Linux is the more robust and supported OS.

Q) 8.3 What is better for the PS/2, MSDOS or PCDOS?

I would have to say it is a toss-up. On one hand PC-DOS supplys special
programs that are optimized for/unique to the PS/2 and may be helpful, then
you have the problem that something may not be compatable with the MS-DOS
standard. Then in purchasing MS-DOS you may not get the programs you need
to run certain diagnostics, and procedures on your PS/2, but you do get 100%
compatable DOS. Buy whichever you think you will need, PC-DOS should be
more than 98% compatable with anything MS-DOS has, but if you have something
in that 2% incompatable the decision is practically made for you.

Another note is that DOS is on its way out in the form we know it today.
The routines and procedures are being incorporated into GUIs (Graphical
User Interfaces) like Windows, OS/2, and of course as always UNIX.
If you are still one holding out on running Windows or OS/2 you really
should start as soon you you get far behind in the realm of OS's' and it
will be hard to catch up.

Q) 8.4 Can I run Windows? What would I need?

Any PS/2 with the basic requirements can run all of the standard' OS's,
such as OS/2 and Windows, even Windows for Workgroups and Win95. Just
make sure you read the box carefully and that your machine has all the
requirements. Even though Windows and other OS's can run in 2-3 MB it
is wise to at least have 4MB and 8MB is a more comfortable range. Try
to get as much RAM as possible as the more RAM you have the faster/more
efficiently your machine will run.

One system.ini line that should be added for the PS/2 user is under the
Enh 386 section, add the line InitPS2MouseAtExit=False. This prevents
Windows from reinitializing the mouse on a ps/2 and thus causing a 5-10
second delay.

Q) 8.5 Can I run Win95? What would I need?

Win95 is a new 32bit operating system, and as a new system it is not without
bugs. Actually the OS should not have been released yet, but that is a
different story, as are accusations of hardcoding in certain bugs that would
not allow non-Microsoft code to run.

IMHO you would be better off saying with Windows 3.11 or NT, or Linux (esp
if all you do is play' on the internet).

For Win95 all you need are the disks and about 8MB of RAM and you are set...
Load it and go. That is really all there is to say. The one thing Microsoft
has down is making it easy to install their software.

Q) 8.6 Can I run Linux now?

Almost 100% of the time providing you are at least running a 386. Almost
every SCSI card is supported. And if you can't run the latest kernel the
invaders kernel usually will run and is very full-featured itself.

email:Chris Feeny

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