Lewis' Blog Tales from the trenches of information technology


OS/2 NetWare Requester FAQ

The following is based on an oloder NetWare TID, which may or may not still be available. It is provided here as a service to the OS/2 and NetWare communities at large. My version was previously hosted in the Rosenthal & Rosenthal knowledgebase, but as that is currently down for a rebuild, and as I have an upcoming eComStation-to-NetWare consultation, I thought I might put this up here.


Running RConsoleJ on OS/2

This article of mine first appeared on the Novell Cool Solutions site in 2004. As Novell has migrated much of the original content to their newer wiki format, and has still left some behind, my own searching took me some time to find it. So, I am reprinting the article here, with a link to the original article (working as of today).

Consider this a .1 update to the original, with references to the excellent OpenJDK 1.6 port we now have available for OS/2.


Unloading an unloadable NLM

One of the frustrating things about NetWare has always been its distinct lack of a decent process killer. Part of this was perhaps over-confidence on the part of Drew Major (and others), thinking that we would never need a process killer because there would be no such thing as a runaway process on NetWare. Another (good) reason might be that killing a process can sometimes be as risky as letting it run, even if it runs until the next server restart.

With NetWare 6, we got a fairly useful bash implementation, along with some standard utilities (grep, egrep, fgrep, cat, etc.). We also happened to get kill and killall. Now, the problem with kill is, of course, that one needs a process id to feed it. Naturally, among the things we lack is a port of ps (don't ask me why!). Trying killall results in a slew of public symbol errors (at least for me). So, what to do?


NLM Memory Tuning

Physician, heal thyself...

One of my NetWare servers has been suffering of late with some runaway memory consumption (I'll leave it for another post to discuss the difference between excessive memory consumption and memory leakage, but suffice it to say, that these are non synonymous conditions). Logging in tonight to check the progress on some backups, I was greeted with:

SERVER-5.70-0 [nmID=2000A]
Short term memory allocator is out of memory.
10 attempts to get more memory failed.
request size in bytes 65536 from Module MYSQLD.NLM

I've not seen MYSQLD run short of memory before, so I took a closer look (backups were still active). I loaded SEG.NLMto see what was going on. The first thing that hit me was that NWMKDE.NLM was consuming over 700MB of RAM, or approximately 21% of the total installed memory in the machine.

Hmmm... What could be the matter, here? Other than Backup Exec, I have no Btrieve apps running on the server. All of the non-system databases run on MySQL on that box. TID # 7003770 references TID # 3216963 (formerly TID # 10058100), which makes reference to deleting the BTI.LCK file created in SYS:SYSTEM. I looked, and sure enough, BTI.LCK was a 0 length file. I deleted it, unloaded BSPXCOM.NLM, BTCPCOM.NLM, and NWMKDE.NLM, and reloaded all of them (I checked my BTI.CFG, and NWMKDE was configured to use 1MB of RAM for cache). Sure enough, memory consumption returned to normal.

Who knows?


Why there’s nothing wrong with NetWare

I'm so tired of hearing "NetWare is dead."

How many years have I heard, "OS/2 is dead..."? More than I care to count. Still, I use OS/2 every day. In fact, I use OS/2 as my normal system on my ThinkPad. I rarely boot to Windows. For Windows applications, I either connect to a Citrix session (which runs a remote Windows desktop) or I use VirtualBox, which allows me to run Windows in a controlled environment...er...in a virtual machine.

The fact is that any operating system which is performing its tasks and running without issue on a given set of hardware is not dead at all. More accurately, it is fulfilling its design requirements, and providing good value for the investment.

So why this big push to abandon NetWare? Because Novell wants to sell more licenses for SLES, I suppose. However, NetWare is still bundled with OES 2. Lack of support from Novell? Who cares? When was the last time any of us really needed engineering support for NetWare 6.5? Surely, we have applied support packs as they became available, but mainly as preventative measures, not because the server was crashing and "this latest service pack was supposed to finally fix it." NetWare simply never shipped in an unstable state, unlike every version of Windows since 3.1.

My point is that if you have a small shop and are using NetWare - and eDirectory - to manage users, files, and print services, what's the point of ripping everything out and replacing it with something - anything - else? Isn't NetWare still getting the job done? Quietly...without intrusion on the important things in life...transparently... Isn't that what an operating system is supposed to do in the first place?

There are tons of scam artists...er...consulting firms out there who are just drooling at the thought of ripping and replacing another NetWare installation, usually with Windows. (I'll have another post on the idiocy of replacing eDirectory with ActiveDirectory in the near future.) All that this type of lateral (or downward) move does is line the pockets of the people selling the bill of goods.

Oh, and FWIW, I happened to look at a client's NetWare 6.5 (OES 1) server the other day. It's uptime was 283 days. No muss; no fuss; just service.