Merlin Bugs and "Undocumented Features"- by Kevin Linfield

Since I have installed Merlin on my home machine (486DX66, 16 MB RAM, ATI Mach 32 video at 1280x1024) I have been both impressed and disappointed in many things. But, as part of my job as beta tester, I must be critical and mention problems and things that I think must be changed.


1. Java support was installed (onto my first HPFS partition) but I did not select this for install (yes, I made sure the box was not checked).

2. Merlin autodetected the wrong IRQ for my Sound Blaster Pro Deluxe. Warp 3.0 detected (or guessed) IRQ 5. Merlin tried IRQ 7 and I had to change it.

3. The install program did not take into account swapper size when installing into a limited partition. My swapper grew so big that my installation failed because the partition was filled.

4. Even though I chose advanced install and had Warp on my E: drive the install defaulted to C: (Win 95).

5. If you install the Multimedia on a different partition, you cannot use the Sound Schemes (files are not found as it defaults to the installation drive).

Selective Install

After using Merlin for a while, I tried to install some other stuff that I didn't install when I started.

1. I am unable to find out how to install the IAK (or the TCP/IP). Yes, I could have installed it when I installed Merlin, but I didn't install this part because I was testing only the OS.

2. When I do a selective install, Merlin claims I have no CD-ROM attached to my machine. If I tell it I have one (other EIDE), it reinstalls all of the CDROM device drivers.

3. Java support gets installed again, every time I do a selective install.

WPS stuff

Many of these things are not repeatable, so your mileage may vary.

1. After I opened the Programs folder (on my Desktop), I was unable to close it until I shutdown.

2. There is an EXIT button on the Toolbar (old LaunchPad).

3. Sometimes I am unable to access the icon on the upper left of my Desktop (I have "always sort Desktop" on). Again, shutdown and reboot, then it works fine.

4. The swapper grows really big. As stated, I have 16 MB of RAM. Install defaults my swapper to 2 MB. After boot it is about 8 MB, and after playing around for about 2 hours, it is at 24 MB. After 6 hours, it was at 42 MB. Closing all apps and waiting for 15 minutes it shrunk back to 24 MB.


1. DeScribe Voyager is redrawn extremely slowly (almost unusable). Just pressing page-up or page-down means a wait. IBM Works and other programs do not have this problem (ATI Mach 32 with 2 MB of VRAM at 1280x1024x256).

2. EPM 6.03 will not let me delete blank lines. I was programming and wanted to delete some blank lines between lines of code. I can not select the return chars, nor does the DEL key get rid of the line.

3. IBM Works word processor does not save the state of ruler on or off (I want the ruler OFF always). This is a "feature" that has been in since FootPrint Works 1.0.

I'm sure that there are more, but these are the major ones that I have noticed. It would be appreciated if others would verify these for me, and contact IBM with a bug report.

Kevin Linfield is a Toronto based consultant and a freelance writer. He can be reached via e-mail at Be sure to check out Linfield's List, Kevin's favourite OS/2 Freeware.

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