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Networking OS/2 Warp and Windows- by Brian L. Juergensmeyer

When OS/2 Warp version 4 was first released to the general public, IBM said that it was targeting OS/2 Warp at the "connected consumer". However, during the one widespread public beta of OS/2 Warp version 4, there were many complaints that the integration of the network installation routine into the operating system installation was very roughly done. There was also a feeling that the documentation that told users which parts of the network installation would be required for a given networking setup was either missing or incomplete.

It is my intention to assist you, the end user who wants to connect as a peer into a Windows for Workgroups or Windows 95 network, in accomplishing just that.

A Primer

First, I'll give a little background on how OS/2 communicates with Windows. Windows uses a proprietary Microsoft protocol known as NetBEUI to communicate with other Windows PCs on a LAN (or Local Area Network).

There are similarities and differences between NetBEUI and TCP/IP, which is probably the best known networking protocol in existence right now. The main difference that will concern us is this: unlike TCP/IP, NetBEUI is NOT routable. This means that a Windows PC can only use NetBEUI to communicate with other PCs that are not on the other side of a router.

Recently, however, Microsoft has written a clever little hack that allows NetBEUI to be routed (at least in a sense). Since TCP/IP was designed to be very flexible, it is possible to encase a NetBEUI packet inside a TCP/IP packet and send that through a router. This is known as NetBEUI over TCP/IP (or NBTCP for short).

Jumping In

So, in order to communicate with a Windows PC, we must first install the same protocol on our PC that Windows is using. Unfortunately, IBM does not come right out and say, "Hey you, here is NetBEUI." Instead, IBM hides it inside something called, "File and Print Services", which Warp offers to install for you during the GUI portion of the install procedure. If you do not install "File and Print Services" during the original installation, you can install them later though; the "Selective Install for Networking" is in the Install/Remove folder inside the "System Setup" folder.

You will need to check the box marked "File and Print Client" and click the "Next" button. This will bring up a tree view (GIF, 8k) with "File and Print Sharing Services" and "Network Adapters and Protocol Services" (along with other choices, if you are installing other protocols, such as TCP/IP simultaneously) as choices.

First, you need to click on the "File and Print Sharing Services". This will bring up several important choices on the right-hand side of the window and you will be able to choose the name that your workstation will have on the network. You may also enter your "domain name" if you are logging on to or validating through a domain (a topic for next month? hmmm...). At this point, if you are unsure if you need to enter a domain name, ask your system administrator.

Next, click on "Network Adapters for File and Print Sharing". This is where you will select the network card in your PC through which you will be communicating with the network.

Click on "User ID and Password". This is where you will enter your network username and password. (I am unsure if this will create an account for your computer on a Windows NT domain or not. I will attempt to find out before next month and let you all know though.)

Finally, click on "Network Adapters and Protocol Services". Here is where you will install the LAN drivers for the network card itself. Note that if you have a Plug-n-Play Network Interface Card (or NIC), Warp 4 will happily find it and use it in its native Plug-n-Play state.

After your adapter is selected and installed, click "Next" at the bottom of the installation window. There will be much whirring of drives and clicking of CD-ROMs. You will then be asked to shut down and reboot so that the new changes can take effect.

Does It Work?

When your system comes back up, you will note no difference on the surface, but you will be able to use the "Connections" icon on your desktop to browse the local network. You will also be able to select individual shares on the network and assign them virtual drive letters. You should note: there is no set "log on" or "log off" procedure with Warp as there is with either Windows 95 or Windows NT. Warp will only ask you to log on to the network if and when you need to do so.

A security note for systems administrators out there that may be reading this: One of the serious shortcomings in the OS/2 Warp 4 interface is that there is no obvious way of logging a user off the system when he or she is done using it. There is a "Log Off" icon tucked away in the "File and Print Client" folder in the "Connections" folder but this is hardly intuitive. Or, if you look closely, once you install file and print sharing, Warp will add a "Log Off" menu choice about midway down your desktop pop-up menu that may also be used to log a user off of the system. My suggestion is to create a shadow on the Desktop of the "Log Off" icon from the "File and Print Client" folder.

That's All There Is To It!

In closing, this is not the best documented installation that I have ever seen, but this system is capable of logging on to just about any server on the market today. It is truly the open, interoperable system that Microsoft keeps striving for but never achieving. For a very long time, I was the only person where I work that was able to browse both a Pathworks version 5 network and a Windows network simultaneously -- through the magic of Warp 4.

Happy Warping!!

Brian L. Juergensmeyer is a programmer at the VA hospital in Topeka, Kansas. He annoys his IS manager by trying get him to convert from NT/WfW 3.11 to Warp Connect/Warp Server.

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