Monday, January 26, 2009

Plug me in!

A new release of VmwAROS is available for download. It's the first official update to add USB mass storage support to VmwAROS, since Michal Schulz added it to AROS some weeks ago. The good news is that you can now plug your USB pendrives in a VmwAROS machine and copy files from/to them. USB code is young, however, so you can still expect some weird results from it, ranging from totally ignored USB mass storages to AROS freezing, but usually you'll see a new volume icon appearing on the desktop.

Please notice that, due to missing cacheing features, FAT and FFS filesystems will be really slow. Files will be transferred at speeds like 150 KB/sec or so, while creating a SFS partition will let you transfer them at full speed: 1,4 MB/sec, as much as USB 1.1 specifications allow. AROS doesn't support yet USB 2.0, so USB 2-class devices will run slower. Moreover, FAT filesystem currently has a little limitation, showing all files as generic tools. Just copy them to RAM: to open them with a double-click. AROS developers are working hard to fix these issues, if someone would be so kind to give 'em a hand, just contact them with the AROS developers' mailing list. If you have issues with a particular pendrive, don't forget to grab my USB-tester and send its output to the bugtracker, adding your hardware configuration.

This is not the only one good news. VmwAROS includes an updated version of Martin's Server Suite, which correctly handles AROS DHCP addresses, simplifying network configuration and allowing file transfers also when using a dynamic IP address. MSS includes both FTP (YAFS) and HTTP (Snug) servers, so you can browse your AROS machine from any other computer connected to the same network, or even use VmwAROS to run your website.

Krzysztof Smiechowicz has made some enhancements to MPlayer, and now VmwAROS can play also DVDs. There are some little limitations, though, that will be addressed really soon: encrypted DVDs are not supported at this stage, due to a problem in the AROS kernel, and DVD menu won't work for now. He has also updated to version 1.8 his port of Eternal Lands, the first MMORPG playable on AROS, which is obviously included in VmwAROS 1.0.2.

In the latest weeks there had been many bugfixes and contributions to AROS' ata.device, extending AROS compatibility to many other motherboards and EIDE/SATA chipsets. People who had problems booting older versions of VmwAROS, or had been stuck to emergency mode kernel, should try the new ISO.

VmwAROS 1.0.2 is available in two formats: the complete Live! DVD ISO file, and an update disk for current 1.0 and 1.0.1 users. Update 1.0.2 includes also stuff of 1.0.1. Enjoy!

PS: since I was told that during installation of VmwAROS Live! (and Live! only), some "overwrite files requests" popped up, I have made a newer Live! 1.0.2 package which is 3 MB smaller and doesn't have this issue anymore. If you have downloaded the former version, you do not need to download the package again, you simply need to answer 'yes (all)' to get rid of the problem. However, if you're planning to seed a torrent for VmwAROS Live! 1.0.2, please ensure the file name is VmwAROS_Live_1_0_2b.7z.exe (there must be a 'b' before .7z.exe). Thanks.