V2_OS faq

This is the the text of the FAQ-file of the V2_OS open source operating system, originally from 2000.

V2_OS faq

screenshot of FAQ on an unofficial V2_OS website

Q: What is the V2_OS ?
A: The V2_OS is a very fast 32Bit Operating System for 386+ PC's

Q: Is the V2_OS free ?
A: The usage of V2_OS is free, for further detail, see the 'legal' section below.

Q: Why ?!?
A: By keeping the V2_OS free, we hope to get a lot of developers interrested in the OS. When you
make a module, server or a cool application, we only hope that you'll send it back to us so it can be
shared with the rest of the world again. This way the V2_OS will get bigger and bigger, and everyone will benefit from that !

Q: Is the sourcecode available ?
A: We try to supply as much sourcecode as we can in the form of examples for applications and
modules for all compilers, and distribute the source of the libraries etc. However the sourcecode for
boot.v2s, system16.v2s and system32.v2s remain closed, at least for a while...

Q: Why ?!?
A: There are several reasons. One is that programmers ask salaries, and when you pay for something, you dont give it away the next day ;) Also, because of the open architecture of the V2_OS, the source of the kernel is not that important. You don't need to talk to the kernel, you could talk to modules instead if you prefer. And another, very important reason is that by keeping the code here we can have a central point of information, distribution, news and input and programs of other coders !

Q: Where can I get software for V2_OS ?
A: In the download area we collect all the software we and other people make for V2_OS. Know that the V2_OS is only released for a few days, but a lot of developers already mailed us that they were going to develop applications and servers for the V2_OS and send it to us. So expect a lot real soon !

Q: When I run V2_OS will it do anything to my Win9x/NT/Linux/BeOS installation ?
A: When you boot V2_OS from a floppy, it does not touch your harddisks. Only if you run the Format or the Syscopy command, you ask V2_OS to copy itself to the harddisks. Only do this when you know what your doing. Even then we suggest you test this on an empty harddisk or with a disk without any important data.

Q: How do I shutdown V2_OS ?
A: Just hit the powerbutton, no prob.


Q: What are the SystemRequirements for the V2_OS ?
A: A 386+ PC with a floppy-drive !

Q: Is that ALL ?!
A: For booting the V2_OS, yes. Some applications may require for example a VESA2.0 compatible
Videocard, but these requirements will be mentioned next to the download.We try to keep the
requirements as minimal as possible so everyone should be able to run it on any PC.

Q: Can I boot V2_OS from a HD ?
A: Theoreticly yes. Practicly, not yet... We're working on it. Know that if you quickly want to reboot
V2_OS without passing through the BIOS etc, press F12.

Q: Are there any plans on porting V2_OS to Alpha or PPC or ...?
A: No, V2_OS was written for the x86 and we don't have plans to port this.

Q: I have a MAC. Can I use V2_OS ?
A: You can't use it on a plain Macintosh. BUT, connectix has written a PC emulator that allows V2_OS to run on a Macintosh (Significantly slower I might add, but it works) It's called VirtualPC.

Q: How about VMWARE
A: V2_OS runs on VMWARE exept that it doesn't recieve keyboard input. This will be fixed in future versions...

Q: What are the various screens for ?
A: ctrl+t switches to the TERMINAL SCREEN. In this screen you can type commands, run apps, load mods etc. ctrl+d switches to the DEBUG SCREEN. Applications and modules can output debug info here... ctrl+m switches to the MODULE SCREEN. When a module gets loaded it can print some usefull/useless text to these screens. ctrl+b switches to the BOOTUP SCREEN. This screen is a log of what happened during the bootprocess of V2_OS ctrl+c switches to the CRASH SCREEN. When V2_OS has an unsolvable problem it automaticly switches to the crash screen to show some more info on what caused the crash.


Q: Why program for the V2_OS instead of for any other Operating System ?
A: The V2_OS was build for speed, and has become the fasted OS available. Another feature of the
V2_OS is it's modulair architecture which has resulted in a great development platform. It's very easy to add or replace parts of the Operating System.

Q: What programming languages can I use to make software for the V2_OS ?
A: The V2_OS itself is build in pure assembler. So it's a very good platform to use assembler code.
Also, C is a very good choice. We're working on a free C library that let's you use all functionality or the V2_OS from C! It can be found in the 'Download corner'

Q: Is it hard to program for the V2_OS ?
A: No, Not at all ! With the C library, you can just program as for any other OS. And while you just
program like you're used too, you automaticaly benefit from everything the V2_OS has to offer !

Q: Are there any example sourcecodes available ?
A: We're working on a free and downloadable SDK that will contain plenty of Asm and C source-codes! It can be found in the 'Download Corner'

Q: When will the CLibraries be finished ?
A: The C libraries are top-priority. We're working on a Lib for GCC, DJGPP, Metrowerks Codewarrior and even Microsoft Visual C++ ! We're getting a lot of help of vollunteers, but we could always use more help to speed the development up ! If you'd like to help us write something for the libraries, please let us know !

Q: I'd like to develop something for the V2_OS, just for fun... What's missing ?
A: A lot of people are asking for the following:
    *Tools to access the V2_FS from Linux. This shouldn't be to hard since we've documented
    the V2_FS here.
    *A simple GUI.
This is something we find is very important, but we don't have very much coders here who could do it. If you have any ideas, or know how to port a basic TCP/IP system, let us know ! We will help you in any way we can !

Q: Where can I get help when I'm making something for the V2_OS ?
A: We will help you in any way we can with system-information, URL's, documentation etc etc. You
can also post questions or ask someone to join you in the Programming Forum.


Q: What filesystem does V2_OS use ?
A: The native filesystem of V2_OS is V2_FS(surprise!). It is a very fast filesystem since it does not
suffer from things like defragmentation or slack. You can read more about the V2_FS here.

Q: How do I access V2_FS from Dos/Win9x ?
A: We've written several tools that work from Dos/Win9x. They are available in the download corner.

Q: How do I access V2_FS from WinNT ?
A: Windows NT blocks disk access at sector level(for some stupid security reasons). So there is no
way of copying files to V2_FS floppies from Windows NT. (if anyone has a sollution / workaround,
please let us know !)

Q: How do I access V2_FS from Linux ?
A: Tools for copying, deleting and reading files from and to V2_FS floppies are located in the
SDK(downloadcorner). Documentation about the usage is included. We've heard of people who are
writing V2_FS drivers for Linux which means you can eventualy realy MOUNT V2_FS floppies ! As soon as we have news on this we'll let you know...

Q: How do I access V2_FS from OS/2 ?
A: Although we never tried this ourselves, a user reported that it gives the same symptoms as NT. So, OS/2 seems to block disk access at sector level. If anyone has more info about this, please mail us.

Q: How do I access V2_FS from BeOS ?
A: There are no real BeOS tools available yet although some people are thinking about making them.
However, this is the way to copy the V2_OS bootimage to a floppy under BeOS:
dd if=bootdisk.img of=/dev/disk/floppy/raw bs=1k
Thanx to Bart Dezitter for this info !

Q: Does V2_FS have directories ?
A: Currently, no. We're thinking about adding it, in what way we are not sure.

Legal stuff...

Q: Are we free to use V2_OS ?
A: The usage, downloading, installation of V2_OS is 100% free !

Q: Can we develop software for V2_OS ?
A: At this point we would like to set this rule:
You can develop and share applications freely as long as you are *NOT* asking money for your product. If you do want to ask money for your product, contact the V2_Lab first.

Future plans

Q: What can we expect from V2_OS in the next days/weeks/months ?
A: V2_OS is currently not even 2 weeks old. One of the reasons we released it was to get some
feedback of developers, and we did... A *LOT*. These are the things people asked for the most:
-More documentation
We have now documented about 50% of the system, and will add more specs within the next few days.
We'll release gcc and tasm sources for a Mod, a Server and a app that uses them within a day(or two) Note that thelaser has figured out the Mod structure by himself, and documented it on the forum in the thread 'Module code available'
-C libraries
A start has been made and is being picked up by other coders. This libs will continue growing rapidly and ports to compilers other than gcc will be developed.
-Memory management
A lot of people run into problems without something like malloc and free. These functionalities will be
added to the libs soon by us.
V2_OS was created as our own development platform, and WE don't need multi-tasking. However, a lot of people WOULD like to see V2_OS multitasking. This our point of view on this: We will not change the architecture of the kernel to allow it to multitask since this will affect the whole system even when it is not multitasking and that's not the way we ment it. *BUT* it is very easy to write a shell, and a lot of people already started one. It shouldn't be to hard to create a shell that multitasks with the current functionality, and we'll do everything we can to support these shells. If something is missing in System32 to allow multtasking shells to work, let us know and we'll add it... (Oppinions on our point of view are very welcome)
These are the short-term plans for V2_OS. A conclusion on this is: We'll be supporting developers with whatever they want to develop. We don't have any long-term plans yet, instead of expanding functionality... 


 Trouble Shooting


Q: The floppy lights stay on, is this a problem ?
A: This is no problem. It's just that V2_OS doesn't turn it off. The lights do not indicate drive activity, so you can safely replace floppies, or reset the system etc... Since this seems to confuse some people we will turn off the led in the next version...

Q: I can't open one of your zipfiles with WinZip !
A: We used winzip7.0 to make the zipps. This should not make it incompatible with other versions of
winzip, but you might want to try to get tha latest version... It works for most people.

Q: V2_OS doesn't run on my harddisk less PC !
A: When V2_OS boots, it looks for all floppies and harddisks in the system, just to know what
partitions are available. V2_OS does *NOT* write to these disks ! In future versions of V2_OS we will remove this automatic harddisk scanning so it can boot on a diskless system.

Q: When I boot from the bootfloppy, I get the message 'Failed. Syslock'
A: This indicates that the bootsector cannot load more data from the floppy. This could mean that your floppy is damaged. Making a bootdisk with a NEW floppy could solve this.

Q: The OS boots perfectly to the prompt, but it doesn't respond to the keyboard.
A: We've had a few people mailing us with this question (Mostly Laptop users, VMWare has this
problem aswell). It has to do with a BIOS that does not reset the keyboard controller at bootup. V2_OS should do this manualy, but since we have never encountered this problem, it's not included yet. We'll try to fix it in the next release. If anyone knows how to reset this keyboard btw, info is welcome :)

Q: Switching between terminals messes up my screen !
A: Some Laptops and (very) old videocards can cause this. It's a rare problem, but it exists. We'll have a fix in the next release.

Q: V2_OS boots perfectly, and I see a prompt, but it doesn't respond to keyboard input...
A: We've seen this problem, and believe to have found a fix for it, and it will be included in one of the next releases.

Q: V2_OS boots, but I don't see a prompt.
A: This has to do with an incompatible VGA card. We have found a fix for it, and it will be included in one of the next releases.


2000, V2_


(This version from http://www.oocities.org/siliconvalley/sector/4582/v2os/v2faq.html – archive of an original geocities site)

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