|Developer||Arca Noae, LLC (based on code from IBM, Microsoft, and other developers)|
|Written in||C, C++, REXX, Java, assembly language|
|OS family||OS/2 (and includes a Unix compatibility subsystem)|
|Source model||Closed source with open-source components|
|Initial release||May 15, 2017|
|Latest release||5.0.8 / May 29, 2023|
|Package manager||ANPM (based on RPM and YUM)|
|Kernel type||Hybrid kernel|
|Workplace Shell, cmd|
ArcaOS is an operating system based on OS/2, developed and marketed by Arca Noae, LLC under license from IBM. It was codenamed Blue Lion during its development. It builds on OS/2 Warp 4.52 by adding support for new hardware, fixing defects and limitations in the operating system, and by including new applications and tools, and includes some Linux/Unix (tool) compatibility. It is targeted at professional users who need to run their OS/2 applications on new hardware, as well as personal users of OS/2.
Like OS/2 Warp, ArcaOS is a 32-bit single user, multiprocessing, preemptive multitasking operating system for the x86 architecture. It is supported on both physical hardware and virtual machine hypervisors.
ArcaOS supports symmetric multiprocessing systems with up to 64 processor cores, although it is recommended to disable hyperthreading. As of version 5.0.6, ArcaOS is ACPI 6.1-compliant and includes the 20200717 release of ACPICA.
While ArcaOS is a 32-bit operating system, it has limited PAE support which allows it to use RAM in excess of 4GB as a RAM disk.
ArcaOS supports being run as a virtual machine guest inside VirtualBox, VMware ESXi, VMWare Workstation and Microsoft Virtual PC.
In addition to the device drivers included with OS/2 Warp 4, ArcaOS includes a variety of drivers developed by Arca Noae, and various third parties:
In addition to the software bundled with OS/2 Warp 4, ArcaOS includes some additional software, such as:
ArcaOS includes a number of software components which allow it to directly run software developed for other operating systems, and to simplify the process of porting software to ArcaOS:
ArcaOS's default filesystem is JFS, although HPFS is also supported for backwards compatibility. ArcaOS may be installed to and booted from either filesystem.
FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32 are also supported using either the OS/2 kernel's own FAT driver, or a new Arca Noae-developed FAT32 IFS driver, included in ArcaOS since version 5.0.3. ArcaOS includes support for optical disc filesystems such as ISO 9660 and UDF.
ArcaOS supports serving and accessing CIFS/SMB shares using the open source Samba project, and provides a graphical utility named ArcaMapper to manage configuration.
NetDrive for OS/2 provides access to a variety of additional filesystems such as NTFS and NFS via its own IFS driver. The ArcaOS distribution includes a limited license version of NetDrive but the fully licensed version is capable of mounting a number of other local, native, and foreign file systems.
ArcaOS features a new graphical installer which replaces the IBM installer used in OS/2 Warp. Unlike OS/2, the ArcaOS installation process does not require a boot floppy, and instead the installer can be booted directly from optical media, or from a USB flash drive. The installer also provides an update facility, which allows ArcaOS to be updated to the latest release without reinstalling the entire operating system.
Installation and updates of individual software packages is provided through the Arca Noae Package Manager (ANPM), which consists of a native OS/2 graphical frontend on top of RPM and YUM. Software is provided through a mixture of freely available, and subscription only RPM repositories.
The minimum hardware requirements for ArcaOS 5.0 is as follows:
|Processor||Intel Pentium Pro or AMD K6|
|Memory (RAM)||512MB minimum
|Graphics Card||VGA video card with VBE 2.0 support|
|Storage space||2GB of available disk space|
|Removable media||Installation requires DVD-ROM drive or USB flash drive|
|Firmware||Traditional BIOS, or UEFI with CSM enabled|
|Input devices||PS/2 or USB keyboard and mouse|
ArcaOS was formally announced on October 23, 2015, at the Warpstock 2015 event (an OS/2 user group event) under the code name "Blue Lion" by Arca Noae's Managing Member, Lewis Rosenthal.
Some of the planned features for Blue Lion announced at the time were:
At the time of the announcement, the initial release was projected for late third quarter of 2016, but Arca Noae also stated that no actual release date had been set.
The name "ArcaOS" was first published in a TechRepublic article on May 26, 2016, while the arcaos.com domain was registered December 20, 2015. In the same TechRepublic article, Lewis Rosenthal was quoted as saying that the first release of ArcaOS would be version 5.0, as it follows onto the last release of OS/2 Warp from IBM, which was 4.52 (also known as Merlin Convenience Pack 2, or MCP2).
ArcaOS 5.0 was released May 15, 2017. There were two editions released: a commercial edition, intended for enterprise use (including 12 months of upgraded/prioritized technical support), and a personal edition, targeted at non-business users (including six months of standard technical support) at a reduced price. Pricing was listed as $229 per license for the commercial edition, and $129 per license for the personal edition, with $99 promotional price in effect for the first 90 days following release.
ArcaOS 5.0 was followed by a number of maintenance releases between 2017 and 2021. In addition to bug fixes and driver updates, the maintenance releases added some significant features such as USB 3.0 support, support for NVMe drives, the ability to install from a USB drive, and the update facility.
Prior to the release of ArcaOS 5.0, ArcaOS 5.1 was originally planned for release in 2017 with a focus on supporting other languages including French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Dutch. Following the release of ArcaOS 5.0, Arca Noae began discussing a 5.1 release in their roadmaps, along with proposed new features. During Warpstock 2020, Arca Noae announced that 5.1 is expected to be released during 2021. Some features planned for inclusion into 5.1 include:
The OS/2 software vendor Bitwise Works is porting QtWebEngine (based on Chromium) to OS/2 and ArcaOS in order to support a new browser to replace Firefox. This has been prompted by the increasing complexity of the Firefox codebase, and use of the Rust programming language in newer versions of Firefox - whose compiler is unlikely to ever be supported on the OS/2 platform. During Warpstock 2020, a demo was carried out which showed the Qt WebEngine Demo Browser running on ArcaOS and successfully loading modern web pages.
Bitwise Works originally considered porting the Falkon browser to OS/2. That plan was dismissed, due to Falkon's dependency on KDE libraries. The Otter Browser is being considered instead. The new web browser will be added to the ArcaOS 5.1 release series, once it is complete.
|5.0||2017-05-15||First public release of ArcaOS|
|5.0.1||2017-07-09||Installer fixes and driver updates|
|5.0.2||2018-02-10||Added ability to boot from USB media|
|5.0.3||2018-08-19||Updates to software and drivers|
|5.0.4||2019-07-21||Update facility which allows ArcaOS to updated without reinstalling|
|5.0.5||2020-06-06||USB 3.0/xHCI support|
|5.0.6||2020-08-31||Installer fixes and updates|
|5.0.8||2023-06-01||Support for NVMe drives in installer and preboot environment|