[[[ PicLan ]]]

PicLan Version Release Notes

November 11, 1996
(C) Copyright 1990-1996 Modular Software Corporation. All rights reserved.
This release is considered a "production release" Please read all of the "release considerations" before installing this software.
For more information about PicLan contact: sales@modsoft.com

Release Methodology

This release is the fourth production build (after about 20 beta builds) of PicLan v 2.0. The overall goals of PicLan v 2.0 include:

Release Considerations

This is now production release software. Even so, care should be taken in loading the software onto your system. As is the usual practice for PicLan releases, this release is subject to a number of aspects that you should carefully consider before installing or using the software. It is the customers responsibility to take whatever steps are necessary to insure the proper operation of their own computing environment. This may include: The operation of this PicLan release is covered by the standard Modular Software Corporation PicLan End-User License Agreement which basically disclaims all warranties in regards to the operation of the software.

Technical Support

This release is fully supported by Modular Software and our dealers and distributors Most functions in this release are not new and have been a part of PicLan for quite some time.

If you are running AP/Pro or Mentor PRO, contact Pick Systems or GA (as appropriate) for support first. They are both up to speed with this release and should be able to provide full support. If they refer you to Modular Software for additional support, we will ask you for an open call ticket number so that we can track the support call with Pick's or GA's support staff.

If you are running other platforms, contact your dealer first (if this makes sense) or contact Modular Software directly. In order to maximize our support capabilities, please try to use electronic means to request support if possible. In order of preference, use the following support contact methods:

Modular software maintains an internet WWW site. You cannot use these functions to get technical support, but you can read technical articles and download upgrades that can help you work through problems. The addresses are: Note that Modular Software does not read mail or comments left on our BBS system. The BBS system is maintained strictly for file download and not as a discussion system.

Modular Software also monitors the internet usenet group comp.databases.pick.

PicLan Internet Mail List

Modular Software maintains an Internet mail list. If you wish to receive email about PicLan releases, technical notes, and other PicLan related announcements, send an email message to piclanmail@modsoft.com. This email address is used to subscribe to the PicLan maillist only. Do not send technical or marketting inquiries to this address.

What is included in PicLan v

PicLan v 2.0 includes the following features:

New Features

WIN32 Drivers for 16-bit Windows Applications

Drivers for 16-bit Windows applications have been developed that allow 16-bit Windows applications to use PicLan connections without loading the PL-DEV.EXE real-mode TSR. These drivers run on Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51 and Windows NT 4.0. These drivers have not been tested on Windows NT 3.1 or Windows NT 3.5 (other PicLan components use Visual Basic version 4 which required Windows NT version 3.51 or later).

The PicLan 32-bit drivers have been written to make configuration as easy as possible while still achieving excellent performance. The drivers consist of the following Windows programs:

This is a 16-bit DLL that Windows applications interface with to communicate with PicLan. With PicLan version 2, there are actually two versions of PLAN.DLL. The version for 16-bit PicLan drivers operated by calling PL-DEV with DPMI (DOS Protected Mode Interface) calls. The version for 32-bit PicLan drivers operates by calling PLAN32.DLL using 16 to 32-bit Windows thunks.
This is a 32-bit DLL that Windows applications interface with to communicate with PicLan. The PLAN32.DLL file operates cooperately with PLAN32S.EXE to implement the PicLan communications layer.
This is a 32-bit Windows application that actually performs network I/O operations to implement the PicLan communications transport layer. PLAN32S.EXE cooperatively communicates with PLAN32.DLL through the use of Mapped Memory, a Mutex, and several Event objects. PLAN32S.EXE is a true multi-threaded 32-bit Windows application. Network functions are implemented using the new WIN32 IPX support now included in the Winsock communications layer.
The 32-bit PicLan drivers are designed so that they should exert very little overhead on the Windows run-time system. All network functions are written to be multi-threaded and operate with "blocking" threads. Poll operations are all kept very short and take advantage of the internal PicLan "state machine" that is very efficient at managing large numbers of concurrent connections.

WIN32 Drivers for 32-bit Windows Applications

The 32-bit PicLan PLAN32.DLL is available for 32-bit Windows applications.

PL-DEV Within Windows

The PL-DEV program may not be loaded, with some limitations, within a Windows DOS box. This allows PL-DEV to communicate with the "Virtual IPX" layer that is supplied with Windows 95 and Windows NT. When loading within a Windows DOS-box, the following limitations apply: In addition, the following problems and un-implemented features have been noted with PL-DEV v

PL-DEV With Windows 95

The real-mode PL-DEV driver can be loaded in the Windows 95 AUTOEXEC.BAT file in the same manner as it is loaded with DOS and Windows 3.x. If you are using real-mode IPX drivers, you will need to load PL-DEV in AUTOEXEC.BAT because the 32-bit IPX WinSock layer is not available in Windows in this type of environment. If you are running NDIS drivers (either 16-bit or 32-bit), you should not use PL-DEV and instead load 32-bit PicLan drivers.

Soft Ethernet Frame Types

The PicLan native Ethernet driver has been enhanced so that it will accept connections from workstation over any of the four supported Ethernet frame types (802.3, 802.2, 802.2SNAP, or Ethernet-II). If the workstation is configured for the default frame type that the Pick host is configured for, then everything works as before. If a workstation tries to communicate with a Pick host over a different frame type than the Pick host is configured for, then the Pick host will communicate anyway, provided that the workstation is not across a router. This change in PicLan is generally transparent. If you execute a PL-STAT (A) command and have connections made over "soft" Ethernet frame types, you will notice an Immediate Node Address that states the Ethernet frame type.

PCI Ethernet Support

The PicLan native Ethernet driver has been enhanced to support PCI Ethernet adapters based on the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) "tulip" chipset. Currently there are three chips that comprise this chip class: Boards manufactured by Compex, Lynksys, and SMC use these chips. Other manufacturers are also possible.

PicLan supports PCI under DOS, AP/Pro, Mentor PC/OS, and Mentor PRO only at the currently time.

Only the 21040 and 21041 based Compex, 21040 based Lynksys, and 21041 SMC boards have been tested at Modular Software. Other 21040 and 21041 adapters are likely to work. 21140 adapters may also work but have not been tested.

Additional information about the PicLan PCI driver is available in a separate document:

PicLan PCI Driver Documentation

Windows Services Gateway

This PicLan release includes the PicLan DOS Services Gateway for Windows. The current implementation is as a 16-bit Windows application that can be run either on-screen or Minimized from within Microsoft Windows. This program has been tested for operation under Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, and Windows NT 3.51. A 32-bit version of the DOS Services Gateway for Windows is under developement.

The primary advantages of this version of the DSG are:

The DSG for Windows is configured in exactly the same manner as the DSG for DOS is configured. You must enter a DSG name in the 'user=' field of the PL-CFG.INI file and you must specify "DosServicesGateway=yes" in the PL-CFG.INI file.

The Windows Version of the DOS Services Gateway provides additional options for network printing that are described in the document on DOS Services Gateway configuration.

Enhancements to Network Printing

The PicLan SERVER-PROCESS has been enhanced to support new printing functions and behaviours. These changes are a result of user feedback. The changes include: Chapter 10 of the PicLan on-line manual discusses network printing in more detail.

Installation Instructions

PicLan v 2.0 includes new client installation programs for both DOS and Windows. If you are running from within Windows, be sure to execute the Windows version as this will not only expand the PicLan client files, but also install common files into your Windows directories and setup ICON on your Windows desktop.

The DOS install program is executed by running:

from the floppy disk. The Windows install program is execute by running:
from the floppy disk using the 'F'ile 'R'un commands from within program manager for the Windows shell.

This installation will, by default, create a C:\PICLAN directory that contains PicLan executable and configuration files. If you wish to run PicLan from a shared network directory, you must manually copy the files from the installation directory to a shared network directory and correctly setup PicLan DLL and EXE files that are required for PicLan operation with Windows applications.

For Windows installations, the PicLan PL_SETUP.EXE program is then used to configure the local system for each type of possible PicLan intallation. Some types of configuration are setup completely without user intervention. Other types of configurations require that the user manually edit one or more configuration files, and/or manually setup network drivers. In each case, the PL_SETUP program will provide the user with a list of what steps are needed.

Installing 16-bit VB 4.0 Support Files

These files are used to support the run-time environment for 16-bit Visual Basic version 4. The SETUP.EXE program copies these files into the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory only if newer versions of these files do not already exist.
These files must be installed into Windows 3.x, Windows 95, and Windows NT in order for 16-bit PicLan utilities to function. Shared DLL files shipped with PicLan are newer than those shipped with Windows 3.x, but older than those shipped with Windows 95 and Windows NT.

Installing 32-bit VB 4.0 Support Files

These files are used to support the run-time environment for 32-bit Visual Basic version 4. The SETUP.EXE program copies these files into the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 (or C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM) directory only if newer versions of these files do not already exist.
These files only need to be installed under Windows 95 and Windows NT if 32-bit PicLan utilities are needed.

Installing with Windows 3.x, Windows for Workgroups 3.x, or Windows 95 with Real-mode IPX Drivers

If you are using the "old-style" PicLan PL-DEV interface for Windows (which is, and will remain, supported within PicLan), you must copy and configure the following files:
Copy to WINDOWS\SYSTEM and rename as PLAN.DLL
Copy to WINDOWS and edit the PL-CFG.INI line (with a text editor like EDIT) to reference the PL-CFG.INI file that is to be used with this workstation.

Installing with Windows 95 or Windows NT 3.5x

Copy to WINDOWS\SYSTEM or WINNT35\SYSTEM32 and rename this file to PLAN.DLL
Copy to WINDOWS\SYSTEM or WINNT35\SYSTEM32 and rename this file to PLAN32.DLL
Copy to WINDOWS and edit the PL-CFG.INI line (with a text editor like EDIT) to reference the PL-CFG.INI file that is to be used with this workstation.

Windows 95 with Real-mode IPX Drivers

If you configure Windows 95 with Real-mode IPX drivers such as configuring for use with NetWare VLMs, the 32-bit PicLan drivers will not function. Apparently, the 32-bit WinSock IPX layer does not work when a real-mode IPX driver is in use. If you are using this configuration, you should load PicLan as if you are running under Windows 3.x (the PL_SETUP program has an option for this). You then add the PL-DEV command to the system AUTOEXEC.BAT file after the VLM's are loaded.

If you do run PL-DEV, you may wish to use the PL-DEV2 version instead and add the /noems option. /noems tells PL-DEV not to load code into the EMS page frame which slows Windows 95 down. PL-DEV2 does not include TSR printer support, which won't work under Windows 95 anyway.

If you run with Windows 95 in this manner, 32-bit PicLan applications (like PLTW32.EXE) will not function.