Dec 282017
Notes on Lantastic and Novell Networking.
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Notes on Lantastic and Novell Networking.
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Since Novell is widely used and generally well known, a
comparison of Novell and Lantastic is helpful in any
discussion about Lantastic. The issues surrounding the
selection of a network could easily take a book to
discuss. In fact, I recommend you read GUIDE TO
CONNECTIVITY, by Frank J. Derfler, Jr. Ziff-Davis Press
and PC Magazine. However, this discussion will focus on
the bottom line real world considerations, particularity
as they relate to Clarion applications.

Your Clarion application and its use are a important
factor in choosing a network. The two best candidates
for a small PC network using Clarion Applications are
Novell Netware 2.2 and Lantastic 4.01.

There are two fundamental differences in Novell and
Lantastic, the significance of which depends on your
Clarion application and the way your office works: 1)
Novell overlays a new operating system on DOS, while
Lantastic works completely in DOS alone; 2) Novell
employs a central server architecture, while Lantastic is
a peer-to-peer system.Novell essentially rewrites DOS
into a UNIX-like new operating system.This has both
good and bad implications.

On the bad side, you have to learn a whole new operating
system. Also, most of the wonderful fix-it-yourself DOS
utilities (such as Norton Utilities, Check-It, PC Probe)
do not work on Novell.Basically, all the utility
programs used on a stand alone PC will run on Lantastic
(at least in a non-shared mode). Most of our clients
have learned to maintain Lantastic themselves.In
Novell, plan on a lot of training classes. Only, an
avowed optimist would own a Novell network without a
professional (and usually expensive) installation and
long term maintenance contract.

On the positive side, Novell brings its own (and very
effective) file sharing and file locking system.
Lantastic relies on the DOS SHARE.EXE command.If your
Clarion application was developed in Designer or your
code is very well written, the Lantastic's DOS SHARE
system works fine (with the proper settings and a small
number of simultaneous users).Novell's file sharing
system seems to be more forgiving of program sharing
problems (and Novell definitely can handle more
simultaneous users). However, neither system will
tolerate fundamental sharing errors in your code.

Novell' s central server works best when you have one
dominant program constantly being used by your entire
office. Travel agents, order entry intensive
manufacturing and sales, insurance agencies,
telemarketing are good examples of the central server
approach. A disadvantage of a central server is you need
a very good main server computer (on which you are
totally dependant).

We recommend at least 386 25 or 33, 4 MB memory, top of
the line Western Digital of UltraStor SCSI Disk
Controllers, and 150,000 MTBF hard drives such as MAXTOR.
Also, it is highly recommended that your server be
dedicated (and not also used as a workstation). A small
but often difficult issue is printer placement. Novell
works best when the printers are attached to the Server.
The implications of all this are that with Novell, you
are much more likely to need to buy more equipment
(...and equipment that must be Novell CERTIFIED, not just
Novell compatible).

Lantastic's peer-to-peer system shares the load around to
workstations and multiple servers, This makes it much
more likely existing equipment will meet your needs. If
your business uses a more distributed processing
approach, with spreadsheets, word processing, accounting,
custom applications that need to be occasionally shared,
but are largely used by particular users, the
peer-to-peer system works best.

Each Network requires network adapter board and cables to
link the computers (...the so called Topology). With
Novell you can use Arcnet or Ethernet, and 8 bit or 16
bit Boards. Both Arcnet and Ethernet are good. We tend
to like Ethernet with coaxial cable (because it is an
industry standard), but the new 10baseT unshielded
twisted pair (i.e. phone wire) ethernets are nice
installations.Only consider 16 bit n2000 class boards
for Novell. Lantastic only sells 16 bit boards, but they
have three classes of cabling systems.Only consider
Lantastic's 10 MIPS Ethernet system using the Lantastic
16 bit boards.

The following should help you make a decision for large
database application...

Lean toward Lantastic if...
Any Program will be intensively and
simultaneously used by 5 or less
users and there are 10 or
less users overall.

Lean toward Novell if...
More than 5 simultaneous users and 10
users overall.
Lean toward Lantastic if...
Program well written for networks
Program has high RAM requirements
Program is not under heavy
simultaneous use.

Lean toward Novell if...
Opposite of above

Lean toward Lantastic if...
Activities are distributed.

Lean toward Novell if...
Activities are highly centralized.

Lean toward Lantastic if...
If your general computer users (not your
computer people) are open to
learning new network procedures
and there is a "do-it-
yourself" culture.

Lean toward Novell if...
If your people are more oriented toward
just having the computer work
as promised and you have a
"hire an expert to do-it-
right" culture. (Note: These "experts"
are not always available in
less urbanized areas)

Do not underestimate the importance of the Corporate
Culture issue!A final note, both Novell 2.2 and
Lantastic 4.0 early releases have very minor bugs. Make
sure you get the latest releases. These are soon to be
referred to as Novell 2.21 and Lantastic 4.01.

Make sure you fully investigate the implications on your
situation of the differences of a central server and
peer-to-peer architecture. Novell' s central server
works best when you have one dominant program constantly
being used by your entire office.


A main advantage of Lantastic is that it can be made to
work either as a LAN or as a Central Server Network.
(Other network systems do not give you a choice.)
Lantastic comes out-of-the-box with a vision of being a
LAN. Additional Set-up and experimentation is required
to make Lantastic more of a Central Server Network
(although the set-up is still far less than Novell, the
tricks are less well known).

The Lantastic peer-to-peer concept envisions (although
does not require) workstations with hard drives. The
application programs reside on the workstation hard
drives and the data files reside on a central server.
Therefore, the network traffic is greatly reduced, since
only data file traffic is on the network. Therefore, the
resources required for the network are much lower.
(Therein lies Lantastic's secret of low RAM network

WordPerfect, Paradox 3.5 LAN, dBaseIII Plus, LANPack,
etc., force you to buy a run-time version of their
programs for each workstation.In the case of Paradox
3.5, QuattroPro 3.0, etc., the program checks for serial
numbers of each version of their program on the network.
No two workstations (or users) can work from the same
serial number program.This forces you, or your client,
to spend several hundred dollars for each workstation for
run-time versions of the program. The main purpose of
this system is to sell more software. However, one
effect of this approach is these programs out-of-the box
are suited to LAN's because only data file traffic is on
the network.

However, these are not true network programs, only file
sharing set-ups. In the real world, this is more
difficult to install and manage than you might think.
For example, Paradox's built-in memory manager VROOM does
not get along at all well with QEMM or any other memory
manager and disk caching software. You get either a very
slow Paradox or a Network without a memory manager (a
real problem for Lantastic). Also, customers were very
resistant to buying and maintaining these run-time
version LAN packs. In fact, after years of working with
Paradox, the difficulties of implementing 3.5 in a
network environment caused us to focus more on Clarion.
Clarion derived applications are true network programs
and are more suited to Central Server Networks in a
typical configuration.Therefore, well written Clarion
programs are a snap to implement on Novell Networks.

Essentially, you can take one of two approaches; 1)
Reconfigure your Clarion Program as a file sharing LAN
program, or 2) Reconfigure your Lantastic to have more
true Central Server Network capability (like Novell).

If your Clarion program was developed in Designer,
implementing Approach (1) is simple. Go to the Files
side of the Designer screen, press on each
file, and specify a path to your network data files.
Recompile you program and put it on each workstation hard
disk. Edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT on each workstation to
redirect the data file path to the server. For example:

File Options

File Name: MYDATA
Prefix: MYD
Drive: E:
Create File: No
Reclaim Space: Yes
Protect File: No
Owner I.D.:

(Note: Clever drive redirecting (using Lantastic's
REDIR.EXE) and placement of data and .EXE files can
eliminate the need to hard code data paths.)

In each workstation AUTOEXEC.BAT:

Net Login \\Server user password
Net Use E:\\Server\C-Drive

On Server C-Drive:


If you do not set up your drive redirection properly on
your workstations, you will get an "Error, File Path Not
Found" from your Clarion applications.

The advantage to this approach is that program speed
through the network in increased and network overhead is
minimized. The disadvantage is difficulty of maintaining
multiple application programs on each workstation. Also,
to the best of our knowledge, this approach has not been
widely tested with Clarion on Lantastic.
We use the second approach, that is, use Clarion as a
true network program, and enhance Lantastic's Central
Server capabilities.

First, let me comment on DOS 5.0 in combination with
Lantastic and Clarion.We have not converted any of our
Lantastic sites to DOS 5.0 (yet). The main reason is
that we load the complete network and still have 580K
available with DOS 3.3. We accomplish this by relying
heavily on QEMM 386. Therefore, we have not felt the
pressure to go to DOS 5.0 This discussion is based on
our DOS3.3/QEMM/Clarion/Lantastic experience. QEMM is a
memory management program essential to our use of
Lantastic in DOS3.3.

Even with DOS 5.0, QEMM386 can be very helpful. Most of
the people we know who are using 5.0, use 5.0 load to the
DOS kernel into High DOS and QEMM to load other programs,
such as Lantastic's AE2, AILANBIO, REDIR, and SHARE into
High DOS. QEMM is easer to use and more flexible.
PCComputing, July 1991 "Ultimate PC" article has an
excellent discussion on 5.0 and QEMM. Also QEMM comes
with Manifest (MFT.EXE), an excellent tool for analyzing
your program and networks file and memory use.

Here is how we go about our Clarion/Lantastic Set-up:

1) Install QEMM and put QEMM in the path, to
easily use MFT.EXE, LOADHI.EXE, and
GETSIZE.EXE commands.

2) Get files information.

We use MFT.EXE to determine how many files our
Clarion application is actually opening in our
configuration.We load MFT resident, start
our Clarion application, log on all users,
pop-up MFT, go to the DOS portion of MFT
menu, and read the number of files opened off
the MFT screen. This will tell you how many
total fields are actually being opened. We
always take this number +10 or 100 whichever
is greater. Set your CONFIG.SYS to this
member and make sure the Lantastic Server
Start-up Parameters for files is set to
"Determined by CONFIG.SYS."


This is the key to making Lantastic perform
more like a Central Server Network. The DOS
SHARE Program has several switches specifying
the number of files specifications and file
locks SHARE can manage. The DOS defaults for
SHARE (i.e., without any switches) are so
restrictive that SHARE prevents almost all
sharing of files.Since Clarion has a
very sophisticated and effective internal
file locking system, the required setting for
the file specs (/F:) and Locks (/L:) of SHARE
are extremely high to enable Lantastic
to keep up with Clarion.

Lantastic recommends two file locks per file
per user (we start with four). We set file
specs at 74 bytes per file per user times two.

It is extremely important to realize that
Microsoft changed SHARE in DOS versions 4.01
VERSIONS 4.01 AND 5.0.

In DOS 3.3 and earlier, SHARE was loaded in
the AUTOEXEC.BAT. SHARE does not return an
error if loaded in the AUTOEXEC.BAT in DOS
version 4.01 and 5.0, but if loaded in the
AUTOEXEC.BAT in these versions, SHARE will
only use the default settings for file names
and file locks, regardless of what you put on
the command line.

The SHARE defaults (/F:2048 /L:20) are so low
that almost any Clarion application will not
run and will return numerous Sharing Violation
Errors. The implications of this are dramatic
for people upgrading to DOS 5.0 from 3.3. It
is very likely most people will not pick up
the subtle importance of moving their SHARE
statement to the CONFIG.SYS. Since no error
is returned and the all important command line
file (/F:) and locks (/L:) settings are simply
ignored, many Clarion applications are going
to have trouble upgrading to DOS 5.0 on any
network that requires SHARE to be loaded.

Clarion applications require very high
settings for the File and Locks switches for
SHARE. We have solved most of our problems
with the following statements:

In DOS 3.3 in the AUTOEXEC.BAT...

C:\DOS\SHARE.EXE /F:4000 /L:2040

In DOS 4.01 and 5.0 in the CONFIG.SYS


Since SHARE can use more than 50K at these
settings, you will want to experiment to try
to find the lowest settings possible. Lock
are the big memory users at 16 bytes per lock.
Fortunately, SHARE works well loaded into High
DOS using memory managers such as QEMM.

Clarion .EXE's must be set READ ONLY when
SHARE is Loaded.Use DOS ATTRIB +r

Lantastic advertises that it can handle up to
120 users. This is very misleading. SHARE is
limited to using 64K of RAM. For all particle
purposes this limits you to about 3200 share
file locks. If you set 4 locks per file, 30
files per program and 30 users, you have
exceeded share's file locking capability.
Depending on the key file structure, Clarion
applications have a particularly high appetite
for file locks.

NOTE: The Lantastic SHARE discussion applies
to any network that requires you to load

4) Set Redirector Buffers

The number of the redirector buffers can be
increased to some even value between 2 and
8. Make these as small as possible, but large
enough to hold a single record. For this
purpose, use the most commonly accessed
record. At one site, for example we found
/Buffers=4/Size=2048 to be the optimum setting
for a Clarion database.

5) Set Server Start-up Parameters.

As for performance, look to the Server
Start-up parameters. You can set the size of
the Network (Server) buffers to 16k and
allocate 3 network tasks (Server Buffers).
These values can be set either on the Server
command line or in the Server Start-up
Parameter section of NET_MGR.EXE.

6) Begin memory management.

The SHARE, REDIR Buffers, and Server Start-up
Parameters will greatly increase the
performance and reliability of Clarion
applications on Lantastic. However, the
network memory overhead will also be
dramatically increased. If you make Lantastic
perform like a Central Server Network, it will
use memory like a Central Server Network,
(e.g., Novell). However, Lantastic network
overhead can be completely loaded in to high
DOS. You can do this automatically using
QEMM's OPTIMIZE Command, or do it manually
using the LOADHI and GETSIZE commands. (We
like the manual approach because you get to
choose what goes up high and what stays low.
For example, we like to keep SERVER.EXE in Low
DOS) One tip is to remember that a program
may take more memory to load than it actually
uses once it gets loaded into high DOS. (This
is where the GETSIZE command is helpful.)
Also, if you are not using any graphics,
QEMM's VIDRAM command can free up another 70K.
We load the VIDRAM environment in the
AUTOEXEC.BAT and turn VIDRAM on and off as we
need the RAM.

Here are two sets of AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS. The
first is for maximum RAM, but is complex to implement and
will not work on all computers. The second is easier,
but uses a bit more RAM.









NOTE: QEMM's Loadhi regions (ie "/R:1" etc) will be
different for each computer.

We get typically excellent performance on the network and
about 580K remaining to applications with DOS 3.3 (with
VIDRAM on) and 510K (with VIDRAM off).


Over the past few years, the few problems we have
encountered with Clarion applications on Lantastic have
been as follows:


Clarion returns an "Invalid Data File" Error when data
file header has been corrupted. Two type of file
corruption have been reported; 1) Permanent, and 2)

Regarding Permanent file corruption problems, with
Lantastic in the absence of a hardware or program code
problem, the permanent corruption is usually related to
disk caching systems. First, do not use Lancache
(particularly if you are not on a very good UPS). The
Lancache with Lantastic 3.0+ was not very good.

If you must use disk caching use a UPS and make sure that
whatever disk caching program you are using the DELAYED
WRITES feature is DISABLED. Two disk caching programs
that work well (as long as delayed writes is not active)
are FLASH and PCKWICK. (The Server Set-up Parameters in
Lantastic's NET_MGR.EXE) are also important to speed).

Temporary file corruption can occur when using DOS 5.0
and some form of multi-tasking or "hot-keying" such as
WordPerfect Office. When you hot-key out of your Clarion
application to WordPerfect(or PlanPerfect) using the
WordPerfect Office Shell, you can get an INVALID DATA
FILE ERROR when you hot-key back to your Clarion
application. Load DEVICE=SETVER.EXE in the CONFIG.SYS
and SETVER WP.EXE 3.30 in your AUTOEXEC.BAT to solve the
problem. This only Occurs in DOS 5.0.


Not withstanding possible errors in your source code, the
FILE NOT FOUND error usually comes from the SHARE /F set
too low, and the SHARING VIOLATION error comes from SHARE
/L: set too low. Also, Clarion .EXE's must be set as
READ ONLY files any time SHARE is loaded. Use DOS ATTRIB
command to set .EXE's to READ ONLY. DOS will return a
Sharing violation as soon as the second user accesses the
program if SHARE is loaded and the .EXE's are not set to

Another thing to check is the USER account access
privileges. When setting up Lantastic most people load
the set-up defaults which includes a user named USER.
The default settings DO NOT grant USER ALL privileges.
Go to user account maintenance (in NET_MGR.EXE) and grant
ALL privileges to your users of you Clarion Application.

All of this discussion assumes you do not have errors in
your application program source code. The ACCESS DENIED,
SHARING VIOLATION, FILE NOT FOUND errors can be caused by
source code problems as well as Network set-up problems.

In our experience, after the above set-up procedures have
been implemented, continuing Sharing Violations and
related errors are often traced to source code errors in
applications, or parts of applications, that were
developed outside of Designer.

One common source code error leading to sharing
violations results from what is otherwise a very nice
feature of Clarion. If you access a file that you have
not previously OPENED or SHARED, for example when using
commands, unlike many programs Clarion does not return an
error for failing to first OPEN or SHARE the file.
Clarion goes ahead and accesses the file for you.
However it this situation, Clarion accesses the file in
an exclusive (NON-SHARED) mode, not a SHARED mode.
Therefore, you can inadvertently access a file in a
non-shared mode, causing a SHARING VIOLATION error.
Make sure all files that are accessed in any way are
accessed in the SHARED mode.
server approach.


When using 101-key keyboards with NUM-lock on, a
"Left-shift on" state occasionally becomes active when no
shift key is depressed. The state can be cleared by
pressing and releasing the left shift key. Also, on some
machines, an enhanced key (Arrows, Insert, Delete, Home,
End, PageUp, PageDown) are occasionally decoded as their
numeric keypad NUMlocked equivalents, e.g. "2", "4", "6",

The problem seems to stem from the fact that the enhanced
keyboards send a string of scan codes (4 scan codes when
NUMlock is on) for each press or release of the key. An
E0 scan code precedes each of the others, to indicate
that the following scan code is to be interpreted as

These four scan codes are sent in rapid succession to the
PC motherboard. As each is received, an IRQ1 is
activated, which invokes the ISR for INT 09H. This ISR
is initially set to the BIOS keyboard handler, although
it is later re-hooked by resident drivers. One of the
first things the AT-BIOS handler does is to inhibit the
keyboard from sending further scan codes until processing
of the one causing the interrupt is complete.

Unfortunately, before it does this, AT-BIOS executes an
STI intruction, allowing other interrupts (e.g., timer
ticks) to interrupt the keyboard ISR. Provided the
interrupting timer tick ISR executes quickly, and control
returns to the keyboard handler before the scan code is
replaced by a new one, no harm is done. However, TSRs
often hook into the timer (08H) interrupt and may prolong
its service time by a substantial amount. If two scan
codes come in quick succession (as with the enhanced
keys, which send E0 followed by the keycode),then the
first one (the E0 in this case) may be overwritten by the
second and be lost. Thus, the next scan code is
interpreted as a non-enhanced keystroke (a shift key or
a numeric key).

This problem would never occur if the BIOS would inhibit
the keyboard BEFORE it reenables interrupts.
Unfortunately it doesn't, and the BIOS cannot be changed.

Three solutions to this problem have been written. The
first, and the preferable one, is KBFIX.EXE. It should be
run in AUTOEXEC.BAT before any TSRs which hook INT 9 are
loaded. It searches through the MS-DOS INT 9 handler for
DOS's hook into the BIOS keyboard handler. When it is
found, the hook is modified to point just AFTER the
offending STI instruction, thereby eliminating the
possibility of interrupt preemption until after the
keyboard is disabled. Unfortunately, it is necessary for
a program of this nature to take advantage of specific
characteristics of DOS and BIOS. It has been tried
successfully on several 386 and 286 AT-BIOS
implementations with no problems. The program is smart
enough NOT to make the modification if a discrepancy is
noted. Since the modification is made within DOS, the
program does not need to TSR, and no additional memory is

If KBFIX.EXE cannot be used because INT9 is already
hooked by a device driver in CONFIG.SYS or the MSDOS is
not compatible, the same effect can be achieved by
including KBDFIX.SYS as a device driver (ahead of any
other device drivers which hook INT 9) in CONFIG.SYS. The
patch will be applied directly to the BIOS INT 9 hook,
and the driver will not remain resident (no memory will
be consumed). For specific BIOS implementations where
KBFIX.EXE and KBDFIX.SYS will not work, the INT9FIX.EXE
utility was written. It loads as a TSR (288 resident
bytes) and hooks the keyboard (09h) interrupt. Before
passing control to the BIOS keyboard handler, it masks
IRQ0 (the timer) so the keyboard ISR cannot be
interrupted. When BIOS returns, it restores the interrupt
mask for IRQ0 to its original state. INT9FIX should
normally be the FIRST TSR loaded which hooks INT9, so
that timer interrupts are masked for as short a time as
possible. No ill effects from using this program have yet
been noted, but since timer ticks are disabled,
operation of the Print-Screen key, the INT15 scan-code
translation hook, etc., may be affected in some software

These files are available in INT09FIX.ZIP on the
WordPerfect BBS (801)-225-4414 and Lantastic BBS


A computer lock-up (i.e., freezes and nothing will work)
is almost always caused by; 1) a computer memory
Conflict, or 2) keyboard BIOS (Basic Input/Output System)
problem. There are two important criteria for diagnosing
a computer lock-up; 1) what you were doing when the lock-
up occurred, and 2) what error message appeared (if any).

If there is an error message, proceed as described in the
Clarion Documentation for that error message. If you do
not get an error message, pay very close attention to
what you were are doing when the computer locked-up. If
the lock-up occurs while starting the your Clarion
Application, or when hot-keying in and out of the
Program, the problem is most likely a memory conflict
between one or more TSR's. Selectively remove TSR's
until the offending TSR is identified.

Another possible cause is insufficient memory maps. If
you are using a memory manager such as QEMM and you are
doing a lot of hot-keying (or other form of multi-
tasking), you may need to increase your memory maps. For
example, QEMM is usually installed with 8 memory maps.
This will allow you to hot key in and out of up to 6
programs. (2 maps are reserved for DOS and QEMM.) The
computer will lock-up if you attempt to start a seventh
program. Read your memory management software manuals
for more details.

If there is no memory error message, and the problem
occurs while you are already in the Program,
(particularly during data entry on Forms), the problem is
most likely related to your keyboard BIOS.

The root of the problem is the keyboard system installed
by your computer manufacturer.Some older 286 computers
had enhanced 101 key keyboards added by the manufacturer
without the keyboard BIOS being fully updated.A similar
problem can also occur on super fast 386-33 network
servers, if they are also being used as a workstation.
In this case, the cause is the Central Processing Unit
(CPU) is too fast for the keyboard BIOS.

Keyboard BIOS problems can create a Conflict with an
important the Clarion feature.Clarion applications can
turn on the NumLock key on the numeric keyboard pad every
time you land on a field that may require numeric input.
Some computers cannot handle the instruction to turn on
and off the NumLock on a field-by-field basis.
Therefore, you must disable this feature on the
individual computers which have lock-up problems.

Start the Program as follows to deactivate the automatic
NumLock feature:


Also, try starting the Clarion Application with the /E
switch on the command line for enhanced keyboards.


We are using several Applications developed using Clarion
2107 which typically have a 1.4MB .EXE which open 40 to
55 files accessing about 4 MB of active data.Our
Servers are 386-25 or 33 and workstations are 386sx16 or
286. We have 5 Lantastic/Clarion sites ranging in size
of 4 to 10 workstations. On sites larger than 10
workstations, we have been using Novell 2.2. We hit a
few bumps along the way, but the final results have been

In the right environment, and with a few set-up tricks,
the Lantastic/Clarion combination has worked extremely
well for us.

Good Luck!

Computer Perfect Corporation
Miami, Florida

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