4.3-VAX distributions

Michael Sokolov mxs46 at k2.scl.cwru.edu
Mon Nov 23 03:42:03 AEST 1998

   Tim Shoppa <SHOPPA at trailing-edge.com> writes:
> Exactly.  The details are all in tmscpboot.c.  Prepend this to the
> "tape directory", write it to TK50, B MUA0, and you're at the "="
> prompt, from which you can execute the standalone images.
   I know this.
> "format" seems to crash badly [...]
   Of course! The documentation says clearly that it's for hp (780/750/8600
MASSBUS and clones) and up (RH-11 and clones) disks.
> [...] but one probably doesn't need that on a Q-bus
> machine :-).
   Has nothing to do with Q-bus, it's the distinction between SMDish disks
and MSCP. But yes, for MSCP you are supposed to use the controller-specific
diagnostics for formatting. For DEC ones it's a pain, but most (all?)
third-party MSCP controllers have formatting utilities in their ROMs.
> There are other ways to start it up.  For example, using an already-
> running OS (some other Unix or VMS) and copying the miniroot from tape
> to the swap area of an unused disk.
   Here is my preferred way. It requires at least two disks. First boot
from an Ultrix tape. That's the easiest thing in the world probably
(assuming working hardware, of course, which I don't have right now). When
you get a choice between quick installation, custom installation, and
maintenance, choose the last one. This will drop you into the shell. Now
you have Ultrix running in a RAM disk, you can do anything you want with
your disks, and you can pull the Ultrix tape out and do anything you want
with the tape drive. Then you put the BSD tape in, advance to the second
file (the miniroot) with mt fsf, and dd it to partition c on one of the
disks. Why partition c and not partition b? Why need two disks in the first
place? Because I can bet that Ultrix and BSD will have different ideas
about the default location of partition b. Then extract mdec/rdboot and
mdec/bootra from the /usr tar image on the tape, cat them together, and dd
them to the beginning of partition c (the miniroot as shipped doesn't have
a bootblock). Then reboot from that disk. Now you have BSD running!
Disklabel the other disk the way you want. This will put the bootblocks on
it automatically. Then create the root and /usr filesystems on it and
restore them from the tape. You are all set!
   True, this method imposes additional requirements (two disks and an
Ultrix tape). It's also a little cumbersome (the part about the miniroot
bootblocks). However, it has two advantages over the method with the
tmscpboot tape. First, you can use the stock BSD tape, not a hacked one.
Second, even in Reno tmscpboot supports only KA630 and not KA650. If you
know VAX assembly language (I don't yet) and have a machine where you can
rebuild it, you can fix this, but again you have extra requirements.
   Of course, the proper solution is to significantly redesign BSD's
installation mechanism and make it a little more like Ultrix's. That's my
plan for Quasijarus2, although Quasijarus1 will still be like Tahoe/Reno.
> The compiled-in partition tables used during an install are a real
> pain compared to, say, a 2.11BSD installation, where disklabel is
> a standalone utility!  (That's a real win, Steven!)
   I agree wholeheartedly! A standalone disklabel program is part of my
plan for Quasijarus2. Again, Quasijarus1 will still be like Tahoe/Reno.
> Gees, looking at the install docs there are some very real improvements
> in Reno, especially in the filesystem and the speed of recompiled
> code.
   The lifting of the filesystem limits is in Tahoe, not in Reno. When you
talk about the speed of Reno's binaries, what are you comparing it to? I
know for sure that there are no significant changes in the C compiler
between plain 4.3, Tahoe, and Reno.
   Michael Sokolov
   Phone: 440-449-0299 (Home) 216-217-2579 (Cellular)
   ARPA Internet SMTP mail: mxs46 at k2.scl.cwru.edu

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