4.3/4.4 IBM distributions (need history)

User Rdkeys Robert D. Keys rdkeys at seedlab1.cropsci.ncsu.edu
Tue Nov 24 03:09:28 AEST 1998

> > We all know now that Michael's on a crusade for 4.3-Tahoe, so would it be
> > completely unreasonable to build 4.3-Tahoe from sources under 4.3-Reno?
> > It's the most reasonable approach I can think of at the moment.
>    That's close to what I'm doing. There are two differences, though.
> First, I'm using Ultrix as my cross-compilation base, not 4.3BSD-Reno. (I
> would say there is less of a gap between 4.3BSD-Tahoe and Ultrix than
> between Tahoe and Reno. The latter is really huge, it's a gap between True
> UNIX(R) and a bloated and POSIXized fallen one.) Second, what I will be
> building won't be plain Tahoe, it will be Quasijarus1, i.e., Tahoe plus
> KA650 support and shadow passwords from Reno and other improvements from
> both later CSRG code and my own brain. SCCS will be the #1 tool in the
> process.

Speaking of crusades.....(:+}}.... I sometimes feel like the orphan
child running BSD on the old IBM RT (I know, not a biggie vaxen iron,
but that is what I have and the cap that I don).  It is not too
bad running 16M ram and a 20'' megapel color monitor, but the RISC
processor is running around 12mhz on an ISA bus which is not very fast.

I am curious, though, about the releases of BSD for the old RT.
Few on the net know anything about them anymore, and docs are nil.
I asked around IBM, and sort of drew dumb quizzled looks, as if
it had vaporized long ago.

I have uncovered three discrete distributions, one labelled IBM,
and two non-labelled, but which were apparently out of IBM or related
to IBM in some way, maybe after IBM dropped AOS, but I am not sure.
The background of it all is a mystery.

The first is a ``build 0'' thing called AOS or AOS/4.3, and it
appears to be a somewhat vanilla 4.3BSD, or possibly might be
as late as Tahoe.  It has pcc and a Metaware C compiler, and is not
very strange.  Other than the compilers being somewhat broken and
the time never correct, it runs well, and feels like 4.3.

The second is a ``build 16'' and labelled Reno, but is running gcc
and related things.  My suspicion is that it is a 4.4, but I am not
sure.  It seems fairly plain and following the 4.4 docs pretty well.
I don't think it is really Reno, but was named that by someone back
in time for some developmental reason maybe having been started from
a Reno tree, although I am not sure.

The third is a ``build 433'' and labelled Lite, and seems to be somewhat
straight 4.4 and somethat Lite (has two intermixed source trees), and
is gigabyte in size, and rather strangely laid out.  It may have been
the last build for the RT.

Unfortunately, original tapes and documents for these are long gone,
and I have only been able to pick up bits and pieces here and there.
I don't find mention of these ports anywhere in the usual docs, other
than a slight hint that they existed at one time.  Supposedly, bits
are on a mystical CD that is reputed to exist, and I have heard of
two actual CD's that may have survived.

I have spent the last 6 months resurrecting the ports, and basically
have a reliable 4.3 running, a running but somewhat broken ``Reno''
or whatever it is (of all things vi is only 99% operational because
of terminal driver problems), and a broken but somewhat running
``4.4/4.4Lite'' or whatever that really is (it boots and barely
stays up, but I have been working on making it stay up).

Does anyone on the PUPS list remember what these things actually are,
and what level they are actually at?  My historical curiosity is
getting the better of me, and like Michael, I tend to like the plain
model-T spartan simplicity of a 4.3 style machine.  There really is
a large bloat between the 4.3 and 4.4 levels in my stuff, too.  What
is responsible for the differences in the bloat?  I get binaries about
half the size in 4.3 compared to the 4.4whatevers I have.  Is that just
a function of gcc and how it codes things or libraries?  Anyway, it
has been a most refreshing learning experience getting these things up
and running again.

Is there any interest on the list to archive the ports that I have?

Out of curiosity, again, anyone else on the PUPS list running RT iron
or am I the last holdout?  The few RT folks that I am familiar with
are all running AIX still, although they remember the BSDs.  So much
seems to have been lost, already, or most of the machines have become
dumpster fodder.

Any insights, history, or horror stories about the old RT BSD ports are
most welcome.


Bob Keys

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