OK I got this here VAXen thingie.... what is it?

Michael Sokolov mxs46 at k2.scl.cwru.edu
Thu Jan 7 05:41:03 AEST 1999

"User Rdkeys Robert D. Keys" <rdkeys at seedlab1.cropsci.ncsu.edu> wrote:

> Machine:  VAXstation 3500, no consoles or external boxes, only the tower.

Will run my latest OS release, 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0, like a charm.

> Tape Drive:  TK70

Great! 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0 bootstraps from TK70s beaufifully.

> Hard Drive:  RA70

Also great! You are incredibly lucky here that 4.3BSD-* already knows about
RA70 and thus you can install 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0 on this disk directly even
when it's unlabeled. If you had third-party MSCP disks, you would have to
install Ultrix first to label the disk. This is due to 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0's
inability to install on unknown unlabeled disks. This limitation will be lifted
in the next Quasijarus release, which I'm already working on.

> 1        KA650 -BA

A very nice CPU, rated at 2.8 VUPs. 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0 fully supports it
(better than CSRG's Tahoe and Reno releases). KA650 support is present in the
GENERIC kernel, so it will Just Boot (tm).

The "-BA" part means that it has bit 1 set in the second longword of the EPROM,
causing DEC proprietary OSes to treat it as a "single-user" machine. Research
OSes like 4.3BSD-* ignore this bit. But if you do want to convert your machine
to "multiuser" status, clear bit 1, set bit 0, and recalculate the checksum
(you'll need an EPROM blaster). This will turn your CPU into a KA650-AA.

You also have the option of upgrading this CPU to a KA655 (3.8 VUPs) or KA660
(5 VUPs). KA655 is also fully supported by 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0, and KA660
support is coming soon (100% guarrantee that I'll get it before NetBSD does).

> 2        MS650 -AA
> 3        MS650 -AA

-AA is a 8 MB board, so you have a total of 16 MB of RAM.

Note, though, that -AAs are old boards, and they work only with KA650 and
KA640. If you decide to upgrade to KA655 or KA660, you'll need either DEC
MS650-Bx or third-party MS650-compatible memory. These work with all KA650
series CPUs.

> 4        DELQA -SA

Ethernet. Fully supported by Berkeley UNIX since 4.3BSD.

> 5        VCB02
> 6        VCB02
> 7        VCB02

QDSS video. 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0 should support this (untested), but since you
don't have a VAXstation monitor or keyboard anyway, pull these three boards out
and move everything else to the right (you can't leave empty Q-bus slots in the

> 8        CXY08

8-line asynchronous multiplexer (8-port serial interface). Not sure if 4.3BSD-*
has a driver for it (I haven't touched this area and left it as it was in
CSRG's Tahoe release). It has some drivers for DEC asynchronous multiplexers,
but DEC made a lot of different ones, and I don't know where does CXY08 stand
with respect to everything else DEC has produced.

Ultrix supports it for sure, though.

> 9        TQK70

Controller for TK70.

> 10       KDA50
> 11       KDA50

Controller for RA70 (or any other SDI disks you may want to connect).

> Any suggestions are appreciated.

Hmm, it looks like you have already been brainwashed by one NutBSDist. Please
don't listen to him. Running NetBSD is conduct unbecoming a PUPS/TUHS member.
NetBSD is the worst OS a VAX can run. Its code is a total mess, and its
"developers" are incompetent morons (I know, I've been on their list for 6
months or so). They have no clue as to how to write VAX OSes, and their list of
supported hardware is as skinny as their brains. NetBSD is extremely flaky, and
it's extremely bloated.

My authoritative advice to you is to run 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0, my latest release
made two weeks ago (I'm the maintainer of 4.3BSD-*). It comes with 100%
complete source code, and, picture this, the entire system with all binaries
_and full sources_ fits in 75 MB! It's absolutely True and Pure UNIX, nothing
can be better.

There is also Ultrix. No matter how much those losers insult it, it's one of
the best OSes in the Universe, second only to 4.3BSD-Quasijarus. Despite what
some incompetent morons may say, it is not a "4.2/4.3 mix", it's 100% 4.3.
True, it has been interDIGITated by DEC, which makes it a little impure and
bloated (and binary-only), but otherwise it's OK. It is bigger than a
binary-only 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0 installation, but certainly much smaller than
NutBSD. As for the DEC additions, just ignore them! Just because Ultrix
optionally supports Sun YP, Hesiod, and other crap doesn't mean that you have
to use it! In fact, it's already disabled by default! Just don't enable it,
that's all! When /etc/svc.conf selects "local,bind" for hosts and "local" for
everything else, Ultrix becomes indistinguishable from 4.3BSD! I can bet that
if I show you two VAXen, one running 4.3BSD and the other running Ultrix, you
won't be able to tell easily which is which.

Also some Ultrix-specific features are really nice. Take NFS, for example. I
will certainly add NFS to 4.3BSD-Quasijarus at some point. Also don't forget
that Ultrix runs on almost every VAX ever made. I often run Ultrix instead of
4.3BSD-* when the latter doesn't run on the hardware in question. In fact, this
is what Ultrix is best for: a fallback OS to replace 4.3BSD-* when it doesn't
support the hardware. Of course 4.3BSD-Quasijarus is the best OS in the
Universe, and you should always run it whenever possible, but when you can't
Ultrix is a very good fallback because it's so close.

But since you have a KA650, you don't have to worry about this, as
4.3BSD-Quasijarus0 will run on it like a charm.

Best of luck with it. 4.3BSD-Quasijarus0 is in the PUPS archive in the
Distributions/4bsd/43quasi0.vax directory.

Michael Sokolov
Cellular phone: 216-217-2579
ARPA Internet SMTP mail: mxs46 at k2.scl.cwru.edu

More information about the TUHS mailing list