11/730 question

Michael Sokolov mxs46 at k2.scl.cwru.edu
Wed Jan 13 09:18:35 AEST 1999

Dear PUPS/TUHS members,

I wonder if any of you has some input on this issue. As I'm preparing for
making my planned disk labeling improvements (making it possible to install the
system on a fresh unlabeled disk in a more or less straightforward way), I
first want to clean up some mess in the standalone system. One thing that
annoys me in there is that for every standalone program that's supposed to go
on the console media there are two versions built, a normal one and a "730"
one. The comments say that 11/730 has a microcode botch that prevents it from
loading programs larger than 12.5 KB, so supposedly all "730" standalone
programs must be smaller than that. However, right now all standalone programs
are around 30 KB, and the difference between the normal and "730" versions is
only about 3 KB, even though the "730" versions do have the MASSBUS and BI code
compiled out. Wondering if there is a way to make them smaller, I looked at
older versions, and guess what, even in 4.2 the "730" versions are a little bit
over the alleged 12.5 KB limit! That's right, 4.2BSD is the first release with
11/730 support, and its standalone programs are already over the alleged 11/730
microcode limit!

This raises quite a few questions. First of all, does the 11/730 microcode
really have this limitation, or is it just a hoax? If this limit does exist,
when exactly does it apply? The BSD distribution TU58 cassette always used the
full versions of the programs, not the "730" ones (the distribution cassette is
also used for 750s), and yet apparently 730s could be bootstrapped from it.
Maybe this limitation applies only to automatic bootstrap and not to manual
loading? And if this is indeed a microcode botch, are there any patches
available for it?

I would appreciate it if someone here can provide some answers to these
questions. I would really like to get rid of those "730" standalone programs,
but I can't do it if this would break 11/730 support. (It's my responsibility
as the 4.3BSD-* maintainer to only add features, but never break anything that
works in plain 4.3 or 4.2.)

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

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