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IDE drives under debian-alpha

I've received this inquiry from a collegue.  While I _plan_ to
install Debian alpha on one or two PC164LX soon, I haven't yet
and so I don't have the experience required to answer the questions.

Can you guys provide any information?

Peter <psg@debian.org>

------- Forwarded Message

From: David Oxilia <oxilia@OCE.ORST.EDU>
To: Peter Galbraith <GalbraithP@dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
Subject: IDE drives under debian-alpha

Hi Peter,

I thought your expertise with debian on alpha systems might
answer some questions I have. For several reasons, I am keen
on getting linux onto the alpha I use at work (the one possible
reason I'm not so keen on this is due to security issues under
linux... I'll worry about that in due time). 

The main problem I'm faced with is the lack of an additional 
SCSI disk on which to install. It would be simple enough
to pick up an additional drive and go ahead. However, SCSI
drives are expensive. Since I want to retain dec unix on the
primary drive (for its compilers and for posterity), I was
wondering whether alpha/linux supports EIDE drives. The machine
I have (PWS 433au aka miata) has an IDE controller in order to
support its ATAPI CD-ROM. Now, dec unix has no IDE support and
the CD-ROM is somehow mapped (I think) to a SCSI device
(/dev/rz0c). Nonetheless, it does appear as an ISA interface
under SRM. That is, SRM shows a two channel IDE controller
attached to IRQ's 14 & 15 (just as on PC's). The second channel
is disabled while the first is enabled and used by the CD-ROM.

Without making this too lengthy, I'm wondering whether I can
enable the second IDE channel and attach one or two cheap
EIDE (UDMA/33) drives. Digital simply tells me that no IDE
peripherals are "supported" (the usual scenario) BUT perhaps
the controller (I believe a DEC chip on the riser card) is 
not as crippled as they make it out to be. I assume that there
are alpha based "PC's" out there which use IDE drives. Do
you know whether there are any problems accessing these drives
in linux under /dev/hdaX, /dev/hdbX,...?

Another logistical question pertains to alpha/linux (or rather
XFree86) not having support for Powerstorm graphics cards. I
planned to use a Matrox Millenium II BUT then I don't think
there is any support in dec unix for it! Aside from this
annoyance, I'm wondering whether the AlphaBIOS console (I
think using AlphaBIOS rather than SRM makes life easier as
far as booting and PCI devices go) will even appear if the 
monitor is attached to a Matrox card? What cards do you have
experience with and do they work under both dec unix and linux?
I understand that only Matrox, DEC TGA, a couple of ATI and
some S3 chipsets are supported by linux. Of these, I believe
that the Matrox are the only ones which deliver reasonable
performance (ie, high res and refresh) on large monitors. Any
thoughts on this?

Many thanks in advance for your suggestions.


David Oxilia			Tel: (541) 737-2368
COAS:Oregon State University	Fax: (541) 737-2064
Ocean Admin. Bldg. 104		Email: oxilia@oce.orst.edu
Corvallis, OR 97331-5503	WWW: http://www.oce.orst.edu/po

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