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Newbie hurdsman problems

I untarred gnu-19990104.tar.gz off of alpha.gnu.org, booted it up, and in
the messages it complained about /dev/console not being a tty, and said
it would create and use /tmp/console instead. I ls'd both files and the
/tmp file was a device (0,0), but the /dev file was a blank regular file.
All the other files in /dev were regular blanks. Is this normal? I
untarred using -xzpv from linux.

 -Pipes don't work, so I can't create the proper devices
 -I can't exit less, even with $TERM exported as mach

Thanks in advance

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