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Re: Etch running on an emulated DECstation

Michel Lespinasse wrote:
On Fri, Sep 15, 2006 at 09:29:40PM -0400, prescott@phys.ufl.edu wrote:
I would like to help keep DECstation support alive for Etch.

I have plenty of hardware (DS 5000/240, 5000/150, 5000/120, and
Personal DS 5000/33 and 5000/25), but free time is short (as it
is for everyone). I'd appreciate any advice on the best way to begin - just start trying the daily built images?

Trying some recent images might help - personally I was unable to get
very far with the gxemul emulator and linux 2.6 kernels but I can't
say for sure wether the issue is in linux 2.6 or in gxemul. Testing on
an actual DECstation would at least tell us that - who knows, maybe it
even works on actual hardware :)
FYI, I have Etch working on an actual DECsystem 5000/260. The Debianised kernel works OK (although kernels that I have subsequently built myself based on the latest Debian patch set have strange DZ serial console problems), but the Etch Beta 3 netinst installer CD is badly broken (and still was in daily snapshots as at about a week ago). I had to use a Sarge netinst CD to bootstrap to stable and then upgrade to testing from there.

Problems I have observed:

- The Etch B3 netinst CD kernel image apparently does not include the sr_mod driver, and thus cannot detect the CD. This is a total show-stopper. Quite possibly it doesn't contain iso9660 either (I've seen reports to this effect about the SPARC port of Etch B3), but I didn't even get that far. - SCSI drivers in both Sarge 2.4 and Etch 2.6 kernels seem to take exception to some of my 2.1 Gb HP-branded SCSI disks (which work 100% fine under NetBSD 3.0 PMAX). Unless there are many other preceding devices in the SCSI chain to slow things down, I get as far as "hoping for mgsout" and then it hangs. Looks like some kind of a SCSI(-1) probe problem. - The Debian Sarge netinst installer can't install an R3000 kernel (complains about a missing kernel package), so I couldn't get Debian running on my DECstation 5000/240 except by cloning an existing install using "dump" and then adding the r3k kernel package using dpkg. - The DEFTA patch for Turbochannel FDDI adaptors is not only missing from the official kernel tree and from the Debian kernel builds, but also from the Linux-MIPS GIT repository. I had to Google extensively to find it. This code is in danger of being lost. I've updated the DECstation entry in the Linux-MIPS Wiki with a pointer to it. The modified defxx driver appears to work fine on my DEFTA-FA hardware. - It would be nice if the Debian kernel build would include support for DEFTA FDDI (modified defxx, as above), and DEC MS02 NVRAM (and by extension MTD core and MTD caching block) drivers. I've tested the latter and it seems to work fine also.

Sorry if I'm a little light on detail, but I'm short on time and hampered by multiple RAM module failures (not surprising considering the age of the hardware) at present.

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