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From: Fletcher Christian <Fle...@ibm.net>
Subject: Just what is going on here
Date: 1996/09/16
Message-ID: <199609160506.FAA175885@smtp-gw01.ny.us.ibm.net>#1/1
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Mon, 16 Sep 1996 22:31:33 +0100
reply-to: Fletcher Christian <Fle...@ibm.net>
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I have been reading this list for about 3 months and to be honest I'm  
starting to get a little confused. Most of the other non PC BSD/Linux
ports seem to be hardware driven, that is people are trying to do  
something usefull with free/cheap hardware, the OS is a means to that  
end. 

Rant on !!!!!


Reading this list you would think that the port was an end in itself.
Now I know what the name of the list is, but to be honest I doubt most  
of us charged out and got an HP just to write an OS for it. If this
group has any simularity with any of the other porting efforts then
the majority of us were given machines (or bought them cheap) and  
are now looking to use them for something usefull. Yet there is no
hardware FAQ, or core data of any kind and the little information  
around is often confused, (witness the Boot ROM fiasco of the past  
week).

With so much HP stuff becoming landfill I would have thought that  
getting hardware information out there would be a priority. Each guy  
who realises that it's worth his while to pluck an HP out of a skip is  
potentially the Jason Thorpe of the future :-)

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that at the moment is isn't worth  
anyones time to rescue one of these machines. For a start there is no  
way to boot one unless you already have NetBSD working on another  
platform. I have a number of computers running a variety of OS's if I  
realy look into rbootd and the NET2 code I'm sure I could do  
something. The question is should I have to go to all that trouble?

I think the problem is that there is a massive difference between the  
guys running the porting effort and the first time user. From reading  
the group I would say that people like Jason have 2 or 3 different  
machines all net capable and at least a working HPUX or 
NetBSD machine to boot off. In addition they have several years of  
HP experience and are frankly of Guru or SuperGuru status in Unix
hacking :-) The way the OS installation is handled is designed for these  
people. IF you don't have the capacity to netboot then you are out of  
luck.

The installation notes say that this will be fixed but unfortunately this  
has NO priority since the leaders of this effort already have working  
systems. I would offer to help, but I can't get the OS on my machine.

It's ok adding all this great stuff and I'm sure that things like the 4k
page binary compatability are really important to someone but until a  
guy can pick up an HP and boot with a tape or a floppy or a CD  
without a second host I don't see this port as being viable.


Anyway I have an offer. If people will send me what little hardware  
data they have I'll start to compile a hardware FAQ. I'll need help  
because I've only seen 2 or 3 of these machines but I'll do all the admin  
and compilation and posting. This is all I can donate to the project  
because I can't get the damned OS on my machine. Now once we have  
some hardware data AND an OS you dont HAVE to netboot I think  
we can start making progress.

Rant off !!!

Fletch

From: Jason Thorpe <tho...@nas.nasa.gov>
Subject: Re: Just what is going on here 
Date: 1996/09/16
Message-ID: <199609160654.XAA10121@lestat.nas.nasa.gov>
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Mon, 16 Sep 1996 22:32:55 +0100
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On Mon, 16 Sep 1996 07:16:32 EST 
 Fletcher Christian <Fle...@ibm.net> wrote:

 > group has any simularity with any of the other porting efforts then
 > the majority of us were given machines (or bought them cheap) and  
 > are now looking to use them for something usefull. Yet there is no
 > hardware FAQ, or core data of any kind and the little information  
 > around is often confused, (witness the Boot ROM fiasco of the past  
 > week).

When I have time, I try to get info up on the WWW pages ... but, since I 
do NetBSD/hp300 in my spare time (which seems to be in increasingly short 
supply lately...), I can't always collate the info and munge into 
presentable documents ... But, I always try to encourage people to 
help me out in this endeavor whenever possible.

The recent "Boot ROM fiasco" is a weird case in that the documentation 
was just not quite right ... it boiled down to my not knowing that some 
400 ROMs had "Rev A" stamped on them ... (on the sticker only, maybe?  
I've never personally used a 400s or 400t, so I don't know for sure what 
the BOOTROM prints during the self-test, which is really the revision 
number I was referring to in the documentation...)

 > With so much HP stuff becoming landfill I would have thought that  
 > getting hardware information out there would be a priority. Each guy  
 > who realises that it's worth his while to pluck an HP out of a skip is  
 > potentially the Jason Thorpe of the future :-)
 >
 > The unfortunate truth of the matter is that at the moment is isn't worth  
 > anyones time to rescue one of these machines. For a start there is no  
 > way to boot one unless you already have NetBSD working on another  
 > platform. I have a number of computers running a variety of OS's if I  
 > realy look into rbootd and the NET2 code I'm sure I could do  
 > something. The question is should I have to go to all that trouble?

That's not strictly true... Scott Reynolds, Mike Hibler, and I helped a 
fellow netboot from a FreeBSD system ... I'm told that someone netbooted 
from a SunOS system (with the LBL multicast code, which includes bpf).

It would be nice if someone were to do the work to rbootd to make it work 
on non-bpf systems ...

 > I think the problem is that there is a massive difference between the  
 > guys running the porting effort and the first time user. From reading  
 > the group I would say that people like Jason have 2 or 3 different  
 > machines all net capable and at least a working HPUX or 
 > NetBSD machine to boot off. In addition they have several years of  
 > HP experience and are frankly of Guru or SuperGuru status in Unix
 > hacking :-) The way the OS installation is handled is designed for these  
 > people. IF you don't have the capacity to netboot then you are out of  
 > luck.

It is true that I have several systems at home... I'm a bit of a computer 
buff (umm, duh :-) with an affinity for hardware that people consider 
obsolete... (Hey, it still works, right?)  When I started hacking 
NetBSD/hp300, there weren't very many of us (umm, 5?), and we sort of 
relied on whatever we happened to have around (in my case, HP-BSD 1.7).

When I re-wrote the installation tools for NetBSD/hp300 1.1, I tried 
_very hard_ to make them easier for new users ... However, I'm not a new 
user anymore, and as such, I rely on constructive comments from those who 
use the installation tools.  Without that feedback, it's hard for me to 
make them better in that regard.  Paul Kranenburg, Leo Weppleman, Matt 
Green, Gordon Ross, and myself have hacked on them since, but mostly it 
was to make them more sharable... The user interface didn't change much.  
However, I think it's a far cry better than what used to be there (you 
had to have a working HP-UX installation before ... and in the 0.9B 
days, you needed to have a nice fellow like John Brezak e-mail you a 
uuencoded disk image...)

 > The installation notes say that this will be fixed but unfortunately this  
 > has NO priority since the leaders of this effort already have working  
 > systems. I would offer to help, but I can't get the OS on my machine.

Please don't make false assumptions ... The fact is that I _have_ been 
working on making tape booting work.  But, the combination of a flaky 
HP-IB tape drive, a very short supply of usable tapes, and not a lot of 
time to spend on it means that it just hasn't been finished... In the 
post-1.2 sources, I've done a fair bit of work to the boot code (the same 
boot block will net or disk boot, and is _very_ close to tape booting).

 > It's ok adding all this great stuff and I'm sure that things like the 4k
 > page binary compatability are really important to someone but until a  
 > guy can pick up an HP and boot with a tape or a floppy or a CD  
 > without a second host I don't see this port as being viable.

In fact, folks who have been using the hp300 port previously _at all_ 
will really appreciate the 4k binary compatiblity (the hp300 port 
currently uses the 4k binaries, and should have been switched to use the 
8k format _years_ ago... sometimes you just put your foot down and get 
rid of legacy cruft like using an executable format that's the only thing 
stopping you from sharing your executables with every other m68k port).

 > Anyway I have an offer. If people will send me what little hardware  
 > data they have I'll start to compile a hardware FAQ. I'll need help  
 > because I've only seen 2 or 3 of these machines but I'll do all the admin  
 > and compilation and posting. This is all I can donate to the project  
 > because I can't get the damned OS on my machine. Now once we have  
 > some hardware data AND an OS you dont HAVE to netboot I think  
 > we can start making progress.

If you have any machine capable of being an NFS server, and a tape on 
which you can dd SYS_INST, you don't _have_ to netboot, you know.  The 
installation notes mention that you can load the miniroot tool from tape, 
but that it's only capable of reading the miniroot image from an NFS 
server.  If that part of the notes isn't clear enough, _please_ let me 
know so I can update the documentation... (I do try really hard...)

Anyhow, if you're serious about maintaining a NetBSD/hp300 FAQ, I'd love 
to have the assistance.  Let me dig up the bits I've been collecting over 
the years...

 -- save the ancient forests - http://www.bayarea.net/~thorpej/forest/ -- 
Jason R. Thorpe                                       tho...@nas.nasa.gov
NASA Ames Research Center                               Home: 408.866.1912
NAS: M/S 258-6                                          Work: 415.604.0935
Moffett Field, CA 94035                                Pager: 415.428.6939

From: Fletcher Christian <Fle...@ibm.net>
Subject: Re: Just what is going on here
Date: 1996/09/17
Message-ID: <199609161728.RAA198799@smtp-gw01.ny.us.ibm.net>
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Mon, 16 Sep 1996 22:37:19 +0100
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** Reply to note from Jason Thorpe <tho...@nas.nasa.gov> 09/15/96 11:54pm  
-0700

First up, I'd like to say that my post was not intended to be a flame, it may have  
come over more grouchy than I'd intended because I wrote it *Very* early
this morning after being up all night with stomach flu. So if anyone was offended
I'd like to appologise in advance.






> On Mon, 16 Sep 1996 07:16:32 EST 
>  Fletcher Christian <Fle...@ibm.net> wrote:
>  
>  > With so much HP stuff becoming landfill I would have thought that  
>  > getting hardware information out there would be a priority. Each guy  
>  > who realises that it's worth his while to pluck an HP out of a skip is  
>  > potentially the Jason Thorpe of the future :-)
>  >
>  > The unfortunate truth of the matter is that at the moment is isn't worth  
>  > anyones time to rescue one of these machines. For a start there is no  
>  > way to boot one unless you already have NetBSD working on another  
>  > platform. I have a number of computers running a variety of OS's if I  
>  > realy look into rbootd and the NET2 code I'm sure I could do  
>  > something. The question is should I have to go to all that trouble?
> 
> That's not strictly true... Scott Reynolds, Mike Hibler, and I helped a 
> fellow netboot from a FreeBSD system ... I'm told that someone netbooted 
> from a SunOS system (with the LBL multicast code, which includes bpf).

The problem is that to use the port as it stands you need.
     1)   An HP
     2)   A network card.
     3)   Another host to network off that supports NFS, TCPIP and BPF.

Really we should only need 1). I have 5 computers capable of networking
(in addition to the HP) running MacOS, tripos, OS/2 and Solaris if I can't do
it easily who can?
      
 
> 
> It would be nice if someone were to do the work to rbootd to make it work 
> on non-bpf systems ...

What is the story about this? I tried to get some information on BPF from a  
number of sources and the consensus seems to be that it is a tool for packet
monitoring on the network (ie used for debugging). If the rboot stuff is now
well understood why is BPF still needed.

> 
>  > I think the problem is that there is a massive difference between the  
>  > guys running the porting effort and the first time user. From reading  
>  > the group I would say that people like Jason have 2 or 3 different  
>  > machines all net capable and at least a working HPUX or 
>  > NetBSD machine to boot off. In addition they have several years of  
>  > HP experience and are frankly of Guru or SuperGuru status in Unix
>  > hacking :-) The way the OS installation is handled is designed for these  
>  > people. IF you don't have the capacity to netboot then you are out of  
>  > luck.
> 
> It is true that I have several systems at home... I'm a bit of a computer 
> buff (umm, duh :-) with an affinity for hardware that people consider 
> obsolete... (Hey, it still works, right?)  When I started hacking 
> NetBSD/hp300, there weren't very many of us (umm, 5?), and we sort of 
> relied on whatever we happened to have around (in my case, HP-BSD 1.7).

The number of computers  was not supposed to be a dig, I have several machines at  
home (at least 5 "modern" systems and countless working 8 bit
machines doing all sorts of minor tasks). I agree with you about if it works use it.

My point was that the netload option only realy works if you are in a computer
rich environment. If you're not then you have problems. The fact that the  
installation method IS netbooting (as opposed to a media based boot) emphasises
that the originators of the port are in a computer rich environment.

What I would ask is this. Suppose you pulled a 380, 9144 and a 7958 out of a skip
but had no access to any other computer, can you load the OS?




> >  > The installation notes say that this will be fixed but unfortunately this  
>  > has NO priority since the leaders of this effort already have working  
>  > systems. I would offer to help, but I can't get the OS on my machine.
> 
> Please don't make false assumptions ... The fact is that I _have_ been 
> working on making tape booting work. 

Ok to quote my managers lets look at your "opertunities" :-)

> But, the combination of a flaky HP-IB tape drive,
Is this flaky as in a bad unit or is this a unit design problem? Being in
Europe I can't help with a bad unit (other than point out a shop in Montreal
Canada with lots of 9144's) but analysis of the design of the tape drive
may be possible once I've sorted out my logic analyser.

> a very short supply of usable tapes,

The same store in Canada has lots of SH tapes too. Better than that I know of a
place in England with boxes and boxes of NEW HP 1/4" tapes marked  
"Preformated for use on HP systems"  So far I haven't picked any up because
it doesn't say WHICH systems. If you can send me the HP part numbers for the  
useable tapes I will send you some new ones if they are ok and it helps the effort.
 >and not a lot of  time to spend on it means that it just hasn't been finished...

That I can't help with. :-)
 In the 
> post-1.2 sources, I've done a fair bit of work to the boot code (the same 
> boot block will net or disk boot, and is _very_ close to tape booting).

About the HP tapes. Does anyone know what the story is?? Are the mechanisms
the same as standard QIC02 1/4" drives (ie are they only formated diferently) or  
are ther actual hardware differences? Does anyone know if it's possible to format
standard 1/4" cartridges to allow them to work in place of the rare HP ones?

> >  > Anyway I have an offer. If people will send me what little hardware  
>  > data they have I'll start to compile a hardware FAQ. I'll need help  
>  > because I've only seen 2 or 3 of these machines but I'll do all the admin  
>  > and compilation and posting. This is all I can donate to the project  
>  > because I can't get the damned OS on my machine. Now once we have  
>  > some hardware data AND an OS you dont HAVE to netboot I think  
>  > we can start making progress.
> 
> If you have any machine capable of being an NFS server, and a tape on 
> which you can dd SYS_INST, you don't _have_ to netboot, you know.  The 
> installation notes mention that you can load the miniroot tool from tape, 
> but that it's only capable of reading the miniroot image from an NFS 
> server.  If that part of the notes isn't clear enough, _please_ let me 
> know so I can update the documentation... (I do try really hard...)

Thanks I'll look into this.

> Anyhow, if you're serious about maintaining a NetBSD/hp300 FAQ, I'd love 
> to have the assistance.  

I'm serious, but to be honest I was more intent on an HP hardware FAQ
than a NetBSD one. The reason is that a HW FAQ is principly a compilation
and editing effort since no one person can have access to all the available
hardware anyway. Software FAQ's realy need the author to know a lot about
the software because he WILL receive questions about it. In a lot of peoples minds  
the FAQ editor IS the expert on that subject. Until I have more familiarity
with NetBSD I wouldn't realy feel comfortable as FAQ editor.

HOWEVER I would be willing to do the donkey work of compiling and  
maintaining a HP300/NetBSD FAQ if someone with more experience
proof read and co authored it.

Fletch




From: Bdale Garbee <bd...@gag.com>
Subject: Re: Just what is going on here 
Date: 1996/09/17
Message-ID: <199609170457.WAA07872@chunks.gag.com>#1/1
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>> About the HP tapes. Does anyone know what the story is?? Are the mechanisms
>> the same as standard QIC02 1/4" drives (ie are they only formated 
>> diferently) or are ther actual hardware differences?
> 
> Hardware differences.  For those interested (and the archives ;-) an
> explanation is below of the differences between the HP drives and QIC.

Actually, the tape cartridges are mechanically identical... it's the drives
that differ.  I'm not sure which question was really being asked.

It's quite possible (I do it all the time) to take scrap HP tapes and use 
them in a QIC-150 drive.  However, you can't go the other way at all since 
the HP tapes must for all practical purposes be factory-formatted to work 
in HP drives.

Niland's notes are from the perspective of, and targetted towards, an audience
of folks with HP drives who need/needed to know to avoid QIC tapes like the
plague.  Watching a 9144 grapple with a non-HP tape is not a pretty sight.

Be careful of tapes scrapped by HP in surplus outlets if you're trying to get
tapes for an HP drive.  If they played by the rules, the tapes may well have
been bulk-erased to wipe any confidential info, resulting in tapes that are
fine for a QIC drive, but not for an HP drive...

Bdale