Subject: Re: Alpha console weirdness
To: None <,>
From: Ross Harvey <>
List: current-users
Date: 05/26/1999 14:02:22
For now, I think the serial console will solve your problem. I would guess:

   1. The vga console has some subtle problem on alpha, perhaps an LP64
      problem, perhaps a byte store side effect, whatever...
   2. The Matrox card isn't really VGA compatible after reset, but requires
      that x86 bios extension code be run, and your SRM is either not 
      interpreting it or not interpreting it well enough. I have no idea
      which SRM's interpret x86 boot rom code, perhaps they all do...
      I know some of them do it, and mainly for initializing VGA cards.

Either one is possible. I can test #1 for you with a random VGA card, though
not right now.  You could test it yourself, actually, if you are interested.
Possibly, issue #2 would complicate such a test.


> From: Edwin Foo <>
> Hi all,
> A few days ago I posted on port-alpha regarding a strange lockup condition
> on my AlphaPC164SX running release 1.4. To recap, my console will
> reproducibly freeze not respond to any further keyboard input if I use apps
> like vi,less,more, etc. The symptoms are increasing console "garbage" on the
> screen -- it basically looks like the letters are falling off my screen a la
> "The Matrix". =) Or maybe a better example is the Letter Invaders game from
> Marvin Bacon Teaches Typing.. anyways, I digress. Essentially, after a few
> screens of watching my screen fall apart, the console stops responding to
> commands. It is quite reproducible.
> I have a Matrox Millenium MGA card in the machine - it appears as vga0.
> However, it doesn't seem to be limited to the console as of this morning; I
> was logged in via telnet and ran
> sup -v sup.conf
> the -v made it produce lots of messages, and soon enough, my telnet window
> was locked up solid too. Launching another telnet session and killing the
> offending csh process didn't convince my telnet client that the connection
> had been broken.
> Ross Harvey did send me a patch on port-alpha to try to fix the problem (see
> message header "console garbage/lockup", but as I reported on the list, that
> didn't help either. Is there anything else I should try? I'm almost about to
> just rip out the VGA card and start using a serial console, but now that my
> telnet session also died, I wonder if I'll have the same problem on a serial
> console.