Subject: Re: macbsd port
To: Real Artificial Leather-like Brad Grantham <>
From: Robert Hagopian <>
List: macbsd-general
Date: 01/07/1994 21:04:44
On Fri, 7 Jan 1994, Real Artificial Leather-like Brad Grantham wrote:

> If there is documentation on caging up the ToolBox and making it do our
> dirty work, I'd use it in a second.  Let me know if you come across any.
> Our initial thoughts were that figuring out how to fool the ToolBox would
> me orders of magnitude harder than fooling the hardware.  I'm almost certain
> that's still true.

I dont' see how that would be a problem. Most new Macs use the "Universal 
ROMs" which to the best of my knowledge aren't going to be changing 
between systems (and are in most systems now... IIvx not one though I 
don't think...), and as the kybd routines are in ROM, as soon as the BSD 
wizzards can emulate them for one machine, it should be working on many 
more... Personally, I have the distinct feeling that especcially with 
newer hardware that is getting to be more standardized to cut costs work 
will actually be progressing faster, and machines that you guys don't 
have will still work...

> Our understanding is that A/UX does NOT in fact use the Toolbox, but
> does what we do; access the hardware directly.  If this were not the
> case, it would not have to be ported to every new machine that comes
> out.  True, it probably does install the right drivers per computer,
> but then so does NetBSD/Mac.  The drivers are probably just modules
> like ours that they set pointers to on start up, so interrupts go to
> the right place, and ADB makes the right memory accesses to get its
> job done.  But I don't believe these are actually calls to the ROM.
> Maybe someone at Apple on our mailing list could shed some light on this?

Yes, it's true, A/UX does have to be tuned for some new machines, and since 
Apple basically stopped work on it, it doesn't run on new machines 
(LCIII, Duo230, some Quadras...)

> *mild frustration on*
> Everyone keeps asking us why we don't use the ToolBox!  
> Honestly, we're not stupid, I swear!  It's just that after very intense
> research, it looked like it would be easier to slam the hardware
> directly.
> *mild frustration off*
> If we had found a way to access the ToolBox routines,
> including MacOS patches which are loaded on startup to fix ROM bugs,
> we would have tried it.  Zon Williams MacMach runs on the toolbox,
> but he had extensive help from Apple.  I'm not sure we want that kind
> of interaction if it would mean licensing or copyright woes at a later
> date!  If anyone is willing to try porting MacBSD to use the ROMs, please
> feel free!  In fact, I'll bet the kernel could be built from MacMINT,
> which can be found on, and then anyone could
> at least build a kernel on their machine and test it, even if it won't
> run at all.  I intended to try this myself, but I (we) really have bigger
> fires to put out, like a new ADB and CI/SI internal video.

hehehehe... however, for the kernel I'd agree, it's probably just better 
to "slam" the hardware, but the fact that many routines are in ROM 
means that half the work for running Mac programs under BSD is done... 
look forward to that eventually :-)
                    -Rob Hagopian