Subject: NetBSD at Solutions Linux 2003 report
To: None <>
From: Quentin Garnier <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 02/08/2003 18:28:03
Solutions Linux 2003 took place during the week in Paris, France. There
was a booth there for NetBSD and FreeBSD, handled by Vincent Tougait from
GCU-Squad. On the adjacent booth were the OpenBSD guys selling T-Shirts
and making noise.

I hadn't planned to spend much time at the expo, but nonetheless I brought
my NetBSD powered Dell Inspiron 2500. Looking back it was a fine idea
since when I got there I was suprised to find a NeXT station and an HP
712/60 waiting to be installed.

The NeXT station

We started with the NeXT station. For that I downloaded a snapshot of the
1.6 branch from Then I followed the instructions
contained in the INSTALL guide : installation went smoothly, although I
already had an experience in netbooting a SPARC station, so the necessary
steps to prepare a diskless setup went quickly.

At first the station didn't boot, but as indicated, I had to add an entry
in the ARP table for it. Then it loaded the kernel but it went into an
infinite loop while probing something. Since there was a chance the SCSI
disk was faulty, we unplugged it.

After that, NetBSD 1.6.1_RC1 booted and went in multi-user mode perfectly.
I ran into issues with the keyboard layout. More specifically,

# wsconsctl -w encoding=fr

(it had a french layout) didn't work, failing with an ENODEV (IIRC,
although encoding=us worked, but was useless). I had to replace manually
all the relevant mappings to match the layout.

Eventually, we had a perfectly well running NetBSD system on our NeXT, for
the enjoyment of many admirative visitors.

Unfortunately, we didn't took the time to compile in support for the SCSI

The HP station

That one was tricky. The diskless setup is different from the NeXT one,
and the documentation of the hp700 port wasn't clear on the fact that this
station needed bootpd(8) to boot. Once we had the correct set of daemons
running (tftpd and bootpd through inetd), we could achieve a complete boot
of the NetBSD 1.6D snapshot with the update applied.

The documentation gives all the clues for a correct setup, I guess I'd
have needed a couple more "try bootp".

We had no time to make real tests of the station : it ran, although the
kernel printed some error messages about the network interface on a
regular basis.

There was also issues with the AZERTY keyboard, but I didn't bothered to
try and solve them.


I don't have the hardawre anymore so I can't make more tests. The fact is
that those old ladies run pretty well and make people agree when you tell
them NetBSD code really has to be clean and solid to be ported to such
different architectures.

You may find dmesgs of both stations and relevant server config files on .

There are two ethers entries for the HP since I wasn't sure which MAC
address the RJ45 interface had (there was also an AUI one).

Quentin Garnier -
"Feels like I'm fiddling while Rome is burning down.
Should I lay my fiddle down and take a rifle from the ground ?"
Leigh Nash/Sixpence None The Richer, Paralyzed, Divine Discontents, 2002.