Subject: Re: EB164, PALcode revision, Booting NetBSD
To: Rolf Karlstad <>
From: Chris G Demetriou <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 08/05/1996 21:06:05
> Well, I finally got that EB164 based alpha, and have had, as yet, no luck 
> getting it to boot.  I can think of several reasons for this, but I think
> I had better lay out my hardware and software revisions before updating 
> console revisions, etc.
> What I have:
> 	DEC EB164 motherboard - 300mhz 21164 processor, DECchip 21171 chipset.
> 	cirrus logic 5430 VGA (PCI)  DEC 21040-AA ethernet (PCI)  
> 	NCR 53c810 SCSI (PCI)  128 MB RAM, 2 MB 10ns cache, 2-4GB Qtm Atlas
> Software revisions:  (I really hope that this is the problem)
> 	SRM console revision  X4.3-2326 Aug 29 1995 08:54:13
> 	VMS PALcode V1.15-0, OSF PALcode V1.19-0
> (this seems quite a bit older than what I have seen documented in the mailing 
> lists).

That may be it, but i doubt it...

> 	boot dka0. -file netbsd -flags s
> block 0 of dka0. is a vilid boot block
> reading 15 blocks from dka0.
> bootstrap code read in
> base = 11c000, image_start = 0, image_bytes = 1e00
> initializing HWPRB at 2000
> initialing page table at 10e000
> initializing machine state
> setting affinity to the primary CPU
> jumping to bootstrap code
> (flash, flash, flash (screen, also keyboard lights)
> >>>    (this is a SRM console prompt) (ie, no luck)

I'd be interested in seeing what goes on during that 'flash flash
flash' bit...  is it possible for you to hook your machine up with a
serial console, and see what the console output is?

If you can do that, it probably won't make much difference now but
will help immensely if my guess (below) is correct.

> Well, if anyone can suggest anything, thanks much.

(you're not going to like this answer... 8-)

It looks like (from examining a Digital UNIX
/usr/include/machine/cpuconf.h) the EB164 is a different system type
than anything currently supported by NetBSD.

What that means is that some -- anywhere from a couple to a large
number -- of the low-level details about how that machine's hardware
is wired (most likely PCI device locations, interrupt mapping, and
memory mapping) are different than the other systems we currently

Given that there is already 21164/21171 support in the tree (though,
it's currently a bit broken in a couple of ways, and needs to be
cleaned up a bit), it shouldn't be impossibly hard to make a kernel go
on your machine.  However, it does require a non-trivial amount of

What this boils down to: i'd bet that NetBSD/Alpha will not currently
run on your system.  With a bit of time, and the right documentation
(the EB164 design docs, i.e. the documentation that says how the
hardware and firmware works), somebody familiar with the code could
_make_ it work in a relatively short amount of time.

I don't currently have that documentation...  do you?

I'd be willing to do at least part of the work, to make the hardware
go, if i could get that documentation...  (*smirk*  and if someone
wanted to give me one of those boards, i'm sure i could find it in my
heart make it go, and i'd even make it a high priority...  8-)