Subject: Re: Any experince with this alpha?
To: John C. Hayward <>
From: Steve M. Acheson <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 08/26/1996 11:35:02
Hi John,

Well, there are several answers to your questions, so I'll try to give you 
enough info to decide on your own.

I've got NetBSD up and running on several of the alpha's here at NASA and on 
my personal one at home.  Chris Demetriou has done most (all?) of the support 
work for getting the UDB/alpha port working so far.

Here's the prob's with the system:

No Shared libraries yet.  Needs people to do development
- X works, but isn't really as fast as it could be as Chris just hacked 
- SCSI works fine except with HP drives (NCR SCSI doens't like HP)
- The PCI slot is supported, but he PCMCIA (PC-Card) slots are not.
- 24 meg just isn't enough to run X and compile under as well.
- As Fred pointed out (I'm the other he refered to) the Disk is way to small,
   you'll need a lot more.  If you strip the binaries, remove un-needed files 
   (your choice) you can get the system and X to all fit with about 6 meg of 
   disk left (your MB might vary).
- The floppy might not be supported yet (means: I couldn't get it working but I
   didn't try hard either).
- Ethernet works well, and on boot senses what media.
- Sound card isn't supported.

For your specific questions:
>In particular does X run well on this machine (I guess the video is built 
>into the mother board).

It uses TGA (dec special) that supports up to 1280x1024 in several modes, 
configured by jumpers on the Motherboard (you'll need a good monitor for some 
freq's).  As for well, I'm not sure what you are comparing it to.  It runs and 
we've got most X apps running easily so far (those that we have ported anyway).

There are two serial ports on the system, but only one db25.  You need a 
special breakout cable (spec's are avail on the net).  The ports should 
support 16550a speeds easily.

Some Web sites to check out about the hardware are:

Well, I hope that helps you decide.  The system is fast (for $800) and runs 
well.  I've got 1.2Beta kernel up and running and it seems stable (no 

Feel free to ask more questions if you have any...  And I'm sure that Chris 
will correct anything I've botched :-)

Steve Acheson                         415-604-4495
Sterling Software           
Moffett Field, Ca 94035-1000