Subject: Re: Samsung Boards
To: None <, port-alpha@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Ross Harvey <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 04/03/1998 11:48:00
>From: "Heiko W.Rupp" <> :
> ...
>> Samsung boards is because I don't see any obvious place to get the SRM
>> flash code from. 
>Why does NetBSD need the SRM console? Or in other words: when
>many/most boards nowadays come with ARM(?) console, why then not take
>the code from Lin*x AXP to support this. NetBSD alpha was/is far ahead
>LAXP, but ...

NetBSD doesn't need the SRM console so much as it needs the OSF/1
palcode that the SRM console provides and ARC and AlphaBIOS do not.
It's an entire virtual machine between the hardware and the OS, and
it is (for an example ev56 platform) 9,605 lines of hand-written assembly.

And, unfortunately, it is completely different between the 21064 and
the 21164, and somewhat different between various system models using
the same chip.

Linux by itself doesn't run on ARC, exactly, they use the MILO console
layer to glue an old free version of the OSF/1 palcode onto ARC.

However, the last time I checked, the publically available MILO sources
had such old palcode in it that it would not run reliably on chips made
in the last couple of years, so I presume that the companies shipping
linux on current systems have made private arrangements with that guy
at DEC who does milo. It would be nice to hear the real story on this
from someone who Knows.

Actually, this question is even in the NetBSD/Alpha FAQ:

There are a couple of points on the bright side:

[1] It isn't too serious because SRM is available on gatekeeper for all
the important platforms, and buyers of new hardware can just be sure to
buy something for which SRM is available. I believe this includes the
two real cheap systems: AXP PCI33 & Multia, and the currently popular,
nice-and-fast AlphaPC 164 LX.

[2] I have NetBSD running just fine here at Avalon on the A12, without SRM,
and with recently manufactured CPU chips. (And with a private arrangement
of our own to get working palcode, sigh.) So, progress is being made towards
the goal of supporting NetBSD on ARC and AlphaBIOS systems, and it is on our
list to support this.

Ross Harvey