Subject: Re: I can run that OS in *one* megabyte...
To: David Seifert <>
From: Joseph Sarkes <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 08/04/1998 16:27:29
David Seifert writes:
> >> On port-mac68k, I've seen people with 8 MB systems boot fine
> >> (although that's a 32-bit system).
> >
> > NetBSD/vax can run nicely on a 2MB machine :-)
> I have a ns32k box that can run a BSD-based OS in 0.75 MB.
> It runs okay in 1 MB and nicely in 3.
> I have another ns32k box that runs NetBSD in 4MB and
> nicely in 16.
> My alphas page and swap like crazy with 32MB.  If we believe
> ps(1) output, alpha binaries need 10x the memory that ns32k
> does (both running NetBSD).  I routinely see rn(1) with a VSS of
> 50MB!!! (rn-classic, not the X11 version)
> Now I know that ns32k is one of the most efficient architectures,
> that the alpha is RISC and 64 bits and has a larger page size, but
> 10 times as large???  Something seems wrong here?
> Anyone know why the alpha is such a memory pig?

Hmmm, seems to me that the vax had 128 or 256 byte pages, although
as far as what netbsd does on a vax i haven't got a clue. likely
the ns32k was modeled on the vax. More likely, since the alpha is
a more modern machine, from times of plenty (memory, etc.) things
were never shoe-horned into smaller chunks of memory for efficiency.

My favorite object lesson of this is microsoft products, working in
conjunction with intel, requiring new hardware/new software/new hardware/
new software, ad nauseum, just to run a calculator app. The mainframe
i used back in 1974 cost a cool half a million, and had 512K memory on
it. Probably close to the speed of an intel 80286 running at 32 MHz a 
decade later. That ibm 370/145 supported multiple users, a 4 Mb virtual
memory space, and did so very nicely. Times change, so that a 300 MHz
cpu seems slow with current software, and requires upgrading.

We are using more graphics, but to need megabytes to just do a calculator
program seems to be excessive to me. Now if i just had a building to hold
an ibm mainframe in...

Joseph Sarkes         
P.O. Box 482
Ipswich, MA 01938
(978) 948-5017