Subject: Re: Newbie - please help - Console update
To: Paul Goyette <>
From: Miles Nordin <carton@Ivy.NET>
List: port-alpha
Date: 05/18/1999 13:22:41
On Tue, 18 May 1999, Paul Goyette wrote:

> "BIOS Emulation V1.15a".
> Then, it goes to a totally blank, blue screen with an underline cursor

Digital came up with the lovely idea that ordinary PC video cards should
be supported, by executing their 8086 BIOS code under emulation.  A
``brilliant'' plan since the insides of Alpha's look so much like the
insides of Wintel junk.  (am I being sarcastic here?  i can't even tell.)

Anyway, the sad part is their hit/miss ratio has been so poor for me that
it couldn't possibly be worse than ``generic'' VGA BIOS written in Alpha
code.  Indeed, that is what some of the new MILO's do.

At the time I had to deal with this, sometimes it went a little further if
I pulled the BIOS chip off the VGA card, but I'm not sure this ever
actually solved anything.  Your best bet is to try another brand of video
card.  _If_ this problem continues after you start using the right

If you disconnect the keyboard, the firmware will use a serial console.
You can use this permanently if you can't find a VGA card that works (X
doesn't work on VGA yet anyway), or you can use it along with a
desperation jumper documented in your motherboard manual to update the ROM
to SRM after the ``wrong'' firmware has made your machine unusable.  I'll
send you a painfully long message on this topic I posted earlier.

Blue screens are associated with that ``other'' inferior firmware that
RedHat has been telling people to use these days.  Are you sure you are
using SRM, because you need to be.

Miles Nordin / 1-888-857-2723
555 Bryant Street PMB 182 / Palo Alto, CA 94301-1700