Subject: Re: Accessing ext2fs from NetBSD/alpha?
To: Miles Nordin <carton@Ivy.NET>
From: <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 05/24/1999 04:22:14
On Mon, 24 May 1999, Miles Nordin wrote:

> On Sun, 23 May 1999 wrote:
> > So, does anyone have any tips / disk images they can send my way to
> i'm not sure how to read one architecture's partition tables from another,
> and i don't have init strings for your modem or disk images for your
> Alpha.  but loading MILO (and thus Linux) without ARC is easy.
> you can use mkboot.exe from Digital's firmware ftp site to make firmware
> floppies from an MS-DOS machine.
> easier yet, there is a NetBSD tool that does the same thing in
> src/sys/arch/alpha/stand/mkbootimage if i'm not mistaken--i've not had
> cause to use it yet.
> more importantly, you can use either of these to put a MILO binary onto a
> floppy, and tell SRM to boot the floppy.  use either:
>       MILO and mkbootimage  -> floppy
>  -or- MILO.dd and dd        -> floppy
> just type 'boot dva0' after you've made your floppy. There is no need to
> resort to ARC.  or aboot.  More details are in the MILO FAQ, I believe.
> I'm amazed you got your Alpha working without spending a week learning
> about this mess.  lucky you!  but, now it's time i guess.

Thanks. :)  The mkbootimage way didn't work properly per man mkbootimage
w/ the as200_v_7_0.exe program (it would hang after "jumping to bootstrap
code") perhaps because the disk wasn't formatted properly.  In any case,
the mkboot method worked ok the first time with the firmware update to
flash to ARC, and I've been able to get back onto the partition with a
linux rescue disk, and *slowwwly* copy the data I need onto an NFS server. 

I actually did spend a bit of time learning/experimenting w/ "The Alpha
way" of booting under ARC bios, which involved putting a milo image & the
kernel on an msdos partition, and passing the necessary parameters.  And,
booting NetBSD under SRM is a breeze.  I just didn't find any
documentation outlining SRM much (the SRM-HOWTO for linux talks about
aboot primarily for what I'd be needing, and Debian took away their
milo/milo.dd's as of the most recent release)  And, I'm still getting my
sea legs, as it were with NetBSD. ;)  /usr/pkgsrc/ helps immensely, btw. 

Perhaps it would be a nice touch to briefly explain methods of updating
SRM bios (while already using SRM) on the NetBSD/Alpha FAQ page (mkboot,
mkdiskimage), as the Digital docs only mention OpenVMS, Digital UNIX, and

> the difference between a MILO image or firmware image, and the same thing
> on a floppy, is a 512-byte sector that contains within it a magic number
> and a single field saying how long the image is.  there is no filesystem
> structure or binary header/symbol/whatever mangling/stripping going on at
> all--these floppy-image-making tools are graciously simple.  hopefully it
> will be a quick project.

The flash/boot/mount part was quick.. ;)  Thanks again!