Subject: Re: Q: Blind installation on DEC 3000 m300
To: Aaron J. Grier <>
From: Christian Lavoie <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 02/28/2002 20:13:43
On Thursday 28 February 2002 19:42, Aaron J. Grier wrote:

> > Quite frankly, if I could use a network console instead of a physical
> > one, that would help like nothing else could (I think =). Two machines
> > (maybe more in the future), only one (working) set of
> > keyboard-mouse-screen...
> you can't log in on the network until the network is configured.  in
> order to configure the network, you need to be at the console.

The configuration files (/etc) are available on another UNIX system. I can 
edit them right now. Why am I restricted to doing that from the working 
NetBSD install? It magically patches the running kernel?

Wait... This is supposed to be a diskless client (the disks are pretty much 
reserved for databases) I hope there's nothing fundamentally opposing getting 
the configuration from the NFS server, right? Once that's done, all I need to 
do is change a couple of text files that physically reside on a machine 
that's already fully working, so I can edit them. Right?

So what are the files I need to toy with?

> > From there, I'll manage. If I could disable the console, redirect it
> > to a file or a socket or anything like that, that'd be great. As I've
> > mentionned, I've got linux machines on the network that I could use
> > for networking magic.
> you need one of two things to install netbsd on your machine:
> 1) a serial console cable and a dumb terminal (or equivalent)

Hmmm... A null modem cable? I don't have anything that remotely looks like 
that around. Can I build one? DEC 3000 m300 serial port to Intel i386 serial 
port. Where can I find docs about the pinouts? What's involved in terms of 

> - OR -
> 2) a kernel to boot which supports a console on your graphics card.
> what version of NetBSD are you trying to install?

Anything that's gonna work, the latest possible. Right now, I'm trying to get 
1.5.2 to run.

These machines are gonna run a couple of database servers (SQL and LDAP), 
maybe a kerberos master, that kind of things, nothing remotely fancy. Some 
assembly exploration is planned too. (I wanna learn *low level* Alpha 

All I'm interested in is running the latest possible versions of the packages 
I need and being capable of writing assembler. Anything that can give me that 
is fair game.

> > Is there any way to plug a "TCP/IP terminal" to a NetBSD machine?
> again... you cannot configure the network over the network if it's down.

Yes, but it already got the BOOTP parameters, so it already knows a solid 
part of what the network looks like. And once the rest is NFS-mounted, I can 
hardly imagine what I cannot do by modifying the files directly on the 
NFS-server. The only thing it really needs is, as far as I can see:

IP address/netmask <-> eth card mapping
NFS server address + path on server

Am I missing something?

Thanx in advance,

I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

Christian Lavoie,