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NetBSD-Amiga FAQ V4.0
List of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for NetBSD/amiga
February 12th, 1996
by Hubert Feyrer, et al.
* 1 Introduction
+ 1.1 About this document
o 1.1.1 History
o 1.1.2 Copyright
o 1.1.3 Distribution
+ 1.2 Introduction to the FAQ
* 2 What is NetBSD?
+ 2.1 The name of the game
+ 2.2 Who is working on the port?
* 3 What do I need to run NetBSD/amiga
+ 3.1 Which CPU is needed?
+ 3.2 How much memory do I need?
o 3.2.1 Non contiguous memory
+ 3.3 How much diskspace do I need?
+ 3.4 What other hardware requirements are there?
+ 3.5 What hardware is supported by NetBSD/amiga V1.1, anyways?
+ 3.6 Things currently not supported by NetBSD/amiga
* 4 Where can I find more information on NetBSD?
+ 4.1 UseNet News
+ 4.2 Anonymous FTP
+ 4.3 World Wide Web
+ 4.4 Internet Relay Chat
+ 4.5 Electronic Mailing Lists
+ 4.6 Useful books
o 4.6.1 Basic System Administration
o 4.6.2 Advanced System Administration
o 4.6.3 Programming under Unix
o 4.6.4 Introductions to Unix Internals
* 5 Where to get sources?
+ 5.1 Release
+ 5.2 NetBSD-current with tar-balls
+ 5.3 NetBSD-current with SUP
* 6 How do I build a kernel myself?
+ 6.1 Introduction
+ 6.2 Getting the kernel source
+ 6.3 Configuring the kernel
+ 6.4 Compiling your kernel
+ 6.5 Installing your kernel
* 7 NetBSD - Linux - Amix - Minix
* 8 Frequently Asked Questions and their answers
+ 8.1 Installing a new system
o 8.1.1 How do I get NetBSD?
o 8.1.2 How do I install NetBSD?
o 8.1.3 How can I autoboot into MultiUser mode
o 8.1.4 NetBSD always asks me for a root device
o 8.1.5 Where can I find ixemul.library version >= 39.46
o 8.1.6 NetBSD hangs while booting into MultiUser mode
o 8.1.7 I keep getting cksum errors when I try to install!
o 8.1.8 Which distribution should I use?
o 8.1.9 Does NetBSD run with the PROTO-Chip?
o 8.1.10 My A2000 is recognized as A1200
+ 8.2 Hardware, drivers and binpatching
o 8.2.1 How do I get a serial terminal to work correctly?
o 8.2.2 Does NetBSD work with the Retina video card?
o 8.2.3 How do I use binpatch?
# 188.8.131.52 Introduction
# 184.108.40.206 Patching the kernel
# 220.127.116.11 Other binpatch options
# 18.104.22.168 List of all binpatchable symbols
o 8.2.4 Tapedrive problems
# 22.214.171.124 Problem 1
# 126.96.36.199 Problem 2
o 8.2.5 Reading Sun tape cartridges
# 188.8.131.52 But the Sun has an Archive Viper drive
o 8.2.6 How to deal with silo-overflows?
o 8.2.7 How can I run X on the A2410 TIGA board?
+ 8.3 Teething troubles
o 8.3.1 Why can't I su to root?
o 8.3.2 What packages can I install to enhance NetBSD?
# 184.108.40.206 What about X-Windows?
# 220.127.116.11 And networking?
o 8.3.3 Can I access AmigaOS files from NetBSD?
o 8.3.4 Can I access NetBSD files from AmigaOS?
o 8.3.5 How do I create device files?
o 8.3.6 How do I create accounts and change user
# 18.104.22.168 Introduction
# 22.214.171.124 Adding a new user
# 126.96.36.199 But - isn't there an adduser-command?
o 8.3.7 How can I reboot straight into NetBSD?
o 8.3.8 Why doesn't the ps command work?
o 8.3.9 Is there a debugger for NetBSD?
o 8.3.10 How do I report bugs?
o 8.3.11 How do I get a Meta-Key for Emacs?
o 8.3.12 My keymap is all wrong!
# 188.8.131.52 Fixing the console's keymap
# 184.108.40.206 Fixing the keymap under X
o 8.3.13 Xcl reports "Cannot open screen"
o 8.3.14 Where do I get Motif? XView? OpenGL?
# 220.127.116.11 Motif
# 18.104.22.168 XView
# 22.214.171.124 OpenGL
o 8.3.15 What's all this stuff about binary emulation?
o 8.3.16 How can I boot NetBSD without keeping an AmigaOS
o 8.3.17 Where can I find an archive of the mailing lists?
This document was generated on 13 Febuary 1996 using the texi2html
translator version 1.45.
1.1 About this document
Original document by Mike Schwartz <mykes%shell.portal.com@localhost>.
Idea of using TeXInfo by Carsten Hammer
<chammer%dave.hrz.uni-bielfeld.de@localhost>. Second revision (completely
rewritten) by Guenther Grau <s_grau%ira.uka.de@localhost>.
Third revision (restructured) by Tim Walls <tjw1%doc.ic.ac.uk@localhost>.
Fourth revision (updates for 1.1) by Hubert Feyrer
<hubert.feyrer%rz.uni-regensburg.de@localhost>. Thanks to Thorsten Frueauf,
Frank Neumann and Bernd Ernesti for proofreading, inspirations and
The FAQ is currently maintained by Hubert Feyrer
Copyright (C) 1993,1994 Guenther Grau
Copyright (C) 1994,1995 Tim Walls
Copyright (C) 1996 Hubert Feyrer
Whenever this FAQ is updated, notes about where to find the new
version will be postet to the following mailing-lists and news-groups:
de.comp.sys.amiga.unix and comp.unix.bsd.netbsd.announce. You can
find it in various formats under
`/pub/NetBSD-Amiga/docs/NetBSD-Amiga-FAQ' on ftp.uni-regensburg.de
and its mirrors. The FAQ is also available via the World Wide Web at
Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this
manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are
preserved on all copies.
Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this
manual into another language, under the above conditions for modified
versions, except that this permission notice must be stated in a
translation approved by the current maintainer of the FAQ.
1.2 Introduction to the FAQ
Welcome to the NetBSD-Amiga-FAQ!
This document contains a bunch of useful infomation about NetBSD on
the Amiga. It was mainly created for people who never used NetBSD on
the Amiga before, but it contains a lot of valuable information for
all users, especially in the last chapter. This last chapter contains
a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and their respective
In general the people on the Internet are very helpful, so if you have
a problem when using NetBSD, don't be shy and ask for help. But ...
BE SURE YOU HAVE READ AN UP-TO-DATE VERSION OF THIS FAQ FIRST!!!
It is really annoying and time consuming, if a lot of people ask the
same questions and we have to answer them over and over again. See
section 4 Where can I find more information on NetBSD?, for
information on how to get an up-to-date version of this document.
Also, please redistribute this FAQ, so that it is easier for people
who are interested in NetBSD to find it.
Please write all comments, suggestions, spelling corrections, etc. to
the current maintainter of the FAQ. This will help to keep this FAQ
up-to-date and useful. Thank you for reading the FAQ, because that's
why we put so many hours of work into it! You will find the name and
the email-address of the current maintainer of this document on the
second page. Later on all references to the author of this FAQ will be
name- and address-less, for the ease of maintainance. If you ever need
to contact the author, see the second page for his name and
2 WHAT IS NETBSD?
This chapter contains general information about NetBSD.
2.1 The name of the game
NetBSD is a Unix-like operating system. It is very portable and runs
on multiple architectures such as Amiga, Atari, HP300, Mac, Sun3,
Sparc, PC, VAX, Mips, Alpha, ... It is developed by people all around
the world on the Internet, therefore it's called NetBSD. It has all
the features you would expect in a modern Unix, including true
(preemtive) multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand
loading, shared copy-on-write executables and TCP/IP networking.
For a complete description of a Unix-like operating system, please
refer to some introductionary books about Unix. If you have access to
Usenet, get any of the comp.unix.* Newsgroups FAQs.
See section 4 Where can I find more information on NetBSD?, for
information on how to get more and detailed information on NetBSD.
2.2 Who is working on the port?
NetBSD was ported to the Amiga by Markus Wild <mw%eunet.ch@localhost>, who
initially ported GCC to AmigaDOS and who did the ixemul.library. Once
NetBSD-Amiga was useable, a lot of people joined in and contributed a
lot to the project.
Here's an attempt to list them all (in alphabetic order):
* Alan Bair <abair%amcu-tx.sps.mot.com@localhost>: Fontdumper, Rootfs.
* Stefan G. Berg <sgberg%charon.bloomington.in.us@localhost>: Writing
* Dave Blaszyk <dvb%ssd.kodak.com@localhost>: a driver for IVS Vector SCSI
* Klaus Burkert <crest%arkon.dontpanic.sub.org@localhost>: Picasso II and
* Philippe Brand <PhB%telesys-innov.fr@localhost>: X-server for custom
X-server for Retina.
* David Crooke <dcc%dcs.ed.ac.uk@localhost>: Writing an
* William J. Coldwell <billc%warped.com@localhost>: Maintaining the
Mailing-List in the old days, Various programming.
* Bernd Ernesti <bernd%arresum.inka.de@localhost>: Debugging WarpEngine's
SCSI-driver and Ariadne ethernet driver, Xcl, Picasso II and
CyberVision'64 drivers, compiling X11R6-snapshots.
* Hubert Feyrer <hubert.feyrer%rz.uni-regensburg.de@localhost>: Writing
documentation, maintainer of
* Thorsten Frueauf <frueauf%ira.uka.de@localhost>: Updating
* Guenther Grau <s_grau%ira.uka.de@localhost>: Extensively writing
* Niklas Hallqvist <niklas%appli.se@localhost>: Porting the Mach VM system,
that NetBSD-Amiga uses, driver for GVP, ADos-FS, GoldenGate (ISA)
* Rob Healey <rhealey%aggregate.com@localhost>: a LOT of bug-fixes.
* Andy Heffernan <ahh%netcom.com@localhost>: Porting GDB, compiling X11R5.
* Michael L. Hitch <osymh%montana.edu@localhost>: Support for the 68040,
drivers for various SCSI-devices, changing loadbsd, fixing bugs,
5380-Driver, AGA-modes for the console and X, A4000 IDE driver, a
LOT of bug-fixes, implementing a floppy-driver, IVS-Vector-driver
* Chris Hopps <chopps%emunix.emich.edu@localhost>: Support for the custom
chips, reintegrating the changes back to the NetBSD-current source
tree, fixing bugs and (re-)designing some of the code. Main
coordinator of the source and official maintainer of the
NetBSD/amiga port. ADos-Filesystem.
* Eduardo E. Horvath <eeh%btr.com@localhost>: X11R5-Mono-Server.
* Markus Illenseer <markus%tiger.teuto.de@localhost>: Writing
Picasso- and Ariadne-support, Porting X-clients, Gateway!-CD
* Oliver Lahaye <lahaye_o%epita.fr@localhost>: X-server for custom chips,
X-server for Retina.
* Kari Mettinen <Kari.Mettinen%helsinki.fi@localhost>: Xcl and Picasso II
* Brad Pepers <pepersb%cuug.ab.ca@localhost>: Implementing a floppy-driver.
* Oliver Raoul <raoul_o%epita.fr@localhost>: X-server for custom chips,
X-server for Retina.
* Stephen J. Roznowski <sjr%zombie.ncsc.mil@localhost>: Building
binary-snapshots from sun-lamp sources.
* Ty Sarna <tsarna%endicor.com@localhost>: Various programming,
* Ignatios Souvatzis <is%beverly.rhein.de@localhost>: A2060 (Arcnet) and
(TIGA gfx card) support
* Ezra Story <ezy%panix.com@localhost>: Spektrum support
* Michael Teske <teske%wotan.desy.de@localhost>: CyberVision'64 support
* Roy Trevino <rtrevino%sedona.intel.com@localhost>: X11R5-Mono-Server.
* Lutz Vieweg <lkv%mania.RoBIN.de@localhost>: providing information and
writing a tty-device-driver for the Retina Z2
* Markus Wild <mw%eunet.ch@localhost>: Initially started the port of
NetBSD-current to the Amiga, Xamiga24, still working on various
I hope I didn't forget anyone. If so, please tell me!
3 WHAT DO I NEED TO RUN NETBSD/AMIGA
This chapter describes the hardware related topics of NetBSD. It will
explain, what kind of hardware you need to be able to run NetBSD on
In general, there are two major requirements your system must fulfill
to be able to run NetBSD. You must have an apropriate CPU and enough
memory. To comfortably run NetBSD you should dedicate some
harddiskspace to NetBSD.
3.1 Which CPU is needed?
It depends heavily on the type of CPU your system has, whether or not
NetBSD runs on your Amiga. NetBSD, as any other modern Unix-derivate,
too, must have a memory-management-unit (MMU) to be able to run. This
is needed as all the programs that run under Unix are separated from
each other, so no program can do any harm to any other.
You need to have one of the following processors (CPUs) to be able to
* 68020 with 68851 (MMU) and 68881 or 68882 (FPU)
* 68030 with 68881 or 68882 (FPU)
Note, that it is very important that you have a real CPU, i.e. not an
EC- or LC-version. These versions are missing the MMU- and/or FPU-part
of the chip and are therefore cheaper. It is not possible to simply
add a 68851 (MMU) or 68881/68882 (FPU) to these chips, if your
CPU-board doesn't provide a place for it. If you have an 68030EC, you
can however replace it by a 68030, or you have to buy a seperate
CPU-board or accelerator-board equipped with one of the CPUs mentioned
above to be able to run NetBSD.
NetBSD/amiga does currently not support the 68060!
Also note, that you currently need a floating-point-unit (FPU) to be
able to run NetBSD. The kernel itself, that is the core part of
NetBSD, does not need an FPU, but some of the essential utilities do.
Other ports of NetBSD on other architectures have an FPU-emulator
implemented in the kernel, so they can do without an FPU. So, if
someone implements an FPU-emulator for NetBSD on the
680x0-architecture, the need for a seperate FPU will eventually
vanish, but for now you need an FPU.
3.2 How much memory do I need?
Theoretically, you only need 2MB of FAST-RAM and 1MB of CHIP-RAM. The
1MB CHIP-memory is only needed due to the way NetBSD is currently
booted. The kernel is loaded into the CHIP-memory and then copied into
the largest chunk of fast memory found. Therefore 2MB is the bare
minimum and will not allow you to do anything useful, but booting.
Note that the complete GENERIC kernel (including drivers for every
device supported) is over 1MB in size; you can't load this kernel with
only 1MB of CHIP RAM, 2MB is required. The basic INSTALL kernel will
load with 1MB CHIP fine however.
It is possible to run NetBSD in a low memory situation, because it
uses a mechanism called paging. It writes currently unused parts of
programs to the disk, thus freeing some memory for other parts.
Writing to and reading from disk is very slow, compared to the
execution of programs in memory, so the system will be too slow to be
useable. So, to have an actual useable system, you should have at
least 4MB of FAST-RAM, preferably more. When you want to use
X-Windows, a graphical user interface on top of NetBSD, you probably
need about 8MB or even more to do anything useful.
3.2.1 NON CONTIGUOUS MEMORY
With the Amiga's architecture being what it is, it is often the case
that the memory map will have "holes" in it - say, 1MB of CHIP RAM,
followed by a gap, 4MB of 16bit RAM, a gap, and then in (very) high
memory a block of 32bit RAM; this is often the case with 68000
machines upgraded to an 030 or above.
To use more then one such chunk of memory, you need a kernel that was
build with the following line in the config-file (See section 6 How do
I build a kernel myself?, for more information on how to compile your
options MACHINE_NONCONTIG # Non-contiguous memory support
Besides that, you have to tell loadbsd to use all memory chunks, which
you do by passing it '-n 2' when booting NetBSD. It will then use all
available memory segments.
3.3 How much diskspace do I need?
Theoretically, you can do without any harddiskspace. It is possible to
boot NetBSD from floppy-disks, but you cannot do any useful work with
such a setup. To get an actually useable system, you will need to
dedicate some harddiskspace to NetBSD. How much you actually need
depends heavily on what you want to do with NetBSD.
A small, but complete working system needs about 50 to 80MB. It should
be clear, that the more goodies you want to add, the more space you
To prevent you from running out of memory, you should use about twice
your RAM amount just for a swap partition on your drive (or about
three times if you intend to use the X-Windows system). That is where
NetBSD writes the parts of running programs which are currently not
used to free up some main-memory for other programs.
Add another, say, 30M it you want to recompile your own kernels from
source. (This can be stripped down to less then 20M if you delete the
source for ports you don't want, but you'd have to unpack the full
The X window system binaries take another 30M of harddisk space.
3.4 What other hardware requirements are there?
There are no other hardware requirements to run NetBSD, but you are
free to use additional devices, provided they are supported.
There is a general scheme on how NetBSD deals with devices. To get a
device working with NetBSD you have to provide a so called 'driver'
for this device. This is a hardwaredependent part of the kernel, which
knows how to access the particular device. There are already
device-drivers for the most commonly used devices, but there are still
some device-drivers to be written.
It is a difficult task to add support for a new device. So you need to
have good programming skills and need to know a lot about how the
kernel deals with devices. If you think that you are an experienced
programmer and want to add support for a new device, you need to be
able to recompile the kernel yourself. See section 6 How do I build a
kernel myself?, for information on how to do this. See section 4
Where can I find more information on NetBSD?, for information on how
to get in contact with other developers.
If you use a device that's not supported, there is one danger: the
device may generate (hardware-) interrupts for which there are no
handlers and which will therefor crash the machine! So, if you use
some card which isn't supported or you aren't sure if it is, and your
machine locks up early while booting, try removing that card.
A tape drive is recommended for NetBSD, as for any other operating
system, too. You should do regularly backups in order to be able to
restore the data you might have accidentially destroyed. Especially
when you are doing kernel-development, chances are, that you may trash
your harddisk. The system is normally quite stable, so doing backups
is not a must but a sensible option.
3.5 What hardware is supported by NetBSD/amiga V1.1, anyways?
Here's what the `INSTALL'-file says. Supported devices include:
* A4000/A1200 IDE controller.
* SCSI host adapters:
+ 33c93 based boards: A2091, A3000 and GVP series II.
+ 53c80 based boards: 12 Gauge, IVS and Wordsync/Bytesync.
+ 53c710 based boards: A4091, Magnum, Warp Engine and Zeus.
+ FAS216 based boards: FastLane Z3, Blizzard.
* Video controllers:
+ ECS, AGA and A2024 built in on various amigas.
+ Retina Z2 and Retina Z3.
+ Picasso II.
+ GVP Spectrum.
+ CyberVision 64.
* Ethernet controllers:
+ A2065 Ethernet
+ Hydra Ethernet
+ ASDG Ethernet
+ A4066 Ethernet
+ Ariadne Ethernet
+ Quicknet Ethernet
* Arcnet controllers:
+ A2060 Arcnet
* Tape drives: Most SCSI tape drives, including Archive Viper,
Cipher SCSI-2 ST150.
* CD-ROM drives: Most SCSI CD-ROM drives
* Serial cards:
+ MultiFaceCard II and III
* Amiga floppy drives.
* Amiga parallel port.
* Amiga serial port.
* Amiga mouse.
Experimental versions of new drivers can sometimes be found in on
ftp.uni-regensburg.de and its mirrors in
3.6 Things currently not supported by NetBSD/amiga
People have asked for the following things to be supported in
NetBSD/amiga, but so far, you're out of luck:
* 68060 CPU, either on the Blizzard A2060, the CyberStorm or some
other 060 board.
* Octagon SCSI controller
* Golem SCSI controller
* Evolution SCSI controller
* Cobra Ferret SCSI controller
* Blizzard III and IV SCSI controller
* ALF 2/3 SCSI controller
* Rapidfire SCSI controller
* the A1200's PCMCIA-slot and any card using it
* Networking via AmigaLink & PLIP
Please don't bother people about support for those devices. As soon as
they are available, they'll be removed from the above list.
4 WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ON NETBSD?
This chapter contains information on how to get more information on
NetBSD. There are several ways to get the desired information. Choose
the one which uses the least resources. To do this, simply use the
first method described here which is appropriate for you.
4.1 UseNet News
If you have access to Usenet, subscribe to (some of) the following
* comp.unix.amiga : Discussions, Questions and anwers about any on
Amiga (NetBSD, Linux, Amix, AmiNIX, Minix, etc.).
* de.comp.sys.amiga.unix: Basically the same as above, but in German
* comp.unix.bsd.netbsd.announce: NetBSD-related announcements, all
ports. Dave Burgess (burgess%s069.infonet.net@localhost) posts his
386BSD-FAQ here, also available as
http://cynjut.neonramp.com/FAQ.html via WWW. Have a look at it!
* comp.unix.questions: For general questions on Unix. They got an
excellent FAQ there!
* comp.unix.bsd.netbsd.misc: Discussion on NetBSD on all ports, not
just amiga, questions & answers.
4.2 Anonymous FTP
If you don't have access to Usenet, but have the possibility to get
files from the Internet with the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), then
get the latest FAQ from rtfm.mit.edu. This is the place where all FAQs
from all news-groups are collected and archived.
To find general information on NetBSD, try the following sites:
Additional information on NetBSD/amiga is available on
ftp.uni-regensburg.de and its mirrors, look into the directory
`/pub/NetBSD-Amiga/docs' . This site carries lots of things related
to NetBSD/amiga. Here's a full list of all known mirrors:
4.3 World Wide Web
This document is available via the World Wide Web (Mosaic, Netrape,
lynx etc.) at
The following URLs point to sites that hold information or files
relating to NetBSD, including this FAQ. (Note that
ftp.uni-regensburg.de is the home site for all NetBSD-Amiga specific
4.4 Internet Relay Chat
If you have access to IRC (Internet Relay Chat), try to join the
channels `#amiga' or `#amigager'. Discussions on the former one are in
English, on the latter one in German. These channels are not dedicated
to NetBSD, but you are likely to find some of the developers and users
of NetBSD there.
A dedicated NetBSD channel also exists, suprisingly called `#NetBSD'.
4.5 Electronic Mailing Lists
There are several mailing-lists available for NetBSD . To get
information on these mailing-lists, use your favourite mailer and send
the following message:
Subject: Don't care, isn't processed.
You will receive an answer that might look like this:
To: s_grau%ira.uka.de@localhost <-- This will be replaced with your
Subject: Majordomo results
This is Brent Chapman's "Majordomo" mailing list manager, version 1.92.
In the description below items contained in 's are optional. When
providing the item, do not include the 's around it.
It understands the following commands:
subscribe <list> [<address>]
Subscribe yourself (or <address> if specified) to the named <list>.
unsubscribe <list> [<address>]
Unsubscribe yourself (or <address> if specified) from the named <list>.
get <list> <filename>
Get a file related to <list>.
Return an index of files you can "get" for <list>.
Find out which lists you (or <address> if specified) are on.
Retrieve the general introductory information for the named <list>.
Show the lists served by this Majordomo server.
Retrieve this message.
Stop processing commands (useful if your mailer adds a signature).
Commands should be sent in the body of an email message to
Commands in the "Subject:" line NOT processed.
If you have any questions or problems, please contact
If you send the command lists to majordomo, you will currently receive
a mail like this:
majordomo%NetBSD.ORG@localhost serves the following lists:
current-users General discussion regarding NetBSD-current
m68k Technical discussion regarding all NetBSD/m68k ports
macbsd-development Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/mac
macbsd-general General discussion regarding NetBSD/mac
netbsd-announce Moderated list for announcements only
netbsd-bugs Bug reports
netbsd-help Questions and answers
netbsd-users General discussion
port-alpha Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/alpha
port-amiga Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/amiga
port-atari Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/atari
port-hp300 Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/hp300
port-i386 Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/i386
port-m68k Technical discussion regarding all NetBSD/m68k ports
port-mac68k Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/mac68k
port-pc532 Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/pc532
port-pmax Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/pmax
port-sparc Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/sparc
port-sun3 Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/sun3
port-vax Technical discussion regarding NetBSD/vax
portable-ppp Technical discussion regarding user-space PPP
source-changes Source tree changes
tech-install Technical discussion regarding installation tools
tech-kern Technical discussion regarding all aspects of the kernel
tech-misc Technical discussion not appropriate for the other tech-
tech-net Technical discussion regarding networking software
tech-ports Technical discussion regarding all ports
tech-userlevel Technical discussion regarding user-level programs
Use the 'info <list>' command to get more information
about a specific list.
The `port-amiga' is for all discussion of Amiga-related problems.
There used to be three lists (`amiga', `amiga-dev' and `amiga-x'), but
they aren't used any more.
Besides `port-amiga', it is highly recommended to get on the
`netbsd-announce' lists, because you'll be informed about official
releases, etc. there.
To do so, your email would look like this:
You will receive an answer-mail from majordomo, that it successfully
processed your subscription and that you are on the desired
If you're interrested in development or want to be up to date with
what's going on, join `current-users', too.
Note that there is some traffic on all of these lists, so expect a few
mails more to arrive in your mailbox each day. It is recommended, but
not required, that you get on a list before sending any mail to it,
because most of the answers are simply sent to the list and not to the
sender. Please note also that most of these mailing lists are archived
, so do not send things to them if you do not wish your messages to
Be sure to have read the latest version of this document, before
sending any mail to these lists!
To send any mail to the lists, simply replace majordomo in the address
with the list you want to address. For example, if you would like to
write a mail to the amiga-list, send your mail to
4.6 Useful books
There aren't many books which can help you with (say) possible kernel
bugs or installation problems, but administering any Unix system is
not a trivial task. Luckily, there is plenty of paper out there about
the assorted jobs that befall a Unix sysadmin.
4.6.1 BASIC SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION
The books listed below deal with Unix and Unix system administration
* Unix Unleashed
'The Only UNIX Book You'll Ever Need!' is written on the cover
page of this 1600-pages-book, and indeed it covers about every
topic one could think of. The book consists of many small
introductory texts to various topics, a reference card for common
keystrokes in vi and emacs, pictures of some of the authors (ever
wondered what the author of NetBSD's UUCP package looks like? :-),
plus a CD that doesn't have a rockridge extension. The CD includes
sources of the more common Unix tools described and mentioned in
the book itself. All in all, this book's worth having a look at if
you don't want to buy several books.
Contents: What is an operating system, the Unix philosophy,
getting started, the Unix filesystem, working with files &
directories, listing files, some popular tools (dc, cal, su, man,
grep, compress, tee, touch), editors (vi, emacs, sed), using
network (rlogin, rcp, ftp, uucp), communication with other users
(email, news, talk, irc), in depth introductions to various shells
(Bourne, Korn, C), introduction do several programming languages
(awk, perl, C), process control (concept, ps, kill, cron), text
formatting (nroff, troff, macro packages, tbl, eqn, pic, grap),
RCS, SCCS, tar, shar, backups (dump, restore), system startup &
shutdown, file system administration, user administration,
networking, accounting, performance monitoring, kernel tuning,
administration of mail, news & uucp, running INN, a discussion on
system security, unix flavours, graphical user interfaces and even
Now, if this doesn't at least mention something you're interrested
in, you're in the wrong place here. :)
+ Name: Unix Unleashed
+ Author(s): many
+ Publisher: Sams Publishing
+ ISBN: 0-672-30402-3
+ Pages: 1620
* AEleen Frisch : Essential System Administration
A very nice description of all the basic and not so basic tasks of
system administration, maybe a bit too much emphasized on System
V, but also covers BSD.
Contents: the system administrator's job, communicating with
users, menu interfaces, the unix way: files, processes, devices,
filesystem layout, tools, finding files, deleting files, startup &
shutdown, boot process, managing user accounts & groups, security,
managing system resources (cpu, memory, IO, disk space),
automating tasks with scripts and such, filesystems & disks, fsck,
adding disks, backup & restore, terminals & modems, printers and
the spooling subsystem, TCP/IP network management, electronic
mail, configuring & building kernels (SCO Unix, Linux, DEC & SUN,
HP, Solaris, AIX), accounting.
+ Name: Essential System Administration
+ Author(s): AEleen Frisch
+ Publisher: O'Reilly & Assosciates, Inc.
+ ISBN: 1-56592-127-5
+ Pages: 788
* 4.4BSD System Managers Manual
This is a nicely produced reference book (which we've come to
expect from O'Reilly - complete with the magic lay-flat binding,
and tab marks at the edges of the pages), which consists of two
broad sections. In the first section are reproductions of the
complete BSD4.4 man(8) pages (ie. all those relating to system
administration). Before you shout "I've already got those on
disk", this is useful for two reasons: Firstly, some of us like to
have a book by the keyboard and an uncluttered screen, and
secondly a complete permuted index of the pages is included.
The second section is a (disparate) collection of papers detailing
a whole host of topics, from setting up name-servers to the
inimitable `sendmail'. The papers are all somewhat terse, but
usually contain a pointer to the information you want somewhere.
This is certainly not the kind of book you sit down to read in a
spare five minutes; but I have referred to it enough in
emergencies to recommend it. Its probably best to have a look
through it in the shop, though, to see if the style suits you.
+ Name: 4.4 System Managers Manual
+ Author(s): Computer Systems Research Group, UC Berkeley
+ Publisher: The USENIX association and O'Reilly & Assosciates,
+ ISBN: 1-56592-080-5
+ Pages: 804
4.6.2 ADVANCED SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION
* Craig Hunt : TCP/IP Network Administration
The book if you want to know about TCP/IP networking. Starting
with the very basics of routing, it describes how to configure
your machine, routers and every crucial service. With this book in
your hand, you don't need some of the following books if you just
want to get it going, without tackling with every single option. I
Contents: Overview of TCP/IP (layers: concept Internet, transport,
application), addressing, routing, multiplexing, subnetting, RARP,
protocols, ports & sockets, name service concepts, basic system
configuration of several unix systems (BSD, System V, SCO), SLIP,
PPP, various routing protocols (RIP, EGP, gated), configuring DNS,
rlogin, FTP, NFS, sendmail, hints on troubleshooting, network
+ Name: TCP/IP Network Administration
+ Author(s): Craig Hunt
+ Publisher: O'Reilly & Assosciates, Inc.
+ ISBN: 0-937175-82-X
+ Pages: 502
* Bryan Costales, etc. : Sendmail
This book is dedicated to sendmail entirely. Beginning from where
to get the source and how to install it, it describes how to set
up a simple (client) mail system and documents the transition to a
more complex one. The appendix describes every option in detail,
as well as specialities of of IDA & V8 sendmail and rule sets.
Contents: MUA vs MTA, parts of sendmail, running sendmail by hand,
header, body & envelope, local delivery, network forwarding, how
to run sendmail (command line options), the sendmail.cf file
(comments, macros, rules, rule sets, class macros, options,
priority), mail delivery agents, macros, addresses and rules, rule
sets, the workspace, description of several rule sets, classes,
options in the config file, header, priority, MX records,
compiling and installing sendmail, obtaining the source, decisions
in `conf.h', decisions in `conf.c', decisions in `pathnames.h',
decisions in Makefile, pitfalls, DNS and sendmail, set up MX
records, prepare for disasster, security, permissions, forged
mail, the queue, parts of a queued file, printing the queue,
aliases, mailing lists and `~/.forward', logging and statistics.
+ Name: sendmail
+ Author(s): Bryan Costales with Eric Allman & Neil Rickert
+ Publisher: O'Reilly & Assosciates, Inc.
+ ISBN: 1-56592-056-2
+ Pages: 792
* Cricket Liu, etc. : DNS and BIND
This book discusses the Domain Name System and it's most popular
implementation, the Berkeley Internet Name Domain software, which
is responsible for managing the Internet's distributed database of
host information and routing mail to the right destination.
Contents: Background, How does DNS work (domain names, domains,
records, delegation, resolvers, caching), how to start, setting it
all up (SOA, NS, PTR records, loopback address, cache data),
tools, primary & secondary nameserver, DNS and electronic mail
(MX), configuring the resolver, vendor specific options, tuning
the installation, parenting, handling nslookup, troubleshooting,
programming with the resolver library.
+ Name: DNS and BIND
+ Author(s): Paul Albitz, Cricket Liu
+ Publisher: O'Reilly & Assosciates, Inc.
+ ISBN: 1-56592-010-4
+ Pages: 380
* Robert King Ables: The Keys to Successful Unix System Management
This is not the 'usual' sysadmin handbook that describes how to
create some user accounts or doing your backups. Much rather, it
discusses the philosophy of being a system administrator, how to
deal with your users, your customers, and employees, how to manage
stress and disaster situations as well as plans for backing up
your system, how to prevent disaster and what to do if destiny
Contents: Who is the System Administrator, What does the System
Administrator do, Why is the System Administrator needed, where is
the SA needed, Software: Backups, User Accounts, the general
health of your system, third-party software, device management,
file system management, operating system modifications,
performance tuning, dealing with heterogenity, staying ahead.
Hardware: equipment components, equipment installation, equipment
maintenance; physical environment: your computer room, aif
conditioning, fire suppression, capacity management, cooling,
disaster recovery, emergency procedures. Networking: standards,
protocols, applications; Security: why be secure, types of risk,
security planning, administrative controls, software controls,
physical controls, network security, handling a breach;
Administrative Skills: information management, planning, financial
management; Personal skells: user service, communcation with
users, management, collegues, vendors; about yourself, stress
management, continuing education; the career: hiring a System
Administrator, job description, keeping a system administrator,
the career path.
+ Name: Keys to Successful UNIX Systems Management
+ Author(s): Robert King Ables
+ Publisher: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
+ ISBN: 0139483810
+ Pages: 316
4.6.3 PROGRAMMING UNDER UNIX
* Larry Wall, Randal Schwartz : Programming perl
This book, also known as the 'Camel book', describes the
'Practical Extraction and Report Language' in a tight fashion,
showing up all the features and giving numerous small examples as
well as a full reference for the grammar and all the functions
provided by perl. Describing only perl version 4, this book is a
nice reference for all the things you need every day, but not
up-to-date if you want to use the latest features.
Contents: overview: filehandles, variables, operators, lists,
pattern matching, associative arrays, lines and paragraphs,
command-line switches, generating reports, subroutines, recursion,
exact discussion of data types & objects, operators, statements,
subroutines, regular expressions, formats, special variables and
packages, all functions, common tasks with perl, real perl
programs (database manipulation, grep programs, programming aids,
system administration stuff, filename manipulation, text
manipulation tools, processes, interprocess communications),
debugging, efficiency, setuid scripts.
+ Name: Programming perl
+ Author(s): Larry Wall & Randal L. Schwartz
+ Publisher: O'Reilly & Assosciates, Inc.
+ ISBN: 0-937175-64-1
+ Pages: 482
* Brian W. Kernighan, Rob Pike: The Unix Programming Environment
This book is good for absolute Unix beginners which want to learn
how to do some programming with all those tools that come ready to
use with any Unix system.
Topics covered are first steps from logging in, file handling
(cat, mv, cp, rm), directory handling (cd, mkdir, ...)
shell-basics (variables, wildcards), filters (grep, sed, awk),
shell programming (loops, signals, arguments, stdio), an
introduction to system calls (read, write, open, creat, ...), an
introduction to programming with lex, yacc & make and
documentation using troff, tbl & eqn.
Despite the seemingly broad range this book aims at, it's mainly a
very good introduction to shell programming.
+ Name: The Unix Programming Environment
+ Author(s): Brian W. Kernighan , Rob Pike
+ Publisher: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
+ ISBN: 3-446-14273-8 (German language edition!!!)
+ Pages: ~300
* Brian W. Kernighan , Dennis Ritchie: The C Programming Language
This is the C-bible, written by the people who created the C
programming language. It describes the full language, starting
from simple function calls, variables and loops to functions,
structures, arrays and pointers. The appendix contains a list of
all functions from the ANSI-C-library together with their
prototype and a shoft description. Be sure to get the second
edition which describes ANSI-C.
Contents: [Damn, whom did i borrow my K&R?! Anyone who can give me
a rough summary here? - HF]
+ Name: The C Programming Language
+ Author(s): Brian W. Kernighan , Dennis Ritchie:
+ Publisher: Prentice-Hall, Inc. (english) - Hanser (german)
+ ISBN: 0-13-110330-X (3) (english) - 3-446-15497-3 (german)
+ Pages: 228
* Richard Stevens: Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment
A book for those that want to use the basic services the Unix
operating system offers. They will find hints on the layer between
the bare kernel and some application program here, that's usually
hidden in some library.
Contents: The book starts with an introduction to basic concepts
like files and directories, input and output, as well as various
Unix-related standards and their limits and limitations. Then file
IO is explained with file descriptors, fcntl, ioctl, file sharing,
stat, permissions and links. Then the stdio-lib is examined with
concerns to efficiency, binary and formatted IO, temporary files
and alternatices to stdio. System data files like passwd, shadow
passwords, groups, supplementary groups, logging and accounting
data are described next, followed by a description of the
environment a unix process runs in (main-function, command line
arguments and environment, setjmp & longjmp), process control
through fork, vfork, various wait- and exec-functions, process
relations (regarding terminal and network logins, process groups,
sessions, job control), signals (signal, kill, sig*), terminal IO
(sttyy, termcap, terminfo, curses, advanced io (nonblocking io,
record locking, streams, IO multiplexing, asynchronous IO, memory
mapped IO), some introduction to process communication using
pipes, FIFOs, message queues, semaphores and shared memory,
passing file descriptors under various unix implementations (SVR4,
4.3BSD, >4.3BSD), client server connection functions. The book
closes with three big examples, a database library, communicating
with a PostScript printer and a modem dialer.
+ Name: Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment
+ Author(s): W. Richard Stevens
+ Publisher: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.
+ ISBN: 0-201-56317-7
+ Pages: 744
4.6.4 INTRODUCTIONS TO UNIX INTERNALS
* Mike Loukides : System Performance Tuning
Improving the overall performance of your system is the goal of
this book. To do so, it describes the verious subsystems Unix
consists of and how to monitor them for problems and bottlenecks
as well as all the internals that keep the system running and the
screws and buttons you can play with and what they do. Very
interresting if you want to know why your box is swapping like
hell again and what you can do against it.
Contents: System performance issues, system resources (CPU,
memory, IO), user communities, monitoring system activity (system
load average, ps, cron, accounting, sar, benchmarks), managing the
workload, some tricks for users, reducing the workload, scheduling
priority, off-peak job submission, shell time limits, cpu
capacity, memory performance, paging and swapping, how to tell if
your system is paging, conserving memory, tuning the paging
algorithm, managing the swap area, computing memory requirements,
disk performance issues, IO subsystem configuration, partitions
and filesystems, balancing IO workload, filesystem buffers,
striped filesystems, conserving disk space, network performance
issues, networks and cpu load, RFS, STREMAS, terminal performance,
kernel configuration, why build a custom kernel, configuring a BSD
kernel, configuring a System V kernel.
+ Name: System Performance Tuning
+ Author(s): Mike Loukides
+ Publisher: O'Reilly & Assosciates, Inc.
+ ISBN: 0-937175-60-9
+ Pages: 336
* Samuel J. Leffer, et al: Design and Implementation of the 4.3BSD
This book is to BSD-Unix what 'Programming Perl' is to the perl
programming language and Kernighan/Ritchie's 'C Programming
language' is to C. Also based on 4.3BSD, it's still the most
comlete description of all the internals of a BSD-favoured unix,
from device drivers to interrupt handling and from memory
management to the filesystem. This might not be the book you look
into when you're about to write 'just' a device driver, but it's
certainly of value if you want to understand the relationship
between the verious subsystems of the operating system. An 'upate'
for 4.4BSD is in the works.
Contents: [Heh, i don't own that book! Anyone care to give me a
summary of the contents? - HF]
+ Name: Design and Implementation of the 4.3BSD Operating
+ Author(s): Samuel J. Leffler, Marshall Kirk McKusick, Michael
J. Karels, John S. Quarterman
+ Publisher: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company
+ ISBN: 0-201-06196-1
+ Pages: 471
5 WHERE TO GET SOURCES?
Sources for the current release of NetBSD (V1.1) are available from
ftp.netbsd.org under /pub/NetBSD/NetBSD-1.1/source and its mirrors.
See section 4.2 Anonymous FTP for a list of some of them.
The sources are contained in several directories:
sources for all the binaries from /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin,
/usr/sbin, /usr/libexec, /usr/lib and /usr/games.
kernel source for all architectures: alpha, amiga, atari,
hp300, i386, mac68k, mvme68k, pc532, pmax, sparc, sun3 and vax
source tainted with the GNU copyleft, e.g. gcc, gcc2, libg++,
UUCP, bc, diff, cpio, gas, gawk, gdb, grep, groff, ld, rcs,
tar, gzip, sort.
Domestic source that's likely to underly certain export
restrictions. Mainly Kerberos, DES and crypt-related things.
source for things under /usr/share, mainly some dictionaries,
documentation, man-pages, termcap-source, timezone-codes, etc.
To unpack, do something like the following:
cat .../source/ksrc11/*.?? | tar zvxCf / -
5.2 NetBSD-current with tar-balls
If you want to track NetBSD-current and you're really sure you know
what you do, you can get tar-archives (usually called tar-balls for
some odd reason) of the NetBSD-current source from ftp.netbsd.org in
/pub/NetBSD/NetBSD-current/tar_files/src directory (and mirrors).
5.3 NetBSD-current with SUP
Sup stands for Software Update Protocol and provides a facility to
update your source-tree by transmitting only those files that have
changed since you've checked the last time.
Get /pub/NetBSD/sup/supkit/README.sup from ftp.netbsd.org and follow
the instructions there, there's enough text that should help you get
6 HOW DO I BUILD A KERNEL MYSELF?
Theoretically you have two options here. You can build the kernel
under AmigaDOS or under NetBSD itself. Initially NetBSD was compiled
under AmigaDOS, of course, but now everybody works under NetBSD
itself. Recent attempts to compile the kernel under AmigaOS showed
that the compiler, assembler, linker etc. have developped differently,
and that you can't produce a working kernel under AmigaOS anymore.
For more general information on compiling the NetBSD kernel, refer to
the 386BSD-FAQ; there is a complete chapter related to the subject.
6.2 Getting the kernel source
To build the new kernel under NetBSD, make sure you have the compiler
package (comp11) and the kernel source tree (ksrc11/*) installed. See
section 5 Where to get sources?, for ways to get the kernel source.
6.3 Configuring the kernel
Change to the directory `/usr/src/sys/arch/amiga/conf'. This is where
the configuration file for the kernel lives. This file details exactly
what drivers (eg. CD file systems) you want in your kernel, and what
hardware you have. The easiest way to configure your new kernel is to
copy the file GENERIC, and name it YOUR-MACHINE-NAME. (My machine is
called `Babylon', so my kernel config file is named `BABYLON' too).
Edit this file, commenting in/out options you do/don't want. It should
be pretty clear from the comments what you can safely remove and what
you definitely shouldn't.
Once you have tailored the config file to your system, you need to ask
the system to build a `Makefile' for you. This is done with the
program `config'. Type the following command
(substituting your kernel name for BABYLON, obviously ;-). The program
`config' will create a directory `../compile/BABYLON' (or whatever),
and place a customised kernel Makefile and a bunch of header files in
there. If all goes to plan, you should get a message along the lines
of `Don`t forget to run make depend'.
6.4 Compiling your kernel
You are now about ready to compile! Change directory to the compile
directory for your kernel (eg. `../compile/BABYLON'), and type
The computer will take a while sorting out some computery stuff it has
to do (to be technical about it ;-), and now is probably a good a time
to start making the buckets of coffee you will inevitably need for the
full kernel recompile. When the make finishes, you can set the system
off building your kernel with
As an alternative, you can type: `make depend all' and have one really
large coffee instead of two medium sized ones. If this is your first
kernel compile, the estimated time is "Forever". Particularly if you
don't have too much memory to spare; however, it is feasible to do a
kernel compile in only 4MB - I have ;-). An A3000 with 16MB RAM takes
approximately 2 hours, my A2000 (030@25, 4MB 16bit RAM, 4MB 32bit RAM)
takes about 4 hours.
Several cups of coffee later...
Assuming you only had coffee (and nothing more, say, alcoholic...),
you should be able to use your new kernel once the compilation has
finished. The kernel will be named `netbsd' in your compile directory.
6.5 Installing your kernel
Do not delete your old kernel etc. until you have fully tested the new
one; bear in mind that once you reboot into the new kernel, commands
like ps wont work unless you copy the new kernel image over the one in
mv /netbsd /netbsd.old
cp netbsd /netbsd
For booting NetBSD via loadbsd, you'll also have to copy your new
kernel over to the AmigaOS-side of your machine! See section 8.3.4 Can
I access NetBSD files from AmigaOS?, for more information on how to
When you successfully build and installed a new kernel, you can reboot
your computer into the new kernel with the following command:
cp netbsd /dev/reload
Note that this may hang if the new kernel differs substancially from
the old one. Just reset your machine (three-finger-salut) and reboot
NetBSD via loadbsd instead.
See section 8.3.5 How do I create device files?, for information on
how to create device-files, if the file `/dev/reload' doesn't exist.
7 NETBSD - LINUX - AMIX - MINIX
Currently there are four possibilies to run Unix on the Amiga.
The first one is Amiga-Unix, also called Amix. This is a commercial
unix from Commodore, actually, it's one of the very first (and most
complete!) implementations of System V Release 4 (SVR4). It is neither
sold nor supported any more.
The second unix on the Amiga was Minix from A. S. Tanenbaum, a very
famous operating system professor. It runs on every Amiga and does not
support memory protection and some other features needed to get the
real unix feeling. It is commercial, too. It's major aim is to be an
operating system to play around with. It was developed for the
computer science students Tanenbaum held lectures for.
The third available unix on the Amiga was NetBSD. It gives you almost
anything you might want to expect from a free unix clone. It is being
developed on several platforms, and therefore has a reasonable amount
of developers supporting it. It was designed to be as portable as
possible, as all machine-dependent code is separated. Currently there
are ports to the Amiga, Intel-based PCs, HP-300 (680x0-based),
Macs(680x0-based), Sun3, Sun-Sparcs and some other platforms.
NetBSD-Amiga has a binary-compatibility-mode for Sun3-SunOS-binaries.
Of course, this means only binary-compatible with static linked
binaries, unless you have the original SunOS shared-libs available.
The far end aim is, that all NetBSD-implementations will be
binary-compatible on the same processor. That means, that there will
be NetBSD-m68k-binaries, that run on the Amiga, the Macs and the Sun3.
This shows some of the possibilities of NetBSD. NetBSD-Amiga is part
of the NetBSD-current sources, so any platform-independent improvement
will be an improvement for NetBSD-Amiga as well. The new features from
4.4BSD are already incorporated into NetBSD. NetBSD contains a lot of
other fancy features, other unix-based operating systems are missing,
e.g. cpu-time- or disk-quotas, mounting CD-images, swapping to files
and concatenating several disks to one large disk. NetBSD is
copyrighted software, but you are free to use, modify and distribute
it. Note that it is NOT under the GPL (General Public License, the Gnu
Copyright (-left)) and the developers of NetBSD want it to keep this
state. Therefore it is not possible to include any software which is
under the GPL into the kernel. NetBSD is available in source, but
anybody is free to take the current sources and provide them together
with his own binaries, i.e. you don't have to provide the sources of
your own work. This offers the opportunity for software developers to
keep the source of the programs they sell. This is not possible under
GPL, where you must provide the source. However, it is appreciated if
you also release the source of your derived work to the public. If
nobody releases his sources, the free software will soon disappear.
The fourth available Unix on the Amiga is Linux . It was first
designed to run on Intel-based PCs. However, HamishMcDonald and others
started a major rewrite of the sources so that it is now possible to
run Linux on the Amiga (and Atari, by the way). The first public
kernel release happened around October 1993, a few months after the
first NetBSD kernels came out. Nowadays Linux has become quite usable,
although some people still report problems on the '040 then and now.
Attempts to make the kernel run on '060 machines are in the works. The
major drawback with Linux/m68k is that it is not yet incorporated into
the Linux mainstream source tree. This means that every change made in
the Intel-PC source tree has to be adapted manually to the m68k source
tree. In NetBSD, on the other hand, changes are always made to the
unique source tree for all platforms. Also, there are not yet as much
device drivers for Linux/m68k as for NetBSD/Amiga (esp. in the
graphics section), and there is as of now no such 'binary
distribution' as known from PCs ( Slackware , SuSE etc.) and whole
NetBSD. All of these problems are the main goals of development for
the next months, some of the results so far look pretty promising. For
interested people: The Linux/m68k FAQ can be found at:
Everybody has to decide by themselves, which unix is best for them.
For now I can say, that using NetBSD is the best way to go, as Linux
still has some more nasty bugs in it and is missing a lot of the
functionality you might want to use, but this can change in the
8 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
This chapter contains a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and
their answers. See section 4 Where can I find more information on
NetBSD? for information on where to find the files and documents
mentioned in the answers.
8.1 Installing a new system
Installing the system is probably the most painful part of running
NetBSD-Amiga; this section should hopefully answer most of the
questions which will arise, in conjunction with the installation
document (See section 4 Where can I find more information on NetBSD?).
8.1.1 HOW DO I GET NETBSD?
The first thing you should do is find the file `getting-NetBSD' ,
which details exactly where to find all the files you'll need. You can
probably find it the same place you found this FAQ. See section 4
Where can I find more information on NetBSD? for details.
8.1.2 HOW DO I INSTALL NETBSD?
There's a file called `INSTALL' that comes for each architecture
that's supported by a NetBSD release, and which describes the
installation procedure in great detail. For the 1.1-release, this
document can be found in the following places:
* ftp.netbsd.org : /pub/NetBSD/NetBSD-1.1/amiga/INSTALL and mirrors
* ftp.uni-regensburg.de : /pub/NetBSD-Amiga/release/INSTALL and
Please consult this file for further instructions! See section 4.2
Anonymous FTP, for a list of mirrors of the above server.
8.1.3 HOW CAN I AUTOBOOT INTO MULTIUSER MODE
The `loadbsd' program has a number of options to control the boot
process - type `loadbsd -?' to see all the options. The one you need
in particular (for the current version of LoadBSD, anyway) is `-a'.
8.1.4 NETBSD ALWAYS ASKS ME FOR A ROOT DEVICE
Make sure you are using the latest kernel and version of LoadBSD. Note
that LoadBSD has an option, -b, to explicitly force it to ask for the
root device on boot - make sure you aren't running LoadBSD with that
Also, ensure that your hard disk (in particular DOSType IDs etc.) is
configured properly so that NetBSD can locate the root partition
8.1.5 WHERE CAN I FIND IXEMUL.LIBRARY VERSION >= 39.46
Well, you don't strictly speaking need it; If LoadBSD pops up a
requester asking you for version 39.47, click OK and LoadBSD will
continue using version 39.45.
If you don't have any version of `ixemul.library' (where have you been
living? :-), have a look on an Aminet site or get it from
8.1.6 NETBSD HANGS WHILE BOOTING INTO MULTIUSER MODE
Make sure the lines which read
in the file `/etc/netstart' do indeed read NO twice; `named' and
`timed' will hang the machine if there is no network attached when it
Also, delete the directory `/var/yp' if you don't use YP (NIS),
because the upcoming `ypbind' would search for a NIS server forever.
8.1.7 I KEEP GETTING CKSUM ERRORS WHEN I TRY TO INSTALL!
This (and other bizarre symptoms) could be the result of a bug in your
SCSI host adapter's DMA controller or ROM - I have seen this with an
A2091. (It also seems to depend on the phase of the moon and other
sundry factors). The solution is to switch DMA transfers off in the
kernel. To do this using `binpatch' (See section 8.2.3 How do I use
binpatch? for details) type
binpatch -s _sbic_no_dma=0x1 kernelfile
(not forgetting to replace `kernelfile' with the name of your kernel
image!). You should now be able to boot & install using programmed-IO
(PIO) instead of DMA.
8.1.8 WHICH DISTRIBUTION SHOULD I USE?
At the time of writing, there are two principle distributions you
could look at, `NetBSD-1.1' and `NetBSD-current' .
Which you choose really depends on what sort of system you are looking
to run. If you want a stable, out-of-the-box, install-and-forget type
system, go for the NetBSD-1.1 distribution. The NetBSD-current
distribution is for the OS hackers amongst you; it is in a state of
constant change, but as a result it'll be the first place to find neat
new features etc. The choice is yours!
See section 4 Where can I find more information on NetBSD? for
information on where to find the relevant files.
8.1.9 DOES NETBSD RUN WITH THE PROTO-CHIP?
The first A3000 and A2091 were equipped with a prototype version of
the SCSI controller chip (exact name: 33c93-4), the later ones had a
full-blown chip (33c93-8).
The answer to the above question is yes. The only problem which may
occur is that some hard drives do not like to be enabled in sync mode;
it depends on your kernel patches, the hard drive, controller etc.
etc. if you'll find this problem. To disable sync negotiation, pass
`-I ff' to loadbsd.
8.1.10 MY A2000 IS RECOGNIZED AS A1200
On some machines, the detection of which machine one has doesn't work
and so you have to tell it by hand giving the `-c' switch to loadbsd:
loadbsd -c 2000 netbsd
8.2 Hardware, drivers and binpatching
This section details certain specific hardware problems you may run
8.2.1 HOW DO I GET A SERIAL TERMINAL TO WORK CORRECTLY?
The file `/etc/ttys' tells init which ports to run a getty (ie. login)
program on. Edit the file, and (supposing you had a 19200bd vt100
terminal on the serial port) add or edit a line to read
tty00 "/usr/libexec/getty std.19200" vt100 on insecure
`tty00' indicates the internal serial port, the `std.19200' tells
getty what serial parameters to use - look in `/etc/gettytab' for
details of other speeds etc. - and the `vt100' indicates what terminal
emulation to use; look in `/usr/share/misc/termcap' for details of
other terminal emulation names.
Note the `insecure' entry - this means that you (or an imposter, more
importantly) cannot log in as `root' on that terminal, even if he has
the root password. You've to log in as 'normal' user then use `su' to
switch to root. Be sure to be in the right group (wheel, See section
8.3.1 Why can't I su to root?) for this, especially if you've marked
the console as secure.
Marking the console as insecure will result in the root password being
requested when booting into single-user. Normally the only terminal
regarded as secure would be the console.
8.2.2 DOES NETBSD WORK WITH THE RETINA VIDEO CARD?
A qualified yes! With a Retina card, NetBSD tries to open a screen
with a resolution of approximately 800 by 600, with a display rate of
75KHz. Not all monitors are capable of handling such a high display
rate - indeed, it could cause some damage - so it comes highly
reccomended that you use `binpatch' to set the symbol
_retina_default_mon to one of the following values depending on the
resolution/refresh rate your monitor can handle:
* 0x01 -- 640x512 at 31.5kHz
* 0x02 -- 768x600 at 38kHz
See section 8.2.3 How do I use binpatch? for details of using
8.2.3 HOW DO I USE BINPATCH?
`binpatch' is a very useful little utility which allows you to change
the value of variables in a compiled binary (in particular, the NetBSD
kernel) without needing to recompile; it uses the symbol table
information included in the binary to locate where the variable's
value is stored, and directly modifies it. This is very useful for
setting certain flags in the kernel necessary to make it boot on your
system (until you are in a position to compile a kernel to your own
You will be able to find a binpatch for AmigaOS in
`binpatch-array-1.1.tar.gz' located in `.../tools' on
ftp.uni-regensburg.de and its mirrors .
126.96.36.199 Patching the kernel
In order to patch the kernel, you need to know basically two things -
the name of the symbol (eg. _retina_default_mon) and the value to
patch it to. Armed with this information, it is basically just a case
of running the binpatch with the name of the kernel file. For example,
assuming a kernel image named `netbsd',
binpatch -s _retina_default_mon=0x02 netbsd
would patch the kernel to boot into a Retina screen of resolution 768
by 600 at 38kHz.
188.8.131.52 Other binpatch options
There are a few more `advanced' options you can call binpatch with;
these are detailed below.
* -s -- Specify the symbol of the variable (as above).
* -a <addr> -- Explicitly specify the address of the location to
* -b -- Patch only a byte value.
* -w -- Patch a word value (2 bytes).
* -l -- Patch a longword value (4 bytes).
* -r <val> -- The value to replace the old value.
184.108.40.206 List of all binpatchable symbols
[Such a list would be very nice, but I didn't come across one yet.
Please contact the maintainer of this FAQ if you want to say something
here! - HF]
8.2.4 TAPEDRIVE PROBLEMS
This FAQ deals with a number of problems tapedrive owners may
experience with NetBSD - and more importantly suggests a few
workarounds! As far as I know, at the time of writing no tape drive
has been found that cannot be made to work with NetBSD.
The first thing to point out is that for some tape drives NetBSD
reports that the tape drive is not supported on boot - ignore this
message it is lying!
[Note of the editor: i don't know if either of the followint two
problem is still valid. Besides that, what about those Tandberg
streamers that didn't work with 1.0? Someone tell me, please! -HF ]
220.127.116.11 Problem 1
You may find that if you boot NetBSD immediately after using btn in
AmigaDOS to write a file to the tape, that tar reports some error when
trying to read from the tape.
The reason is that NetBSD doesn't send SCSI IDs 4 and 5 a reset
command, since they are assumed to be tape drives, and sending a reset
can cause some drives to spend a lot of time resetting/rewinding. The
solution is to power cycle the tapedrive before or after booting
NetBSD, forcing it to reset.
18.104.22.168 Problem 2
If you write small files to the tape, there may appear to be nothing
on the tape when you attempt to read them back - this can occur with
tapes written from either NetBSD or AmigaDOS. The solution is simply
to append a fairly large file to the end of the tape. For example, if
I wanted to write the file `netbsd' to the tape, I would use the
tar cvfp /dev/rst0 netbsd rootfs.gz
(assuming `rootfs.gz' is fairly large) instead of
tar cvfp /dev/rst0 netbsd
8.2.5 READING SUN TAPE CARTRIDGES
Reading tapes created by Sun machines is another source of some
confusion. The original Sun Archive tape drive is capable of
reading/writing two tape formats, QIC-11 and QIC-24. To maximise your
chances of being able to read the tape, use QIC-24 format; the command
tar -cvf /dev/rst8
will create a QIC-24 formatted tape.
22.214.171.124 But the Sun has an Archive Viper drive
Although the Archive Viper hardware can read/write a variety of
formats, the Sun will only let you use one -- QIC-150. All the tape
drive devices (`/dev/rst0', `/dev/rst8', `/dev/rst16' etc.) will
therefore produce a QIC-150 tape. Just use `/dev/rst8' for all data
cartridge systems (if it isn't a 4mm or 8mm tape, it probably is a
8.2.6 HOW TO DEAL WITH SILO-OVERFLOWS?
Those silo overflows usually occur when you work with a high speed
modem connection, and indicated the kernel's buffer for serial i/o is
full. To fix this problem, compile a new kernel with the following
lines in your config-file:
options LEV6_DEFER # serial is more important than clock
options "SERIBUF_SIZE=8192" # buffer size for serial stuff
8.2.7 HOW CAN I RUN X ON THE A2410 TIGA BOARD?
You can't run X on the A2410 TIGA board, as there is currently no X
server available for that card.
8.3 Teething troubles
If you think its all over once you've finished the installation,
you're mistaken! There are numerous little things that need tweaking
and configuring before you can sit down and let the system run itself.
Happily, once these things are set up, very little further work is
necessary, bar day to day adding of users, adding new services etc.
8.3.1 WHY CAN'T I SU TO ROOT?
For a user to switch user (`su') to root, they must be a member of the
group wheel. Make sure that in the `/etc/group' file there is a line
The comma-separated list indicates which users are members of the
wheel group - add any users you wish to be able to `su' to root here;
note that although the user still requires root's password, the wheel
group should really be restricted to system administrators only.
Please note also that if you remove 'root' from this list,
unpredictable things may happen.
8.3.2 WHAT PACKAGES CAN I INSTALL TO ENHANCE NETBSD?
Since NetBSD is basically a flavour of Unix, more or less anything
written for Unix can probably be ported (or already has been) to
NetBSD; the list is enormous! See section 4 Where can I find more
information on NetBSD? for details of mailing lists and newsgroups to
If you're looking for precompiled binaries that you just have to
install, have a look at `/pub/NetBSD-Amiga/contrib' on
ftp.uni-regensburg.de and its mirrors .
126.96.36.199 What about X-Windows?
First of all, there ain't no such thing as 'X windows'. The thing you
think of is either called, X, X Window System or (in it's current
release) X11R6. Read X(1) if you want to find out more.
X servers for NetBSD-Amiga are available for the standard custom
chips, and also available (or in development) for a number of graphics
* OCS, ECS, AGA: Xdaniver
* Picasso II, Piccolo, Spektrum: Xcl
* Retina Z2 & Z3, CyberVision'64: Xamiga24
A binary distribution of the X Window System for NetBSD/amiga V1.1 can
be found under `/pub/NetBSD-Amiga/contrib/X11/X11R6/bin11' on
ftp.uni-regensburg.de and its mirrors . It will take up about 30MB of
diskspace if fully installed. Please read the files `README' and
`README.2' there, as well as the `NetBSD-Amiga-X-FAQ' for full
instruction on installation.
188.8.131.52 And networking?
Networking is an integral part of the BSD system, and already a part
of your kernel; support is currently available for serial IP protocols
(SLIP, PPP) over the built-in serial port, and also several ethernet
cards. See section 3.5 What hardware is supported by NetBSD/amiga
V1.1, anyways?, for a full list of all supported ethernet cards.
See section 4 Where can I find more information on NetBSD? for
information on locating the slightly outdated
8.3.3 CAN I ACCESS AMIGAOS FILES FROM NETBSD?
The ADOS file system driver for NetBSD-Amiga can currently mount
AmigaOS file systems read-only; support for writing to AmigaOS
partitions may be added at a later date. For more information on how
to mount AmigaOS filesystems, see the `mount' and `mount_ados' man
In any case, don't forget to add `-o ro' as the options to the mount
command, as NetBSD's AmigaDOS-filesystem can't write to AmigaOS-files
(yes, this is necessary since 1.0! :-).
8.3.4 CAN I ACCESS NETBSD FILES FROM AMIGAOS?
Yes, by using the BFFS-Filesystem, but be sure to get version 1.4b0,
which does not provide code for writing files to NetBSD-disks but can
only read them. There's a V1.31b that can write to old (4.3)
filesystems (e.g. from before NetBSD/amiga V1.0 or ones that were
created with option `-O' to newfs), but that will nuke your
4.4-filesystems you newfs'ed under V1.1 or V1.0 without mercy. You've
The file's available as `bffs-1.4b0.gz' from `/pub/NetBSD-Amiga/tools'
on ftp.uni-regensburg.de and its mirrors , some documentation on how
to set up the filesystem is in the `bffs-1.3.lha' archive.
8.3.5 HOW DO I CREATE DEVICE FILES?
There is a shell script (in the `/dev' directory) called `MAKEDEV'
which creates device files for any of the standard device drivers. To
create, say, the `view00' device, type (from a root shell)
8.3.6 HOW DO I CREATE ACCOUNTS AND CHANGE USER INFORMATION?
From the adduser(8) manpage:
A new user must choose a login name, which must not already appear in
`/etc/passwd' or `/etc/aliases'. It must also not begin with the
hyphen `-' character. It is strongly recommended that it is all
lowercase, and not contain the dot ``.'' character, as that tends to
confuse mailers. An account can be added by editing a line into the
passwd file; this must be done with the password file locked e.g. by
using chpass(1) or vipw(8).
A new user is given a group and user id. Login and user id's should be
unique across the system, and often across a group of systems, since
they are used to control file access. Typically, users working on
similar projects will be put in the same groups. At the University of
California, Berkeley, we have groups for system staff, faculty,
graduate students, and special groups for large projects.
A skeletal account for a new user ernie might look like:
For a description of each of these fields, see passwd(5).
It is useful to give new users some help in getting started, supplying
them with a few skeletal files such as `.profile' if they use
`/bin/sh' or `/usr/local/bin/bash' (which does not come with the
NetBSD distribution!), or `.cshrc' and `.login' if they use `/bin/csh'
or `/usr/local/bin/tcsh' (which also doesn't come with the NetBSD
distribution). The directory `/usr/share/skel' contains skeletal
definitions of such files. New users should be given copies of these
files which, for instance, use tset(1) automatically at each login.
184.108.40.206 Adding a new user
The easiest way to add a new user is to run the `vipw' command to edit
the master password file, and add a new entry with the user's username
and userid (which must be unique), but all other fields left blank.
Now run the `chpass' command, specifying the new user's name, eg.
You can now edit the user's password, finger information, group etc.
etc. in comfort.
For more information on the `vipw' and `chpass' commands, see the
relevant manual pages.
220.127.116.11 But - isn't there an adduser-command?
The 1.1-release of NetBSD doesn't include an adduser command. You can
get one as `.../contrib/adduser-1.2.tar.gz' from ftp.uni-regensburg.de
and its mirrors , you need perl5 for it, though (to be found in the
same directory :-).
8.3.7 HOW CAN I REBOOT STRAIGHT INTO NETBSD?
The `reboot' command that's distributed with NetBSD/amiga performs a
'full' reboot through AmigaOS or whatever, but that may hang
occasionally. NetBSD/amiga also provides the facility to just 'reload'
(and restart) the kernel itself. To enable this, do the following (as
mv /sbin/reboot /sbin/reboot.amiga
echo "cp /netbsd /dev/reload" >/sbin/reboot
chmod 755j /sbin/reboot
You can now use the `reboot' command to reboot into NetBSD, and
`reboot.amiga' to reboot into AmigaDOS.
Also, `shutdown -r' will use the `/sbin/reboot' that goes directly
back to NetBSD. In case your system doesn't have a `/dev/reload' for
some odd reasons, you can generate one with the following options:
8.3.8 WHY DOESN'T THE PS COMMAND WORK?
For programs that use the kernel symbol table to retrieve information
(like `ps'), you must make sure that there is a copy of your kernel
image named `/netbsd'. You may also want to make a link from this file
to `/vmunix' for very old programs.
8.3.9 IS THERE A DEBUGGER FOR NETBSD?
The GNU debugger `gdb' is available for NetBSD (it is in the standard
comp* distribution package).
8.3.10 HOW DO I REPORT BUGS?
If you think you have discovered a bug, and you are sure its not your
mistake, the best thing to do is to mail on one of the mailing lists
(See section 4 Where can I find more information on NetBSD? for
details). Try to include as much information as possible - the
configuration of your machine, the output you saw, the exact
circumstances etc.; if possible try to isolate the bug as far as is
possible (ie. don't just say `my machine crashes', try to explain what
causes it to crash!).
8.3.11 HOW DO I GET A META-KEY FOR EMACS?
Executing the commands `stty cs8 -istrip -parenb' will allow you to
use any of the Amiga keys as a meta-key.
8.3.12 MY KEYMAP IS ALL WRONG!
18.104.22.168 Fixing the console's keymap
There is a little program called `loadkmap' which allows you to change
the keyboard map. The maps are edited in the form of a simple C file -
a german keymap `din-kbdmap.c' is supplied. It should be relatively
trivial to edit this to your requirements. To install the German
keyboard, for example, you would type the following commands
gcc din-kbdmap.c -o din-kbdmap
gcc loadkmap.c -o loadkmap
To make this permanent, add the `loadkmap' command to `/etc/rc.local'.
There's also a readily compiled version of those files in
`.../contrib/kbdmaps-1.0-bin11.tar.gz' on ftp.uni-regensburg.de and
it's mirrors .
22.214.171.124 Fixing the keymap under X
Under X, you change your keymap-settings with the `xmodmap' command,
which reads its configuration from the file `$HOME/.xmodmaprc' when
invoked (e.g. from `$HOME/.xinitrc'). Such configuration files for
French , German , British and Swedish keyboards exist under
`.../contrib/X11' on ftp.uni-regensburg.de and its mirrors .
8.3.13 XCL REPORTS "CANNOT OPEN SCREEN"
Add the following line to `/etc/X0.hosts' (assuming your hostname is
You have to set up networking (See section 126.96.36.199 And networking?),
then you can get your hostname with the `hostname' command.
8.3.14 WHERE DO I GET MOTIF? XVIEW? OPENGL?
Motif is a commercial product and currently not available for
NetBSD/amiga. The only option you have here is to get a binary licence
for Sun3 libs, and link those with NetBSD/amiga.
[Someone who tried this and can get me apointer on where to get Motif
for Sun3? - HF]
XView (also known as the Open Look toolkit) is currently only
available as a binary that was built in the times of NetBSD v0.9, this
binary does not work with NetBSD V1.1.
So, if you run a recent version of NetBSD, your only choice os to get
the sources and compile it yourself. The sources for version 3.2 are
are available from ftp.x.org in /R5contrib/xview3.2 .
There's a free implementation of the OpenGL API called " Mesa 3-D
graphics library ", or simply Mesa. A precompiled version is
available from ftp.uni-regensburg.de and its mirrors as
.../contrib/X11/Mesa-1.0b-bin10.tar.gz , sources are available in
/pub/Mesa from iris.ssec.wisc.edu.
8.3.15 WHAT'S ALL THIS STUFF ABOUT BINARY EMULATION?
Binary emulation means two things:
1. to read different executable file formats: About every second
operating system uses a different file format in which it saves its
binaries, using different headers, magic cookies, hunks, whatever. The
ones NetBSD supports natively is a.out, and through some of the above
emulations, ELF's supported, too.
2. (the more important thing!) Almost every operating system offers
also a different range of services to the system programmer, with
different ways to access them. This is called the
system-call-interface. Under AmigaOS, this is done with an index into
a table containing pointers to functions pointed to by some address
register and the data in some data register, NetBSD uses some
trap-command, I think. Other operating systems use other methods,
traps, tables, registers, etc. and this is handled by the binary
Of course, for a program to generate such system calls (in a
controlled manner :-), it has to be compiled for the CPU it's running
on. You won't be able to execute Ultrix or SunOS-SPARC binaries on a
Motorola CPU. But what you can do is use SunOS-Sun3-binaries, which
just use different ways to reach the kernel (=the operating system
itself) to use its services.
On NetBSD/amiga, you can use binaries for the following architectures
(as long as they don't access any special hardware or drivers):
* NetBSD/amiga, mac68k, atari and sun3. The hp300-port uses a
different pagesize to remain binary compatible with HP-UX, and
therefore won't work by default.
* Sun3, SunOS till 4.1.1. You can run programs compiled for Suns
with Motorola CPUs, not SPARC CPUs. So you can not just download
Netscape for SunOS 4.1.3, as it is still compiled for the wrong
8.3.16 HOW CAN I BOOT NETBSD WITHOUT KEEPING AN AMIGAOS PARTITION?
There are two ways to boot NetBSD without having a small AmigaOS
partition which holds loadbsd and the kernel:
1. Setup the BFFS filesystem (See section 8.3.4 Can I access NetBSD
files from AmigaOS?) for your root partition with hdtoolbox, so
it doesn't need a `Mountlist' entry to be mounted, but rather gets
mounted automatically on system bootup. Next, create a directory
`/s' that holds the AmigaOS loadbsd binary and a
`startup-sequence'. Then add the following line to
s:loadbsd -a :netbsd
You may need some additional assigns vor `ENV:', but I think you get
the basic idea.
2. Use Michael Hitch's Bootloader which is in an experimental state
as of this writing. This Bootloader can be found in
`.../experimental/bootblock.tar.gz' on ftp.uni-regensburg.de and
its mirrors . Follow the instructions given in the README-file to
set up the bootblock.
8.3.17 WHERE CAN I FIND AN ARCHIVE OF THE MAILING LISTS?
All the official NetBSD mailing lists are archived on ftp.netbsd.org
in /pub/NetBSD/mailing-lists . An archive of the discussions during
the very early days of NetBSD/amiga can be found in
/pub/NetBSD-Amiga/docs/Mailinglist-Archive on ftp.uni-regensburg.de
and its mirrors .
=============== Hubert Feyrer ============================================
Weekdays: Rennerstr. 19, D-93053 Regensburg, Tel. 0941/943-2905
Weekends: Bachstr. 40, D-84066 Mallersdorf, Tel. 08772/6084
Internet: hubert.feyrer%rz.uni-regensburg.de@localhost, IRC: hubertf
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