Subject: Re: marketing NetBSD to the old SunOS crowd
To: Alexander Bochmann <>
From: NetBSD Bob <>
List: port-sun3
Date: 09/01/1999 18:37:52
> ...on Wed, Sep 01, 1999 at 10:02:46AM -0400, NetBSD Bob wrote:
>  > For example, none of my VME suns can run NetBSD, because the tape
>  > drivers basically won't, although they try.  In particular, NetBSD
>  > really needs an MD and an MT driver for the old hardware.  The MD
> I never even thought about installing NetBSD from tapes on my SUN3/160s...
> Making a netboot work was just so much easier ;)
> (Or is there any other reason to need tapes?)

In my case, I have all the machines I am building up in the shop,
and once they get working, move them into the play pit.  Because of
that I usually always prefer a tape boot/install on any machine if
possible, so I can bring it up in a standalone mode.  After all, the
12 slot desksides usually all had tapes by default, since that was
the usual mode of installation on SunOS.  I suppose I could run some
coax out to the shop, and try a netboot.  That might be the best way.
Still, old Suns revolve around tapes, though, and all my old machines
tape or floppy boot/install.

Longshot thought on NetBSD booting via tape for sun3/sun4 boxes.....

1.  Make a SunOS boot tape using the first 7 boot files.

2.  Sub the NetBSD miniroot for the SunOS miniroot and let it install
    into swap, or dd it manually from the boot shell into swap.

Would that work?  I used that approach to build the sun4 systems after
the boot tapes got errors, from bits off the CD's.  The sun3 port has
boot blocks for tapes, but the sparc ports don't (maybe they need them?)?


1.  Install SunOS, standalone.

2.  dd the miniroot onto tape from another machine.

3.  dd the miniroot to swap from SunOS, halt, boot from swap?

Would that work?  Since there is no tape boot for sparc (sun4's)
that might be a good way to load it up the first time?

>  > and MT controllers off an SI or SC controller were the basic issue
>  > Sun equipment.  NetBSD just won't go on those, in my hands.  IFF
> Well, both of the SUN3 I have feature the unsupported SCSI controller, 
> and although I have a SMD disk controller and even an SMD disk array, 
> I wasn't able to make NetBSD work with it (wouldn't have been able to 
> run such a configuration anyway, as the SMD disk tower produces enough 
> heat to make everything else in the room break down...).

I had one SMD crate, but it was pushed off the back of a truck, and
the case was smashed, and not much was usable.

Do you mean the SC controller, or the internal/external SI controller?
Mine are all SI bits combined to make the internal/external type so I can
hang external boxes on  and  still run internal drives and tape off the
existing scsi bus inside the 12 slot case.  It works in SunOS, and should
in NetBSD as long as the scsi cabling is less than 6M long.

One other question.... does anyone know which prom revisions on the
sun3/sun4 architecture (3/110, 4/110, 3/160, 4/260) support 18 track
cartridge tapes?  Such tapes work fine on sun4c machines, but I am
not sure about the sun3 or sun4 machines.  I can fit one tape and
one 3.5 inch direct scsi drive onto the internal scsi bus cabling.
IFF, for example, an Archive xxxxs tape transport could be mounted
rather than the MT/Wangtek thing, I could dispense with both the MT
and the MD controllers, and associated problems perhaps?

> Alex.