Subject: Re: "Multia" AXPpci machine?
To: Arne H. Juul <>
From: Thomas J. Merritt <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 03/03/1996 09:15:20
|<><><><><> Original message from "Arne H. Juul"  <><><><><>
|                  It has PCI bus, standard PCI scsi card (ncr53c810),
|probably PCI VGA card, PCI ethernet.

Actually thats a DEC TGA chip which isn't particularly like a VGA card.

|So far I've just tested taking a disk, dd-ing in the binary
|snapshot rz25-image.gz, version 960224.  Then I went to SRM
|console and booted with "boot dka300".  This produced some
|messages about finding the boot block and then immediately
|returned to the SRM prompt.  I also tried "boot -file netbsd dka300"
|with the same result.

The Multia SRM console improperly initializes the Saturn I/O chip on
the Multia and netbsd panics when it discovers this and places you
back in the SRM console.

|However, I read in the STATUS file that I should first
|get a serial console.  I don't have the cables etc. for that
|right now, but I could probably get if it would help.  

This won't help.

|right now, but I could probably get if it would help.  So,
|the questions are:
|1) are there good chances this machine will run NetBSD now
|   or in the near future?  I append to this mail the boot-time
|   output from linux in case that helps.

DEC is supposed to have a firmware upgrade for the Multias sometime
soon that will allow them to run OSF/1.  When that happens the odds of
netbsd booting should be higher.

|2) do I really need to use a serial console?  The STATUS file
|   also lists that PCI VGA video board are supported, so I'm
|   a bit confused.

It doesn't seem to make a difference on the Multia.  Netbsd finds the
TGA and will use it as console.  The Multia SRM firmware doesn't seem
to pay much attention to the console flag in any case.

|3) is anyone working on X11 server support for NetBSD/alpha?

I beleive that Chris D. has got X11 to work on the TGA.  Whether this will
work on the Multia unmodified is another question.

|4) should I just forget NetBSD/alpha for now and just test the
|   box with linux?  Linux/alpha seems (after reading the NetBSD
|   port-alpha list for a while, and now testing the linux variant)
|   to be much more mature, but this may of course be false.

Linux/alpha makes few assumptions about the state of the machine it is
running on.  It programs everything at startup using its builtin PCI BIOS.
Because of this Linux/alpha must be compiled specifically for the machine that
it will run on.  Netbsd makes the assumption that the system firmware will
have properly initialized the PCI bus and the devices on the PCI bus.
I don't beleive that Linux work on any of the TurboChannel machines at this
point though.

TJ Merritt