Subject: Re: questions about XalphaNetBSD and ddb
To: Mark H. Levine <>
From: Chris G. Demetriou <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 05/21/1997 09:56:37
> I just grabbed NetBSD/alpha for the first time, and cannot locate
> the  X11 diffs mentioned in the README.files.  Only the toolchain
> diffs appear to be on

There are no X11 diffs on the FTP site, for the current version of the
X server.  The X server is based on XFree86 3.2A, which limits what I
can do with the sources.  Without the base XFree86 3.2A sources, which
are not widely available, my diffs would be useless to you anyway.
(They wouldn't drop into 3.2, both because of "other" changes in
XFree86 and because I sent in a lot of changes for NetBSD/alpha
support between 3.2 and 3.2A.)

> Can someone tell me what the XalphaNetBSD server is?  The  readme
> suggests  it  is  XFree86,  but  the  binaries  don't  include an
> XF86Config or more than the one server,  which  doesn't  seem  to
> understand  a TGA-2 (I believe Digital UNIX 4.0a..c is supporting
> only TGA-2 and the S3-Trio, so there are going to  be  a  lot  of
> them  out there...).

It's derived from the non-ddx XFree86 sources, but it has a different
DDX.  That DDX supports only the TGA (not the TGA2) frame buffer.

I have to admit that much of the fault for X problems on NetBSD/alpha
is my fault.

When I did the initial X development work, the goal was to make
something, anything, work in a short period of time.  Since then, i've
been trying to refine various interfaces (e.g. the console interface)
in order to better support X.  Existing X support in the various
NetBSD/alpha frame buffer drivers ... suboptimal.  I need to throw a
few days at the console interface problem before it's "done," and can
be used.  Unfortunately, it's hard for me to find any time to throw at
the problem, especially since I don't even have any way to access the
NetBSD master CVS tree (where my development sources are) right now...

I've also asked for people to take on X development, but have been
horrible at supporting them when they've asked (even basic) questions.

Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, three things need to happen before X
support can be 'better' under NetBSD/alpha:

	(1) i've gotta finish up the new console interfaces,

	(2) somebody has to implement some code to do sane bus space
	    accesses from user-land, and

	(3) somebody has to make the X server use (2).  (I've already
	    got mods in my X server tree to do (1).)

I'm really all on my own with (1), and just need to find the time to
work on it.

I'm going to write up a spec for (2), and send it to a few people who
I think should see it, who might implement it.

(3) should be easier after the next public release of XFree86.  Once
that's out, I can merge my changes into it, and give away the diffs
and/or sources without concern.

> Is  ddb something likely to appear on the Alpha port (or a kernel
> debugger of any sort for EB164, PC164)? 

I already answered this one, in a reply to a reply.  8-)