Subject: NetBSD-1.4_ALPHA/alpha available [actually BETA]
To: None <>
From: Ross Harvey <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 04/22/1999 17:48:28
NetBSD-1.4_ALPHA/alpha is available now for download from,
and on mirror sites soon.

It's actually NetBSD-1.4_BETA, but it has been uploaded to the empty _ALPHA
directory so that we can use the BETA directory to hold a subsequent build.
(I try as a matter of policy to never do an in-line release, i.e., same
pathnames, different bits.)

To browse the installation instructions, see:


		Alpha-Specific Changes Since The Last Release

     o   Many new system types are supported:
         -   EB66 Evaluation Board
         -   ALPHABook 1
         -   Digital AlphaServer 4100 systems
         -   Digital AlphaServer 1000 systems
         -   Digital AlphaServer 1000A systems
         -   Digital AlphaServer 800 systems
         -   Digital Server 330x systems

     o   Jason Thorpe's new virtual memory code provides full support for the
         alpha's large address space with context switching and translation
         buffer state optimizations.

     o   Extensive scheduler work enables process nice levels to work as ex-
         pected, fixing ancient BSD scheduler bugs that affected NetBSD/alpha
         more than other ports with slower clock Hz defaults. Nice +19 and +20
         processes now take no time away from nice +0 programs regardless of
         load average.

     o   Many new device drivers and sound cards are supported. Floppy disk
         drives are now supported.

     o   IDE peripheral devices are now supported on Multia and AXPPCI33 sys-

     o   A new multi-volume boot loader allows all supported system types and
         device drivers to be present on floppy disk media, and enables the
         sysinst screen-menu installation program to be included on floppy
         disks as well. Although two floppies are now used, they load much
         faster than the single floppy did in 1.3.

     o   Installation from CD and magnetic tape media is now supported.

     o   A new set of boot programs provides considerable operational and per-
         formance enhancement.

     NetBSD 1.4_BETA on alpha is, as usual, also fully backward compatible
     with old NetBSD/alpha binaries, so you don't need to recompile all your
     local programs.

		   General Changes Since The Last Release

     The NetBSD 1.4_BETA release is a substantial improvement over its prede-
     cessors.  We have provided numerous significant functional enhancements,
     including support for many new devices, integration of hundreds of bug
     fixes, new and updated kernel subsystems, and many userland enhancements.
     The results of these improvements is a stable operating system fit for
     production use that rivals most commercially available systems.

     It is impossible to completely summarize the nearly two years of develop-
     ment that went into the NetBSD 1.4_BETA release. Some highlights include:

     o   Substantial improvements in the TCP/IP implementation, including nu-
         merous performance enhancements and bug fixes by Jason Thorpe and

     o   A new, high efficiency kernel memory pool allocator by Paul Kranen-
         burg. This has been integrated into most kernel subsystems.

     o   A new, totally rewritten virtual memory subsystem, UVM, created by
         Chuck Cranor, which is substantially cleaner and better performing
         than the old Mach derived VM subsystem.
     o   Improved POSIX and XPG standards compliance.

     o   Completion of the integration of all remaining 4.4BSD Lite-2 kernel
         improvements and bug fixes that had not been previously integrated.
         (Integration of all userland components was completed before
         NetBSD 1.3)

     o   Several new ports, including macppc, bebox, sparc64, next68k, and
         others, have been integrated into the source tree.

     o   The system compilers have been upgraded to egcs 1.1.1, and the system
         compiler toolchain now (mostly) uses the latest versions of GNU binu-
         tils instead of the obsolete versions left over from 4.4BSD Lite.

     o   Everyone's favorite ftp(1) client has been improved even further. See
         the man page for details.

     o   A new architecture independent console driver, wscons(4), has been
         integrated into many ports.

     o   Numerous improvements have been made to the audio subsystem support,
         including support for MIDI device drivers.

     o   Linux compatibility support has been improved.

     o   The scheduler has had several bugs fixed, yielding dramatic improve-
         ments in interactive performance.

     o   Several network tunneling protocols, including GRE and IP in IP, have
         been implemented.

     o   Kernel support for the CODA distributed file system has been added.

     o   Manuel Bouyer completed major changes to the IDE support.  It is now
         architecture independent. Major changes have been made to the IDE
         code for better error handling, improved ATAPI support, 32 bit data
         I/O support and bus-master DMA support on PCI IDE controllers.

     o   Lennart Augustsson has added full USB support, permitting the use of
         a wide variety of Universal Serial Bus peripherals. The drivers
         should easily port to any future platforms that support the PCI bus.
         See usb(4) for an overview.

     o   RAIDframe, version 1.1, from the Parallel Data Laboratory at Carnegie
         Mellon University, has been integrated.  Supports RAID levels 0, 1,
         4, 5, and more.

     o   Luke Mewburn added nsswitch.conf(5) functionality to the system to
         specify the search order for system databases.

     o   syslogd(8) now supports listening on multiple sockets, to make the
         chrooting of servers easier.

     o   Most third party packages have been updated to the latest stable re-

     There have also been innumerable bug fixes.