Subject: Re: DEC 3000/700 and NetBSD
To: Rowdy <>
From: Paul Mather <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 02/11/2006 14:45:50
On Sat, 2006-02-11 at 19:11 +1100, Rowdy wrote:

> I have recently acquired a DEC 3000/700 in reasonable condition (as far
> as I can tell it has been hardly used, and "stored" for most of the past
> 10 years).  It has a 21064A 225MHz CPU, 64M RAM, two RZ26L (1.05G) HDD
> and a RRD43 CD-ROM drive.  The firmware is revision 5.1 and the PALcode
> indicates OSF version 1.35.  This info comes from the dmesg of OSF/1
> V3.2A that is currently installed.

I have a DEC 3000/300 and used a DEC 3000/500S (running Tru64 and later
NetBSD) as my desktop machine for quite a while.  I have a DEC
AlphaServer 1000A running NetBSD 3.0_STABLE that acts as a DNS and Web
server.  The only notable problem I've had is with hardware (when the
3000/500S began succumbing to its extreme old age and relentless
usage:).  The OS itself just stays up for ages.

> Question 1: Currently the machine is not Y2K compliant, and I suspect
> this is the operating system that is on there now.  Is there likely to
> be any issue in the area of Y2K compliancy on this machine with NetBSD?

No; NetBSD is Y2K compliant.

> Question 2: Has anyone experienced any instability or problems with
> NetBSD 3.0 on the alpha architecture?  If so, would it be safer to stick
> with an older version, say 2.1, or perhaps 1.6.2?

The only instability problems I have had with NetBSD 3.0 is when the TCP
SACK support was introduced and I began experiencing random reboots.  At
the time, I was running CURRENT, and the suggested workaround on here
was to disable SACK, so I added this to my /etc/sysctl.conf and the
problems went away:

     # Turn off SACK support

Since then, though, 3.0 has seen formal release, so there's a good
chance that the wrinkles in SACK were worked out.  (I'd imagine that
buggy SACK support would be a release showstopper.)  Also, since then, I
switched over from tracking CURRENT to the netbsd-3 branch on that
machine (to be more conservative for others that might have to admin it
besides me).  I guess I should remove those /etc/sysctl.conf entries and
see if the reboots come back.

> Question 3: the INSTALL.txt on the 3.0 alpha install CD notes that the
> Turbochannel DEC LANCE ethernet card is "UNTESTED" - has anyone
> experienced problems with this network card?

I think this note refers to the add-in TurboChannel DEC LANCE ethernet
card.  I had one of those, and there was a problem where it would report
"le: Reg did not settle" and not work properly.  To my knowledge, a fix
was committed but presumably not tested on actual hardware due to the
relative rarity of those cards.  (I know that I no longer had the card
by the time the fix was committed, so I couldn't test it.)

The onboard DEC LANCE ethernet is fully supported and is rock solid.

> Many thanx for responses or insights - hopefully NetBSD/alpha is as much
> fun as NetBSD/cobalt and NetBSD/sparc :)

NetBSD/alpha is great!  For the TurboChannel alphas, it's the only game
in town, IMHO.  Thank you, once again, to all the developers.



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 deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid."
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