Subject: Re: Should I Accept a DS5000?
To: None <>
From: Jonathan Stone <jonathan@DSG.Stanford.EDU>
List: port-pmax
Date: 07/28/1996 18:14:33
> My organization has been offered a DS5000/200 to 
> use as an internet server.  Friends have advised me
> to avoid the Ultrix environment, so I'm looking into
> alternatives.  

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "an internet server".
An HTTP server?  A dialin SLIP/PPP server??

The serial ports are based on a DEC chip that's a clone of an ancient
UNIBUS peripheral; don't expect to drive them at more than 9600
bits/sec[*].  There are two RS-232 ports, or four if you use the ports
intended (and cabled) for the keyboard and mouse.  

(The serial chip in Decstation 3100s, 5100s, 5000/200s, and Vaxstation
3100s and Uvax-2000s does 19200, or more accurately 19600, but it may
have trouble keeping up with more than one line at that speed. I've
never tried.)

NetBSD/pmax has no dynamically-linked shared library support in 1.2,
though it should have "this summerish".  (OpenBSD shared libraries
will work out-of-the-box on 1.2).  That means you can't dyamically
load, say, Perl libraries; but that may not work on Ultrix, either.

The I/O expansion bus on Decstations 5000s is a TurboChannel.  There
was never a wide range of cards for the TC, and it's effectively dead.
I beleive all Ultrix-supported TC hardware is supported except
accelerated framebuffers (the PMAG-C, PMAG-D, PMAG-E, otherwise known
as "px" devices), and Turbochannel FDDI interfaces.  (FDDI support
will be expedited by donations suitable hardware :)). 

A 5000/200 is a 25MHz r3000a; comparable in CPU speed to a mid-to-fast
486.  The I/O bandwidth on the TurboChannel is mich higher than ISA,
or even PCI.  But since a 5000/200 has Ethernet and a SCSI controller
on the motherboard, you're unlikely to notice.

Most GNU software, software that uses GNU autoconfigure, and other
well-configured software compiles and runs out of the box. (Emacs19 is
an exception: Emacs beleives that all big-endian MIPS cpus run IRIX or
RISC/os, and all little-endian MIPS cpus run Ultrix or Mach. Various
nasty Ultrix things are hard-coded in the  little-endian mips header

If you want to run commerically-supported software, most Ultrix
binaries that don't need to read or write kernel variables
(Mathematica, Emacs, but without load averages on modelines) will work
using binary emulation.