Subject: Re: 1.4_ALPHA coming soon
To: Simon Burge <>
From: Jonathan Stone <jonathan@DSG.Stanford.EDU>
List: port-pmax
Date: 04/05/1999 01:20:32
>Toru Nishimura wrote:
> Will NetBSD/pmax 1.4 distribution have ELF kernel and ELF kvm (ps and
> brothers)?

>KVM already supports all the bootable kernel formats.  

Acutally, 1.3.x may have done so, too.  Thanks to work on libkvm
mostly by cgd (for ecoff and ELF on Alpha).

>As for the kernel, we've still got a decision to make about how to best
>support all boot methods.  Ie, do we ship ECOFF or ELF kernels.  

We have to ship ECOFF for 1.4 anyway, for:
   * installation via netboot of a ramdisk kernel
   * installation via an NFS_mounted ramdisk  image
     (for hosts with buggy PROMs that cant handle > ~1Mbyte tftp)
   * hosts intended to boot diskless via TFTP after installation
     is complete.

all of these would be non-issues if we had a second-stage /boot that
could netboot ELF-format kernels, bypassing PROM bugs, but we don't (yet).

So, most regretfully, i think that argues strongly for installing
ECOFF (from kern.tgz and for ramdisk kernels) for 1.4.  But now that
we have Simon's spiffy two-stage bootblocks, anyone who wants can
install an ELF kernel for diskless booting -- gzipped, even.

>I don't think we have a final decision on that yet... However,
>booting from a diskfull machine, ELF will be the preferred kernel

Yup.  But for installation, life will be easier (and closer to the
spirit of release(7)) if we ship an ECOFF kernel in binary/sets/kern.tgz.
I dont much like it, but I can't argue my way out of that particular corner.
At least there's no reason to keep using a.out kernels.

If anyone has a counter-argument or -proposal, now is the time to make it.