Subject: Re: The FAQ (was: RE: Netscape 4.0b2)
To: Boris Gjenero <>
From: Bertram Barth <>
List: port-vax
Date: 02/27/1997 14:51:01
Boris Gjenero writes:
> Gunnar Helliesen wrote:
> > What questions (with answers) need to be added to the FAQ? I know that
> > the list of supported hardware should be updated, there should be
> > something about the recent developments with the uVAX/VAXstation 2000
> > and some parts are obsolete and should be removed. But what else?

One thing I'd like to see (if this is possible) is a list of known
problems and new features related to the different versions and snapshots.
Quite often somebody is describing a problem which can be cured just
by updating to a new version/snapshot (the "zero uba uentry" problem comes
to mind). OTOH this might help to find out when it's time to make an update
and to which version or if it's save/better to wait since I don't need the
new features....

> One thing that I would really like to see in the FAQ is information
> regarding installation using floppies.  When I looked, all I saw is how
> to install from a TK50, and those aren't exactly easy to find.  I

Ok, here we go:

In principle install via floppies is rather similiar to the install
procedure via TK50, there are only a few differences:

- there's one boot floppy named "rx33-bootdisk-12C" or "rx50-bootdisk-12C",
  AFAIK it's the same image with two different names. This image holds
  a small filesystem (less than 400K in order to fit into RX50), and the 
  /boot and /copy program.

- the miniroot is split into pieces of 400K for RX50, or into pieces
  of 1.2M for RX33 respectively. Other sizes can easily be created
  with the split program. 

- Dumping these images to floppies is done with the 'dd' command on
  Unix-machines or with RAWRITE.EXE on DOS machines.

- Next step is to boot from the boot-floppy (on VS2000 the command
  usually is ">>> b/3 dua2")

- Now similiar to install via TK50 /copy is the program to load from
  the Nboot-prompt. Differences are that the /copy program needs the
  size of the miniroot to copy and the size of the split'ed pieces,
  so that copy knows how much bytes to read per floppy and when to
  prompt for the next floppy and when the miniroot is complete.

- From this moment on the procedure is the same for floppy and tape.

> However, I still had no info on how to actually do it, such as how to
> connect the floppy drive and how to write the disk images.  I ended up
> checking the other connector on the hard drive cable and concluding that
> a PC drive might work.  I also beleive somebody also e-mailed me and
> told me that this could work.  It sure seemed to.

Yep, standard 1.2M floppy drives for PC should work on VS2000 (and on
uVAX-II BTW). I'm using TEAC-55FDGR (or something similiar), since I
didn't change anything on that drive, I'm quite sure that other brands
could/should work also.

> I still don't have the info on how to write the disks.  I'll just try
> the standard PC 1.2 meg format or the test 70 format on the VAXstation
> 2000 and then cat the files to the disks.  

The MFM-controller on the VS2000 seems to be a bit picky about which 
floppies are OK and which not. Thus I always format my floppies in the
VS2000 before using them in the PC. Another advantage of that procedure
is that now I can format floppies without using DOS.

Then I put these floppies into my NetBSD/i386 and use the 'dd' command
to put the images onto the flopies.

> BTW.  The only reason I didn't do this install is because I had no 5.25
> floppies to use and the connectors on my 3.5" drive needed adapters
> which I didn't have.  This weekend I'll grab a box or two of floppies
> that I have stored away, and then I'll see if it works.

I've never tried to use 3.5" drives on VS2000. I'm not sure they're
recognized as RX23, thus they might not be usable as boot-device.
But the MFM-controller itself is able to handle these things, so
from the moment NetBSD is up and running it should be possible to
use them...