Subject: Re: More VS2000 booting problems
To: Ignatios Souvatzis <>
From: Paul Evans <paule@shadowfax.martex.GEN.OH.US>
List: port-vax
Date: 06/02/1997 05:50:11
(sorry to keep this damn thread alive, hopefully no one would argue this 
time.. ;))

On Mon, 2 Jun 1997, Ignatios Souvatzis wrote:
>    Date: Sat, 31 May 1997 14:05:53 -0400 (EDT)
>    From: Paul Evans <paule@shadowfax.martex.GEN.OH.US>
>    X-Sender: paule@shadowfax
>    cc: Boris Gjenero <>, port-vax@NetBSD.ORG
>    MIME-Version: 1.0
>    Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
>    Sender: port-vax-owner@NetBSD.ORG
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>    On Sat, 31 May 1997, Jason Thorpe wrote:
>    > On Sat, 31 May 1997 10:27:17 -0400 
>    >  Boris Gjenero <> wrote:
>    Anyway the feature I'm always missing on non-sun3 machines is the ability
>    to do some fairly rudimentry hardware checks. I know DEC's pmax machines
>    have almost decent boot strapper that does this, but what about the VAXen?
>    And, wouldn't be nice for all NetBSD machines to have an identical
>    "phase 1" boot loader with diagnostics?
> "No".
> Well, in theory, maybe.
> But many NetBSD machines provide pretty nice boot loader & selector
> semantics from the boot rom. (Eg., Sun3, Sparc, Amiga ).

I don't agree. Most of the trouble I've seen NetBSD users having can usally
be traced to installation configuration problems. If NetBSD is different
to install/diagnose on each machone, doesn't this become harder? Wouldn't a
good uniform loader/diagnostic help?

As for machines that haver got smart ROM's. Well I like sun4's I also
like sun3's (never used an Amiga) However, they're very differnt, (even 
w/ old-style mode) and the common features betwwen both aren't even the

My point is, would it be nice to have a boot loader with an 
"user-friendly-mode" (ssh.. don;t let IBM hear this) that does things
like scanning for all possible boot devices and prompts the user for
one. Or perhaps a boot loader with the ability to load a specfic kernel
off the installation media dpending on the hardware present?

Granted these features may not seem important or even that practical, but 
I think that as NetBSD gets more users the install/boot process needs
to be easier and more uniform.

Also, in the case of the VAX I think a NetBSD-specfic diagnostic utility 
would help native UN*X users because 1) UNIX devices names would be used 
and 2) DEC hardware can be very confusing for non DECUS members (;))

> Only think a bootloader needs to do there is to boot the kernel, maybe
> telling it about single/multiuser.

I'm starting to think that perhaps My vision would be a sperate diagnostic
util (as suggested), loaded by the native loader. (But, with the ability to 
load the kernel as well)

> 	-is