Subject: Installing NetBSD on a uVAX with an empty hard disk
To: None <port-vax@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Kees Stravers <>
List: port-vax
Date: 08/08/1997 13:39:11
How to install NetBSD on a uVAX with an empty hard disk
This article describes how I got NetBSD 1.1A installed on my uVAX that had 
no operating system whatsoever on it. Warning: I wrote this article from
the notes I made during my installation a year ago. I might have made slight
errors writing this down, but this article should be good enough to get
you started. I will write a new version while I re-do the installation
step by step. I am only sending out this version so quickly because there
seems to be a pressing need :)

To begin with, for this procedure to work you must have:

- A MicroVAX II that has:
  * RX50 floppy drives 
  * a TK50 tape drive
  * a DELQA network card
  * a hard disk of sufficient size, e.g. RD54
- A PC AT with a 1.2 MB 5,25 floppy drive
- A PC 386 with a hard disk and with a network card cabled to the VAX
- A "packet driver" from the Crynwyr collection for this network card
- A copy of KA9Q NET/NOS, from the Simtel site:
- and from
- A box of 360K 5,25 diskettes of good quality
- A TK50 tape
- The NetBSD 1.1A TK50 and binaries (tar)files which are at:

The procedure
* Unpack in a temp dir and install Teledisk on the 1.2 AT 
  using TDconfig so it knows about the available diskette drives. (An
  excellent explanation is in the teledisk.doc file.)
* Unpack in the newly created Teledisk directory. In it are 
  the Teledisk images of the installation diskette set for NetBSD 1.0. 
  (Yes, I know that 1.0 is broken. It is only used temporarily, because 
  I do not know of a place where Teledisk images of the NetBSD 1.1 boot 
  diskettes are. I cannot create them. Anybody?)
* Use Teledisk to write the image files to a set of 360K diskettes of
  good quality, if possible without a hub ring. (The RX50 drives like
  diskettes without a hub ring a lot better. With a hub ring should also
  work, but might not if the drives are worn.) DO NOT use 1.2 MB diskettes, 
  that won't work.

* Try to get the uVAX to boot from the boot diskette. If that won't work
  all is lost :) If the RQDX3 is the only controller in the system, the
  hard disk will be DUA0 and the RX50 will be DUA2 and DUA3. Put the floppy
  in the top (or left) drive and boot it with B/3 DUA1 at the >>> prompt.
  You should see some messages and the Nboot: prompt. Leave the floppy
  in the drive, edlabel and copy live on it too.
* If that works, install NetBSD 1.0 as per the FAQ. First run edlabel by
  typing edlabel at the Nboot prompt. Now that edlabel runs, DUA0 will
  be called ra(0,0,0). Create 3 partitions on the hard disk.
  - A small root partition [a] (we will not use it)
  - A swap partition [b] large enough to hold the miniroot (4MB is ample)
  - A large partition [e] to hold the 1.1 files before we write them to tape.
  Disk type is MSCP. Don't worry about the boot blocks, we won't be
  needing them.
* Reset the VAX and reboot from the boot floppy. This time, run copy from
  the Nboot: prompt. We will copy the rest of the floppy's, which hold the
  miniroot, to the swap partition. Device to read from: ra(0,1,0). Number 
  of blocks: 4096. Number of blocks per volume: 800. Device to write 
  to: ra(0,0,1). Copy will ask for the 'copy' floppys one by one. Don't worry
  about it saying that it is copying to the [a] partition, that is an error
  in the message, it is really copying to the [b] partiton.
* After copying of the miniroot is done, reboot the VAX from the boot floppy.
  Then enter ra(0,0,1)gennetbsd at the Nboot: prompt. The miniroot should
  boot. Answer ra0* to the root device question and press enter at the
  shell question. Now it is time to format the [e] partition we made. Use
  newfs /dev/rra0e to do that.

* While the VAX is formatting we turn our attention to the 386 PC with the
  network card. We are going to set it up as a ftp server using the KA9Q
* Create the following directories on the hard disk of the PC:
  Not all of them are needed but it avoids error messages.
* Put the packet driver (I used PDNE2000.COM) and the NET executable in
  the \net directory.
* Create an AUTOEXEC.NET file to hold the configuration for NET.EXE. Put it
  in the \net directory. In it should be:
  ip address []
  attach packet 60 enet 8 1500
  ip ttl 16
  route add default enet
  icmp echo on
  start discard
  start echo
  start ftp
  You can also type in these commands at the net> prompt of net.exe.
  You can of course choose your own ip address and host name.
* Create the file \ftpusers (That's right, it must be in the root dir.)
  It only needs to have one line:
  username password \net\public 7
  With this line you give the user 'username' with the password 'password'
  all possible permissions to the directory '\net\public'. You should
  replace 'username' and 'password' with choices of your own if the pc
  is connected to a 'live' network to avoid break-ins.
* Go to the \net directory and start the packet driver with:
  PDNE2000 0x60 0xC 0x300 
  (0xC and 0x300 are the IRQ and i/o address, substitute the correct ones
  for your card)
* Start net.exe with NET AUTOEXEC.NET.
  You now have a ftp server running that can serve the netbsd 1.1a TK50
  boot and copy files to the vax, provided you put them in the \net\public 
  directory of course :)
  tk50-file1-11A is the boot/edlabel/copy file
  tk50-file2-11A is the miniroot file

* Go back to the VAX, it should have finished newfs'ing by now :)
  You now must enable the ethernet interface with
  /sbin/ifconfig qe0 inet
* You should now be able to ping at the VAX, the PC should reply.
  If this doesn't work (maybe you are using an older version of net.exe) then
  enter an explicit 'route add [] enet' at the net> prompt. Also
  try pinging the VAX from the NET pc with ping []
* Mount the [e] partition with mount /dev/ra0e /mnt
* cd to the /mnt directory
* ftp to the pc with ftp and get the TK50 files in
  binary mode.
* Write the TK50 files to a TK50 tape with
  dd if=tk50-file1-11A of=/dev/nrmt0 bs=512
  dd if=tk50-file2-11A of=/dev/nrmt0 bs=512
* You now have a bootable TK50 with the NetBSD 1.1 boot/edlabel/copy and
  miniroot. You can now install the NetBSD 1.1 miniroot on the uVAX and
  use ftp to get the binary tar files over to the VAX to install them
  as described in the FAQ.

Kees Stravers

Kees Stravers - Geldrop, The Netherlands - pb0aia at amsat dot org
PC/Novell system management - DEC PDP-11/VAX preservationist

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