Subject: Re: MV2 speeds on various NetBSD VAX releases
To: NetBSD Bob <>
From: Ken Wellsch <>
List: port-vax
Date: 10/31/2000 12:59:10
NetBSD Bob wrote:
> IF you would not mind passing along the 1.0A thing, I would appreciate
> it, for the record.  I try to keep a spare set of anything VAX related
> for play and historical reasons.  It is good for my learning.

I'm happy to pass it on.  But really, it is a snapshot release and I took
a look and the only source I appear to have to match up with it is just
syssrc.tgz.  No userland src at all it seems.

It is 35Mb so I don't think I can mail you a copy B^)  Any hints on how
I can get you a copy?

I wouldn't mind a copy of your 1.2 release if that is possible.  I would
like to run the same tests I did on the other copies I have.

> I did not have room in HD's to run up the 1.4.2, so I opted for the
> end of the previous line 1.3.2.  I may pull the TK50, and drop in one
> more HD (the controller will support 6), and run up a 1.4.2 there.
> If I can find room to mount more drives in, in half height size,
> I may lash up 6 drives internally so I can run up one on each different
> release, plus 4.3BSD and Ultrix.  I initially figured the 1.5B1 would
> be better than the 1.4.2, so loaded it up instead of 1.4.2.  I did
> load 1.4.1 initially, but it kept giving me halt core dumps so I took
> it off, in favor of the 1.5B1.

Understood.  I too would like to see all the cool 1.5 additions, working
well on the vax port.

> The 1.2 suite seemed rather zippy, and did not have the halt core dumps
> I get in the 1.3.2 suite or the 1.4.1 suite.  I did not find its kernel
> though, and had to bring up a 1.3 kernel instead, then compile a 1.2
> generic kernel.  Tonight I will strip it down and compile the stripped
> kernel I am using for comparisons.

Unusual about what you call 'halt core dump' - I did notice that a shutdown
with a halt seemed to hang with the later releases... maybe this is the same
thing you are referring to?

> I have heard the ethernet and the tape should go as far up as possible.
> Is there any particular preference to the ordering between those two
> cards?  I would tend to give preference to the ethernet, but I do write
> a lot of tapes, too.  I have noticed some sensitivity in the NetBSD
> TK50 tape drivers that give rise to errors, although they seem to be
> only timing errors, since the tape keeps writing, most of the time.
> Ultrix, on the other hand, has no such problems.

As I recall from the 'old days' that 4.3BSD did not have TK50 support.
Heck, for all I remember it may not even have had uVAX-II support B^).
I think the copy of RENO I had running on a uVAX-II did gronk the TK50.
Getting the tape to stream is a nice feature and a measure of performance
I guess...
> Well, my thought was 1 port for a printer somewhere might be nice and
> 1 port for an emergency spare login terminal if I want to get dualheaded.
> I figured a postscript dumper ought to be fine for troff/TeX work on
> the old critter, if nothing else.  If I could get a reasonably steady
> 1200 baud out, that would run most old postscript printers of the early
> apple/HP kind, relatively well, and in idiot mode with no handshake.

I hope you should be able to get 1200 baud on your DHV!  Back in the 1.0/1.1
days a DHV was my 'life-line' to my uVAX-II - the only method I had for
transferring NetBSD release data - so I would transfer 30Mb via kermit...
and I ran the line at top speed which is something like 19.2Kb I think.

I suspect Ragge and his fine team have only improved the DHV support too
since the days I used it!

> OK, I have both the SCSI SQ706A (in the BA123 MVII) and an ESDI DQ696-15
> (in the BA23 box MVII), and have always put them last on the bus.
> Is there anything strange about either of those cards?  I have no info
> or data or manuals on them, and the company does not seem to either.
> I sent them an email a week or so back, and got nothing in reply.
> If anyone in the group does have manuals for the SQ706A or the DQ696-15
> cards, I would appreciate a xerox of the manuals.

The SQ706A sounds familiar.  Dilog had some okay cards.  I think I've
used the SQ706A before.  If it is what I'm thinking of, do you have the
magic '>>> ' monitor commands to invoke the controller PROM code?

> My BA23 MVII has an early cpu and 2 meg ram board and an 8 meg ram board
> third party.  Alas, it only has one 300mb esdi drive, and I need to go
> dredging in my storage bins for a 700mb esdi drive to stick in it to
> get some space.  IFF I get it loading satisfactorily, I may pull the
> TK50 and add in a second esdi drive.  Are there any heating problems
> in replacing a TK50 with a second esdi drive in a BA23 cabinet?  My
> expectations are that they should be rather similar, and removing the
> TK50 card will cool it down some, too.

I vaguely recall DEC did not advise running two drives in a BA23 but forget
much of the details.  To be to spec you need the sheet with the various
voltages to compute the load you want to configure.  I recall such a thing
long ago existed.  So you may actually overload your PS rather than overheat.
Today's tiny SCSI drives are unlikely to present the same load as full-height
MFM or ESDI drives do B^)

> Well, one of my goals is to find a PDP-11 in the BA23 box, for the fun
> of it, and see if I can get a 2.11BSD up.  Someday...

I think there are a few Qbus models on E-bay right now...

> Also, I want to find a 9 track reel tape for it (the table-top flat one
> that I think is a TU81 or something like that) and and a Qbus interface
> card so I can write some antique 9 track unix tapes.  Someday.....

I was surprised how quickly 9-track tapes vanished.  Keep an eye out
for such a unit!  9-track tapes are a bit awkward and the drives can
be a bit of a pain... compared with today's tiny backup stuff.


-- Ken