Subject: VAX 6400 booting saga continues ...
To: None <,>
From: Gunther Schadow <>
List: port-vax
Date: 03/13/2002 01:48:33

here is the next movement:

After I found out that the ULTRIX 4.5 tape's standalone kernel
doesn't support the 6400, even though ULTRIX 4.5 says it supports
the 6400 and 6500, (duh!) I had to help myself. Fortunately there
is SIMH/VAX and with that I could install ULTRIX 4.5 (manually,
the scripts didn't work). Now I have the image of an RA90 drive
with a proven bootable kernel and the basic distribution that
will allow me to do everything else from there, once that is up.

This is what I did to transfer that image to an RA90:

1) net-boot uVAX-II with NetBSD from my FreeBSD laptop :-)
2) write the gzip-ed image ra90.bin.gz to a TK50 tape

# dd if=ra90.bin.gz of=/dev/rmt0 ibs=1024000 obs=512

3) boot VAX6400 with VMS
4) on VMS transfer the gzip-ed file to a VMS disk file


5) mount an RA90 disk forreign


6) unzip and transfer to that disk

$ GZIP -d -c RA90_BIN.GZ

the hope is that the above would emulate what on UNIX
would have been:

# gzip -d -c ra90.bin.gz |dd of=/dev/rra1c bs=512

7) that takes forever. After an hour or so, I stopped the
process, because I figured I didn't have to write all those
trailing zero-bytes to the disk.

8) cheked if anything reasonable had been written to the disk


and indeed, garbage shows up that looks like it is the first
blocks of that image.

8) reboot VAX6400

 >>> BOOT /R:0001000B /XMI:B DUA1

when it comes to loading system software, it immediately HALTs
after accessing the disk for a moment. Sounds to me as if
it didn't quite get a proper executable master boot block.

The question to all VMS gurus is then: did I do anything wrong
with the mount/foreign dua1, what is the blocking used? Since
I cannot specify /block and /record for disks, I assume that
the block is one sector. Does VMS write to the sectors in a
different ordering? Does a mount/foreign spare the master boot
blocks and begin writing with an offset of a few sectors?


PS: I guess if noone can give me a hunch on how to do this simple
thing with VMS, I will just have to wait until I get my KDA50 boards
to use with my uVAX-II so that I can write the disk using NetBSD.
Ah the fun of interfacing!

Gunther Schadow, M.D., Ph.D.          
Medical Information Scientist      Regenstrief Institute for Health Care
Adjunct Assistant Professor        Indiana University School of Medicine