Subject: Configuring ULTRIX 4.x kernel (was: Re: VAX 6400 booting saga: SUCCESS!)
To: Lord Isildur <>
From: Gunther Schadow <>
List: port-vax
Date: 03/18/2002 01:39:42
Lord Isildur wrote:

> as for configuring the kernel, it is pretty similar to the bsd convention.
> i think in /usr/sys/conf/vax you find the config files, just take a
> GENERIC and customize it.. the BINARY is the 'everything' kernel, meant
> only to test to make sure everything there compiles properly, and then 
> just as in bsd, config <config file>, which leaves a directory
> in /usr/sys/VAX named for the kernel you config'ed, and then in there
> the usual make depend , make vmunix, and you're set. 

Well, yes except that it's binary only, which doesn't just work
as expected. But I found out, /etc/doconfig is an interactive
script that does all the magic for you. I hate to do this interactively,
but at least it got me going. And it's a script, so it can be
seen what it does (among others ln -s ing the BINARY/*.o files to

But I noticed two other stange things:

(1) The GENERIC kernel configuration is really neat, it just
says things like (off the top of my head, don't blame me on
detail errors)

controller kdb50 at vaxbi? nexus?
controller kdm70 at nexus?
controller klesib1 at vaxbi? nexus?
disk ra0 at mscp
disk ra1 at mscp
tape tms0 at mscp

which indeed is very generic. On the other hand, the config file
that doconfig builds for me is very different, having knowledge about
every bit of bus, cables and unit numbers:

controller kdb0 at vaxbi13 nexus3
controller uq4 at kdb50
disk ra8 at uq4 drive8
controller kdm70 at nexus11
controller uq24 at kdm70 vector uqintr
disk ra0 at uq24 drive0
disk ra1 at uq24 drive1
controller klesib0 at vaxbi14 nexus3
controller uq22 at klesib0 vector uqintr
tape tms0 at uq22

Why would I want to take the above kind of genericity away from
and lock myself into a kernel that only works for a certain
configuration of cards in slots, such that whenever I should swap
a few cards, I have to boot from a reserve GENERIC kernel and
rebuild? If ULTRIX can deal with "nexus?" "vaxbi?" and "mscp"
kinds of generic designators, why would I, why would it want to
use those overly specific ones? And what is 'uq' anyway?

(2) The other little thing is that (a) ULTRIX is not Y2K complient:
I haven't convinced date (or anything else) to accept a century
for setting the clock and it insists on "02" being rounded up
to 1970 :-). (b) I noticed the VAX 6000 has two or three AA
batteries (rechargeables) in its console assembly, would they by
any chance keep a real time clock running such that resetting the
date isn't required all the time (yes I know about time and ntp
but I don't have a reliably on machine at home nor a standing
internet connection.)


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