[rescue] The continuing adventures of a boy and his tadpole.

Michael Parson mparson at bl.org
Sun Sep 4 10:56:12 CDT 2005

On Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 09:37:43PM +0300, Geoffrey S. Mendelson wrote:
> When we last left our intrepid explorer, he had installed OpenBSD on
> his tadpole 3GX. Following the advice of the group, I downloaded and
> installed NetBSD 2.0.2 on it, being wary of 3.0 and not being able to
> find it.
> NetBSd was a disaster. Terminal emulation on the console was broken.
> It was readable enough to do the install, but barely. When I rebooted,
> it was still bad and running VI trashed the file (/etc/group) I was
> trying to edit. This was caused by what was on the screen not matching
> what VI expected me to be changing.

2.0.2 would suck a lot on the Sparcbook.  The changes being made in
3.0_BETA improve it a LOT.

However, I have used 2.0 and older on the sparcbook, netbooted, to do
compiles on when my sparcbook was my fastest sparc32 box.  It could
compile a kernel a hell of a lot faster than my IPC.  In any case...

Either wait a few weeks for the expected 3.0 release, or if you're
impatient, run Michael MacAllen's build from a couple of months back:


Install 2.0.2 first, which will set up boot blocks, partitions, etc,
then untar these sets & kernel on top, reboot.

> So I tried to bring up X windows by running XDM. It came up, but the
> computer beeped every time I hit a key and I could not log on. 
> So I gave up and reinstalled OpenBSD.

I ran OpenBSD for about two weeks on my sparcbook about a year and a
half ago.  It was my first extensive use of OpenBSD (after having used
NetBSD since 1.0 on various platforms).  I didn't really care for it.
PCMCIA support was there, but the framebuffer driver basically put the
sparcbook's pnozz chip into cg3 emulation and was painfully slow.  There
was no power-management, so the box ran hot, enough to notice while
just typing on the keyboard.  MacAllan has the pnozz running natively
under XFree 4.4 but only 8 bit (the chip supports up to 32 bit), and
power-management works, at least, the CPU & HD will spin down when idle,
which makes a big difference in heat output.

> My main interest in installing something besides Solaris was WiFi support.
> OpenBSD recognized my Lucent Orinco card (removed from an Apple Airport)
> and I was able to connect to the OpenBSD website to download packages.
> It ran for a few minutes and the computer hang so badly, the only way to
> reboot it was to remove the battery or let it run down.

My 3gx is still running Solaris 2.6, but I'll be installing NetBSD 3.0
when it gets released.  The betas I've helped test did support my Prism
2.5 card and PCMCIA flash card readers.  I didn't run exclusively with
the WiFi as I was netbooting the OS as it was.  I did ssh into the box
and run a few tests over the WiFi interface.


> My next step is to track down and install NetBSD 3.0.

NetBSD 3.0 is currently on track for an October release.


> BTW, does anyone know if NetBSD runs on a Powerbook 1400 and supports
> WifI?

The 1400 is not PCI and does not have OpenFirmware and is therefore,


See if you can track down a 2400.

Sign up for the NetBSD/sparc mailing list and watch the discussions.  It
tends to be pretty low-volume.

If you go back to the archives, we had some lengthy discussions on what
works and what doesn't back in Apr, Jun, and Jul of this year (may was
pretty quiet, dunno why).

Michael Parson
mparson at bl.org

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