[rescue] HP c8000

Jonathan Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Wed Aug 3 21:09:44 CDT 2016

On Wed, 3 Aug 2016, Christopher Purdy wrote:

> So - I haven't even left work yet, and its sitting here at my desk..  I
> figure I had better get an OS sorted out on this thing in short order.
> Do these beasts require a proper license to run HPUX 11i (TCOE I believe
> is the version I need)?  Or do I just need media?

You just need[0] media.  TCOE and MTOE are both supported on workstations.

You can install other environments, but the configuration is unsupported;
later-generation HP 9000 systems don't have as significant a difference
between workstations and servers as the earlier ones did, so you can
mix-and-match from environments to get the features you want.

You'll also want the latest hardware enablement patch kit for your


"Hardware enablement patch kit" is HP-speak for "drivers."  The HP 9000
architecture provides a lot of really basic support for peripherals in
firmware, but it's just intended for getting the system installed.
Anything running through IODC (HP-speak for "firmware") is sloooow.

TCOE media is hard to find.  When it shows up on eBay, it goes for the
same sort of money that IRIX media used to command.

> Short of that, anyone know of a Linux build that runs cleanly?  Look
> like there were some  for HP-PA but not sure if the graphics side will
> work...

Debian runs, but I've not tried to use it as a workstation OS.  If your
c8000 has an ATI video card (as opposed to one of the HP ones), it'll
probably work.

HP-UX 11 is not a bad OS, especially not compared to HP-UX 10[1].  It's
weird, and it's very System-V, and the things that make it unique aren't
as creative or useful as the things that make, say, AIX unique.  That
said, it's predictable and soldiers on.

If you do systems programming at all, read the PA-RISC architecture
documentation.  The addressing modes will make you wonder what's in the
water in Palo Alto.

[0] For values of "need" that include "must have to boot the hardware and
     lets you run programs."  HP's licensing is a little confusing, but the
     most recent OS licensed to that particular workstation transfers with
     it; that said, some features require a codeword to unlock.  Codewords
     are customer-specific, sort of like how VMS licenses work.  If you
     didn't get the codeword, you don't get the feature, and HP won't look
     it up for you without your customer ID.
[1] I'm at nearly a decade of supporting HP-UX 10.20 at the day job.  When
     I get to use an 11i box, it's like a breath of fresh air.
Jonathan Patschke
Austin, TX

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