Discussion:
low-level HDD addressing
(too old to reply)
MG
2012-07-10 15:05:16 UTC
Permalink
Since the internal, stock Toshiba, 2.5" SCSI disk inside my
Multia/UDB sadly enough died (in fact, it 'blew up'), I've
been looking into alternatives. Actually, I was already
looking into alternatives, because the disk was rather
small in capacity (at ~340 Mbytes).

One of the things I've been trying, as of late, is a CF
card adapter, via SCSI. The strange thing is, from the
SRM it's not bootable, but it is accessible (read/write)
from the VMS installation CD and I can initialize it
from there and do pretty much anything. (I have also
tried various CF cards.) I have already contacted the
reseller, who in turn has contacted the manufacturer of
the converter. One of the questions, to me, was if I
knew more, since the reseller isn't entirely aware of
the (inner) workings of VMS.

I was told that the CF converter may not be able to do
CHS addressing correctly, or how and where SRM requires
it. Am I right in this assumption? In general, where
can I find more information about this matter?

Thanks in advance.

- MG
MG
2012-07-10 15:12:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by MG
[...]
the (inner) workings of VMS.
^^^

I actually meant SRM here, but VMS probably also applies there.

- MG
Stephen Hoffman
2012-07-10 15:31:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by MG
I was told that the CF converter may not be able to do
CHS addressing correctly, or how and where SRM requires
it. Am I right in this assumption? In general, where
can I find more information about this matter?
The usual problem is that the disk/card/adapter/widget/whatever doesn't
present the expected SCSI interface, or contains errors in its SCSI
implementation.

The OpenVMS SCSI device drivers, fibre channel drivers, and the
ATA/ATAPI/IDE driver all use LBN addressing. Only.

The SRM console driver also uses LBN addressing.

CHS-based addressing is not used within VMS.

Disk geometry was used in older versions of INITIALIZE and MOUNT to
place and then to locate the alternate home blocks on ODS-2 disks, but
that's now legacy code and present for compatibility with disks
initialized on older releases. The alternate home block placements no
longer use geometry.

And as has been mentioned, you're exploring the limits on an Alpha box
that barely works with OpenVMS and the SRM console. On a good day.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
MG
2012-07-10 15:42:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Hoffman
The usual problem is that the disk/card/adapter/widget/whatever doesn't
present the expected SCSI interface, or contains errors in its SCSI
implementation.
The OpenVMS SCSI device drivers, fibre channel drivers, and the
ATA/ATAPI/IDE driver all use LBN addressing. Only.
The SRM console driver also uses LBN addressing.
CHS-based addressing is not used within VMS.
Thanks, that's a very clear answer and that's good to know then.
I'll also make sure to mention that to the reseller.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
Disk geometry was used in older versions of INITIALIZE and MOUNT to
place and then to locate the alternate home blocks on ODS-2 disks, but
that's now legacy code and present for compatibility with disks
initialized on older releases. The alternate home block placements no
longer use geometry.
Would it be safe to assume that the converter, perhaps, isn't able to
--- or in the least has difficulty to --- address these blocks?

In general though: Do you have any idea why the results between SRM
and VMS installation CD are so different?

- MG
Stephen Hoffman
2012-07-10 18:36:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by MG
Post by Stephen Hoffman
Disk geometry was used in older versions of INITIALIZE and MOUNT to
place and then to locate the alternate home blocks on ODS-2 disks, but
that's now legacy code and present for compatibility with disks
initialized on older releases. The alternate home block placements no
longer use geometry.
Would it be safe to assume that the converter, perhaps, isn't able to
--- or in the least has difficulty to --- address these blocks?
It is safest to assume what a SCSI bus analyzer shows.

None of the S's in "SCSI" is "Standard".

SCSI is a large and complex specification with many optional parts,
where there are areas that can have different and entirely compliant
implementations. There are cases of bugs in the device firmware, in
the controller firmware, and in the host software or firmware. And
there are cases where an entirely-compliant host implementations won't
interoperate with an entirely compliant device (target) implementation.
Integrating a new SCSI device or a new ATA/ATAPI/IDE device can take
changes to VMS itself, and can also require changes to the device
firmware. Errors in SCSI implementations are fairly common, too.

In one case of incompatibility that I'm well aware of, an ATAPI/IDE
device that was so badly implemented, that the vast majority of all bus
traffic was error recovery sequences and retries. In another case, the
device firmware occasionally handed back the sector data, but skewed by
one word.
Post by MG
In general though: Do you have any idea why the results between SRM
and VMS installation CD are so different?
Neither VMS nor the version of SRM in this system is more than barely
functional, and the hardware configuration has not been particularly
tested, and the implementation of the adapter widget is definitely a
suspect. Most importantly, this configuration is unsupported. In this
particular context, the unsupported status means that if anything
actuallly works, well, you got lucky.

SRM touches the target device just enough to retrieve the identity of
the device, and (when booting) to read in the boot block and then the
primary bootstrap. OpenVMS SCSI device drivers make rather more
intensive use of the typical SCSI device.

If you want to pursue this, you'll end up either using your own
software bus analyzer or (better) acquiring a hardware bus analyzer,
and using the device to probe the adapter and its responses. OpenVMS
doesn't offer a SCSI analyzer and I'm not aware of an add-on package
for OpenVMS, though there are software and hardware analyzers available
for other operating system platforms.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
glen herrmannsfeldt
2012-07-10 19:26:24 UTC
Permalink
Stephen Hoffman <***@hoffmanlabs.invalid> wrote:

(snip)
Post by Stephen Hoffman
The usual problem is that the disk/card/adapter/widget/whatever doesn't
present the expected SCSI interface, or contains errors in its SCSI
implementation.
The OpenVMS SCSI device drivers, fibre channel drivers, and the
ATA/ATAPI/IDE driver all use LBN addressing. Only.
The SRM console driver also uses LBN addressing.
CHS-based addressing is not used within VMS.
The question, though, is the boot ROMs.

However, SCSI only allows for logical block addressing.

There are systems that require the boot partition to be within
some number of blocks of the start of the disk.

Even more, some might ignore high bits when determing the size
of the disk.

-- glen
MG
2012-07-10 19:34:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by glen herrmannsfeldt
The question, though, is the boot ROMs.
ROMs?
Post by glen herrmannsfeldt
There are systems that require the boot partition to be within
some number of blocks of the start of the disk.
Even more, some might ignore high bits when determing the size
of the disk.
I'm specifically inquiring about SRM and VMS.

- MG
Stephen Hoffman
2012-07-10 20:04:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by glen herrmannsfeldt
(snip)
Post by Stephen Hoffman
The usual problem is that the disk/card/adapter/widget/whatever doesn't
present the expected SCSI interface, or contains errors in its SCSI
implementation.
The OpenVMS SCSI device drivers, fibre channel drivers, and the
ATA/ATAPI/IDE driver all use LBN addressing. Only.
The SRM console driver also uses LBN addressing.
CHS-based addressing is not used within VMS.
The question, though, is the boot ROMs.
Alpha uses SRM here, and SRM provides what is included in the "Boot
ROM" or "BIOS" of other systems.

As mentioned earlier, SRM does LBN addressing.

SRM for Multia was around to run some early low-level system tests but
was never tested or qualified for any use, AFAIK.

CHS stuff dates back to the era of MS-DOS and floppy disks, or the old
MFM-vintage stuff.

Now whether the SCSI bus adapter implements CHS out the back-side or if
the card needs that, who knows.
Post by glen herrmannsfeldt
However, SCSI only allows for logical block addressing.
There are systems that require the boot partition to be within
some number of blocks of the start of the disk.
The VAXstation 3100 had an addressing limit.

I am aware of no similar addressing-based limit on any Alpha system
SCSI, beyond what the SCSI specs permitted.

OpenVMS ATA/ATAPI/IDE never saw 48-bit addressing implemented, so
that's limited to ~137 GB capacities, IIRC.
Post by glen herrmannsfeldt
Even more, some might ignore high bits when determing the size
of the disk.
That can happen with SCSI LBN references (as was the case with
VAXstation 3100), and with the extensions to SCSI-2 that happened (as
was the case of the "overflow" of the disk capacity into the tape
field, IIRC), too.

Floppy disks might well still use CHS on OpenVMS. I haven't looked at
or even thought about the innards of the protocol for accessing those
in eons. All VMS host references to floppy devices are LBN-based,
though the floppy disk device driver may well convert to and have CHS
references lurking within it. Gotta love "junk I/O"...
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Michael Moroney
2012-07-11 02:41:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Hoffman
The usual problem is that the disk/card/adapter/widget/whatever doesn't
present the expected SCSI interface, or contains errors in its SCSI
implementation.
I've heard stories that firmware writers for some devices get the hardware
analyzers out only long enough to get the widget working on Windows (and
maybe Mac or Linux, if you are lucky) by debugging the SCSI (or whatever)
commands those drivers emit. Any SCSI command never emitted by Windows
never gets debugged, so the device is shipped with processing of those
commands broken. Plug it into VMS which may use some of those valid but
never debugged commands and it simply doesn't work.

The stories I've heard were particular to thumb drives, it was hit or miss
whether a particular thumb drive would work at all on VMS.
Stephen Hoffman
2012-07-11 11:15:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Moroney
Post by Stephen Hoffman
The usual problem is that the disk/card/adapter/widget/whatever doesn't
present the expected SCSI interface, or contains errors in its SCSI
implementation.
I've heard stories that firmware writers for some devices get the hardware
analyzers out only long enough to get the widget working on Windows (and
maybe Mac or Linux, if you are lucky) by debugging the SCSI (or whatever)
commands those drivers emit. Any SCSI command never emitted by Windows
never gets debugged, so the device is shipped with processing of those
commands broken. Plug it into VMS which may use some of those valid but
never debugged commands and it simply doesn't work.
Hardware vendors have different targets for their various products and
product lines.

Microsoft Windows is obviously among the biggest target markets for
storage hardware, if not the biggest.

Particularly for a product targeted at a cost-sensitive part of the
market, management would be foolish to spend engineering time and
resources debugging SCSI commands that aren't strictly necessary for
the target market. Get it working with Windows (or your target), and
get it shipping.

I'm aware of device vendors that have used generations of the same
firmware core for various products years (bugs and all), of vendors
that have several different firmware cores (or several sources for
their products), and of device vendors that have robust firmware cores.

Having been through various hardware qualifications going back to the
1980s, some device vendors are responsive to reports of errors in their
firmware cores or host support, and some don't prioritize those issues
quite as highly.

The system vendors all perform at least some testing for what devices
they integrate and support, or (as can be the case with Windows) the
vendor can require that testing from the third-party vendor be
performed as part of a certification or qualification process. (The
old name for this in Windows-land was the HCL; see KB314062) This
testing and qualification process is at the core of the discussion of
what "unsupported" means, too. Vendor-qualified products work, or the
vendor pays for to repair, replace or refund. Non-qualified or
unsupported products can get very expensive, whether you're paying for
your integration and testing time, or if you are seeking to have
somebody to call when something doesn't work right.

Yes, official, supported and qualified devices are more expensive, and
yes, the vendor makes a profit selling them. But they work.

In this case, with OpenVMS Alpha on Multia, the SCSI-flash adapter, the
flash storage device, and the SRM console, there's a whole lot of
"unsupported" in this configuration. Better to scrounge up a 2.5"
SCSI disk on the used-equipment market, an approach that has a somewhat
better chance of working. Particularly if the scrounged SCSI device
involved is a DEC-qualified 2.5" SCSI device. Or more likely to work,
moving to an Alpha system that is supported by OpenVMS Alpha.

Alternatively, booting Windows NT Alpha on the Multia box might find
the current configuration working, I don't know.
Post by Michael Moroney
The stories I've heard were particular to thumb drives, it was hit or miss
whether a particular thumb drive would work at all on VMS.
It's not just thumb drives. Some name-brand USB hardware I've worked
with have had nasty firmware bugs, too.

Forrest and I puzzled over some USB flash drive misbehavior for a while
before we realized the flash drives we were using had differences going
well beyond the different vendors. I'd thought "it's a flash drive,
how different can they be?". As it turns out, they can be mor than
different enough.

Given what then happened during that year, I don't know that anybody
has gotten to the bottom of the flash drive differences or the general
OpenVMS USB flash drive compatibility, though. AFAIK, the current
status is still "some work and some don't" for USB flash drives and
OpenVMS. Check with HP for the official details, etc.

And for those that might wonder how the discussion got from SCSI to
USB, USB uses a variant of the SCSI command set for its operations.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Phillip Helbig---undress to reply
2012-07-11 11:58:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Hoffman
In this case, with OpenVMS Alpha on Multia, the SCSI-flash adapter, the
flash storage device, and the SRM console, there's a whole lot of
"unsupported" in this configuration. Better to scrounge up a 2.5"
SCSI disk on the used-equipment market, an approach that has a somewhat
better chance of working. Particularly if the scrounged SCSI device
involved is a DEC-qualified 2.5" SCSI device. Or more likely to work,
moving to an Alpha system that is supported by OpenVMS Alpha.
I've had my share of fooling around with old hardware, back to the VAX
4000 and VAXstation 4000 models. However, the hardware I was using was
usually more or less the fastest which could be had for free, or almost
free. Thus, i don't see the point of VMS on a multia in 2012. Much
faster Alpha systems can be had for (almost) nothing, as well as a large
array of SCSI disks (officially supported or not) which just work.
IIRC, VMS was never officially supported on the Multia (or if it was,
there was a negligible number of such systems), so there isn't even the
retro-computing aspect one has when running, say, a MicroVAX.
MG
2012-07-11 12:07:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply
Thus, i don't see the point of VMS on a multia in 2012.
Everyone is entitled to one's own opinion.
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply
Much faster Alpha systems can be had for (almost) nothing
as well as a large array of SCSI disks (officially supported
or not) which just work.
Some people are more comfortable getting freebies than others,
as I said in another thread. Also, I have faster systems,
but it's frankly none of your concern --- nor business ---
what I wish to run.
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply
IIRC, VMS was never officially supported on the Multia (or
if it was
Did you actually try it, or are you simply repeating hearsay?

Maybe you should reread some of the recent threads? I got it
to work. So, in other words: VMS works for me on the Multia/
UDB, I'm now looking for replacement means of an internal
storage device. I hope it's more clear for you now.
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply
there was a negligible number of such systems
?
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply
so there isn't even the retro-computing aspect one has when
running, say, a MicroVAX.
Why would running a system have to conform to "retro-computing"
criteria? (Whatever those may be.)

- MG
MG
2012-07-11 12:01:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Hoffman
In this case, with OpenVMS Alpha on Multia, the SCSI-flash adapter, the
flash storage device, and the SRM console, there's a whole lot of
"unsupported" in this configuration.
What in particular would you suspect is "unsupported"? I'm not saying
that I wouldn't expect it to be so, but what would you 'typically'
suspect to be a problem? When did you last try such a configuration
and what kind of issues did you run into? Could you, perhaps, please
narrow down the possibly suspected errors as a result of one or more
things being "unsupported"?
Post by Stephen Hoffman
Better to scrounge up a 2.5" SCSI disk on the used-equipment market
If they were so readily available, I would have. Unless anyone has a
suitable, spare, 2.5" SCSI disk for me? (Depending on the price
asked for it, of course.)
Post by Stephen Hoffman
Alternatively, booting Windows NT Alpha on the Multia box might find the
current configuration working, I don't know.
I'm here for VMS as in comp.os.*VMS* (in other words: I'm not here for
Windows).
Post by Stephen Hoffman
And for those that might wonder how the discussion got from SCSI to USB
I 'wonder' about little, I have more or less 'accepted' the fact that
on-topic threads (read: about VMS) often tend to degrade into off-topic
sidetracking, anti-HP gossip-laden tirades and opinionated lectures on
here. I'm often grateful if merely a handful of posts are to the point
and on-topic, perhaps even helpful to me.

- MG
Stephen Hoffman
2012-07-11 13:16:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by MG
Post by Stephen Hoffman
In this case, with OpenVMS Alpha on Multia, the SCSI-flash adapter, the
flash storage device, and the SRM console, there's a whole lot of
"unsupported" in this configuration.
What in particular would you suspect is "unsupported"?
Most (or all?) of the firmware and hardware involved here. Most (or
all?) of it is suspect.
Post by MG
I'm not saying
that I wouldn't expect it to be so, but what would you 'typically'
suspect to be a problem?
Your expectations for this configuration?
Post by MG
When did you last try such a configuration
and what kind of issues did you run into?
It is distinctly possible that nobody has ever attempted exactly this
particular configuration before. That you're on the "bleeding edge".

As for the kinds of issues I've encountered, that's a wildly open-ended
discussion. Particularly with unsupported hardware.

I've already commented on a few cases.

The old Russian "Trust, but verify" applies to debugging, and the
qualification process is nothing more than a hardware-focused debug and
test effort. Usually involving a bus analyzer or a whole lot of trial
and error (and quite often, both), just to figure out what's going on
correctly, and what's going on that's different, and what's going on
that's wrong or otherwise out of spec, and how a particular device
responds to various sorts of activity in isolation and then under load.
Post by MG
Could you, perhaps, please
narrow down the possibly suspected errors as a result of one or more
things being "unsupported"?
Anything that I might suggest here will not be something that's likely
an option for you here (to fix or to change). Resolving these sorts of
errors usually involves changes to the hardware or firmware, in the
device, the host and bus adapters, or the host software or firmware.

Which leaves you swapping hardware, as few folks are willing to
reverse-engineer the hardware, software and firmware involved.

With Linux or the BSDs, this qualification effort and the sorts of
changes that can be necessary are more directly feasible, as you have
source-level access to more of the pieces involved.

For determining exactly what went wrong, that involves a bus analyzer
and some time digging around with the particular configuration, and
with a working configuration.

As for my proposed workaround, given that it's not likely that you're
in a position to find and fix the specific error(s) that lurk here?
The workaround stays closer to what is more likely to work here.
Specifically, that involves scrounging a SCSI disk, and testing with
that.

Better still, moving to a supported configuration; to an AlphaServer or
AlphaStation with supported peripherals.
Post by MG
Post by Stephen Hoffman
Better to scrounge up a 2.5" SCSI disk on the used-equipment market
If they were so readily available, I would have. Unless anyone has a
suitable, spare, 2.5" SCSI disk for me? (Depending on the price
asked for it, of course.)
The current offering price in the market looks to be somewhere between
US$22 (refurbished) and US$70 (new) for a 72 GB HP 2.5" SCSI disk (plus
shipping), and probably less. There's also the possibility of
configuring an external SCSI drive of whatever size can be scrounged,
particular given the entirely-unsupported configuration, and those SCSI
disks can sometimes be had for carrying them off.
Post by MG
Post by Stephen Hoffman
Alternatively, booting Windows NT Alpha on the Multia box might find the
current configuration working, I don't know.
I'm here for VMS as in comp.os.*VMS* (in other words: I'm not here for
Windows).
I'm here for the free beer.

Wait. What? There's no free beer here?
Post by MG
Post by Stephen Hoffman
And for those that might wonder how the discussion got from SCSI to USB
I 'wonder' about little, I have more or less 'accepted' the fact that
on-topic threads (read: about VMS) often tend to degrade into off-topic
sidetracking, anti-HP gossip-laden tirades and opinionated lectures on
here. I'm often grateful if merely a handful of posts are to the point
and on-topic, perhaps even helpful to me.
You want helpful, and on-topic? OK. If you're aiming at IT, learn an
operating system - either other than, or in addition to learning
OpenVMS - and learn that other operating system well, and learn some
details of IP networking. If you're aiming at low-level integration
and testing as a career choice, then start looking around for a bus
analyzer and related tools, and at monitoring working configurations,
and then non-working configurations. But then that's your call and
your career and your choice.

And this is c.o.v.. Frequently off-topic, and has been for decades.
And yes, the tirades, flamewars and the trolling all goes back decades,
too. And though it might surprise a few folks new to the newsgroup,
the c.o.v. newsgroup postings have been rather tame in recent years.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
MG
2012-07-11 13:52:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Hoffman
I'm not saying that I wouldn't expect it to be so, but what would
you 'typically' suspect to be a problem?
Your expectations for this configuration?
What are my expectations? I'm merely inquiring. I naturally consult
manuals and internet search engines first, in so far I can obtain
relevant results. My last choice is usually to inquire here, for
a number of obvious reasons.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
When did you last try such a configuration and what kind of issues
did you run into?
It is distinctly possible that nobody has ever attempted exactly this
particular configuration before. That you're on the "bleeding edge".
As I said, the current configuration works to a certain degree. I'm
trying to figure out why one part (in SRM) doesn't and the other (once
booted off the VMS installation CD) does give results.

I'm grateful with the answer you have given me as far as CHS addressing
goes, as I've expressed earlier.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
With Linux or the BSDs, this qualification effort and the sorts of
changes that can be necessary are more directly feasible, as you have
source-level access to more of the pieces involved.
I hope you didn't forget that VMS works, I'm struggling with the SRM
here. If I can't get SRM to read the boot blocks correctly, nothing
will work (so it's not about VMS or anything else, but SRM).
Post by Stephen Hoffman
For determining exactly what went wrong, that involves a bus analyzer
and some time digging around with the particular configuration, and with
a working configuration.
I have no money for a bus analyzer, or any logic testing equipment, as
much as I'd love owning it. (I'm also running out of space, physically
speaking.)
Post by Stephen Hoffman
As for my proposed workaround, given that it's not likely that you're
in a position to find and fix the specific error(s) that lurk here?
What do you mean? I wrote earlier that I'm in contact with the
reseller, who in turn has contacted the manufacturer. I'm not
going to crack something open just yet.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
The workaround stays closer to what is more likely to work here.
Specifically, that involves scrounging a SCSI disk, and testing with
that.
Better still, moving to a supported configuration; to an AlphaServer or
AlphaStation with supported peripherals.
Didn't you read earlier that I'm not interested in that? (I also
don't understand why you keep suggesting the same things, over
and over.)
Post by Stephen Hoffman
The current offering price in the market looks to be somewhere between
US$22 (refurbished) and US$70 (new) for a 72 GB HP 2.5" SCSI disk (plus
shipping), and probably less.
That's a completely different type of 2.5" SCSI disk, the SFF variety
with SCA/80 interface, for in servers (nowadays largely replaced by
2.5" SAS disks). What I'm looking for is the somewhat rare 2.5" SCSI
*40-pin* 'laptop/notebook' variety, also found in older Apple laptops.

- MG
David R. Lennon
2012-07-11 13:17:04 UTC
Permalink
Hi,

Is this the "CF PowerMonster II CF-2.5" SCSI Converter Card" by any chance?

http://www.artmix.com/pdffiles/CF_PM_Manual2_203_Eng.pdf

I rolled the dice and bought one off eBay - I have the same exact problem on my, at one time officially supported by VMS, AlphaBOOK1 - the "disk" looks fine to VMS when booted off CD, but it is not bootable itself.

If not, which card is it?

People seem to have had success booting older Apple Power Books with this card.

Btw, I also have several Multias and have requested engineering update the hobbyist patches for VMS 8.x. Surprisingly, I haven't heard that they have done this, yet. I think it's neat to show people I have a "mainframe" o/s running on a box smaller than their PC.

- Dave
MG
2012-07-11 14:00:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by David R. Lennon
Is this the "CF PowerMonster II CF-2.5" SCSI Converter Card" by any chance?
http://www.artmix.com/pdffiles/CF_PM_Manual2_203_Eng.pdf
Why yes, the one and only! It's very renown and very unique.
Post by David R. Lennon
I rolled the dice and bought one off eBay
Same here! I was considering it for very long, possibly for
months and then I finally decided to go for it. Sometimes
you need to take risks in life, I guess.
Post by David R. Lennon
I have the same exactproblem on my, at one time officially
supported by VMS, AlphaBOOK1- the "disk" looks fine to VMS
when booted off CD, but it is notbootable itself.
That's exactly the problem I'm experiencing! I'm sorry to hear
for you, especially as indeed that excellent (and very sought
after) notebook was once officially supported, but I'm also glad
that I'm 'not alone.' Did you ever contact Art-Mix/Stratos
Technologies about it?
Post by David R. Lennon
People seem to have had success booting older Apple Power Books with this card.
Yes, indeed and people are generally very satisfied with them.
Post by David R. Lennon
Btw, I also have several Multias and have requested engineering
update the hobbyist patches for VMS 8.x. Surprisingly, I haven't
heard that they have done this, yet. I think it's neat to show
people I have a "mainframe" o/s running on a box smaller than
their PC.
That sounds great, good job, I haven't had a lot of opportunity
to do much with VMS on my Multia/UDB. I was actually hoping to
start using it, on a very energy-efficient system! I did get
VMS V7.3 (Eberhard Heuser's customized CD, for which I'm very
grateful to him for having sharing it) to work on my Multia/
UDB, on the 2.5" SCSI disk, before it 'blew up.' So, I know
that VMS works on my system and I have also fixed the battery
(added my own battery pack), added a more adequate cooling fan
and so on.

I thank you very much for your helpful and pleasant input!

- MG
John E. Malmberg
2012-07-11 17:47:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by MG
Post by David R. Lennon
Btw, I also have several Multias and have requested engineering
update the hobbyist patches for VMS 8.x. Surprisingly, I haven't
heard that they have done this, yet. I think it's neat to show
people I have a "mainframe" o/s running on a box smaller than
their PC.
When I was at ZKO, I looked for the sources for those hobbyist patches.
As near as I can determine, those source changes never made it into
the product, and I was not able to find where they were.

So it looks like the the only way to move it forward is to either
reverse engineer a new hack, by doing something like decompiling the
existing hack.

The best resources for the hardware and hardware level programming
appear to be the NETBSD documentation and sources and the Linux sources.

The Multia has the unique feature of having shared interrupts. I know
shared interrupt support was added for Itanium. I do not know if that
code is in the Alpha 8.x code.

With out VMS sources or even source listing, it will be very hard.
Post by MG
That sounds great, good job, I haven't had a lot of opportunity
to do much with VMS on my Multia/UDB. I was actually hoping to
start using it, on a very energy-efficient system! I did get
VMS V7.3 (Eberhard Heuser's customized CD, for which I'm very
grateful to him for having sharing it) to work on my Multia/
UDB, on the 2.5" SCSI disk, before it 'blew up.' So, I know
that VMS works on my system and I have also fixed the battery
(added my own battery pack), added a more adequate cooling fan
and so on.
I thank you very much for your helpful and pleasant input!
The biggest use for a Multia that I can think of is as an X11 display to
a remote VMS system, as that seems to work better than the X11 software
on other platforms.

As far as the disks go, it can network boot, so setting up a VMS
emulator dedicated to be a boot/disk cluster server may be an option
until you can figure out how to get some local disk hardware.

Regards,
-John
***@qsl.network
Personal Opinion Only
David R. Lennon
2012-07-12 03:02:42 UTC
Permalink
Hi,

No, I never contacted the manufacturer - I got the impression from other posts that the company is a guy in his basement in Japan...

I wonder if any of the SCSI to IDE converters are proven to work with VMS / SRM - IDE laptop drives were plentiful.

Someone is selling a 520 MB 2.5" drive on eBay for $100 it's in a Tadpole *book shell - "Sparcbook 3 Removable Hard Drive 520mb", I'll buy the shell from you if you use it in a Multia.

It's a shame the code was lost for the Multia midnight hack, I suppose things like that are to be expected with all that went on with VMS engineering since then.
Eberhard Heuser
2012-07-12 09:35:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by David R. Lennon
Hi,
No, I never contacted the manufacturer - I got the impression from other posts that the company is a guy in his basement in Japan...
I wonder if any of the SCSI to IDE converters are proven to work with VMS / SRM - IDE laptop drives were plentiful.
Someone is selling a 520 MB 2.5&quot; drive on eBay for $100 it&#39;s in a Tadpole *book shell - &quot;Sparcbook 3 Removable Hard Drive 520mb&quot;, I&#39;ll buy the shell from you if you use it in a Multia.
It&#39;s a shame the code was lost for the Multia midnight hack, I suppose things like that are to be expected with all that went on with VMS engineering since then.
A good SCSI-IDE-converter is the Acard AEC7720U. The disk ist bootable with VMS.

Eberhard
MG
2012-07-16 14:24:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eberhard Heuser
A good SCSI-IDE-converter is the Acard AEC7720U. The disk ist bootable with VMS.
Sounds good, especially that you can verify that it works, except for
the fact that it's rather expensive... So, before I spend more money,
I'd rather try this converter. After that, I might consider the Acard
one.

- MG
Eberhard Heuser
2012-07-16 15:05:55 UTC
Permalink
&gt; A good SCSI-IDE-converter is the Acard AEC7720U. The disk ist bootable
&gt; with VMS.
Sounds good, especially that you can verify that it works, except for
the fact that it&#39;s rather expensive... So, before I spend more money,
I&#39;d rather try this converter. After that, I might consider the Acard
one.
- MG
I can sell one for cheap. Please let me know if you're interested.

eberhard

MG
2012-07-16 14:16:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by David R. Lennon
No, I never contacted the manufacturer - I got the impression
from other posts that the company is a guy in his basement in
Japan...
That might be so, but I've been in touch with him and he told me
that he's contacting the manufacturer. Maybe if you contact him
(Manabu Sakai) also, he'll known that there are more Alpha users
out there?
Post by David R. Lennon
I wonder if any of the SCSI to IDE converters are proven to work
with VMS / SRM - IDE laptop drives were plentiful.
IDE and VMS are problematic and the SRM, or certainly the version that
I run on my Multia/UDB, absolutely requires SCSI storage to even see
and be able to boot off.
Post by David R. Lennon
Someone is selling a 520 MB 2.5" drive on eBay for $100 it's in
a Tadpole *book shell - "Sparcbook 3 Removable Hard Drive 520mb",
I'll buy the shell from you if you use it in a Multia.
Where is it offered, is it still available? ~520 Mbytes would
certainly be an improvement over the ~340 Mbytes I used to have.
Post by David R. Lennon
It's a shame the code was lost for the Multia midnight hack, I
suppose things like that are to be expected with all that went on
with VMS engineering since then.
Indeed. But, who knows? I saw that William Pedersen has been
asking around on the Encompass VMS mailinglist recently. Maybe
something will turn up.

- MG
MG
2012-07-16 14:12:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by John E. Malmberg
The best resources for the hardware and hardware level programming
appear to be the NETBSD documentation and sources and the Linux sources.
I've actually been looking into that a bit. Before I got VMS to work
(on the, now broken, stock ~340 Mbyte 2.5" SCSI disk) I successfully
ran NetBSD/alpha V5.1.1 on it, after I had repaired the battery (read:
used a replacement battery pack) for the NVR/TOY.
Post by John E. Malmberg
The Multia has the unique feature of having shared interrupts. I know
shared interrupt support was added for Itanium. I do not know if that
code is in the Alpha 8.x code.
I didn't know about that.
Post by John E. Malmberg
The biggest use for a Multia that I can think of is as an X11 display
to a remote VMS system, as that seems to work better than the X11
software on other platforms.
It's a very small and energy-efficient system, probably the smallest
VMS-capable system together with the Tadpole ALPHAbook 1.
Post by John E. Malmberg
As far as the disks go, it can network boot, so setting up a VMS
emulator dedicated to be a boot/disk cluster server may be an option
until you can figure out how to get some local disk hardware.
That's a last resort for me, though. Also, there's a slight problem,
I most frequently run I64 here. (Which is another reason why, overall,
an internal disk inside the Multia/UDB would be preferable for me.)

- MG
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