RISC OS 2000 show report

What follows is a report, written by David Brownlee , regarding the NetBSD stand at the October 21st RISC OS 2000 show in Epsom, England.

BSD daemon

RISC OS 2000

RISC OS 2000

Activities at the stand

We only had two acorn machines, but we plugged the gap with two sparc stations, a couple of i386 laptops, and a i386 CD burning box all running NetBSD.

Chris Gilbert burned CDs on demand on containing:

  • NetBSD/arm32 1.5_ALPHA2 plus around 70 packages
  • NetBSD/arm26 snapshot
  • NetBSD/i386 1.5_ALPHA2 (was also bootable on i386)
  • port-arm32 mail archives
  • 1.5_ALPHA2 source.
  • pkgsrc
  • copy of www.NetBSD.org

The show seemed busier on saturday than sunday, though we sold more CDs on sunday, possibly due to the fact we had more time to talk to people.

There was quite a lot of interest in NetBSD/arm32, including quite a few people who had used earlier versions (1.2, 1.3), also tried ArmLinux, and were interested in trying out the latest version.

Our A440/1 was not in a suitable state to try any NetBSD/arm26 display, but various people expressed surprise that a port was under way, and seemed pleased that their old arm2 and arm3 boxes might be able to run NetBSD (albeit very slowly :) someday.

Chris ran demonstrations of installing 1.5_ALPHA2 on a fresh RISC OS4 RiscPC both days, which attracted a reasonable crowd (the ArmLinux people came for one, then had the PA system announce they were running one also).

The new sysinst installer went down very well - commented as being much easier than both the old method or ArmLinux.

Castle got in touch regarding drivers for some of their cards - they may still have a copy of a driver, and also would be willing to give technical documentation on the Kinetic card.

Riscstation loaned us a machine to test NetBSD - there were issues with the bootloader, but they would be very willing to ship a loan machine to a developer to work on support.

We sold around 16 CDs at the show, but various people expressed an interest in purchasing later, and even more said they would go away and download it from the NetBSD site.

Anyone who wants a copy of the CD can email Chris at - it may take a few days to ship.

A lot of people took leaflets Chris printed based on a previous leaflet from Charles Hannum.

Action items from the show

If anyone is interested in helping with any of the below, assisting at future shows, or anything related to NetBSD/arm{26,32}, please get in touch.

< Default /etc/ttys to vt100 not pc3 >

Around 9 months ago the default terminal type in NetBSD/arm32 was switched to pc3 (which matches the shark) from vt100 (which matches riscpc and cats). This will be fixed for 1.5.

< Patch to avoid RISC OS4 NVRAM corruption (PR:8759) >

Dave Daniels submitted a patch to enable NetBSD to update the NVRAM checksum (required for RISC OS4). This will be included in 1.5.

< Packages >

  • Chris built around 70 binary packages for 1.5, and is continuing to build more.
  • We hope to get chimera, kfm, and some other graphical browsers uploaded shortly.
  • We should get rox and similar added to pkgsrc, and have a 'riscos-desktop' meta package that provides a riscos like windowmanager, filer, and other apps. Any volunteers?
  • Very strong interest in OpenOffice (StarOffice) or similar packages which can work with MS Office files.

< !BtRiscBSD >

  • Confirmed that the RISC OS4 fixed version of !BtRiscBSD also works under 3.x and will be included in 1.5.
  • We need to find out if we can distribute memfix inside !BtRiscBSD for RISC OS4 users.
  • !BtRiscBSD defaults to 1024x768 - users with monitors unable to display that resolution need to exit a config file to run - that should be fixed.
  • The number of supported resolutions should be expanded.
  • Is !BtRiscBSD 'max proc' configure option still needed?

< Other RISC OS based install issues >

  • bb_riscbsd may have trouble starting after 2GB, or with RISC OS4/F+ filesystems. Need to confirm.
  • 1.5 will include the basic program which when run generates a copy of !sparkplug (Permission obtained from David Pilling) to ensure people can extract the !BtRiscBSD archive.
  • Still looking for a RISC OS tool that can shrink a filecore partition.

< sysinst issues >

  • Need to determine if setting vt100 for sysinst fixes a small display glitch when extracting sets.
  • Need to test loading sets from an existing filecore partition
  • Sysinst should have an option to reuse existing partitions
  • Sysinst should not ping dns server

< Hardware/Software support >

  • We need people to test their ide, scsi, and other cards under 1.5 and report back what works and does not.
  • We should approach more hardware vendors for samples and documentation.
  • We need a 16bit audio driver.
  • Should have fsck_filecore - to check filecore partitions
  • Filecore support should be extended to support writing
  • Add support for the new 'long filenames' version of filecore.

We may be attending the December 2 show in the midlands (more details later).

Many thanks to Chris for organising the stand, leaflets, and CDs, and to Alan for helping out on saturday (and with transport).

We plan to have an even better show next time :)

Things we need for next time:

  • Generate the pkgsrc README.html files
  • More up to date mailing list archives
  • NetBSD guide
  • Demo package list for machines

Back to NetBSD events page