NetBSD/pmax Projects List

Here are some open issues with NetBSD/pmax, which some people are working on, or interested in.

And here are some older projects which are now finished:

Completed Projects

NetBSD MI SCSI drivers

NetBSD/pmax was suffered from old SCSI drivers inherited from 4.4BSD. It now has NetBSD standard machine-independent SCSI driver, offering coherent functionality across other NetBSD ports.

Better diskless boot support

As of July 1997, NetBSD/pmax supports diskless booting of ECOFF kernels via BOOTP and TFTP on all models of DECstation, with the exception of some models with PROM bugs.

That includes 3100s and 2100 with the "KN01 v7.0" PROMs.

Until July 1997, some ioasic-based machines (5000 series machines other than the 5000/200) had problems TFTP-booting. These were due to errors in the PROM which we now compensate for translating kernels to the net-bootable ECOFF format.

NetBSD/vax and OpenBSD/vax also support diskless boot on various DEC hardware, using a server for MOP, the diskless-boot protocol used in Digital's DECNet protocol suite. This mop daemon is developed by Mats O. Jansson ( with additional NetBSD/vax support by Lloyd Parkes ( Adding support for MOP boot would be nice, but is not strictly necessary.

X11R6 X server support

As of April 1999, NetBSD/pmax will ship with an X11R6 server, Xpmax. This server works with all currently supported framebuffer devices (This does not include PixelStamp based cards. Work on a separate Xserver to support those is currently underway).

Supporting r4000 and r4400 CPUs

This was completed in late June 1997. Mips3 support is included in the NetBSD 1.2G snapshot kernels and shipped with the NetBSD 1.3 release.

The overall plan was to support a single NetBSD kernel capable of booting on either an r3000 machine or on an r4000 machine. Most of the work to support r4000s was already been done by Per Fogelstrom who ported NetBSD/pmax to an ARC-compliant machine. (That work is now distributed by OpenBSD). The NetBSD kernel locore support and trap-handler support for mips1 and mips3 was merged by Jonathan Stone in late 1996. Michael Hitch did most of the final work of merging the mips1 and mips3 kernel pmap code to allow compile-time configuration for either mips1 or mips3.

Michael Hitch and Jonathan Stone collaborated through June 1997 on adding run-time dispatch to the appropriate kernel code. At this stage, Jason Thorpe provided useful advice and code review.

Dynamically linked shared libraries

NetBSD 1.2 has all the necessary kernel support for MIPS ABI-compliant shared libraries. (Again, this is thanks largely to Per Fogelstrom).

The earlier NetBSD and OpenBSD shared-library kernel support had serious bugs: simultaneously starting two or more getty processes could deadlock a machine. Fixing this problem was a pre-requisite for shared ELF support. Chris Demetriou and Christos Zoulas reworked NetBSD's kernel support for dynamically-linked libraries, principally for NetBSD/Alpha and for Linux and svr4 emulation.

NetBSD/pmax snapshots since November 1996 have a shared-library userland. NetBSD/pmax now uses the GNU binutils 2.8.1 toolchain which supports shared libraries. The current snapshot includes a set of dynamically-linked X11R6.3 clients linked against ELF shared X11 libraries. The full distribution and X11 fits in about 120 Mbytes, the space formerly required for a statically-linked /usr without X11.

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