OSF/1 1.0

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Before DEC sold Alpha machines running Tru64 aka Digital UNIX aka OSF/1, they had the DECstation line of MIPS based machines. DECstations ran an old school Unix named ULTRIX, which was at its core based on 4.2BSD. Back in the early 1990s DEC promised to port OSF/1 to the DECstation platform, a modern design with a Mach kernel. Later, after several announcements and a longer will-they-won't-they drama, DEC canceled OSF/1 on MIPS and decided to focus on the Alpha platform. Even though OSF/1 never turned into a proper product and many customers were furious, DEC released developer releases for OSF/1. Distribution tapes for 1.0 and 2.0 have made their way into the internet. Back in the days, DEC never claimed that OSF/1 on MIPS was a stable product. It lacks support for a range of hardware and it never received fixes or support in the long run. Then again, ULTRIX, the main OS for the DECstation, was an insufferable mess of bugs on top of a stone age Unix. It matured over time, yet by the time it had reached a proper level of stability, it lacked a number of features. OSF/1 on MIPS isn't as bad as you might expect. It will run on contemporary R2000 and R3000 based DECstations. R4000 systems were never supported. DEC also marketed OSF/1 for realtime applications, a feature that somehow became unimportant for later OSF/1 and DEC Unix releases.

[1]This is the original release announcement from 1992.

To install OSF/1 V1.0 you will need a supported harddisk to install the system. Supported disks include the RZ23 (100MB), RZ24 (200MB), RZ25 (400MB), RZ55 (300MB), RZ56 (600MB). It will work with the common 8bit 2D graphics cards. Some people say using a serial console does not work. That may or may not be true for some systems.

DECstation 3100
OSF/1 with a VT220 serial console terminal

OSF/1 installation on a DECstation 3100

There are installation tape images available. One TK50 tape could hold about 95MB of data. The OSF/1 distribution comes on four tapes. You need to extract the OSF/1 install tapes and create something like a fake cdrom distribution:

create a directory "disk". cd to disk and create a new dir "RISC".

copy the files from the tapes to the new distribution directories. Create new subdirs:

Tin0Install -> MPK
Tin1Kits -> BASE
Tin2Kits -> BASE (same dir as above)
Tin3RT -> RT

create a subdir "instctrl" in all dirs. Untar the respective f03.instctrl.tar there. Rename all the files, so they can be found by the installation procedure, like:

mv f30.OSFDCMT100.tar.Z OSFDCMT100

The end result should look like this:

root@audrey:/export/binaries/dec/osf1/mips/osf1_1.0.1_mips/disk# find .   

This is a suitable installation directory, but you will likely have no means to boot it on a real DECstation. So, we will call "ris" to the rescue. ULTRIX provides a great way to setup a remote installation server using "ris - Remote installation service". Make the distribution directory you just created available to a machine running a reasonably recent version (I tested 4.5) of ULTRIX. ULTRIX will be able to do cross-architecture installation, so any VAX or DECstation should be fine. You might even consider an emulated VAX using simh. For the following demonstration, the server will be a DECstation 5000/240 running ULTRIX 4.5:

root@io:~# ris
a -  Add Client 
r -  Remove Client 
s -  Show Products in Remote Installation Environments
m -  Modify Client
i -  Install Software 
d -  Delete Software
e -  Exit       

choose "i" to install new software to a remote installation environment. You need to have one environment for every OS release and platform (MIPS or VAX) you want. You can also add more software to such an environment later. Now enter your path to the BASE directory of you distribution set and follow the instructions. You can later add additional software to this installation directory. Once you have added the BASE subsets, also add the MDK, which is a mandatory upgrade. You can leave out the realtime extensions "RT" in my opinion. You can choose if you want to extract and copy the filesets to the server's local harddisk or if you want symlinks. I have always chosen extraction so far. Just make sure that you have enough space in /usr/var/adm/ris or create a directory on a new disks and symlink. Then, call "ris" again to choose "a" in the menu to add a client. Give you client's ethernet address. This will set up the software distribution and also start /etc/mop_mom on the server. Old DECstations and VAXen boot via MOP, the maintenance operation protocal. Make sure your client is added to the servers /etc/hosts file.

/etc/hosts should be beautiful like this:   ds3100  ds3100.domain.tld

but NOT like this:    ds3100.domain.tld  ds3100

If there are any errors during setup, you might get the following error during the installation of the client:

Cannot find rzux1 in risdb file.  Check the sytem manager of                    
your host server.

Check to make sure: the client is in the /etc/hosts of the server the r services have to be enabled in /etc/inetd.conf on the server /usr/adm/ris/.rhosts should include the client /usr/adm/ris/clients/risdb should include the client

You can now boot the client from the server. For a DECstation 3100, the proper command is:

boot -f mop()

Other DECstations will require other commands. The remote installation then starts by booting an ULTRIX 4.2 kernel (yes...), so you can partition a disk and copy a miniroot filesystem. It will then reboot to disk and start the OSF/1 kernel for the first time. The installation will go on normaly from this point on.

allow root logins from terminal other than the system console:

# /etc/ttys
# 		 "@(#)ttys	1.0	(OSF/1)	05/11/90"
# NOTE: This file is largely obsolete, its function having been taken
# over by /etc/inittab.  Its only remaining purpose is to mark which
# tty lines are secure (i.e., allow root logins).  To disallow root
# logins on a given line, remove the "secure" keyword.
# name	getty	type	status	comments
console	none	none 	secure	# console
tty00	none	none	secure  # direct tty
tty01	none	none	secure  # direct tty
tty02	none	none	secure  # direct tty
tty03	none	none	secure  # direct tty
tty04	none	none	secure  # direct tty
tty05	none	none	secure  # direct tty
tty06	none	none	secure  # direct tty
tty07	none	none	secure  # direct tty
ttyd0   none	none    secure  # modem line
ttyp0	none	network	secure
ttyp1	none	network	secure
ttyp2	none	network	secure
ttyp3	none	network	secure
ttyp4	none	network	secure
ttyp5	none	network	secure
ttyp6	none	network	secure
ttyp7	none	network	secure
ttyp8	none	network	secure
ttyp9	none	network	secure
ttypa	none	network	secure
ttypb	none	network	secure
ttypc	none	network	secure
ttypd	none	network	secure
ttype	none	network	secure
ttypf	none	network	secure
ttyq0	none	network	secure
ttyq1	none	network	secure
ttyq2	none	network	secure
ttyq3	none	network	secure
ttyq4	none	network	secure
ttyq5	none	network	secure
ttyq6	none	network	secure
ttyq7	none	network	secure
ttyq8	none	network	secure
ttyq9	none	network	secure
ttyqa	none	network	secure
ttyqb	none	network	secure
ttyqc	none	network	secure
ttyqd	none	network	secure
ttyqe	none	network	secure
ttyqf	none	network	secure

OSF/1 V1.0 will not accept any other HOME directory for root other than /.

Enable serial console:

Some people say that OSF/1 does not support serial consoles on MIPS. I have personally seen that it just won't work with a DECstation 5000 some years ago, but never found a definitive answer. However, it does work for the DECstation 3100 and OSF/1 V1.0.

Configure the hardware:

pull the framebuffer RAM module.

In the firmware (in theory): The 3100 needs:

setenv console 8

other DECstations will need:

setenv console "s".

keep the mouse connected or install a mouse loopback connector.

Unfortunately, I have a DS3100 with an early firmware revision (V6.71), which for unknown reasons does not like any serial console setting. It always stops at "3.." in the selftest declaring "FAILURE". You need to push the reset button then to get to the ">>" prompt. Even as it uses the serial port as system console, this prevents it it from auto-booting. Just entering "auto" will make the system boot up fine from the ">>" prompt.

Configure the OSF/1 software:

X11 is started by an entry in /etc/inittab:

#cons:1234:respawn:/usr/sbin/getty console console pmconsole
xdm:23:respawn:/sbin/sh /sbin/xdm.init respawn > /dev/console 2>&1

to disable X11 and enable serial login change to:

cons:1234:respawn:/usr/sbin/getty console console pmconsole
#xdm:23:respawn:/sbin/sh /sbin/xdm.init respawn > /dev/console 2>&1

This will essentially keep xdm from starting and enable a login: prompt on the console, either graphical or serial.


setenv PATH /usr/local/bin:/usr/ccs/bin:/sbin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/bin/X11
if ($term == xterm-256color) then
setenv TERM vt100
if ($term == pmconsole) then
setenv TERM vt100


# set a fancy prompt
PS1='\u@\h:\w\$ '
export PS1


if [ $TERM = "xterm-256color" ]
then TERM=vt100; export TERM

disklabel a second disk:

write new disklabel:

disklabel -w /dev/rz1c rz25

edit a disklabel:

disklabel -e /dev/rz1c

read the current disklabel:

disklabel -r /dev/rz1c
# /dev/rz1c:
type: SCSI
disk: rz25
bytes/sector: 512
sectors/track: 62
tracks/cylinder: 9
sectors/cylinder: 558
cylinders: 1492
rpm: 3600
interleave: 1
trackskew: 0
cylinderskew: 0
headswitch: 0		# milliseconds
track-to-track seek: 0	# milliseconds
drivedata: 0 
7 partitions:
#        size   offset    fstype   [fsize bsize   cpg]
a:     1024        0    unused     1024  8192       	# (Cyl.    0 - 1*)
b:   131072     1024      swap                    	# (Cyl.    1*- 236*)
c:   832527        0    4.2BSD     1024  8192    16 	# (Cyl.    0 - 1491*)
d:   700431   132096    4.2BSD     1024  8192    16 	# (Cyl.  236*- 1491*)
e:   222896   386736    unused     1024  8192       	# (Cyl.  693*- 1092*)
f:   222895   609632    unused     1024  8192       	# (Cyl. 1092*- 1491*)
g:   668687   163840    unused     1024  8192       	# (Cyl.  293*- 1491*)

edit fstab:

/dev/rz0a	/	ufs rw 1 1
/dev/rz0g	/usr	ufs rw 1 2
/dev/rz0b	swap1	ufs sw 0 2
/dev/rz1b	swap2	ufs sw 0 2
/dev/rz1d	/usr/local ufs rw 1 2

Building GNU software:

OSF/1 V1.0 ships with the MIPS C-Compiler 2.20. Thus, we are not completely lost.

if config.guess can't detect the OS, give "mips-dec-osf1".





./configure --enable-languages=c,c++,f77 --disable-nls mips-dec-osf

sed-3.0.2: will not build correctly with the native cc. Use gcc.


gcc -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -I. -I. -I.. -I../intl -DLOCALEDIR=\"/usr/local/share/locale\"    -g -O2 -c btowc.c
btowc.c:41: parse error before `btowc'
btowc.c: In function `btowc':
btowc.c:44: `WEOF' undeclared (first use this function)
btowc.c:44: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once
btowc.c:44: for each function it appears in.)
btowc.c:44: `wint_t' undeclared (first use this function)
btowc.c:47: parse error before `c'
make[2]: *** [btowc.o] Error 1
make[2]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/compile/grep-2.3/src'
make[1]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/compile/grep-2.3'
make: *** [all-recursive-am] Error 2

There is an ifdef broken here. fix btowc.c by deleting the ifdef around the typdef unsigned int wint_t.

texinfo-4.8: FAIL

mips-dec-osf1-gcc -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -I. -I. -I.. -I../intl    -g -O2 -c substring.c
In file included from substring.c:20:
system.h:268: conflicting types for `getpwnam'
/usr/include/pwd.h:75: previous declaration of `getpwnam'
make[2]: *** [substring.o] Error 1
make[2]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/compile/texinfo-4.8/lib'
make[1]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/local/compile/texinfo-4.8'
make: *** [all] Error 2

uncomment in system.h:

struct passwd *getpwnam (const char *name);

still FAILS


copy install-sh to /usr/local/bin/install
gcc -c -DGAWK -I. -I.  -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -g -O2 array.c
In file included from array.c:40:
awk.h:872: conflicting types for `strncasecmp'
/usr/local/lib/gcc-lib/mips-dec-osf1/ previous declaration of `strncasecmp'
uncomment in awk.h:
/* extern int strncasecmp P((const char *s1, const char *s2, register size_t n)); */


--disable-nls mips-dec-osf1

Note: binutils do not work correctly with OSF/1 on MIPS. Do not use.




make install fails. Copy by hand.






--disable-nls mips-dec-osf1
do not build shared libraries. libiconv wants to build a shared lib for osf anyway.
Edit Makefile.


./configure --without-cxx --without-cxx-binding --without-ada mips-dec-osf1




uncomment unlink on line 88:
/* extern int unlink __P((const char *)); */


error with linking about Undefined: __builtin_alloc when compiling touch.c. Most tools however build fine and can be copied by hand to /usr/local/bin.


just do a "make -f Makefile.noX"


./configure --enable-nntp-only --with-domain --disable-nls --with-nntp-default --with-screen=ncurses --with-editor=/usr/local/bin/vim




build only static libraries


build only static libs