VAX 6400's futile attempts to booting Ultrix 4.1, still some progress ...

From: Gunther Schadow <>
Date: Tue Oct 30 23:35:56 2001


O.K. the good news is that I managed to boot VMS, read all 40
files from the Ultrix 4.1 boot tape without error (and with
the right block size :-) and write those files back to a
TK70 tape without major problems. I know that the tape is
good and the drive is good. (At least good enough.) And still
we won't boot. But that means that something is wrong with
that Ultrix version 4.1. It doesn't work on the VAX 6400.

Fortunately I am in the position of access to sources that
would allow me to build an Ultrix 4.2 based loader. However,
I'm even convinced that it isn't the loader's fault. The
4.2 sources of the loader show that it always prints an
error before halting. And I never see an error. In fact
the only way for the loader to exit without a message appears
to be its non-returning call to the vmb.exe gizmo. And
-- oh bummer -- I don't seem to have source code for that

The interesting light pattern at the TBK70 board and the
console fault light seems not to indicate a read error
from tape, but more likely a futile attempt of some
boot stage of getting to talk to the TBK70 and carrying
on the next boot stage. Too bad I can't find out when
and where this happens.

Anyway, quite likely its in the vmb.exe gizmo which is
a black box. So, I might need some boot tape of a newer
version (one that properly supports the VAX 6400 series)
or I have to find an alternative booting strategy. I
guess the MOP booting of ultrix might becoming a more
feasible option. So, here is a call upon all of you who
know something about MOP booting Ultrix. Please give
me any info you might have. I have mopd and am on
FreeBSD as the boot host. ... ... ...

Another alternative is to set up an "InfoServer"
VAX station with a CD ROM and an Ultrix CD of a
post 4.1 version. Is this something someone has available?
May be in the area or something one could set up
accessible through the Internet (a 36 kbps modem line,
ahem...) Once I have Ultrix up on one machine I can
help others to do the same. If not by writing a boot
tape by ...

... here is another option how a good soul could help
me get going: If you have an Ultrix 4.2 or higher
running on an RA disk, I would appreciate a disk image.
That I should be able to raw write to another RA90
(or RA82) using VMS and then boot from that disk.
Just make sure there is a GENERIC kernel on the disk
image. I still don't have a KFMSA, so RF disk images
would not help me. Except, perhaps, if someone has
Ultrix 4.2 or higher running and some spare disks
to tinker with, I might be able to fiddle a generic
disk image that could be installed on any disk.

BTW: after having fixed my TU81 unit number problem, I
still can't boot from TU81. Seems like the VAX 6400
with my EEPROM revision doesn't know how to boot from
TU81. If someone (Geoff?) knows he can boot that way,
may be I could use an EEPROM update. Would appreciate
your EEPROM dump then.

Thanks much,

Gunther Schadow, M.D., Ph.D.          
Medical Information Scientist      Regenstrief Institute for Health Care
Adjunct Assistant Professor        Indiana University School of Medicine
Received on Tue Oct 30 2001 - 23:35:56 GMT

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