[TUHS] lost ports

ron minnich rminnich at gmail.com
Fri Jan 6 03:23:07 AEST 2017

On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 8:02 AM Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:

> ​Cute story but not true [and I was @ DEC working Alpha at that time].
> Some facts:

Clem, thanks for the correction. This leaves me wondering why I was so
naive as to believe that fable from those guys we visited ...

I suspect they did not know or were just lying to me, since the question
came up in the context of LInuxBIOS for the 4-socket system (2048 of them
were used in ASCI Q) and I doubt they wanted to hear about non-DEC firmware
on that system.

The SRM was a huge pain point on that machine and we hoped to replace it
with something we could live with, but it was not to be.

We did get LinuxBIOS on the 1-socket pizza box thanks to Eric Biederman and
Linux NetworX, which we used to build a 128-node LinuxBIOS cluster.
LinuxBIOS included a PALcode implementation.

Which leads to a question ... Jon Hall used to tell me that DEC used SRM in
general and PALcode in particular as competitive leverage with customers
(i.e. DEC-based Alpha systems always had the latest SRM and PALcode, and
non-DEC-based Alpha systems were always a few revs behind).

Note this implies DEC as a systems vendor was competing with DEC Alpha chip
customers who were systems vendors, which was a situation we've seen in
practice with many vendors that sold chips and motherboards.

Anyway, the question: with LinuxBIOS, we shipped a GPL-ed PALcode
implementation. It was pretty dumb, it just did 1:1 virt to phys mapping
for example, but it worked. I've always believed that was the only open
source or at least GPL'ed PALcode out there -- can you tell me if I got
this right?

Thanks, it's always good to read your histories ...

sorry this is not strictly a Unix history question but I've always wondered.

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