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Re: DECStation Linux native partition format ?

Subject: Re: DECStation Linux native partition format ?
From: "Houten K.H.C. van (Karel)" <>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 08:36:37 +0100
In-reply-to: "Your message of Tue, 16 Mar 1999 15:47:17 +1100." <>
Paul M. Antoine wrote:
> Hi gang,
> On Mon, Mar 15, 1999 at 11:59:36AM +0100, Houten K.H.C. van (Karel) wrote:
> > The 'native' format for a DECStation is ULTRIX, but that might not be
> > available for all hackers. NetBSD might be an alternative, but we
> > would have to write the fdisk utility for that format. Last of all,
> > we could use the MSDOS/PC format, which works, but is not as flexible
> > as the other ones.
> >From the responses so far, it seems most folks have got the wrong end of
> this particular stick: Karel is asking which *partition* format to use,
> not which filesystem type to use to boot from.
> I think the problem here is that the DECstation boot proms only know how to
> read ULTRIX partition tables, so if we're going to allow folks to boot from
> the bootprom on power up we're going to have to live with the ULTRIX partition
> table format.  Short of re-writing the boot prom, or writing a multi-stage
> boot loader (which must be stored on an ULTRIX partition table entry??)...
> At least that's what I believe to be the case.  It could be that the boot
> proms know how to read a boot loader, which we could replace with a lilo
> lookalike that understands whatever partition table format we want... but
> that's not my memory of how the DECstation works.  Anyone else??

Hi Paul, 

Correct. I was not referring to DOS FAT filesystems, only to the partition
table formats.

As far as I can tell, the PROM's don't know about ULTRIX partitions,
they are only able to read the bootloader from the first disk sectors,
and pass the boot command line on to the bootloader.
My vote would be to use the NetBSD scheme, because we have a working
bootloader for NetBSD in source. Getting this working for linux would
involve the following steps:

- get the netbsd bootloader to compile under linux
- change the bsd ffs code to ext2 code
- change fdisk to support netbsd tables.

(My kernel already supports NetBSD partition tables)


Karel van Houten

The box said "Requires Windows 95 or better."
I can't understand why it won't work on my Linux computer. 

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