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NetBSD imps.jpg
Of course it runs NetBSD!
Architecture: multiplatform
Current Version: NetBSD 7.0 (September 25, 2015)
Year Introduced: 1993

NetBSD is a bit of a blessing for many hobbyists, as it includes support for the VAX, Amiga, 68k Macs, various Sun systems like the Sun-3 as well as a wide variety of toasters and the HP300. You might want to check the entire list at the NetBSD list of ports. There's even some discussion of a port to PDP-10s!

NetBSD started out as a derivative of 386 BSD, as at the time it was a collection of patches to 386BSD. People grew dissatisfied with the lack of updates with 386BSD, and how the patchkit kept getting larger and larger & unwieldy leading to the various authors of the patches to start their own fork of 386BSD, called NetBSD as it was created on the 'internet'. NetBSD focuses on portability and simplicity of the code.

It's worth noting that a political fight within NetBSD led to the formation of OpenBSD.

Version 0.8, 0.9, 0.9a

These early versions were heavily based on 386 BSD + patchkits and contained Net/2 files subject to USL scrutiny. Due to an agreement with USL these distributions are no longer officially available.

According to Charles M. Hannum, "..the agreement is very clear, and nobody cares about that early code history any more--so this is all water under the bridge.". Historians beg to differ.

As we locate the older versions I'll add information about each release here.

Version 1.2

This version restored support for the VAX Platform. Additionally more platforms were added solidifying NetBSD as a portable OS.

Version 5.0.2

The exiting change (well to me) was the inclusion of unit tests in the OS so that users of less used ports (VAX) can certify that their OS is performing as it should be...

Installing NetBSD 5.0.2 on the SIMH MicroVAX II

Version 5.1

For what its worth I've installed it on SIMH Installing NetBSD 5.1 on the SIMH MicroVAX II

Version 6.0

Released on October 21 2012.

Version 6.1.5

For what it is worth, this version's Sparc & Sparc64 builds will run under Qemu 2.2.0's default build with OpenBIOS.

But both are not without issues, the Sparc64 has disk interrupt errors when there is a high volume of disk traffic, and the Sparc32 has constant esp0 errors:

esp0: !TC on DATA XFER [intr 18, stat 82, step 4] prevphase 2, resid 0

Version 7.0


Running NetBSD on a VAX