Logging into a 386 BSD system
|Creator:||CSRG, University of California, Berkeley|
|Architecture:||i386, theoretically portable|
|Current Version:||1.0 (1993)|
386BSD (occasionally called Jolix, a tribute to its creators Lynne Jolitz and William Jolitz) was the first time that the Net/2 project was put into a functional release onto commodity hardware, and into the public under the BSD license. As the project eventually stalled, it became the starting point for both NetBSD & FreeBSD, via the patchkits. While 386 BSD may be of historical significance, it's not up to the challenge of day to day usage, as it hasn't received any updates or patches in over 15 years.
There seems to have been four releases of 386 BSD, starting with it being freely available on the Internet, then only available to those who purchased CD-ROMs.
This is the first version of 386 BSD that was released, on March 17, 1992. This version doesn't share its disk with MS-DOS or any other OS's, and uses a VAX style disktab/disklabel, making it difficult to install.
The 0.1 release was the most popular, as 0.0 proved to be very difficult to install, I'd think because it was more "VAX" like in how it treated the disks, and most people are not familiar with disklabels. There were 2 revisions to 0.1, with the patchkits, that eventually gave birth to both NetBSD and FreeBSD. Once patchkit 023 is installed, 386BSD will then run under Qemu 0.11.x
- X11 I've found a massive lead here. Thanks to shovelware CD makers!
An update for ISO-9660 and Rock Ridge extensions. See DrDobbs July 1993.
386BSD 1.0 was the CD-ROM / DrDobbs release
In an email with Lynne Jolitz, she has confirmed that there was a 2.0 release. In 2016 it was re-released on github
Where can I get a copy
At the moment the only known places to get copies are:
- oldlinux.org 0.0, 0.1 and the two patchkits.
- tuhs.org 0.0, 0.1 and the two patchkits.
- freebsd.org ISO with 0.0, 0.1, the patchkits in various states, a large number of other contributions to 0.0 and 0.1 and a USENET archive of comp.unix.bsd.
How do I get this to run?!
Right now the only version fully running in emulation is 0.1 The quickest way is to use 386BSD-0.1exe which is a ready to run package for Windows users that includes a preconfigured Qemu & disk image.
The system (releases 0.0 and 0.1) was described in a series of 17 articles in Dr. Dobb's Journal, from January 1991, to July 1992:
- Designing the Software Specification
- Three Initial PC Utilities
- The Standalone System
- Language Tools Cross Support
- The Initial Root Filesystem
- Research & The Commercial Sector
- A Stripped-Down Kernel
- The Basic Kernel
- Multiprogramming and Multitasking I
- Multiprogramming and Multitasking II
- Device Autoconfiguration
- Unix Device Drivers I
- Unix Device Drivers II
- Unix Device Drivers III
- Missing Pieces I
- Missing Pieces II
- The Final Step
They're not totally open access; you have to register with DDJ to get all of them. However, there is this:
which appear to be the same as the above.
- Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix: From AT&T-Owned to Freely Redistributable - includes a crisp, clear description of the background to 386BSD
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