386BSD 0.0 announcement

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This is what I could find when 386BSD 0.0 was announced to the world!


                     386BSD Release 0.0
                     The Road Not Taken

                     William F. Jolitz

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood,
            and I ---
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
       "The Road Not Taken" [1916] -- Robert Frost

     386BSD Release 0.0 has been greatly  motivated  by  the
frustrations  of  many  who have written and phoned me about
their inability to obtain access to 386BSD, whether licensed
or  not.  I  had hoped that through the groups I was working
with, interested parties could have access to SUPPORTED ver-
sions of 386BSD, but this was not to be.

     So, in making a break with the past,  I  paused  in  my
series of 386BSD porting articles, took the unencumbered but
incomplete NET/2 kernel available from UC Berkeley, and fin-
ished  the  missing pieces necessary to make a bootable run-
ning kernel  that  provides  a  self-supporting  development
environment.  In  describing  this process (see DDJ May-June
1992), as well as providing the actual source code,  I  hope
this  will  finally break the logjam that has frustrated and
perplexed our many readers.

     In 1989, when Lynne and I began  this  project,  386BSD
was simply intended to be a port of BSD to the 386. While we
did not wish to add to anyone's proprietary license revenues
by  folding in new encumbered code (especially pertaining to
the 386), removing or redesigning new code  to  replace  old
encumbered  code was out of the scope of this project. Since
I was willing  to  work  gratis  on  386BSD  (preparing  the
specification,  supplying  the  initial equipment, obtaining
equipment and support from  companies  such  as  Compaq  and
Cyrix,  and  doing  the actual port), making an unencumbered
version was simply impossible.

     After Lynne and I contributed 386BSD to UCB in December
of  1990,  the  UCB  CSRG staff seriously began to set their
sights on releasing only unencumbered code.  It was quite  a
chore  for us to continually revise and improve 386BSD while
updating it to match the new work done by CSRG and other UCB
staff. The result was the UCB NET/2 release.

     What we've since learned from this experience,  to  our
sorrow,  is  that  once  anyone  starts  down  the  track to
providing a broadly accessible system, aberrations, such  as
delusions of profit and glory, cannot be allowed to blur the
goal. This rule holds no matter how well-meaning the motiva-
tions of other people appear.

     After NET/2 came out, I was  willing  to  go  to  great
lengths  to  help  my  "friends" at CSRG -- Mike Karels, the
Best Man at my wedding and to whom  I  introduced  the  UNIX
kernel some 12 years ago, Keith Bostic, and Kirk McKusick --
pull some success and profit out of the years of  work  they
had put into BSD. In Mike's case, he had earlier invested in
a company I founded many years ago, and he said I "owed him"
the opportunity to help him build his own company.  I am not
trying to say that I was unusually naive  or  altruistic.  I
simply believe that you should help your friends to the best
of your abilities, and that they in  turn  should  help  you
when you need it.

     However, friendship has obligations  and  responsibili-
ties  as  well.  You do not lie to your friends.  You do not
demand that your friends act  unethically  or  immorally  to
accomplish a goal. You do not abdicate your responsibilities
to other people, such as the  students  and  professors  who
require  this  system  to  teach, even though it might be to
your immediate advantage. In the process of taking the  easy
road,  the  friendship will inevitably be destroyed. Is any-
thing worth this price? I don't think so.

     I began to notice that the original point in doing this
work  had  become  lost, and that things were getting wildly
out of control.  An insatiable desire for power  and  wealth
had  begun to distort the entire BSD research project, and I
felt I had to put the value of 386BSD back into perspective.
I spent many months trying to resolve my growing differences
with CSRG in an appropriate and quiet fashion.   After  all,
they were my friends.

     Unfortunately, after a 15-year work association,  three
years  of  work  on this project, and a long friendship, the
culmination of my efforts was a slew of  cancelled  accounts
and  a  letter  from  CSRG  unilaterally cancelling Berkeley
involvement in 386BSD, and claiming all the work that I  had
contributed   to   Berkeley   since   NET/2  as  "University

     I had anticipated even  before  receiving  this  letter
that  I  might be forced to take a different road -- the one
less traveled -- and had planned accordingly.  I  had  known
that  this would not be easy -- it required me at the end of
November 1991 to erase all of my work on 4.4BSD, take a copy
of  the  original unencumbered NET/2 release, and start from
scratch to make 386BSD Release 0.0.  I had to,  in  essence,
abandon all my previous work with CSRG.

     I realized that my family would  suffer  personally  by
this stance.  It was not easy to hear my little daughter say
"Daddy, I liked Mike and Keith and Kirk. Why don't they like
us  anymore?"   It  was not easy to see long-time friends at
USENIX catch a glimpse of me, turn, and run in the  opposite
direction  for  fear of being seen talking to me. It was not
easy to find my University associates putting  my  new  pro-
jects  "on  hold", even though they told me that they really
didn't believe any of those nasty rumors  circulating  about
my  character  or work on 386BSD. It has been quite a strain
these last months enduring these indignities in silence  and
focussing on completing my goals.

     But I cannot distort my values and  ethics  and  ignore
the  needs  of others simply to suit the whims of a few. One
must always strive to "do the right thing", no  matter  what
the  personal consequences.  As the proverb goes: "What pro-
fits a man if he gains the world and loses his soul?"

     And now, since CSRG has  stated  in  writing  that  the
386BSD  project  will  not  be  continued  at  Berkeley (not
surprising, given I was the  only  one  who  maintained  the
machines  and  the 386BSD code), I have no choice but to GO
IT-ALONE and get this system out-the-door  to  the  tens-of-
thousands  of  people  who need an experimental research and
educational system. Otherwise, they  would  continue  to  be
denied  access  by CSRG to either a licensed or unencumbered
version of 386BSD from UCB, and instead be forced to pay for
a  version  of  my  work  from  a  firm in which they have a
private interest.  I have been  fortunate  in  finding  many
others  who  believe in the goals of 386BSD, and who are now
spending a great deal of time and effort getting it  out  to
everyone who desires a copy.

     The purpose of the 386BSD project remains the same:  so
students,  faculty,  staff, and researchers can use BSD on a
simple and inexpensive platform.  And now,  since  few  have
been able to obtain a licensed version from UCB (and none an
unencumbered version), I have made 386BSD Release 0.0 avail-
able  with public access sources.  I intend to maintain both
source and binary versions of 386BSD for some time to  come.
And, since the Berkeley CSRG has abandoned 386BSD, I am wil-
ling to contribute my 386BSD work to other University groups
in  order  to  facilitate  the establishment of "new" 386BSD
projects elsewhere. 386BSD Release 0.0 is only  a  beginning
-- not an end.

     Despite my unpleasant experience with CSRG, I have con-
tinued  my  efforts  to "do the right thing" by offering the
CSRG Faculty Advisor, Professor  Susan  Graham,  the  386BSD
Release  0.0 changes for immediate release from Berkeley, so
that the conflict-of-interest charges and other issues would
become  moot, and so that the Berkeley EECS Department would
not suffer further embarrassment in this  matter.   I  think
many  in  the  academic community would find it fitting that
386BSD be available from the University where the  BSD  pro-
ject  began.   I  myself  believe that the BSD tradition has
been a venerable one, and I would like to see  it  honorably

     In any event,  Lynne  and  I  intend  to  hold  to  the
"spirit"  of what the 386BSD project is really all about. It
is not about writing a few lines of source code, or  obtain-
ing  a  cheap operating system to diddle, or even building a
mini-AT&T to entangle you in proprietary license agreements.
386BSD is an attempt to allow new possibilities and alterna-
tive approaches in an industry that has become moribund. You
can  use  it,  or  not. But remember, someone worked hard to
give you the CHOICE.  Use it wisely.

release notes

sorry these are so poorly formatted.

                  Release Notes on 386BSD
                         W. Jolitz

386BSD Release 0.0:
------ ------- - -

     This  is 386BSD Release 0.0, the first edition from the
386BSD project.  It comprises an entire and  complete  UNIX-
like  operating system for the Intel 80386/486 based IBM PC,
and is based almost entirely on the NET/2 release  from  the
University  of  California, which contained much of the ear-
lier freely redistributable  and  modifiable  386BSD  source
code  done  by William F. Jolitz and contributed to the Uni-
versity of California at Berkeley for distribution.

     Originally conceived by Bill and Lynne Jolitz in  1989,
the  386BSD project is an attempt to foster new research and
development in operating systems and  networking  technology
by broadening access to base technology. In cooperation with
the University of California, an advanced  operating  system
was  redesigned  by  William  F.  Jolitz  to  work on common
386-based PC's for use by smaller colleges and other  groups
that  did  not have the resources to otherwise obtain it. In
addition, starting with the NET/2 release, this software has
been released in a form that does not require license agree-
ments, non-disclosure, or other controls  that  would  limit
it's use in undergraduate teaching programs.

     Unlike  NET/2,  386BSD  Release  0.0  is a complete and
operational system, including  binaries  and  an  executable
installation  system,  but  still  available  under the same
"freely  redistributable"  terms  of  the   original   NET/2
release.  Our  forthcoming  book  on the internals of 386BSD
will complete the picture for educational and research  pro-
grams  to make use of this technology with students with the
necessary academic freedom.

     We have been writing a series of articles about  386BSD
that  have  appeared  in  Dr. Dobbs Journal since January of
                          --  ----- -------
1991. Future announcements, and information on 386BSD may be
found  within  its covers. The DDJ BBS should have copies of
binary and source code when available. Also, you can contact
us via the magazine.


     Release 0.0 consists of:

Source Distribution
     A  collection  of  8  or  10 high-density floppy disks,
     which is a multi-volume compressed TAR  format  archive
     of the source language files with which to recreate the
     system.    When   extracted,    the    files    consume

386BSD RELEASE NOTES          1                   March 1992

     approximately  31 MB of space. In addition, at least 28
     MB of space is taken up by  the  binary  files  created
     when recompiling.

Binary Distribution
     A  collection of 6 or 8 high-density floppy disks, also
     in compressed multi-volume  TAR  form,  containing  the
     executable,  data, and documentation files of a working
     386BSD  system,  including  C  and  C++  compilers  and
     libraries.   When  extracted, the files occupy approxi-
     mately 20 MB of disk space. Note that at least 5 MB  of
     swap space, plus an operating reserve of another 10% of
     the total accumulated disk space  mentioned  should  be
     considered as minimum to operate this system.

Distribution Installation Floppy System
     A  single  floppy  system is provided, again on a high-
     density diskette.  This  completely  standalone  system
     manages  to  allow  a  potential 386/486 based PC to be
     qualified for use with 386BSD, simply by attempting  to
     boot it as an ordinary floppy. Once operational, it can
     be used to configure the PC's hard disk  and  load  the
     binary  floppy  distribution.  In addition, this floppy
     provides a means to rescue and repair the  software  on
     the hard disk in the event of a calamity.

Difference Floppy
     A  single  360 KB MS-DOS floppy containing all the dif-
     ferences and new files necessary to make the NET/2 tape
     operational,  for  those  who already have the tape and
     wish to "do it themselves". It also  serves  to  illus-
     trate  just  what  is  necessary to make the NET/2 tape
     usable and worthwhile.

     Release 0.0 does not contain any proprietary code,  nor
any  encryption software. It was created from NET/2, GNU and
other public software, and our creative minds.

Scope and Goals of this Release:
----- --- ----- -- ---- -------

     This release was motivated by the fact that  access  to
386BSD  has not been provided to all interested parties on a
timely basis by the University or other sources, as  we  had
originally  intended.   Thus, we have done a minimalist ver-
sion to demonstrate feasibility, provide accessibility,  and
assure  our readers and supporters that this project will be
finished, available to all, and  not  just  appropriated  by
private  concerns.   Since  it is minimalist by design, many
features, utilities and other functionality will  be  desir-
able  to  add,  although the system is complete enough to be
self-sufficient and self-developing.

386BSD RELEASE NOTES          2                   March 1992

     In addition, we have not repaired numerous  known  bugs
present  -- we have merely attempted to work around them and
in spite of them. Also, new  subsystems  created  after  the
NET/2  tape  and contributed to Berkeley have not been added
back in, because we did not want to blur the distinctions of
what is required to make NET/2 operational, and because CSRG
will not allow us access to this contributed work,  although
other  groups  have  been  allowed  access.  Future releases
hopefully will remedy these nuisances. We  also  expect  the
involvement  of  a  wider  community of users will aid us in
improving future releases of 386BSD.

Devices Supported in this Release:
------- --------- -- ---- -------

     This release is intended to support a  minimal  386/486
SX/DX  ISA(ATBUS)  system,  with  the  traditional  hard and
floppy disk controller (MFM,ESDI,IDE).  Also, the usual dis-
play  adapters  (MDA/CGA/VGA/HGC)  are supported, along with
the communications ports (COM).  Ethernet  controllers  sup-
ported   are    Western   Digital  8003EB,  8003EBT,  8003S,
WD8003SBT, 8013EBT, and Novell NE2000. Clones also appear to
work quite well.  Tape drive support is available for QIC-02
controllers as well, allowing use of 3M cartridges of QIC-60
through QIC-150 format.

     As  configured  on  the binary distribution, the system
requires a floating point coprocessor  (387  of  any  make),
hard  disk and controller, floppy disk drive (either 5.25 or
3.5 high density only), and display adapter. If  the  serial
port  or a Western Digital Ethernet card (port 0x280, IRQ 3,
iomem 0xd000) is present, the system can make use of  it  as

     It  is recommended that the system have at least 2MB of
memory or more, but it will run on much smaller systems to a
limited  degree  by paging (the C++ compiler uses about 1 MB
of memory in operation).  A 4 MB system with an 200 MB+  IDE
disk is a comfortable configuration, although by sharing the
sources via NFS, networked systems with  40  MB  drives  are
quite useful.

Machines Tested:
-------- ------

     At  the  moment,  this software has only been tested on
the following configurations:

Toshiba laptop clone, 386SX/387SX, 3MB RAM, VGA LCD(Cirrus),
     Megahertz T2LL Ethernet, Conners CP3100 IDE 100MB drive.

Compaq DeskPro, 386/387, 9MB RAM, Compaq VGA, ESDI Maxtor 8380 drive(type 38),
     WD8003EBT Ethernet, Compaq QIC-150 cartridge drive.

386BSD RELEASE NOTES          3                   March 1992

     Please fill out the enclosed registration form and sur-
vey so we can add more to this test base list. It is expect-
ed that all Compaq, Toshiba, Chips and Technology-based, and
OPTI-based  systems should work with little trouble. See up-
coming DDJ articles on installation troubles for further in-
fo.   We  can be contacted for limited help with the system,
but, realize that this work is currently unfunded and we can
only devote a tiny amount of time to it. As a hint to fixing
troubles, defeating options like shadow ram or RAM  BIOS  is
an excellent place to start.

Installation Procedures:
------------ ----------

     Currently, the system does not coexist with MS-DOS, but
requires the entire machine. SINCE IT IS STILL  EXPERIMENTAL
DRIVE CONTENTS, so you had better save backup dumps  offline
of any information you wish to be preserved (1 in 100 of you
will do this, of course, but you were warned).

     First, make a copy of all of  the  diskettes  and  save
them away. Make many copies of the distribution installation
diskette, and salt them away in various places, as it is im-
possible to recover the system without one otherwise.

     The  distribution  installation diskette has predefined
shell variables that correspond to the device name  for  the
floppy  drive  ($FD), the raw device name ($RFD), the amount
of storage ($FTRK) per track (in kilobytes), and the disktab
entry type ($FT). These are present to parameterize the dif-
ferences between 3.5 inch and 5.25 inch versions of the boot

     Format  the  drive, if it is not already. Determine the
geometry (sectors/track, tracks/cylinder, number  of  cylin-
ders,  etc),  and create a disktab entry describing the disk
drive in the /etc/disktab file on the floppy.  This  can  be
done by allowing the floppy to be written to (it defaults to
disabling writing) by the command:

mount -u $FD /

     You can edit the file with the elvis editor, a clone of
the  encumbered  Berkeley vi text editor done by Steve Kirk-
endall.  You may wish to use one of the existing disktab en-
tries  as  a template for a new entry you are making. Please
include any disktab entrys you make in the survey form so we
can  include them in the next release.  Note: after you have
written the disk, please execute the "sync" command so  that
the file will be forced back to the diskette.

     Next,  use  the  disklabel command to write a bootstrap
and disk label data structure on the hard disk itself.  This

386BSD RELEASE NOTES          4                   March 1992

will destroy any information present on the beginning cylin-
der of the hard disk drive. A sample disklabel command:

disklabel -r -w wd0 cp3100    (label winchester drive 0 as a conners 3100)
disklabel -r wd0         (display the label on winchester drive 0)

     Next, create empty filesystems for the root  (partition
a  of  the  drive) and usr (partition h) with the newfs com-

newfs wd0a     (root partition high level format)
newfs wd0h     (usr partition high level format)

     Mount the root partition and transfer the  contents  of
the distribution installation floppy to the hard drive. This
step frees up the floppy for use in loading the multi-volume
distribution while running off the hard disk drive:

mount /dev/wd0a /mnt  (associate the mnt directory with the new root filesystem)
(cd /; tar -cf - .) | (cd /mnt; tar -xf -)   (copy floppy to hard disk)
sync                          (flush out written blocks)

     Reboot  the  system  by  the  traditional cntrl-alt-del
three-fingered reset, and  remove  the  floppy  and  set  it
aside.  The  system  should  now  come  up off the hard disk
drive. Next, we load the distribution by inserting the first
floppy (volume 1 of the binary distribution) and typing:

mount /dev/wd0h /usr (make usr filesystem available, as it will also be loaded)
mr $FTRK $RFD | tar -xzf -  (floppy extract compressed floppy archive)

     A prompt will ask for successive floppies to be insert-
ed into the drive.  At the conclusion,  the  "sync"  command
should be used, and the system rebooted. The installation is
now complete, and the same procedures may be  used  at  this
point to extract the source distribution if desired.


     At  the  moment,  386BSD  comes up single user, and re-
quires manual starting of the system  daemons,  as  well  as
filesystem  checks. In use, one would minimally wish to type
after booting:

fsck -p
mount -a

386BSD RELEASE NOTES          5                   March 1992

     This will improve in forthcoming  versions  of  386BSD.
Be  aware  that  the  user is running as the super-user, and
care should be taken given the maximum privileges present.

Known bugs:
----- ----

     Many bugs and unimplemented portions of the system  ex-
ist  and  can  be  annoying. The most irritating are the tty
driver bugs that are  related  to  boundaries  in  the  ring
buffers,  which cause the input queue to become truncated or
wrapped, as well as freezing the input queue when a  transi-
tion  to  RAW  mode  occurs  near a boundary (generally, the
first time the command  "more"  prompts).  Usually,  hitting
control-C clears this situation.

     Sometimes,  an  endless  end-of-file  on input from the
terminal occurs that may require the  system  to  be  reset.
There  is  a pipe bug, believed to be in the block I/O code,
that breaks large pipe transfers into ~3  KB  maximum  sized
chunks.   Occasionally,  a  missing interrupt bug causes the
system to  jam  waiting  for  an  interrupt  that  has  been
botched.   Init  does  not handle signals and process groups
correctly, nor does it support multiuser operation (you  can
start  up other users by hand, or over the network as incom-
ing terminal sessions!).  Execve will not run shell scripts,
nor  will it work with arglists greater than 2 KB.  There is
no facility for program debugging (e.g.  ptrace).   Raw  DMA
transfers  to non-page aligned, non-consecutive within 64 KB
physical boundaries don't work correctly.  The console  ter-
minal emulator destroys screen contents occasionally.  A re-
dundant swap free fragment bug is  present  under  intensive
paging operations, and resource constipation due to hundreds
of processes on tiny machines does occur.  Operation on less
than  2MB  may  be  erratic or impossible due to a base page
memory botch present.

     All of these bugs are understood. Some of the fixes re-
quire  redesign  while  others require code from the article
series!, but we are sure more are present.  Bug  fixes  will
be put into subsequent versions.

Key Missing Utilities:
--- ------- ---------

     Among  the  most  annoying  missing utilities are: awk,
grep, sort, diff, test, and expr.  The utility software  has
been cudgeled to ignore these for the moment, but eventually
these must be rectified. All of  the  NET/2  utilities  have
been  made  to work with 386BSD, including those not present
in this release due to space considerations. You  will  find
it  fairly  painless  to  add  software to this base system,
which is still at heart a full 32-bit POSIX compliant  oper-
ating system with program development environment.

386BSD RELEASE NOTES          6                   March 1992

     Note  also  that  DES encryption and Kerberos have pur-
posely been left off the system to allow  for  international
use, as 386BSD incorporates software (such as NFS) which has
been done by researchers in other countries and  contributed
to  Berkeley.  For those international readers who have con-
sidered obtaining the NET/2 tape from UCB, it might interest
them  to know that an export license (GTDA) has been granted
for a version of the NET/2 tape.


     Your interest, involvement, and support in this project
and  its  goals will determine the future of 386BSD and suc-
cessive releases. We would like to take this  much  further,
but  we  need  considerable assistance of all kinds to allow
386BSD to grow further. We realize the shortcomings  of  Re-
lease  0.0,  but  are intensely proud of what we have accom-
plished in providing you with a chance  to  become  involved
with a system that has enough tools to develop itself.

386BSD RELEASE NOTES          7                   March 1992