NetBSD on a VAX 3100 (DV-31AT1-A)

Holm Tiffe holm at
Mon Mar 16 05:19:44 CDT 2020

Rod Smallwood via cctalk wrote:

> Hi All
> With the upcoming demise of VMS/VAX I thought I might give NetBSD/vax a try.
> Downloading a bootable image and burning it onto a CD was not a problem.
> On the 3100 with attached RRD42 and SCSI drive RZ26l the CD duly booted 
> ito the NetBSD install menu.
> All of versions 7,8 and 9. failed after partitioning at the point where 
> the system is copied to the hard disk.
> Has anybody successfuly installed NetBSD on a VAX.  If which version on 
> which VAX
> Rod Smallwood
> -- 

I had several kinds of trouble installing NetBSD on Vaxstations in the
past. If I remember correctly one of the reasons for an failing install
was some trouble related to the cache and the SCSI Controller.

There is a maling list to which you should subscribe and report the
problem: port-vax at
I think personally that NetBSD-vax is in a not so good state...

This is from 03/30/2013, there is (was?) a bunch of similar problems
on VS3100/M76, or VS4000/90 too, stray interrupts, segfailts in the
install script and so on.
If the system is finally running, most of the problems are gone, but
installing is a special thing it seems...

>I've got some Vaxstations lately and today I've tried to install
>NetBSD-6.1_RC2 on a VS3100M38 with 24Mbytes of RAM.
>Disk is an IBM DCAS 34330, 4Gbyte.
>I can do what I want, the install.ram is crashing while labeling the
>regardless if I have overwritten the disk with zeros before ot not.
>This is the last screen:
>     Status: Command ended on signal
>    Command: disklabel -w -r -f /tmp/disktab sd0 'DCAS-34330     '
>     Hit enter to continue
>uid 0, pid 7, command disklabel, on /: file system full
>/: write failed, file system is full
>pid 7 (disklabel): user write of 9272 at 0x1a2000 at 67912 failed: 28
>I had all kinds of similar errors in the tris before that, illegal
>instrcutions and so on.
>The disk is ok, OpenBSD is running fine on that beast and I'm unable to
>install more RAM as the two boards that are currently in that machine to
>get more than 24MB.
>What is the right way to install NetBSD on such a M38?
>Kind Regards,

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