Vaxstation 4000 m60 and NetBSD

David Brownlee abs at
Sun Jan 7 13:35:31 CST 2018

On 2 January 2018 at 21:02, Maciej W. Rozycki via cctalk <
cctalk at> wrote:

> On Tue, 19 Dec 2017, Charles Dickman via cctalk wrote:
> > > Hardware support say no support for LCG Graphics :-(
> >
> > There are a few people willing to work on graphics for old
> > vaxstations, but there is no documentation.
> >
> > If anyone has documentation, the netbsd vax port mailing list would be
> > very interested.
>  The RAMDAC is standard, so as long as frame buffer memory is mapped into
> the CDAL address space writing a dumb device driver should be pretty
> straightforward with little reverse engineering effort.  And CDAL address
> decoding is I believe documented in the KA46 board specification.
>  And all else failing you can always resort to TURBOchannel graphics wired
> via a TURBOchannel adapter.  While not supported by the console monitor,
> it can be handled by the OS just fine, and several TURBOchannel graphics
> drivers are already available for other ports, so it's just a matter of a
> suitable kernel configuration (with minor patching possibly, depending on
> how cleanly written the respective drivers are).
>  I was able to get OS console output using at least the HX and one of the
> HX+ options with my m90 and the (still very crippled and long neglected)
> VAX/Linux port several years ago.  The MX, CX and TX options should be
> easily supportable too.  Only accelerators (PixelStamp and PixelVision
> architecture implementations) might cause trouble for one reason or
> another (such as using DMA or requiring a TURBOchannel extender, which are
> scarcer than hen's teeth).

I've been chatting to the NetBSD dev who wrote support for most of the
sparc framebuffers (up to and including accelerated antialiased font
console support where relevant), and if anyone has a spare VAXstation with
a framebuffer they would be willing to part with (*) he would be very
interested in writing driver support.

(*) I'm happy to pay a reasonable amount to help find a beloved charge a
caring new home involving active exercise with exciting new code :-p


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