Installing AIX on Qemu!

YES it’s real!

I’m using the Linux subystem on Windows, as it’s easier to build this Qemu tree from source. I’m using Debian, but these steps will work on other systems that use Debian as a base.

First thing first, you need to get your system with the needed pre-requisites to compile:

apt-get update;apt-get upgrade
apt-get install build-essential pkg-config libz-dev libglib2.0-dev libpixman-1-dev libfdt-dev

Great with those in place, now clone Artyom Tarasenko’s source repository

git clone --branch 40p-20190406-aix-boots --single-branch

Since the frame buffer apparently isn’t quite working just yet, I configure for something more like a text mode build.

./configure --target-list=ppc-softmmu --disable-sdl --disable-vnc --disable-gtk

Now for me, GCC 7 didn’t build the source cleanly. I had to make a change to the file config-host.mak and remove all references to -Werror. Also I removed the sound hooks, as we won’t need them. remove the following lines:


Now you can build Qemu. it’ll happily build in parallel so feel free to build using the -j parameter with how many cores you have. I have 32, so I use

make -j32

Okay, all being well you now have a Qemu. Now following the steps from
Artyom Tarasenko’s blog post, we can get started on the install!

First we create a 8GB disk

qemu-img create -f qcow2 aix-hdd.qcow2 8G

Next we need the custom BIOS with serial as the console.


You’ll need some AIX. I tried a 3.2.5 CD-ROM and it didn’t pick up, but AIX 4.3.3 did.

Now with all those bits in place, it’s time to run Qemu.

./ppc-softmmu/qemu-system-ppc -M 40p -bios q40pofw-serial.rom -serial telnet::4441,server -hda aix-hdd.qcow2 -vga none -nographic -net none -cdrom Volume_1.iso

Now telnet to your localhost on port 4441 and you will see the console doing it’s BIOS initialize and eventually drop to the OK prompt.

One trick I’ve found is that from the Open Firmware prompt you can find out what partitions are recognized from the firmware. If it see’s partitions then there is some hope that the image you have is valid enough to boot. In the last few days I’ve found quite a few AIX images, which are lacking the partition table, and unable to boot.

.partitions cdrom

simply type in boot cdrom:2 to kick off the installer. It may take a minute or so for the installer to kick off.

If all goes well, you’ll see the BIOS reload itself, then after a minute you’ll be prompted to press 1 to select the console

It doesn’t echo, don’t panic!

Next select your language. I’m doing English.

Next it’ll ask about installation type. Default ought to be fine.

Because this will destroy the contents of the disk (which doesn’t matter as it’s blank) it’ll prompt for confirmation.

After this it’ll begin the installation. Depending on how fast your disk & CPU is this will take a while.

For me, the installation took about 11 minutes. This is using my Xeon E5-2667 v2. It took 17 minutes on my 2006 Mac Pro, with X5365’s it .

After it’s done, right around the 96% time it’ll reboot back to the BIOS

Once you are back at the OK prompt, you can now boot disk:

it’ll look like it’s hung for a minute, then it’ll start booting from disk!

Once the OS is booted up, you select the terminal type. I’m using putty but I’ll select the vt100. Of note the function keys are selected by hitting escape and then the number key. So F3 is ESC 3.

I’m just going to finish the install, as we can always run smitty to mess with the system more, but right now I’m just interested in a base install of the BOS (Base Operating System, and IBM ISM).

A few moments later, you’ll get dumped to the login prompt.

By default there is no password, so just login as root, and there you go, your very own virtual AIX 4.3 system.

# uname -a
AIX localhost 3 4 000000004C00

So there you go! All thanks to Artyom’s hard work!

Finally got a Gotek

It was everything I had hoped it to be. I paid extra for a 3d printed mounting bracket and the cute led display.

I had one adf handy to test, Captain Blood, a nice pirated version so the weird encoding wouldn’t be an issue.

It was kind of nice watching it boot up, although as slow as I remember a mechanical drive being. But at the same time nice not using 30 year old media.

I have a few more upgrades on the way to deck out my 600, although I need to do some kind of RGB thing as the composite video has so much noise it’s unreal.

Anyway despite the old flame war on floppy emulation, the Goteks are dirt cheap, and. Hell if it’ll work in an Amiga, it’ll work anywhere.

So the Infocom source code base was just ‘released’.

So I woke up to this incredible news. Jason Scott at the most excellent had just uploaded the old Infocom source code to github. It’s from the infamous ‘found hard disk’ that has been mentioned going back to the failed game ‘The restaurant at the end of the universe’.

So looking at the repos here, you can see the latest ones are all Infocom. It’s best to get them all via git for reason below:

git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone

NEW the ‘gold’ versions of various games, these are the ones with built in help systems

git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone

The reason being of course that if there are multiple versions they are stacked. Now why is this important? Who cares? it’s all in ZILL which there is no compiler for, as the TOPS-20 tools are still lost?

Enter ZILF!

Written by Jesse McGrew in an apparent vacuum, this toolchain can Z3 machine based ZIL source code. Yes that’s right it’s a compiler!

I know Zork will get all the headlines, but back the 80’s I preferred Planetfall. I’m not even going to talk about the insanity that was the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.

Zilf is really only suited for Z3 compilation, and looking at planetfall there are two commits of note:

$ git log| tail -11
commit e85ca899aac575e74a4b3845f44d09a891c1563a
Author: historicalsource <[email protected]>
Date:   Sat Apr 13 21:35:51 2019 -0400

    Final Revision

commit 281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc
Author: historicalsource <[email protected]>
Date:   Sat Apr 13 21:34:42 2019 -0400

    Revision 37 (Original Source)

The source for the Final version won’t build with ZILF. However the Revision 37 source will!

$ git checkout 281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc
Note: checking out '281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc'.

You are in 'detached HEAD' state. You can look around, make experimental
changes and commit them, and you can discard any commits you make in this
state without impacting any branches by performing another checkout.

If you want to create a new branch to retain commits you create, you may
do so (now or later) by using -b with the checkout command again. Example:

  git checkout -b <new-branch-name>

HEAD is now at 281bd34... Revision 37 (Original Source)

Ok, now let’s trash the directory! (you did backup the repo first, right?)

C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall>..\bin\Zilf planetfall.zil
ZILF 0.8 built 3/19/2017 1:34:17 PM

[warning MDL0417] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:509: ROUTINE: only 3 routine arguments allowed in V3, so last 2 "OPT" arguments will never be passed
  in INSERT-FILE called at planetfall.zil:14
  in IFILE called at planetfall.zil:25
[warning ZIL0208] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\SYNTAX.zil:143: preaction routine mismatch for 'V?ZAP': using PRE-ZAP as before
[error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:150: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name
[error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:315: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name
[error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:317: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name
[error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:319: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name
[warning ZIL0504] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\PARSER.zil:244: treating SET to 0 as true here
[warning ZIL0502] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\VERBS.zil:156: RETURN value ignored: block is in void context
[warning ZIL0204] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\VERBS.zil:1879: no such global variable 'WHERE', using the local instead
[warning ZIL0505] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\COMPTWO.zil:3035: COND: clauses after else part will never be evaluated
[warning ZIL0308] <top level>: too many parts of speech for 'PORT': Object (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:78), Adjective (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:224), Direction (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:11)
[warning ZIL0306] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:224: discarding the Adjective part of speech for 'PORT'
[warning ZIL0308] <top level>: too many parts of speech for 'BRUSH': Object (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:548), Adjective (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:549), Verb (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\SYNTAX.zil:283)
[warning ZIL0306] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:549: discarding the Adjective part of speech for 'BRUSH'
10 warnings
4 errors

C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall>dir *zap
 Volume in drive C is BOOTCAMP
 Volume Serial Number is 903B-72D4

 Directory of C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall

04/17/2019  08:32 PM           247,803 planetfall.zap
04/17/2019  08:32 PM           162,476 planetfall_data.zap
04/17/2019  08:32 PM             1,336 planetfall_freq.zap
04/17/2019  08:32 PM            40,495 planetfall_str.zap
               4 File(s)        452,110 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  238,542,704,640 bytes free

C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall>..\bin\zapf planetfall.zap
ZAPF 0.8
Reading planetfall.zap
Reading planetfall_freq.zap
Reading planetfall_data.zap
Reading planetfall_str.zap
Wrote 121952 bytes to planetfall.z3

Sure it said 4 errors, but it compiled! Using a z3 or higher interpreter we can load up Planetfall


At first glance it may look the same, but check the serial number. 190417. That’s today!

I’ve played it about 1/5th of the way though. There is a walkthru here.

There seems to be so much in flux about this source dump. replicate while you can!

T’is the season for upgrades!

I’ve had this 2006 MacPro for quite a while. I’ve taken it home as didn’t have a ‘good’ home machine as I have my better stuff in the office. Anyways the machine is far obsolete with 10.7 being the last official release supported, and although you can treat it like a hackintosh and go much further, Apple is making their binaries tuned heavy enough that all the spectre/meltdown patches broke the old Xeons.

So I installed Windows 10, and found I can go all the way to 1809 without any issues. I put in a GT 1030 with DDR5 RAM and it can even game to extent, although the 13 year old 2Ghz processors were certainly holding it down. Upgrade processors have always been available when I had this machine but they were expensive, and I wasn’t sure if they’d work. Well I picked up a pair of Xeon x5365 for $88 RMB each and pulled the plug.

A score of 167!

Supported features of the old Xeon 5130’s:

  • MMX instructions
  • SSE / Streaming SIMD Extensions
  • SSE2 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 2
  • SSE3 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • SSSE3 / Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • EM64T / Extended Memory 64 technology / Intel 64  ? 
  • NX / XD / Execute disable bit  ? 
  • VT-x / Virtualization technology  ? 

I thought the thing to do was a quick benchmark of before and after. I was getting a whopping 167! That means if Cinebench scales to 100% efficiency I get a core score of 41. While my ‘newer’ machine’s E5-2620 v2 was scoring 52, and the current E5-2667 v2 is scoring 77.

It took two hours, but I finally got these 2 Xeon x5365’s installed giving me a score of 560, or a score of 70 per core. Nice!

Much progress

And here is the CPU features of the Xeon 5365:

  • MMX instructions
  • SSE / Streaming SIMD Extensions
  • SSE2 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 2
  • SSE3 / Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • SSSE3 / Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3
  • EM64T / Extended Memory 64 technology / Intel 64  ? 
  • NX / XD / Execute disable bit  ? 
  • VT-x / Virtualization technology  ? 

If you are expecting to run new and exciting software that requires SSE4/SSE4.1/SSE4.2 and the infamous POPCNT and LZCNT instructions you will be disappointed. Sorry Apex Legends fans. This also means that VMware Player is capped to version 12.

Also, while there is a POPCNT Emulator, it will trigger anti-cheat software, and you will get perma banned. Pitty.

Another thing worth noting is that it’s worth looking at the TDP of the various sSPEC of Xeons. I was lucky and I was able to source the SLAED variation which has half the idle TDP of the SLAC3 variant.

So yeah, this is basically as far as this thing can go CPU wise. Although I have 16GB of RAM, apparently it can go to 32GB, which means buying all new memory modules. I guess I can do a better video card. I’m hoping that I can run more stuff at once, I was hitting a point with all 4 cores were maxed to 100% way too much.

I was going to show off the new CPU’s but apparently the pictures didn’t come out and I wanted to get this upgrade over with, as I had mentioned it did take 2 hours. The plastic retainer in the memory cage, and that stupid cover for the processors was the hardest PITA to remove. I probably spent at least 30 minutes pulling that damned thing off. I never removed the CPU shield before and 13 years, 3 nations, 2 continents worth of dust was unreal. Maybe it’s just as well the pictures didn’t come out, as it was pretty disgusting in there. It’s also no wonder the old CPU’s were running hot.

I wonder if this machine counts as being vintage now? Apple’s sliding scale of support is a weird thing.

Found more system16 source

It gets a little confusing as they are all version 0.82 the real way to tell them apart is the date

What is cool about these versions is that they do have some audio capabilities, although they are so old that they do rely on sampled sounds for:

  • Alien Syndrome
  • Altered Beast
  • Golden Axe
  • Shadow Dancer
  • Shinobi
  • Wrestle War

But it’s from 1999 and that was the state of emulation.

0.82 is basically where the project had left off, and was of course supplanted by MAME. There was preliminary work on AfterBurner 2, although there is from the looks of it a bad/partial ROM dump to blame for the most part. It’s unplayable but it sort of runs the demo.

0.82 does however emulate a strange version of OutRun. Namely that it lacks shifter support all together. So hold down the accelerator and take off!

Notable things is the inclusion of Neill Corlett’s Starscream for 68000 emulation, Neil Bradley’s Mz80, Jarek Burczynski’s YM2151. Which reflects many components of the era that would find their way into MAME.

Which of course speaks to another thing, that tracking down ROMs for these ancient pre-mame emulators is getting impossible with vague names, and no timestamps.

Btw, there is two excellent pages where you can get all the roms supported
by this emulator, these pages are : by Conjurer
and by JoseQ

Which naturally, are lost to the mists of time.

I’ve been able to run it under DOSBox, Qemu and VMWare. For VMWare, be sure to enable Sound Blaster emulation, and set the BLASTER environment variable to:

SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H7 P330 T6

The video mode for the start screen doesn’t render on VMWare or Qemu, so in that case I just start it with the following batch file

system16 %1.gcs -notitle -old2151 -noarcade %2 %3 %4 %5 %6

And away it goes!

I don’t have the FPS stats as it’ll crash when going to the menu to exit, and I didn’t hack up the source that much at the moment (caught another flu…). But Qemu 0.90 feels a LOT more fluid playing outrun than VMWare or DOSBox on my 2006 Mac Pro. Although on my 32 core Xeon monster it plays great on everything. I guess if you have at least 3Ghz and your CPU is less than 8 years old it’ll be fine for running nested emulation along with emulating 2 68000’s a z80, and a ym2151. Or just run a native build of MAME! Or if you really want low lag Outrun, use Cannonball!

And thanks again to Thierry Lescot for letting me redistribute this

Playing old 68000 tracks via sc68

First thing, what makes these tracks from sc68 & sndh unique is that it’s not simple music notes, like MIDI, but rather each track actually includes the native 68000 program to play the track, and it interfaces directly to the hardware. This means that sc68 actually has to emulate enough of the Atari ST & Commodore Amiga to play music. I’ve got to say, it’s pretty impressive!

I’m using WinAmp to act as the player, so this way I just need to download the plugin from sourceforge at the moment the latest is sc68-2.2.1.exe.

On install I un-selected the winamp-3 component. I’ve tested it with 2.24 and 5.8, both working just fine.

With the plugin installed, you are good to go!

Now where to get music?

As it turns out, the sc68 project has a ‘massive’ 25MB file, sc68files_20031118.tar.gz containing some 1,775 files!

Likewise the SNDH project has downloads on their page that currently sits at 75MB, and has 4,925 files!

sc68 plugin doing it’s thing

If you look at the code, you can find that it does in fact emulate a 68000 along with peripheral chips and music chips. Just as the SNDH format is 68000 ASM.

So there we go, an obscure music format that actually involves emulation!

French national Internet Referral Unit tries to shutdown

Count on un-elected technocrats trying to ruin awesome resources with their kanagroo court style operations in their little backwater nonsensical nations.

Good grief.

I should step up my uploads. I did add my NetWare 3.12 disk sets, Citrix Multiuser 2.0 and NeXTSTEP 3.3 CISC stuff.

68000 and i386 C Compiler Version III on Windows

While looking around for simple compilers to see how easy it is to modify their assembly output syntax, I ran across this tiny file, which bills itself as:

This compiler consists of various modules that build up a
front end — these modules are common to all versions of
this compiler — consisting of parser, analyzer and optimizer,
of modules that are specific for the target processor,
namely *68k.c (for the 68000) and *386.c (for the i386),
and of assembly language output modules that are further
dependent on the (syntax of the) target assembler.

Well isn’t that interesting! So instead of doing something 68000 based, I setup the i386-gas compiler, and tried it with MinGW. And amazingly a hello world program worked!

C:\temp\ccc\cc\infocom>type hello.c
void main(){printf("Hello World!\n");}
C:\temp\ccc\cc\infocom>..\c386gas hello.c hello.s

C:\temp\ccc\cc\infocom>gcc hello.s -o hello

Hello World!

C:\temp\ccc\cc\infocom>type hello.s
        .file   "C386GENERATED"
        .version        "C386 V 1.0"
        .byte 72,101,108,108,111,32,87,111,114,108,100,33
        .byte 10,0
        .align 2
pushl %ebp
movl %esp,%ebp
pushl $L1
call _printf
popl %ecx
.globl _main
.globl _printf


Well that was unexpected, but great! So I thought I’d modify the simple Infocom interpreter to build with this. I came up with this as a block for gnumake to read in a Makefile

%.o:    %.c
        $(CC) $(CFLAGS) -E $<  -o $*.i
        c386gas $*.i $*.s
        as $*.s -o [email protected]
        rm -f $*.i $*.s

The key substitute is $* which is the ‘root’ of the file being passed in. Although it’s lame doing it this way but it works in a nice automatic enough fashion.

The compiler must be K&R only as it doesn’t like standard includes, so I built file.c/io.c/term.c using GCC but all the rest were able to be built just fine. And even better it works!

Although I’d never recommend using something like this in a place that matters. If anything GCC 1.x is probably a better choice, but it’s still kind of neat.