Linux on the VAX

I don’t know how I missed this thing!

$ cat lvax
load -r ka655.bin
set rq0 ra92
att rq0 /tmp/vmlinux.dsk
att xq dummy0
boot cpu
$ ./vax lvax

MicroVAX 3900 simulator V4.0-0 Beta git commit id: 55c5d205

KA655-B V5.3, VMB 2.7
Performing normal system tests.
Tests completed.
>>>show dev
UQSSP Disk Controller 0 (772150)
-DUA0 (RA92)
-DUA1 (RD54)
-DUA2 (RD54)
-DUA3 (RX50)

UQSSP Tape Controller 0 (774500)
-MUA0 (TK50)
-MUA1 (TK50)
-MUA2 (TK50)
-MUA3 (TK50)

RLV12 Controller 0 (774400)
-DLA0 (RL01)
-DLA1 (RL01)
-DLA2 (RL01)
-DLA3 (RL01)

Ethernet Adapter 0 (774440)
-XQA0 (08-00-2B-AA-BB-CC)
>>>boot dua0:


CPU type:
Boot Head.S loaded at address 00004A00
rpb/bootr5/ap/sp 00000000 00000000 00000344 00004800
relocated at phys address 00100307
CPU type: 0A000006 sidex: 01530302

Starting VM
Linux/VAX (
KA650 sidex = 01530302
RPB info: l_pfncnt: 00007f98, .l_vmb_version: 0a000207 .l_badpgs: 00000000
Physical memory: 00007f98 HW pagelets, 00000ff3 pages (16332KB)
CPU type: KA650, SID: 00000000
VM: mapped physical from 80000000 to 80ff3000, iomap from 80ff3000
VM: vmalloc from 810f3000 to 814f3000
VM: ptemap from 814f4000 to 837f4000 for 64 processes
calling start_kernel…

Linux version 2.4.16 ( (gcc version 2.95.2-linuxvax-dynamic-dev (CVS)) #28 Wed Feb 12 09:55:28 GMT 2003
kernel_cmd_line 80004a04
root=/dev/nfs ip= nfsroot=/mnt/redhat/vax_emu/vaxroot rw debug init=/bin/sh
VAXMM: Initialising mm layer for 64 tasks of size 64MB
VAXMM: system page table base 8020b800, length (bytes) 6fe80 length (ptes) 1bfa0
bootmap size = 00000200
calling free_bootmem(start=00001000, len=000ff000)
calling free_bootmem(start=0027c000, len=00d77000)
On node 0 totalpages: 4083
zone(0): 4083 pages.
zone(1): 0 pages.
zone(2): 0 pages.
Kernel command line: root=/dev/nfs ip= nfsroot=/mnt/redhat/vax_emu/vaxroot rw debug init=/bin/sh
Calibrating delay loop… 23.29 BogoMIPS
Memory: 14556k/16332k available
Dentry-cache hash table entries: 2048 (order: 2, 16384 bytes)
Inode-cache hash table entries: 1024 (order: 1, 8192 bytes)
Mount-cache hash table entries: 512 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
Buffer-cache hash table entries: 1024 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
Page-cache hash table entries: 4096 (order: 2, 16384 bytes)
POSIX conformance testing by UNIFIX
Linux NET4.0 for Linux 2.4
Based upon Swansea University Computer Society NET3.039
Starting kswapd
pty: 256 Unix98 ptys configured
Serial driver version 5.05c (2001-07-08) with no serial options enabled
block: 64 slots per queue, batch=16
RAMDISK driver initialized: 16 RAM disks of 4096K size 1024 blocksize
IO mapped phys addr 0x20088000, 0x0008 pages at virt 0x80ff3000 (IOMAP PTE index 0x0000)
ttyS0: Internal processor register console
IO mapped phys addr 0x20001000, 0x0001 pages at virt 0x80ffb000 (IOMAP PTE index 0x0008)
delqa qbus vector: 4 (0004, 0x0004)
Ethernet address in ROM: 08:00:2b:aa:bb:cc
NET4: Linux TCP/IP 1.0 for NET4.0
IP Protocols: ICMP, UDP, TCP
IP: routing cache hash table of 512 buckets, 4Kbytes
TCP: Hash tables configured (established 512 bind 512)
eth0: resetting DELQA… done
IP-Config: Guessing netmask
IP-Config: Complete:
device=eth0, addr=, mask=, gw=,
host=vaxemu, domain=, nis-domain=(none),
bootserver=, rootserver=, rootpath=
NET4: Unix domain sockets 1.0/SMP for Linux NET4.0.
Looking up port of RPC 100003/2 on

I’m amazed that it runs this far under SIMH.  Sadly though disks are not supported on any of the SIMH models, as Linux relies on certain CPU models:

  • VAXstation 3100m76 (KA43 CPU)
  • VAXstation 3100m38 (KA42 CPU)

The project has moved from sourceforge, to a dedicated server.  Sadly it seems that it has been a few years between updates, but I guess someone could carry the torch….

2 thoughts on “Linux on the VAX

  1. I had 2 machines with memory maxed out in 2008 and the only thing working except vms was openbsd. It took ages to generate DSA/RSA keys for the openssh 🙂

    • once uppon a time I’d received a sparc64 to run TACACS+ on. Except that the sun compiler couldn’t give me a working exe… so I panic’d and quickly installed SIMH & OpenBSD on the VAX. Which worked… and I think took over an hour to generate the keys.. But yeah nothing like a Sparc64 running a VAX to run TACACS on to authenticate our routers.

      But once it was working, it worked great and I never really had the need to ‘fix’ the original problem. And it kept nosey sysadmins out of what was going on…

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