Windows 2000 64-bit for Alpha AXP

(this is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka tenox)

Recently, hinted by friends on Discord, Neozeed “discovered” a Win64 compiler for AXP64 / ALPHA64, that came in as part of Windows Platform SDK from 1999. This was released by Microsoft to allow developers test-compile their programs to see if they are “64bit ready”, ahead the 64bit hardware being available. However, this was just a cross-compiler and there was no actual way of running any of the binaries. Until Itanium finally came out, after infamously long delays. The Win64 project for AXP64 and IA64 was code name “Sundown”. Sadly, 64-bit Alpha AXP Windows was never released outside of Redmond.

Trying the compiler, just for fun, I compiled Alpha64 version of Aclock – with zero hopes of ever being able to run it. There are some known surviving machines with AXP64 stored at Microsoft Archives. In fact I saw one with my own eyes, last time I visited there some 10 years ago:

DEC Alpha with AXP64 Windows at Microsoft Archives.
DEC Alpha with AXP64 Windows codename “Sundown”, at Microsoft Archives, 2014

The machine in picture above was featured in a blog post by Raymond Chen, which is a must read. It will give you background info on the whole Alpha 64bit situation. Unfortunately nothing ever leaves Microsoft Archives, unless you have a court order or SVP approval.

And that would be the end of the story… if not for one generous reader, who contacted Neozeed after his previous post, and shared a disk image… containing a 64bit build of Windows 2000 for Alpha AXP! The reader got it from a lot of random lot of hard disks bought from an e-waste, years ago, and completely forgot about it until they saw the blog post!

Having a PWS500 with ZuluSCSI handy, I was able to slap the image on an SD card and boot it up:

Windows 2000 Alpha64 Splash Screen

The system BSOD shortly after. Turns out, this is a checked (debug) build of Windows and requires a permanently attached kernel debugger to even boot up. Initially WinDbg and kd.exe refused to work, as the target CPU did not match the host (the exact error code is: KD Version has unknown processor architecture). After some deliberation and help from friends, I learned that alphakd.exe can be run on x86 machine to cross debug an Alpha target. Most importantly it works with AXP64!

Another problem was that the system came up with “Found New Hardware” wizard and there was no functioning keyboard and mouse to click through it. Yes I tried safe mode, VGA mode, etc., but nothing worked. The system was completely stuck on this dialog:

Fortunately, the network card worked. Neozeed and I built and hacked in to the registry an rlogin daemon. Finally solved the PNP fuckup by remotely executing a VBScript that clicked through 20+ “found new hardware” and “install unsigned driver” dialogs. Eventually, a PCI to ISA bridge was found and keyboard and mouse came up!

Aclock running on 64bit Windows on Alpha AXP

Unfortunately there are no identifying marks that would definitely prove that this is a 64bit Alpha AXP build. The only way to tell is because there is no WOW, even for AXP32. You can’t run any 32bit Alpha binaries. It will only run executables produced with the ALPHA64 compiler. This also means in practice, there is no native compiler for this. You have to cross compile on 32bit NT4 or 2KRC. However if you going to build anything for AXP64 I can run and test it for you 🙂

Update: Build Label from the Registry

For sake of search engines the build number is 2210, the full string 2210.main.000302-1934.

Update I have copied and ran a x86 `winmsd.exe` from Windows NT 4.0 and this came out:

How is it possible to run x86 binary? Because of Fx!32.

Update: So what else is in the image?

First of all, everyone is asking about Pinball… Yes, it’s there, but it won’t start:

In addition, I can’t open the event details. Maybe one day we can debug it with NTSD.

Other than that it has just basic stuff the every other Windows would have. Internet Explorer 5.5, agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0). Sadly msinfo32 doesn’t work unable to connect to a service. As mentioned before, SysWOW64 and Sys32x86 are empty directories, so you can’t run anything that isn’t compiled for Alpha64.

The image, similar to other private builds, comes with IDW which is Internal Developer Workstation. It’s a set of developer tools, that most of, but not all, were released in Platform SDK and/or Windows Resource Kit.

There are a bunch of unix like utilities, cp, mv, ls, kill, etc.:

build.exe version 4.03.2209

It can build for AXP32 and IA64:

There also are two famous text editors, Microsoft Editor aka MEP / Z and Stevie, VI clone:

Lastly, lets explore 64bit Alpha AXP gaming situation! While Pinball doesn’t work, IDW comes with an impressive amount of games. Microsoft engineers must have been playing these while waiting for builds to complete…

64-bit gaming on Alpha AXP

We have 4 different card games, FreeCell, Solitaire, Gold and Cruel. Also Taipei game, TicTactics, Reversi, Minesweeper and Snake.

AXP64 NT also has fully working OpenGL Screensavers:

If you want to see this live in action. We going to be exhibiting on VCF West 2023 in August, alongside other NT RISC machines. Come and see us!

OpenBSD 7.3 on the es40 Dec Alpha emulator!

Yes OpenBSD 7.3 Alpha boots, and installs! And it’s incredibly slow. But it’s running!

For those impatient just download it here: OpenBSD73_Alpha_es40.7z

The root password is: password

I had es40 built this from gdwnldsKSC but I amputated the pcap based networking code. I just wanted a smooth compile. The install took over an hour, as there is ssh keys to generate, and re-ordering and re-linking involved. All of which I disabled in the above image. The root password is password.

Since people never read this, the password for root is password.

One weird thing is that OpenBSD will crash on an assert if you are using the VGA console, so a serial console is a must. After it boots, as you can see the VGA console works fine.

The games work just fine as well. I didn’t bother installing the compilers as it took forever to decompress the base file, and I figured if you wanted it, you could install it. Also since I amputated the networking, there is no X11.

For those of you who want to play with virtual Dec Alpha stuff this one is pretty simple enough.

At the P00>>> prompt type in

boot dka0

And in no time it’ll boot up (takes about 2-3 minutes)

And for those of you who are into these things:

OpenVMS PALcode V1.98-104, Tru64 UNIX PALcode V1.92-105

starting console on CPU 0
initialized idle PCB
initializing semaphores
initializing heap
initial heap 240c0
memory low limit = 1b0000 heap = 240c0, 17fc0
initializing driver structures
initializing idle process PID
initializing file system
initializing hardware
initializing timer data structures
lowering IPL
CPU 0 speed is 1000 MHz
create dead_eater
create poll
create timer
create powerup
access NVRAM
Memory size 512 MB
testing memory
...
probe I/O subsystem
probing hose 1, PCI
probing hose 0, PCI
probing PCI-to-ISA bridge, bus 1
bus 0, slot 1 -- pka -- NCR 53C810
bus 0, slot 2 -- vga -- Cirrus CL-GD5434
bus 0, slot 4 -- ewa -- DE500-BA Network Controller
starting drivers
entering idle loop
initializing keyboard
*** system serial number not set. use set sys_serial_num command.
Partition 0, Memory base: 000000000, size: 020000000
initializing GCT/FRU at 1c8000
Initializing pka ewa
Memory Testing and Configuration Status
  Array       Size       Base Address    Intlv Mode
---------  ----------  ----------------  ----------
    0        512Mb     0000000000000000    4-Way

     512 MB of System Memory
Testing the System
Testing the Disks (read only)
Testing the Network
AlphaServer ES40 Console V7.2-1, built on Jun  9 2006 at 15:36:48
P00>>>boot dka0
(boot dka0.0.0.1.0 -flags 0)
block 0 of dka0.0.0.1.0 is a valid boot block
reading 15 blocks from dka0.0.0.1.0
bootstrap code read in
base = 200000, image_start = 0, image_bytes = 1e00(7680)
initializing HWRPB at 2000
initializing page table at 1ff56000
initializing machine state
setting affinity to the primary CPU
jumping to bootstrap code

OpenBSD/Alpha Primary Boot
VMS PAL rev: 0x4006800010162
OSF PAL rev: 0x400690002015c
Switch to OSF PAL code succeeded.
>> OpenBSD/alpha BOOT 2.0
boot>
booting disk:/bsd: 8562592+683208 [326169+106+499752+320686]=0x9e9790
Unrecognized boot flag '0'.
[ using 1147688 bytes of bsd ELF symbol table ]
Copyright (c) 1982, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993
        The Regents of the University of California.  All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 1995-2023 OpenBSD. All rights reserved.  https://www.OpenBSD.org

OpenBSD 7.3-current (GENERIC) #133: Wed May  3 12:45:27 MDT 2023
    [email protected]:/usr/src/sys/arch/alpha/compile/GENERIC
AlphaServer ES40, 1000MHz
8192 byte page size, 1 processor.
real mem = 536870912 (512MB)
rsvd mem = 2801664 (2MB)
avail mem = 514916352 (491MB)
random: good seed from bootblocks
mainbus0 at root
cpu0 at mainbus0: ID 0 (primary), 21264C-6 (pass 4.0)
cpu0: architecture extensions: 305<PAT,MVI,CIX,BWX>
tsc0 at mainbus0: 21272 Chipset, Cchip rev 0
tsc0: 8 Dchips, 2 memory buses of 16 bytes
tsc0: arrays present: 512MB, 0MB, 0MB, 0MB, Dchip 0 rev 1
tsp0 at tsc0 hose 0
pci0 at tsp0 bus 0
siop0 at pci0 dev 1 function 0 "Symbios Logic 53c810" rev 0x01: dec 6600 irq 8
scsibus0 at siop0: 8 targets, initiator 7
sd0 at scsibus0 targ 0 lun 0: <DEC, RZ58 (C) DEC, 2000> serial.DEC_RZ58_(C)_DECSRL0000
sd0: 2048MB, 512 bytes/sector, 4194304 sectors
vga0 at pci0 dev 2 function 0 "Cirrus Logic CL-GD5434-8" rev 0x02
wsdisplay0 at vga0 mux 1
wsdisplay0: screen 0-5 added (80x25, vt100 emulation)
dc0 at pci0 dev 4 function 0 "DEC 21142/3" rev 0x30: dec 6600 irq 20, address 08:00:2b:e5:40:00
ukphy0 at dc0 phy 0: Generic IEEE 802.3u media interface, rev. 0: OUI 0x000000, model 0x0000
sio0 at pci0 dev 7 function 0 "Acer Labs M1533 ISA" rev 0xc3
isa0 at sio0
isadma0 at isa0
com0 at isa0 port 0x3f8/8 irq 4: ns16450, no fifo
com0: console
pckbc0 at isa0 port 0x60/5 irq 1 irq 12
pckbd0 at pckbc0 (kbd slot)
wskbd0 at pckbd0 mux 1
wskbd0: connecting to wsdisplay0
pms0 at pckbc0 (aux slot)
wsmouse0 at pms0 mux 0
pcppi0 at isa0 port 0x61
spkr0 at pcppi0
lpt0 at isa0 port 0x3bc/4 irq 7
mcclock0 at isa0 port 0x70/2: mc146818 or compatible
tsp1 at tsc0 hose 1
pci1 at tsp1 bus 0
tsciic0 at tsc0
iic0 at tsciic0
vscsi0 at root
scsibus1 at vscsi0: 256 targets
softraid0 at root
scsibus2 at softraid0: 256 targets
siop0: target 0 now using 8 bit async xfers
root on sd0a (d4f7f3ff7ccee1b1.a) swap on sd0b dump on sd0b
WARNING: / was not properly unmounted
Automatic boot in progress: starting file system checks.
/dev/sd0a (d4f7f3ff7ccee1b1.a): 11877 files, 188223 used, 792736 free (232 frags, 99063 blocks, 0.0% fragmentation)
/dev/sd0a (d4f7f3ff7ccee1b1.a): MARKING FILE SYSTEM CLEAN
pf enabled
starting network
/etc/rc[498]: read: -p: no coprocess

starting early daemons: syslogd pflogd ntpd.
starting RPC daemons:.
savecore: no core dump
checking quotas: done.
clearing /tmp
kern.securelevel: 0 -> 1
creating runtime link editor directory cache.
preserving editor files.
starting network daemons: smtpd sndiod.
starting local daemons: cron.
Wed May 10 04:54:32 MDT 2023
reorder_kernel: failed -- see /usr/share/relink/kernel/GENERIC/relink.log

OpenBSD/alpha (es40.my.domain) (tty00)

login:

And there we go!

OpenBSD/alpha (es40.my.domain) (tty00)

login: root
Password:
Last login: Tue May  9 12:00:11 on tty00
OpenBSD 7.3-current (GENERIC) #133: Wed May  3 12:45:27 MDT 2023

Welcome to OpenBSD: The proactively secure Unix-like operating system.

Please use the sendbug(1) utility to report bugs in the system.
Before reporting a bug, please try to reproduce it with the latest
version of the code.  With bug reports, please try to ensure that
enough information to reproduce the problem is enclosed, and if a
known fix for it exists, include that as well.

You have new mail.
es40#

Did I mention that the root password is password?

Hiding in plain sight: The 64bit Dec Alpha C compiler

Of all the Microsoft Windows NT versions, the few of the rare ones include:

  • The i860 version, the original N-Ten that put the NT in NT.
  • The DEC 5000/MIPS version
  • The Clipper version
  • The SPARC/LE version
  • The HP9000/HPPA version
  • The AXP64/ALPHA64 port, the first 64bit version of 2000

Sadly, I don’t have any leads on any of the above. But while I was looking for the first public Win64 compiler that I could remember, it was just the frontend to the Itanium compiler, not letting you actually compile anything. Anyways I was able to find these two downloads:

And both of them have the same Win64 SDK, which includes this quick note in the readme:

Platform SDK support for Win64(tm)

This release of the Platform SDK will allow you to test-compile your
code for Win64. It supports the new 64-bit data types and pre-beta
releases of an IA64 compiler and an ALPHA64 compiler and linker.

1999 Platform SDK

It’s the same thing on both discs from what I remember.

Installing the SDK is certainly a product of it’s time, with a seemingly incredible amount of products to support.

I haven’t tested yet, but I have to wonder how integrated all the tools are into Visual C++. Stay tuned?!

Also there was still POSIX support. Windows 2000 was the last to support all the subsystems.

And of course, the star of the attraction, the 64 bit Test Compiler. There is an incredible amount of products and options to select, It must have been absolute chaos at Microsoft in the late 90s!

If you are on an intel based system, the 64bit compiler will be the top half of the Itanium compiler. It lacks the C2.DLL so it will not emit any assembly or object files. There is no linker libraries either, so for all intents and purposes it’s useless.

However, if you were to install this super preliminary SDK on a Dec Alpha you would instead discover a version 13 build of Microsoft C/C++

Microsoft (R) & Digital (TM) Alpha C/C++ Optimizing Compiler Version 13.00.8499
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1984-1999.
Copyright (C) Digital Equipment Corporation 1992-1999.
Copyright (C) Compaq Computer Corporation 1998-1999.
All rights reserved.

The Visual C++ 6.0 on the Dec Alpha however is a version 12 compiler. So this is a big surprise for AlphaNT users!

And added to version 13 are these flags:

  /Ap32 enable P32 model
  /Ap64 enable P64 model (default)

That’s right! It turns out that the AXP64 compiler set has been hiding in plain sight for DECADES. I know that it’s so unlikely that we’d ever see any public release of a 64bit version of Windows for the Alpha, but oddly enough the compiler, headers and libraries are all there. YES You can make full EXE’s for AXP64/Alpha64. Of course with no OS, so it’s not like you can run them.

The compilers have been tested on NT 4.0 Terminal Server & 2000 RC2.

For anyone wondering here is how I ran it to compile then link a 64bit exe:

C:\proj>cl /c /Ap64 mt.c /Fomt64.obj
Microsoft (R) & Digital (TM) Alpha C/C++ Optimizing Compiler Version 13.00.8499
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1984-1999.
Copyright (C) Digital Equipment Corporation 1992-1999.
Copyright (C) Compaq Computer Corporation 1998-1999.
All rights reserved.

mt.c

C:\proj>link mt64.obj /MACHINE:ALPHA64
Microsoft (R) Incremental Linker Version 6.20.8528
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1992-1999. All rights reserved

There is no point sharing the EXE as I mentioned above, there is nothing to run it on. But for the heck of it, here is uuencode compiled into assembly in both 32bit & 64bit mode.

I can’t imagine why, but for people who want to take them apart you can download the tools here.

Sadly as of today, there is no way to test. There is one surviving machine with Windows 2003 AXP64, outlined in an article by Raymond Chen. Its a great read about how Alpha64 NT port came to be. The machine is still sitting in Microsoft Archives. Hopefully one day someone can dig it out.

That said there is also version 13 compilers for both Itanium & AMD64. Although we can do stuff with the AMD64 port which I will try to write into something a bit more.. sane.

I found this a few weeks ago, and thanks to @tenox for giving me Alpha access to play a little with this hidden gem. It’s still crazy we’ve all had Alpha64 tool access the entire time.

Not as fun as Win64 Itanium, the earliest AMD64 Windows I can find

It does feel a lot like Windows XP for the Itanium, that strange half world of existence. It’s also from September 2003, the release image being named: 5.2.3790.1069.srv03_spbeta.030905-1850_amd64fre_client-professional_retail_en-us-AB1PXFRE_EN.iso

I’m sure if you google around you can easily find it.

To install you apparently need an early AMD 64 processor, otherwise it’ll trap on the installer. Back in 2004, I got a newly refurbished AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor, from Tiger Direct. The machine was only a few months old, and I was able to get an early XP build for it. Oddly enough it’s simple enough to install on Qemu. I was able to use 0.90 & 7.20, jumping at extremes, although the PCI NIC IRQ’s do jump around on 0.90 preventing the networking from working.

I had a LOT of trouble getting a bootable hard disk image out of this for some reason. So I’ve found keeping C around 2,000 Megabytes, and installing MS-DOS 5/6 got me a bootable system. Also preserving the FAT disk. Not sure why but doing formats of FAT or NTFS always seemed to result in a non bootable disk

qemu-system-x86_64w.exe -cpu Opteron_G1-v1 -hda 2g.vmdk -m 512 -M pc-i440fx-2.0 -net nic,model=rtl8139,netdev=f00 -netdev user,id=f00,hostfwd=tcp::5555-:3389 -usb -usbdevice tablet  -accel tcg,thread=multi

Special thanks to RoyTam for the suggestion of the USB tablet & turning TCG multithreaded for v7+ of Qemu

Setting up is pretty normal.

You do get 360 days to use the beta. More than enough for simple testing. I’ve seen that the timebomb doesn’t work correctly so it may work forever. But it’s so rough around the edges, I can’t see anyone trying to run this native in 2023.

Notice it’s all AMD branding. Intel officially didn’t have their EMT64 Pentium 4’s, although IBM was pushing Intel hard to get them out the door. And I think they held off on a larger x86_64 launch as Intel had not publicly caved.

And in no time you are up and running. I find the mouse really weird on Qemu, so I always enable the remote desktop function and find it much easier to deal with.

One of the advantages of RDP is that audio redirection does work, so you can play pinball!

One annoying thing (to me) is that the SysFader process will hang all the time locking explorer.exe . Along with that it’ll leave phantom UI elements haning around like the Run… above. Yes, its annoying!

The solution is of course System Properties, and Performance, and either disable the Fade elements, or just turn off all the ‘eye candy’ which basically doesn’t really exist for this release anyways.

While there is some DirectX support, it is most likely just simple GDI passthrough, and of course no acceleration as the OpenGL screensavers run incredibly slow.

And thanks to betawiki.net for some hints & tips. I haven’t tried the VMware path, since AFAIK there is no other NIC drivers for this release.

As mentioned, hardware support is VERY limited. The single audio driver is a MPU401 port. This obviously was meant for an exceptionally limited audience.

The one thing I cannot find, is any version of a Platform SDK that targets AMD64 so early. The earliest I can find is version 14 from 2005.

The 2005 compiler does have this note:

The Microsoft® C/C++ AMD64 Processor Family-targeting compiler is a cross-compiler targeting the AMD64 processor family. The compiler runs on an x86 or AMD64 computer running Microsoft Windows® XP or Microsoft Windows® Server 2003. It is the compiler used for Microsoft® internal development and is used for building Microsoft Windows NT®, Microsoft SQL Server®, and other major applications. For debugging we suggest the use of WinDbg for AMD64. Visual Studio Whidbey will support the use of the Visual Studio debugger for debugging AMD64 applications.

2005-06 – 2944.0 – Platform SDK for Windows Server 2003 SP1 (April 2005 Edition)

With the compiler being:

Microsoft (R) C/C++ Optimizing Compiler Version 14.00.40310.41 for AMD64
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

If anyone knows of anything earlier, I’d love to know! If only for the sake of messing around with it.

ERYING HM570 Motherboard with i9 11900HA

I found out about the board from some YouTube videos. An i9 laptop chip on a PC motherboard?! And for cheap! Intrigued, I looked around on AliExpress and sent away for one. The board retailed for Ă‚ÂŁ123, of course you need to add a tariff and shipping, bringing it to around Ă‚ÂŁ150.

Garbage bag of “kwality”

After two weeks it arrived!. Despite the garbage bag packing, it was wrapped in some strong bubble wrap, and the box was fully intact, no issues.

Since I don’t have much in the way of PC detritus on hand, I got the machine memory & CPU cooler for the system. Anyways yes the big outstanding feature is the big copper slug that sits between the processor and the height of a normal CP cooler. It’s a laptop processor so it doesn’t run that hot so I’m not all that worried. As expected, assembly is a snap, but because of the absolute paranoia of shipping lithium ion batteries, be sure to bring your own CR2032. Just don’t ask how it made it’s way to you.

The board is very basic, 2 DDR4 slots, a single PCI-E x16 slot, a hand full of USB 2/3 built in audio, and a single LAN jack. This is not a very expandable system, but we didn’t come here for that, it’s all about the performance per $

Blinky! blink!

I have to admit, one nice surprise feature of the NVMe is that it does have an activity light on the unit. Nice!

So what has been the downside? The integrated video only works on ONE level of the driver. So if you are going to use the integrated iGPU, you want to make sure you get one of those patched drivers that’ll block windows updates.

Ive read a few things about raising the thermal envelope of the system beyond the stock 45 watts for additional performance, but to be honest the stock config seems fine enough to me.

The other catch being no Hyper-V, so that also means no WSLv2 either. VMware player however works fine, as does nesting VM’s so I was able to move my VMware ESX 5.5 install and run it on the Erying no problem.

I have to say that overall I’ve been happy, especially at the price point, as a normal user it’s a fine machine, but I think the next time I’ll avoid engineering samples as I do like WSLv2/Hyper-v.

Missing Neko98

Neko on ARM

With the collapse of my vpsland archive, Neko has become lost once more again. Thankfully I had some fragment backups so I have been able to bring Neko back from the grave. again.

First I dumped everything I had over on sourceforge. With a bit more digging I found the old RISC versions as well. I even found the Itanium version, although I lost the ARM version. Im not sure I have an 8gb pi4 anymore, but I’d like to get one when/if prices stop being insane. Anyways I also uploaded the source to github, since it’s more hip and acceptable for zoomers. I do have to say the git mirror command was everything I’d hoped it’d be.

git push --mirror https://github.com/neozeed/neko98.git

It literally was that easy.

I put a binary built with Visual C++ 2010 SP1 over there too. Although if you need Visual C++ 2010 runtimes, I put them on sourceforge.

Also I should add in the settings make sure you click “Always On Top”, otherwise Neko will be hidden to the desktop surface and you won’t see him.

I hope you enjoy!

Revisiting AIX 4.3 on Qemu

I had gone over the install a while ago, but I wanted to re-install on a newer machine. And going from GCC 7 to 11, well a number of things changed. And I found with experience that letting Qemu select as much as it wants leads to numerous dependencies that end up being problematic.

[email protected]:~/atar-boot/qemu/ppc-softmmu$ objdump -p qemu-system-ppc | grep NEEDED
NEEDED libvdeplug.so.2
NEEDED libncursesw.so.6
NEEDED libtinfo.so.6
NEEDED libz.so.1
NEEDED libxml2.so.2
NEEDED libpixman-1.so.0
NEEDED libutil.so.1
NEEDED libnuma.so.1
NEEDED libnettle.so.6
NEEDED libgnutls.so.30
NEEDED libfdt.so.1
NEEDED libgthread-2.0.so.0
NEEDED libglib-2.0.so.0
NEEDED librt.so.1
NEEDED libstdc++.so.6
NEEDED libm.so.6
NEEDED libgcc_s.so.1
NEEDED libpthread.so.0
NEEDED libc.so.6

So using the same atar qemu git dump, I found the newer config string a bit more refined:

./configure --target-list=ppc-softmmu --disable-sdl --disable-vnc --disable-gtk --disable-gnutls --disable-nettle --disable-gcrypt --disable-spice --disable-numa --disable-libxml2 --disable-vde --disable-werror --disable-seccomp --disable-capstone --disable-vhost-net --disable-vhost-crypto --disable-vhost-scsi --disable-vhost-vsock --disable-vhost-user --disable-tpm --disable-live-block-migration

Another fun think is that there is submodules from other servers, and it seems their certs have expired.. Which also means it’s inevitable at some point this will become impossible to build. Be sure to set this environment variable in order to build:

export GIT_SSL_NO_VERIFY=true

As always Qemu will try to sneak a few things in there that we don’t need like audio support. As an example here is what I trimmed from config-host.mak:

$ diff -ruN config-host.mak config-host.mak-cutdown
--- config-host.mak 2022-11-08 09:37:41.104441392 +0000
+++ config-host.mak-cutdown 2022-11-08 09:37:25.084441253 +0000
@@ -27,8 +27,8 @@
CONFIG_SLIRP=y
CONFIG_SMBD_COMMAND="/usr/sbin/smbd"
CONFIG_L2TPV3=y
-CONFIG_AUDIO_DRIVERS=oss
-CONFIG_AUDIO_OSS=m
+CONFIG_AUDIO_DRIVERS=
+CONFIG_AUDIO_OSS=n
ALSA_LIBS=
PULSE_LIBS=
COREAUDIO_LIBS=
@@ -72,7 +72,6 @@
HAVE_STRCHRNUL=y
CONFIG_BYTESWAP_H=y
CONFIG_TLS_PRIORITY="NORMAL"
-CONFIG_TASN1=y
HAVE_IFADDRS_H=y
HAVE_FSXATTR=y
HAVE_COPY_FILE_RANGE=y
@@ -164,7 +163,7 @@
DSOSUF=.so
LDFLAGS_SHARED=-shared
LIBS_QGA+=-lm -lgthread-2.0 -pthread -lglib-2.0
-TASN1_LIBS=-ltasn1
+TASN1_LIBS=
TASN1_CFLAGS=
POD2MAN=pod2man --utf8
TRANSLATE_OPT_CFLAGS=

And this cuts down the needed dll’s to:

[email protected]:~/atar-boot/qemu/ppc-softmmu$ objdump -p qemu-system-ppc | grep NEED
NEEDED libncursesw.so.6
NEEDED libtinfo.so.6
NEEDED libz.so.1
NEEDED libpixman-1.so.0
NEEDED libfdt.so.1
NEEDED libglib-2.0.so.0
NEEDED libm.so.6
NEEDED libgcc_s.so.1
NEEDED libc.so.6

which is a bit better. I’m still annoyed at it’s reliance on pixman despite not having any framebuffer support, I’m guessing I could amputate it if I looked further.

AIX 4.3 booted!

Since nothing has fundamentally changed, I can still use my original bootflags:

./qemu-system-ppc -M 40p -bios q40pofw-serial.rom -serial telnet::4441,server -hda disk0.vmdk-post-install -vga none -nographic -net none -cdrom /mnt/c/temp/xlc13-gzip.iso

And for the heck of it, this is the steps I used to get xlC 1.3 up and running:

restore -f /tmp/xlc/xlccmp2
restore -f /tmp/xlc/xlccmpmE2
chmod +x /usr/bin/xlc
chmod +x /usr/lpp/xlc/bin/xlcentry
chmod +x /usr/lpp/xlc/bin/dis
cp /usr/lpp/xlccmp/inst_root/etc/xlc.cfg /etc
cp /tmp/xlc/cpp /usr/lib/cpp
chmod +x /usr/lib/cpp

and with that all in place we can compile a simple hello world!


# cat mt.c
#include <stdio.h>
void main(){
printf("hi from C\n");
}
# xlc -v mt.c -o mt
exec: /usr/lpp/xlc/bin/xlcentry(xlcentry,mt.c,mt.o,mt.lst,-D_ANSI_C_SOURCE,-D_IBMR2,-D_AIX,-D_AIX32,-qansialias,NULL)
exec: /bin/ld(ld,-H512,-T512,-bhalt:4,-o,mt,/lib/crt0.o,mt.o,-lc,NULL)
unlink: mt.o
# ./mt
hi from C
#

xlC is also capable of building a running GNU Chess. And I updated the git so that book building works. Not that I expect anyone to care.

Chess
book
Compiling book, please wait…
186 games added, 3384 positions added, 3383 total positions in book

It has the same desire to move pieces back and forth for thousands of moves, but it’s doing a heck of a lot more than any modern C compiler.

Since we don’t have any networking, Everything is on the console. I’ve found making CD-ROM images being a much easier way to get data in, and I’m still using uuencode to get data out from the console. I guess I should setup Z-modem at some point but that’s very futuristic. Or just break down and learn how to use C-kermit.

My go to quality of life startup is:

export TERM=vt100
stty erase ^?
export LIBPATH=$LIBPATH:/usr/lib
export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH

Sure not perfect but it makes it slightly more usable. As a follow on, I got networking working here: Networking on AIXI 4.3

Space Cadet 3D Pinball reverse engineered!

With all the controversy over 64bit pinball, and where and how things appeared, then disappeared to the discovery that the x64 version was a thing, but it was left off the install manifest but shipped on CD, along with my simple script to just extract it, the problem was that ARM32/64 users were left in the cold.

Don’t get me wrong, the original 32bit exe runs fine under emulation, but who wants emulation when you can have NATIVE CODE?! You’d have to try to find the source code (lol good luck!) or reverse engineer the program. And that’s what happened, enter:

k4zmu2a/SpaceCadetPinball: Decompilation of 3D Pinball for Windows – Space Cadet (github.com)

64bit ARM Pinball!

I’m using Visual Studio 2019 to build this, and it was great it *just worked*. Hurray!

There is also a rebuild going on for SDL to bring Space Cadet Pin Ball to Linux and beyond. The only downside is that it uses a number of ‘new C++ features’ locking out older platforms. I’d done some work to dumb it down although there is a bit of this new fangled C++ I’m unsure of what is going on. So that means, unfortunately Itanium users are left in the dark, as Visual Studio 2010 is too old.

AMD64 Pinball extravaganza!

With all the talk of 64bit versions of Pinball I thought I’d share simple script to extract Pinball from an XP x64 CD-ROM so you can take it with you. It’s portable so thats nice too, although it doesn’t use any wad/pak/zip files so all the assets are loose files:

expand f:\amd64\font.da_ font.dat
expand f:\amd64\pinball.da_ pinball.dat
expand f:\amd64\pinball.ex_ pinball.exe
expand f:\amd64\pinball.in_ pinball.inf
expand f:\amd64\pinball.mi_ pinball.mid
expand f:\amd64\pinball2.mi_ pinball2.mid
expand f:\amd64\sound1.wa_ sound1.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound104.wa_ sound104.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound105.wa_ sound105.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound108.wa_ sound108.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound111.wa_ sound111.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound112.wa_ sound112.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound12.wa_ sound12.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound13.wa_ sound13.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound131.wa_ sound131.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound136.wa_ sound136.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound14.wa_ sound14.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound16.wa_ sound16.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound17.wa_ sound17.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound18.wa_ sound18.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound181.wa_ sound181.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound19.wa_ sound19.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound20.wa_ sound20.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound21.wa_ sound21.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound22.wa_ sound22.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound24.wa_ sound24.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound240.wa_ sound240.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound243.wa_ sound243.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound25.wa_ sound25.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound26.wa_ sound26.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound27.wa_ sound27.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound28.wa_ sound28.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound29.wa_ sound29.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound3.wa_ sound3.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound30.wa_ sound30.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound34.wa_ sound34.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound35.wa_ sound35.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound36.wa_ sound36.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound38.wa_ sound38.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound39.wa_ sound39.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound4.wa_ sound4.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound42.wa_ sound42.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound43.wa_ sound43.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound45.wa_ sound45.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound49.wa_ sound49.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound49d.wa_ sound49d.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound5.wa_ sound5.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound50.wa_ sound50.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound528.wa_ sound528.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound53.wa_ sound53.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound54.wa_ sound54.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound55.wa_ sound55.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound560.wa_ sound560.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound563.wa_ sound563.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound57.wa_ sound57.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound58.wa_ sound58.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound6.wa_ sound6.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound65.wa_ sound65.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound68.wa_ sound68.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound7.wa_ sound7.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound713.wa_ sound713.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound735.wa_ sound735.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound8.wa_ sound8.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound827.wa_ sound827.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound9.wa_ sound9.wav
expand f:\amd64\sound999.wa_ sound999.wav
expand f:\amd64\table.bm_ table.bmp
copy f:\amd64\WAVEMIX.inf WAVEMIX.INF

Naturally you’ll want to substitute F:\ with whatever drive letter your CD-ROM/ISO file is mounted on.

And thanks to a long needed feature in Windows 10 you can verify that yes indeed it is a 64bit version.

Isn’t that awesome?! Obviously ARM64 users are left out in the dark, as far as I know there was no ARM64 versions of Windows XP. As a matter of fact, was there any public versions of Windows XP for ARM? Naturally the Surface RT shipped with 8.0

Anyways at long last we can have our 64bit pinball despite the weird bugs, and how the plunger is mostly hidden no doubt due to yet more weird floating point/integer size inconsistencies

Pinebook Pro first impressions

Pinebook Pro

So yes, it’s most certainly built from a MacBook Air looking frame. But it’s not the same build materials, which of course is to be expected as these are far cheaper. Unlike the other ARM book I have, this one doesn’t have a GPRS modem, and as of this moment doesn’t natively run Windows. Which with it’s paltry 4GB of RAM and 64GB of disk space is just as well.

adding a 32bit runtime

Just as the MIPS64 had it’s weirdisims, the ARM64 is in the same seat. I didn’t see anything all that clear on Manjaro, and 32bit, at the same time debootstrap is available in the repo, allowing you to quickly install a 32bit Debian userland to chroot into. It’s pretty much the same steps as before, with the only real change being to use the armhf processor family giving a 32bit tree.

Maybe it’s my overall familiarity with Debian, but I find the environment far easier to deal with. Well that and of course many things just build so much nicer in 32bit mode, than 64bit mode sadly. It’s a shame that many distros don’t seem to include a matching 32bit/64bit libset but here we are.

Another plus is that Debian has far more robust mirrors world wide, and downloading components and updates is FAR faster than Manajro.

Loose clips?!

In the first week however disaster struck as I had it ‘sleeping’ one night and plugged in to charge, and when I opened the lid, I got nothing. The charging led showed RED for some reason like it was still charging, and no matter what I tried on the keyboard it just would not turn on.

Searching online didn’t give me much other than people saying that they were replacing the built in flash and didn’t seat it correctly. Did my kids or cat knock it over when I wasn’t looking? Was it on the edge of not being seated from shipping? I have no idea.

Lid off!

Well as much as I love opening new stuff, it was acting dead so I guess nothing to lose. That said the screws come off pretty easily but there is 2 sizes as the ones up front are super short. With the lid off you can see that the battery is 2x the size of the motherboard. And yeah of course it being ARM, its very raspberry pi – ish. And I guess it’s really no surprise.

The mainboard

On the mainboard there is 2 push buttons, and 2 sliding jumpers. One is hidden beneath the black tape. I hit the reset button, and slid both sliders up and down and then pressed down on the 64GB chip. I flipped it over to see if that did anything, and surprisingly it’d turn itself on!

I quickly shut it down, and screwed it back together. And I’ve been using it daily over the last week without any further issues with it powering on. Again I have no idea what was wrong but at least it seemed easy enough to open up and hit some buttons. Which brings me to the overall feel:

Build quality

It’s really hard to slam the PineBook Pro. It has incredibly lofty goals, and for the pricepoint it’s absolutely insanely good value. The body has been molded from what at best could be called an ‘inspired by the Mac Book Air’ but it’s the keyboard and trackpoint where it falls short. The keys have too much travel for their own good, and seem to twist a little giving a klunk as they don’t depress quite right. I have had issues with the arrow keys trying to play DooM via DOSBox. And I’ve become so spoilt with backlit keys, that although I know how to touchtype I still look from time to time.

The trackpoint is miserable, it’s constantly jumping the mouse (no palm detection)? and it just doesn’t glide or click ‘right’. But I know I’m being 100% unfair as I’m comparing this to a laptop that is 5x the price. I’ve written this and other stuff on the laptop and it’s just been so jumpy at times for seemingly no reason when I type it’ll jump and click at the worst possible moments.

The flip side is that FPS stuff is impossible as the keyboard and trackpoint won’t deliberately work at the same time. And I have no idea how to go about dealing with that. I guess use an external mouse.

Another stupid low point is the speakers. They are so tinny which I guess is to be expected, but they are so quite. I guess I should play test tones, and get some app to measure dB, but comparing it to anything else again just seems so unfair.

That said the screen is AMAZING. I had worried that the screen was going to be terrible, but no the screen is an absolute high point of the machine.

Battery life has been pretty good, and from opening it up, it’s no surprise as it does have a massive battery. They do include clips to bypass the battery all together if you want to run it from DC mains 100%. The only issue I have had with battery life is that Manjaro doesn’t seem to have hibernation support. And many times I put it to sleep when I go to sleep it’ll wake up with zero percent remaining. I don’t see that as a fault of the physical build, rather the OS.

Software and FSF flailings?

I don’t know much about Manjaro but it’s default setup sure feels a lot like the way Debian felt when they were under pressure to keep all non-free stuff segregated and partitioned away from users. The problem as it’s always been is that popular software has almost always been commercial, especially for normal uses. Turning on Community and Contributions should really be the default setting with people who want to be FSF pure having to click the button giving normal people the best possible experience. As an old person who’s been hearing about the ‘year of the Linux desktop’ is at hand back in 1997 (Va Linux et al), and been an on and off user since SLS, it’s always about the users. All the plugins and bookmarks and shared data stuff I have is on Chromium and having to hunt down how to turn it on sucked, as I was moments away from just doing the usual ‘user’ thing of wiping the install because I can’t find an app.

Distro shopping has been the worst thing to plague Linux since it was apparent that Linus wasn’t going to bless us a userland, unlike BSD. I know some see it as a strength but it’s always been such a critical weakness for the user. Oddly enough the circle has come around to bite enough people that Docker is a thing to deal with dependency and distro hell.

Games!

Well without a doubt visit astr0baby’s blog and enjoy some good hand holding to get a bunch of open stuff built. It’s toally worth it. And incredible to play 64bit Duke Nukem 3D!

Is it worth it?

Well if you want non x86 on the go, the price simply cannot be beat. However the default Linux install is alien to me, but I’m trying to learn to deal with it. And of course the weird power on issue really precludes this from normal people. I’d recommend it to anyone comfortable with Linux and a screwdriver. If you are 100% hardware focused it’s a laptop, no GPIO so it’s going to be a little bit of a bummer. If you are scared of opening it up, you may find like I did that you very well might have to. However for anyone in the middle absolutely.

“Normies” this isn’t the laptop you want. .. I’d say “yet” as I’m sure that build quality will only improve, just as software will hopefully get a bit more friendly for adding stuff like Chrome (what a mission to get it installed!).

Final ramblings

Years ago in college we joked that 30 years in the future you could get a quad processor Dec Alpha as a bundle in with a box of cereal. That a computer would be an impulse purchase at the supermarket. It seemed so laughable but a given as manufacturing and acceptance of that internet thing was a given. But that was the future from 30 years ago.

The future is now!