200th post!, and using ADA to fix your system…

Wow, so I was about to post this when I check to see how many posts I’ve done, and this will put me at 200.

It’s hard to believe it all started out on running Netware 3.12 on Qemu 0.9.0.

Ok, now let’s get on with today’s fun.

I’ve recently managed to get Solaris 2.4 running on Qemu, and it’s been all great, but I’d love to build some programs for it! Now there are binary builds of GCC for Solaris 2.4, but they are about 17MB compressed, and I think it was about 80 uncompressed!

Well that sounds great, except for 2 major limitations:

1. For some reason Solaris doesn’t want to mount any ISO I give it… I’m still kind of lost there.
2. The only networking I can get working is the usermode NAT, and Solaris 2.4’s ftp client/server is just too old for passive mode.

So what the heck can I do?

Well back in college we had this RS/6000 that was cool, *BUT* for some reason I don’t recall it couldn’t build and use mtools (among other things) but from what we had heard is that if we had gcc, it’d run fine. Except without a working C compiler, how does one get GCC running on a RISC machine?

Well, thanks to the fine people that maintain GNAT, the GNU ADA translator, they provide some ready to run versions of GCC. Well not to complain but as the years drag on, lots of mirrors are gone, and there are only a handful of copies left, but they currently have:

*Dec Alpha OSF4
*i386 Solaris 2.6
*SUN Sparc Solaris 2.5.1
*IBM PowerPC AIX 4.1

And let me tell you, if you were ever given any of the above machines you’ll be so grateful for this massive leg-up! Now these are *NOT* full development systems, as they are geared towards translation, they are lacking the libc/include files. You’ll have to source those from somewhere, but thankfully as part of the Solaris install there is an option for headers and libraries.

So while this is all very good, how do you get this stuff to run on your SPARC?

Well.. It’s tedious! but this method is what I used to get gcc running on the RS/6000 years ago, and on the sparc. Unpack that GNAT distribution, then use uuencode/uudecode on the minimal files.. Then paste them into a console window and be sure to have turned messages off!… It’s not “sexy” but it works!

Naturally since there is no gzip for Solaris (you’d have to send one over first!) don’t bother compressing anything with gzip/bzip2… although you could us the old unix compress command, which is what I ended up doing.

So at a minimum the following files are needed to build some programs…

cc1 crt1.o crtend.o crtn.o libgcc.a
cpp crtbegin.o crti.o gcc

Yes, really!

# cat one.c

#include <stdio.h>
void main(void)
# gcc -v one.c -o one
Using builtin specs.
gcc version 2.8.1
cpp -lang-c -v -undef -D__GNUC__=2 -D__GNUC_MINOR__=8 -Dsparc -Dsun -Dunix -D__svr4__ -D__SVR4 -D__sparc__ -D__sun__ -D__unix__ -D__svr4__ -D__SVR4 -D__sparc -D__sun -D__unix -Asystem(unix) -Asystem(svr4) -D__GCC_NEW_VARARGS__ -Acpu(sparc)
-Amachine(sparc) one.c /var/tmp/cca000KP.i
GNU CPP version 2.8.1 (sparc)
#include “…” search starts here:
#include <s…> search starts here:
End of search list.
cc1 /var/tmp/cca000KP.i -quiet -dumpbase one.c -version -o /var/tmp/cca000KP.s
GNU C version 2.8.1 (sparc-sun-solaris2.5.1) compiled by GNU C version 2.8.1.
one.c: In function `main’:
one.c:4: warning: return type of `main’ is not `int’
/usr/ccs/bin/as -V -Qy -s -o /var/tmp/cca000KP1.o /var/tmp/cca000KP.s
/usr/ccs/bin/as: SC3.1 dev 09 May 1994
/usr/ccs/bin/ld -V -Y P,/usr/ccs/lib:/usr/lib -Qy -o one /lib/crt1.o /lib/crti.o /usr/ccs/lib/values-Xa.o /lib/crtbegin.o -L/usr/ccs/bin -L/usr/ccs/lib /var/tmp/cca000KP1.o -lgcc -lc -lgcc /lib/crtend.o /lib/crtn.o
ld: Software Generation Utilities (SGU) SunOS/ELF (LK-1.4 (S/I))
# ./one

So after an hour of struggling with uuencode, and pasting the results with putty into Qemu running Solaris 2.4 I’ve managed to cook up the following programs:


And I’ve got to admit, that using lynx to download new stuff is a VAST improvement! So for the hell of it, I went ahead and built my favorite f2c/libf2c & dungeon-2.5.6!

Solaris 2.4 running dungeon


So there it is, Dungeon in all of its “glory”.

Now one important ‘tip’ to share, is that if you follow this path, it’s possible to run into some weird vararg issues… The problem is that gcc works better with it’s own headers for varargs, not any OS version… Everyone recommends you build GCC on your machine yourself to get all the headers in place. The GNAT packages do include the needed vararg stuff, you can simply change the lines that use something like this:

#include <varargs.h>


#include “/tmp/gnu/varargs.h”

And life will be good.. That’s basically what I was needing to get lynx to run.

Well, that’s the end of this adventure, hope to post at least another 200 more!

Solaris 2.4 on Qemu (SPARC)


Well after a lot of digging around, I was able to come up with Solaris 2.4 and proceeded to install it on QEMU.

And it works!

From my notes though, it was far easier to use Solaris 2.9’s “format” command to prepare a 2GB hard disk. For some reason Solaris 2.4’s format command didn’t want to write the label to the disk.

But with a labeled disk in hand, and placing the ISO image under the “hdb” position I was able to boot up the installer with a simple

boot disk1:d

During the installation, you can select networking, just remember that the ip address you’ll use is, the workstation is networked with a netmask of and you should use the “other” method of resolving names.

As mentioned in the FAQ, don’t let the installer reboot when it’s done (it’s an option), be sure to do the following:

cd /a/etc
# cat >> system
set scsi_options=0x58

Otherwise it’ll load up the drivers in the wrong order, and it won’t mount the root partition… The best part, is that the networking works great, and that I’m able to telnet INTO the VM, and out of the VM.

And you will want a default route…

# cat > defaultrouter

Then in the file /etc/nsswitch.conf change the following:

hosts: files


hosts: files dns

Then to ‘fix’ up your /etc/resolv.conf

# cat > resolv.conf

And then I like to add the following hosts to speed up telnet…

# cat >> hosts qemunat qemudns

Then finally (yes!) the file /etc/default/login

comment out the line:


Now you should be good to go!

Or at lest those are the steps I took to make my system boot. Oh, and don’t forget it won’t auto boot, you’ll have to issue

boot disk0

every time you fire up Qemu.

PCemu for Windows

Back when Linux was all new and exciting, I used to run this program, called pcemu to run some basic text only MS-DOS programs. The thing was dosemu was cool, but just unstable as hell, and a put software emulator could always be controlled because it was ‘just another process’…

Now the thing about pcemu is that it was meant for X11, and it’d suck for those of us that actually used terminals… Ages ago I ‘fixed’ a lot of the X11 stuff to run over a terminal, but I never did get the scrolling correct.

So years later, trying to remember the programs that I ran circa 1994, I thought I’d dig out pcemu and see how it runs on ‘modern’ machines…

Much to my surprise, David Given & Michael Hope, have updated it somewhat, and included curses support!

So I took the curses portion, then used a little insight from the ‘bounce’ demo from the NT 3.1 SDK, along with this great example of how to work some of the features of the Win32 Console, along with a long night trying to get the timers working, and I’ve managed to produce a copy of pcemu that’ll run on Win32 & Win64…

Now of course I’m sure you’d be saying Why…. But remember the x64 platform has no native way to run MS-DOS, so even a simple text only emulator is a nice thing to have..


So while it may not look all that exciting, it actually works!

fdisk on pcemu-x64
fdisk on pcemu-x64

Even FDISK renders correctly!

For some reason pcemu had hard disk emulation, but it was disabled by default… So I re-enabled it, and configured it to emulate the ST506 5MB hard disk.. And it works great, other then you can’t boot from it… 😐

Other then that, yes it is totally pointless, but I have to admit, it was pretty cool the first time I saw it booting up.

For the 2 or 3 people that care, my work is currently here. I’ve built it for the x86, x64 & ia64….