In the previous post about SCO Merge I briefly mentioned WABI, which is a Windows ABI emulator for Unix. Initially released by Sun Microsystem, it’s believed that it came with acquisition of Interactive Systems Corp (ISC) and Interactive UNIX. It was available for SPARC and x86 Solaris as well as AIX on PowerPC. Around 1997 it was released for x86 Linux by Caldera. This article will focus on Caldera’s version specifically.
Although entirely possible to install WABI on another RPM based distribution such as Red Hat, I’m a purist and wanted to try it on Caldera Open Linux. The install is pretty straightforward you mount the iso file and run install script. In a next step you need to install an update to version 2.2D. This is done by replacing /opt/wabi/bin/wabiprog with extracted version of this file. Thanks to readers of this blog post for sharing these.
When launched for the first time, you will be prompted to provide copy of Windows 3.1. This the main difference with WINE which specifically does not require copy of windows to run apps. I have noticed that WABI is rather picky about lower vs uppercase when installing software. There is an utility called wabimakelower to help there. You can also add an icon to one of Caldera Linux / Looking Glass program groups.
Once you run it, it’s Windows 3.1 as usual:
WABI was designed for running productivity apps such as Office:
You can even run Visual Studio:
Curiously WABI is not a MS-DOS emulator. In order to run DOS apps you need to install such and configure it in WABI Control Panel:
For the lazy, a readily preinstalled version is available as OVA and 86box. Root password is “caldera”.
This was a bit more work than I had anticipated. However flygoat had done much of the legwork for me. The first thing to get is flygoat’s mc-loongson.zip. I made a local download as I suspect many will not have QQ or WeChat (Or don’t want to admit to the government that you are downloading this…).
I’m not sure if it’s a MIPS thing or a UOS thing, but it had Java 11.0.4 in by default, which is CRAZY slow
$ /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.11.0-openjdk-mips64el/bin/java -version
openjdk version "11.0.4" 2019-07-16
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 11.0.4+11-post-Debian-1deb10u1)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Zero VM (build 11.0.4+11-post-Debian-1deb10u1, interpreted mode)
I installed version 8, but they are ‘in parallel’ in different directories… I guess it’s the .net hell drift all over again. Although to be fair I’ve only dealt with vendor installed java on Linux where it’s all fixed to single versions.
One annoying thing is that it cannot find JavaFX over and over despite it being installed, so I had to manually add the ‘module-path’. This is the syntax for version 11, I’m not all that sure on the version 8 syntax.
$ /usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-mips64el/bin/java -version
openjdk version "1.8.0"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (Loongson 8.1.3-mips64r2-uos) (build 1.8.0-22.214.171.124-2deepin-b00)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.71-b00, mixed mode)
I changed the /etc/alternatives/java to point to version 8, which although causes the launcher to crash launching the actual exe, it’s trivial enough to change it to version 8. Although the command is… unwieldy but save it to a shell script.
I’m sure it won’t paste well, but here we go.. and it’s in my homedir sooo here we go!
Naturally you’ll need your own username, token, uuid..
One thing is for sure, setting the graphics to higher details gives better performance. I suspect that it’s a matter of pushing more of the rendering to hardware, out of software mode.
I have it set to Fabulous! graphics, render distance of 25 chunks, no vysnc, clouds fast, mipmap level 2.
While it does take a while to load up, join the server, and do the initial world loading, you can watch all 4 cores run at 100%, but once it’s loaded in, it’s down to a single core at 100%, and the other 3 are hovering around 10-25%. So once jit’d and loaded in it seems to run okay.
They are jackhammering downstairs and I could make this 1 minute clip in a brief moment of peace. This is before I figured out that the more acceleration you give Minecraft, the faster it runs with the GPU doing the heavy lifting (I think).
Is this the machine for the Minecraft enthusiast? Hardly, but Minecraft is the Java success story, where a platform like this, a fringe non mainstream platform will run a commercial app. This is where the real portability of binutils/gcc/libc and Linux prove to be the winning platform.
I saw this card while I was out, and I’ve seen mention of some Radeon’s working on the Lemote A1901 board, although it didn’t like my Asus Radeon R9 380 Strix, I’m guessing it’s too old? I can’t find it now, but there was some mention somewhere of someone using a 500 series card (I don’t understand the AMD number schema), so I figured I’d get the 570 as it was just over $100 USD, and it has 8GB of VRAM, so it ought to be somewhat usable if I guessed wrong on the compatibility.
But I did get lucky! The card not only was able to initialize, but UOS came up to the desktop!
glxinfo -B gave the following output:
name of display: :0 display: :0 screen: 0 direct rendering: Yes Extended renderer info (GLX_MESA_query_renderer): Vendor: X.Org (0x1002) Device: Radeon RX 570 Series (POLARIS10, DRM 3.27.0, 4.19.0-loongson-3-desktop, LLVM 7.0.1) (0x67df) Version: 18.3.6 Accelerated: yes Video memory: 8192MB Unified memory: no Preferred profile: core (0x1) Max core profile version: 4.5 Max compat profile version: 4.5 Max GLES1 profile version: 1.1 Max GLES profile version: 3.2
So there we go, 8GB of memory, and ‘Accelerated: yes’. It’s also FPS locked to the screen refresh so it’s running a steady 60fps for the display I’m using. I need to build some later games that use GL to really push the machine.
The one big ‘negative’ is that the video card sits over the SATA ports, so I need to get an L connector SATA cable, as now I can’t use my 2TB spinning rust disk with the fancy GPU in place. And it makes my 800 watt PSU all the more justified.
I’m just glad that the portable drivers, well are portable!
AKA what happens when your OS is from one Debian like distribution and lags behind the rest of the world, but you want to run a parallel infastructure. Obviously for people who have sane setups their stuff is in sync and this doesn’t apply.
HOWEVER for people who use USO they will find out quickly that it’s a Debian derived MIPS64EL based distribution, but they don’t keep any MIPSEL (32bit) binaries. So I was thinking add in the dpkg arch, and some deb sources and I’d be good to go, right? Except the stuff is out of step so what happens is that UOS decides it wants to replace the OS with what is on the mipsel repos. Even when specfiying the arch’s directly.
deb [by-hash=force arch=mips64el] https://professional-packages.chinauos.com/desktop-professional eagle main contrib non-free
deb [arch=mipsel] http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free
So the good news is that I asked around and found a solution that I’d never heard of, “debootstrap”. The general page is here:
What it boils down to is that it’s a script set that will download enough DEB’s and extract them onto a directory and prep it out as a chroot/jail. And you can specify whatever architecture you want, you can even use qemu to run totally alien stuff! I’d never heard of this before, such a shame.
YES it’s that simple! Although there is some house cleaning to be done:
apt install makedev
mount none /proc -t proc
Making the devices sure took long enough, but now I could do the regular update, add in some compilers and stuff, X11, and whatnot and get things going. Remember to mess around with xauth to get X11 forwarding from chroot working
gcc disasm.o audio.o configuration.o dialog.o file.o hostcall.o keymap.o main.o memAlloc.o misc.o screen.o screenConvert.o sdlgui.o shortcut.o scalebit.o input.o fe2.o ../fe2.part1.o ../fe2.part2.o -L/usr/lib/mips64el-linux-gnuabi64 -lSDL -o ../frontier
/usr/bin/ld: ../fe2.part1.o: in function <code>load_binfile': fe2.s.c:(.text+0x180): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_CALL16 against</code>[email protected]@GLIBC_2.2'
/usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x19c): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_CALL16 against <code>[email protected]@GLIBC_2.0' /usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x1a8): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_CALL16 against</code>[email protected]@GLIBC_2.0'
/usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x1c0): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_CALL16 against <code>[email protected]@GLIBC_2.0' /usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x1e4): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_CALL16 against</code>[email protected]@GLIBC_2.0'
/usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x1f0): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_CALL16 against <code>[email protected]@GLIBC_2.2' /usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x280): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_GOT_DISP against</code>[email protected]@GLIBC_2.0'
/usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x284): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_CALL16 against <code>[email protected]@GLIBC_2.0' /usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x290): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_CALL16 against</code>e[email protected]@GLIBC_2.0'
/usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x2b4): relocation truncated to fit: R_MIPS_CALL16 against `[email protected]@GLIBC_2.0'
/usr/bin/ld: fe2.s.c:(.text+0x2c4): additional relocation overflows omitted from the output
collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status
make: *** [Makefile:18: ../frontier] Error 1
I’d never heard or seen this before, and yeah it’s some MIPS’isim.
Apparently it’s something called a “global offset table” which of course has a 64k entery limit which can cause an overflow if you are doing something crazy like running a disassembler and having tens of thousands of instructions.
Looking at the GCC MIPS options page, there is hope, one can opt for a more iniffecient and larger table with the simple option of -mxgot
While discussing various non x86 boards the topic came up about the Chinese government MIPS based processors, namely the Loongson-3A4000. I’ve tried several times on the past to buy one with no success however 2020 would make up with it as 2 separate leads yielded boards.
To me, there is a great deal of confusion around this setup as it goes by different names, and is sometimes spelt in English, other times Chinese (Simplified & Traditional) with different part numbers and vendors making it kind of confusing.
Various names include, but not limited to:
ICT Loongson-3A R4(loongson-3A4000)
I don’t want to sound like I’m going to just shit all over this thing, but it’s not free, it’s not subsided, and it’s not cheap. Weighing in at 元3,500 RMB the LX-6901 is not a machine for the masses, however it is a non x86 machine for the classes.
Thanks to my day job I was able to get my buyer to trace down several companies, and ads placed on TaoBao and another from AliExpress. Last time I tried both routes, along with the board manufacter Lemote, I was unable to get anything. This time however both leads would work out so now I have 2.
I was told that it would take upwards of 2 weeks for the order(s) to be fulfilled and I should have them in 3 weeks. However 4 business days later this box arrived in my office:
I suspect they need to temper people’s expectations on shipping, but luckily for me I’m not over seas, although shipping from China to Hong Kong does require a special permit for electronics.
Clearly the tape had been opened several times for various inspections as this shipment was destined to be exported. But props on the dragon tape!
As expected, two boards! Oddly and confusing enough both suppliers insist the boards are different.
Natrually, they are of course identical.
Here is a better glimpse at the board.
The Lemote LX-6901 is not without faults however, it has a memory controller issue and cannot operate correctly with 2 sticks of ram. Luckily my DDR4 extras are 16gb so it’s not bad for messing around. The board also can post ATI boards. However it doesn’t like my Asus Radeon R9 380 Strix board, although it posted fine. I have a few of the FirePro W2100 cards, not a remarkable card, but it does work.
In addition you do need a specific OS for the board, on vendor on AliExpress was unwilling to send me anything, while another on TaoBao was willing to send me UnionTech’s UOS.
the M.2 slot works fine and I was able to boot from USB, and install UOS. The BIOS is very ‘PC’ like, pressing ENTER will enter the bios, and you can change boot priorities, or drop to the UEFI shell if you so please.
Installation is pretty easy and straight forward. There is only a few options during install, the desination, if you should accept the default layout (why not)? and a language
The USB stick is slow, but it didn’t matter as I only needed to install twice. The first time I had both memory slots populated, and the board crashed at 5% of the install. I was able to do some searching around and found out about the bad memory controller, so popping out one of the DIMMs and I was able to install and use the machine.
UOS for the MIPS however is a seeming commercial product that is very difficult to buy outside of China (it may very well be allocated only for certain circles as you need a Chinese cellphone number, government ID, and some kind of project id?), although I’m still trying.
The phone support was useless, and I’ve had a few email exchanges on asking if it’s available for purchase, and if so how much. I’ll update if I can figure it out.
What does suck is that while UOS is not authorized you can’t get any OS updates, nor can you enable to root user. So yeah you can’t effectively own the machine with UOS. There is a ‘trial’ mode to enable a 90 day ‘grace’ period so at least I can add GCC and at least build software. Clearly if I can’t sort out UOS I’ll have to dump the kernel / initrd and restore another MIPS64EL Linux distro over the filesystem. Debian has MIPS64EL, and seems to be working to mainline the LX-6901.
UOS bills itself as a Windows replacement, and I have to say that I do enjoy using it. It has some rather ‘Windows’ qualities to it, like the sound mixer, and ease of installing apps from the ‘store’ however if it’s not in the store and it’s Not authorized you are out of luck. As much as I dislike distro of the week nonsense, I do like the idea of thousands of people being hired to flesh it out to make Linux usable, but only time will tell how much of it is translation to Chinese, and how much is developing software.
When it comes to performance the 3A4000 running at 1.8Ghz is faster than a Raspberry Pi 4, however not significantly faster CPU wise. However the big plus the MIPS does have is that it has a far more capable bus with M.2 and PCI-E slots along with SATA giving the board much better IO than any SOC solution like the Pis.
I built the BYTE Benchmark 5.1.3 and did this graph with data from running on a Zero for comparison. I had to adjust scales for some of this so its more visible, however the important data is here that CPU wise they are close together, but in the area of IO the Dragon pulls far ahead. For those who like the Linux boot score, the CPU ‘clocks’ in at 3594.02 BogoMIPS per core.
It’s been a large ‘discovery’ thing, and a long time since I’ve tried to make Linux a ‘daily driver’ and of course the scarcity of MIPS binaries on Linux is going to be an issue, but I’ll have to explore the apparent ARM/x86 compatibility as I can find more information about it.
Since this has been such a learning curve for me as I learn more things I’ll add them to this list:
What started as a spriling out of control build of SLiRP for User Model Linux (UML) I had so many issues with GCC 8, I figured I’d try v4 where I recall it building easily. Well that was. Fun.
Anywas I’m using Linux (Debian 10.5), and the build tools currently has me running GCC 8.3.0. Anyways a straight build introduces this fun:
../.././gcc/toplev.c: At top level:
../.././gcc/toplev.c:524:1: error: redefinition of ‘floor_log2’
floor_log2 (unsigned HOST_WIDE_INT x)
In file included from ../.././gcc/toplev.c:59:
../.././gcc/toplev.h:175:1: note: previous definition of ‘floor_log2’ was here
floor_log2 (unsigned HOST_WIDE_INT x)
../.././gcc/toplev.c:559:1: error: redefinition of ‘exact_log2’
exact_log2 (unsigned HOST_WIDE_INT x)
In file included from ../.././gcc/toplev.c:59:
../.././gcc/toplev.h:181:1: note: previous definition of ‘exact_log2’ was here
exact_log2 (unsigned HOST_WIDE_INT x)
make: *** [Makefile:2064: toplev.o] Error 1
make: Leaving directory '/home/jsteve/src/gcc-4.1.2/host-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu/gcc'
make: *** [Makefile:3905: all-gcc] Error 2
make: Leaving directory '/home/jsteve/src/gcc-4.1.2'
Ugh isn’t this fun. Well it turns out it’s largely from the confusion from how GCC now handles inline functions.
I’ve uploaded the patch here. It’s not great, I know but I got a working C compiler out of it, however I had to manually place xgcc/cc1/cpp from gcc-4.1.2/host-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu/gcc
I did see further hints on this ‘gist‘ that also boils down to using GCC in 1989 mode for inlines:
And also this ‘stack exchange‘ that mentions that toplev also has issues with the same inline issues. Naturally if you just define inline to nothing you’ll end up with two floor_log2 and exact_log2’s from libiberty. And both are different. Fun times ahead!
As for slirp, well I took the version from the Debian source project, and manually applied all the patches and I ended up not only having to manually create some missing headers, but after getting it to build it’d just crash immediately. Bummer.
I rebuilt it as a 32bit exe, and wow it ran just fine. Go figure. For anyone crazy enough to want to build it on it’s own, this patch take slirp-1.0.16 to a ’17’ with all the current Debian patches, and my sad patch, was what I did to get it to compile with GCC 4. Note you will want to save aside the ‘.p files’ which are the headers, as the configure will remove them and either save them as empty files, or files that don’t work. … Well at least they didn’t work for me!
The whole thing started as a ‘oh wow Linux is now in 5.1.0 release’ and I figured the easiest way to check it out was to use UML. I found this page with a quick ‘how to build and roll’ your own UML’s, although the SLiRP config is a bit off in the host, as it should be 10.0.2.15 for the UML kernel.
The new killer feature is UML can mount a directory as a filesystem so you don’t have to mess around like crazy to make disk images. It makes the experience more docker like, which I enjoy.
I finally got the update to version 2004 of Windows 10 (OS Build 19041.329) which now includes support for running a Linux kernel inside a VM, using paravirtual drivers letting it hook into Windows 10. It reminds me of WinOS/2 where, OS/2 would run Windows 3.1 in a virtual machine, but using special drivers it could redirect it on the native filesystem, and paint the windows on the OS/2 desktop.
So the first thing is make sure you have 2004, winver should look like this:
You will need to go to the old control panel, and enable the Virtual Machine Platform. For those of you using VMware, you’ll need at least version 15.5.5 (15.5.6 is current as of the time of me writing this). I’d suggest you do that before turning on this, but some people like to live dangerously. Also fully shut down all your VM’s otherwise things will end up giving you errors (as you’ll see later).
After the Virtual Machine Platform is installed, your machine will need to reboot. After a reboot, you’ll need to download the Linux Update to the system, available at:
It’s been jumping numbers like crazy, and I’m still holding onto 0.9 because I’m weird. Anyways there is something amazing hiding in all those release notes and stuff:
The m68k emulation is good enough to run Linux! Granted the target machine is the Macintosh 800, although the Mac ROM doesn’t boot enough to do anything Apple enough, using a serial console however does get us into the system. On my ancient Mac Pro I get emulation in the speed range of a 1Ghz G4!
Installation is a bit tricky as there is no true bootrom / boot process, so I had to load the installer with a dummy ‘raw’ disk, and tar the kernel & initrd to that raw disk so I could later extract it on the native OS to boot into the disk. I followed mostly the instructions here.
And what is that? NeXT CUBE emulation?
The peripherals are nowhere near complete enough to boot, HOWEVER it does boot the PROM, complete with keyboard support.