Tropix booted to the login prompt

So I was browsing some stuff, and playing with a few other emulators getting something together when I found an article briefly mentioning TROPIX.

Now TROPIX is interesting as some people from Brazil tried to get a UNIX license in the 1970’s but they were denied. Not to take that as a loss, they bought ‘a’ UNIX system (some kind of v7 box) and built their own OS around the v7 ‘feel’. The result is a multiprocessor, real time UNIX clone written in Portuguese!

Now what is interesting is during the time of TROPIX (the mid 80’s) Brazil was still a dictatorship, and they would refuse to import western things, if there was a local equivalent.. So UNIX vendors never could get a foothold in Brazil because of TROPIX, well back then it was called Plurix. Conversely TROPIX/Plurix never got out because it’s all localalized in Portuguese. Which is too bad, as if it had the ability to spread on the internet I’m pretty sure it would have been popular..

More information can be found here:

However it’s all in Portuguese, so you’ll probably want to use a translator. is what I’m using.

The latest release was in December of 2008, and added support for USB 2.0 & SATA. So while it may feel dated, it’s being updated to support modern hardware. They even dedicate it to Newton Faller who’s a big name IT wise in Brazil, they even give out awards similar to the Turing award in his honor.

Now onwards to the install!

I am using Qemu as it can emulate the required hardware. Virtual PC will work, but the networking will NOT.

First download the ISO image from here . You’ll need a copy of gzip & tar for whatever your platform is to extract the ISO image. The install is actually somewhat straight forward once I translated the install document, which can be found here.

Basically the following input got me to a working system…


















login root
password tropix

mkfs /dev/rhda1
mount /dev/hda1 /aroot
cd /usr/etc/install

n (it’ll copy files)


I’m still trying to figure out the DHCP or the default gateway as neither appear to be working at the moment… Take note that the TCP/IP in TROPIX was written by them, it is *NOT* a 4.3 BSD derived thing. So there is no ifconfig / route / arp commands. Not to be disapointing but it also needs it’s first partition somewhere in the first 512mb as it seems to have some old BIOS booting issues.. Now it could be Qemu, but I’m not sure, a 10gig disk didn’t boot from the HD, although the CD could be make to use the HD for a root…

Right now the only ‘fun’ program to run is coremap & fortune.

But it’s very interesting to see a UNIX developed from another part of the world, and just how similar and different it is… Oh and it’s Si/Non, not YES/NO.

Ancient UNIX on the front page of slashdot

So today on slashdot I saw this:

“In this its 40th year of operating system life, some Unix stalwarts are trying to resurrect its past. That is, they are taking on the unenviable and difficult job of restoring to their former glory old Unix software artifacts such as early Unix kernels, compilers and other important historical source code pieces. In a paper to be presented at next week’s Usenix show, Warren Toomey of the Bond School of IT is expected to detail restoration work being done on four key Unix software artifacts all from the early 1970s — Nsys, 1st edition Unix kernel, 1st and 2nd edition binaries and early C compilers. In his paper, Toomey states that while the history of Unix has been well-documented, there was a time when the actual artifacts of early Unix development were in danger of being lost forever.”

It’s always cool when this stuff gets some attention. I just wish someone who would write this stuff, would show people HOW to run it… It’s not that hard is it???

I hate to say it, but 4.3 BSD RENO sucks.

Ok so I spent the day building stuff on RENO, I thought maybe I could bring it up to par package wise, like the UWisc 4.3 BSD… Oh boy what a PITA!

First the syscalls changed to RENO so hardly any of the packages built on Uwisc work on reno.. expect LOTS of unhandled syscalls. Wow, that’s lame.

I got bash 2.0 to build without much pokeing, but get this.. Control+C kills it!

myname# bash
bash-2.00# Bus error (core dumped)

Yeah. Nice.

gcc 2.5.8 can build binutils 2.8.1 & gcc so I thought that was cool to go onwards to gzip & lynx…

Well launching lynx on ANYTHING other then file:// gives me this:

Alert!: Unsupported URL scheme!

Alert!: Unsupported URL scheme!

lynx: Start file could not be found or is not text/html or text/plain

Oh yeah, and it built dammed near clean except for adding a va_list definition….

I was going to try to build more stuff, but it just feels so futile. Since adventure (zork) had been removed in RENO I was going to try to build GNU Fortran 77 & get a build of that going, but now it’s most likely it won’t work at all. I guess I’ll do some kind of update on RENO but why would anyone actually want to load it? Why is it so popular?

I wonder if there is an easy accessable 4.4 BSD release, all that is on TUSH is 4.4 Alpha… At this point I wonder if Net/2 would be better…

Anyways that’s been my day.

PUPS mail archive….

I thought this was interesting as it’s from the start of the PUPS movement..

And I can say I got involved in the PUPS thing for sure on the 8th of May 1998..

It’s hard to think that it’s been 11 years now I’ve been lucky enough to stuble uppon Bob Supnik’s excellent emulator, and the work of the PUPs people to run version 6 research UNIX on MS-DOS….

Speaking of which, I’m kind of surpesed that there is nearly 50 downloads of the MS-DOS build of SIMH. I’m sure it has everythig to do with the small test OS’s and whatnot… But it’s still cool to me.

Also I’ve started work re-tweaking the RENO install package. I’m moving away from the 4 ra disks, to a single HP disk, that only consumes 160MB unlike the 2GB of the old setup. I hope to have that done sometime in the next week, along with fixes to the cursor keys & some more testing… I’m also going to try to track down the missing ‘adduser’ script/exe from RENO.. there is a few odds & ends missing from the TUHS RENO tape….

SYSIII comes alive on SIMH’s VAX 11/780

Ok, good news, I got it to boot! The bad news is that it’s kind of complicated… First you need a working UNIX/32V machine. And what’s worse is that UNIX SYSIII is not ‘free/shareware’ or anything like that. You need a license to run it.

It cost $100 to get one.

But they don’t sell it anymore.

So this is for the few people with a SYSIII license.

Anyways, to get the jump on SYSIII you need to add a second disk to a working UNIX/32V install. So after a while I managed to work out getting a second HP disk online on 32v, formatting it, and restoring a bare SYSIII install… (Nao’s 32v tape image has support for more then one HP disk, it was just a matter of figuring out the
major/minor for the 2nd disk (0/8,0/14)).

From the extracted cpio’s I took the following files (after looking at
the source of cmd/init.c):


Then I just created the following device files:

crw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 0 Jun 23 09:24 console
crw-rw-rw- 1 console console 3, 0 Jun 26 1979 null
brw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 0 Jun 26 1979 rp0a
brw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 7 Jun 26 1979 rp0h
brw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 8 Jun 26 1979 rp1a
brw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 14 Jun 26 1979 rp1h

And fired it up!


VAX780 simulator V3.8-1

$$ unixhpht

UNIX/3.0.1: unixhpht
real mem = 8323072
avail mem = 8207872

# ls
# cd bin
# ls
# cd /
# ls
# cd dev
# ls -l
/etc/passwd file cannot be opened for reading#
# ls>/etc/passwd
# ls -l
/etc/group file cannot be opened for reading#
# ls>/etc/group
# ls -l
total 0
crw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 0 Jun 23 09:24 console
crw-rw-rw- 1 console console 3, 0 Jun 26 1979 null
brw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 0 Jun 26 1979 rp0a
brw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 7 Jun 26 1979 rp0h
brw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 8 Jun 26 1979 rp1a
brw-rw-rw- 1 console console 0, 14 Jun 26 1979 rp1h

So now the remaining thing to do is to add another HP disk, format it
under SYSIII, and restore onto it… I wish I could share more of my
work, but I figure this will help someone down the road who wants to
venture down the SYSIII on the 11/780.

BSD RENO on SIMH’s microvax DZV11 vs DHQ11

I got this note over on from Lei Wu:

I use the following code to replace the original dz configration. set dz disable set vh enable set vh0 normal set vh0 modem set vh0 hangup att vh 2311

After this, when the vax emulator run up, you can see some messeges on the process of booting like this

dhu0 at uba0 csr 160440 vec 300, ipl 14
qe0 at uba0 csr 174440 vec 764, ipl 15
qe0: delqa, hardware address 08:00:2b:aa:bb:cc

this mean that the hardware is recognized by virtual machine.

next step, login as root, to make dh11 device node in /dev .

sh /dev/MAKEDEV dhu0

this command will make ttyS0 – ttyS15 device node.

now, you need to modify /etc/ttys to add those termial driver to autoload when system startup next time. the parameters is same with tty01-tty07 in the original ttys file.

At last you could reboot and telnet localhost on port 2311.

you will see the prompt, but there will emerge some flaw (some messed characters). but you can neglect this, and continue input your username and password. then you will get a shell.

Now, I don’t know the reason of those messed characters. Any one can continue to explore.

So that’s a ray of sunshine for the other UNIX/BSD’s that predate RENO that can boot on the MicroVAX II… Hopefully the drivers may work on the 11/780 to help some older OS’s whose support under the dz isn’t whole enough to work….

Added UNIX/32v to the sourceforge project

You can download UNIX/32v here:

As a simple windows installer. Just install and run and you’ll be at the login: prompt in no time!

32v is the common ancestor to both 4BSD and SYSV. While primitave by modern standards, this is the version where all 32bit unix’s can be traced back to. This is also the release that was central in the AT&T vs CSRG lawsuit. It is basically a port of the PDP-11’s v7 unix onto the VAX 11/780. I left the default kernel which is restricted to 1MB of ram, and 2 disks.. Only one disk is currently being used.

This version is FREE thanks to the old Caldera license.

Sadly, the DZ11 seems to not be working correctly so this is limited to a single user.. I have made slight modifications to the bootloader & init to print the Caldera message, and to boot 32v into multi user mode.

For what it’s worth, this is a list of the games of 32v:

This copy of 32v is made possible from the instructions found here: (Thanks to Nao!!)

More updates on the 4.2BSD project thing

I updated the website after 2+ years of stagnation… lol

I know its sad, and mostly all licensing… Anyways I’m in the process of moving so no major updates in the next week to two… But once I’m settled up in New York, I’ll crank out another set of releases to include working cursor control for games, and a loaded version of Uwisc BSD with all the fun stuff ready to roll… I’m also going to do a “HP” install of Reno so it won’t be an 80Mb download anymore… I figure if people are actually using them, they can modify the configs, add more disks etc etc….

Which reminds me if there is a online 1st edition copy of the “Unix System Administration Handbook”.. That’d be cool, but otherwise, I’d recommend people to get a copy of the 1st edition as it covers the tail end of the VAX era BSD’s.

Tera Term ‘fix’ for all *BSD/*UNIX

I’ll have to redo a bunch of stuff, to fix the distributions, and I think there is a ‘bug’ as it were in the installer that if you pick a different directory name, it’ll screw up… I need to test some more.

Anyways to fix the arrow keys, you need to load a keyboard binding into the emulator. If you go to the Tera Term site, and install it, you can copy out the file IBMKEYB.CNF and put it in the various “program files\******” directory for each emulator. Then alter the ‘attach a pty’ shortcut to go from this:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\bsd42\ttermpro.exe” localhost 42323

To this:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\bsd42\ttermpro.exe” localhost:42323 /K=”.\IBMKEYB.CNF”

Oh it’s also comming up for the 40th birthday of UNIX! I’m going to probably package up all the research editions that I can find into easy to install pacakages.. I figure it’d make all these releases more accessable much like the v1 unix package that I’ve done. If anyone can submit any good product links from the pre SYSV days that’d be awesome. It’s too bad that SYSVr2 or prior cannot be released into the wild.. I’d hardly call them ‘competitive’ in this day & age… Heck even SYSVr4 isn’t but sadly the lawyers say otherwise.