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….

This entry was posted in Linux, VAX by neozeed. Bookmark the permalink.

About neozeed

What is there to tell? I've loved UNIX like things since I was first exposed to QNX in highschool (we had the Unisys ICONS!), and spent the better time of my teenage years trying to get my own UNIX... I should have bought Coherent in retrospect.. Anyways latched onto Linux in 1992, and then got some old BSD admin books and have been hooked on the VAX BSD & other big/ancient things since...!

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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