OpenBSD Journal

[AskOBSDJ] Future of Mac68k, Amiga

Contributed by Dengue on from the my-mac-is-sexy,-how-'bout-yours dept.

Nick Holland writes :
"Are people actually using these platforms? Should the OpenBSD team keep spending development time, resources and CDROM space on them? Or should the resources be focused on higher performance platforms?

If you are using a Mac68k or Amiga with OpenBSD, what are you doing with it? Are you finding things the Mac68k/Amiga does better for you than other platforms, or are you using your Mac/Amiga because it is your Mac/Amiga? Or because it is something other than the ever-present i386 platform?"

(Comments are closed)

  1. By idle () on

    this may be offtopic/redundant, but here goes anyway..

    I have several amigas at home, all in various states of decay - and although I've considered putting OpenBSD on any of them (1xA500, 2.5xA2000, and 1xA3000), I've always decided against it - primarily because I've not know what software would be available, and how much would compile, etc.

    So, I would hazard a guess that there are many amiga/mac 68k owners out there who won't put OpenBSD on those machines because perhaps they too are unsure.

    but having said that, it's probably also feasible to let them use NetBSD

    it might be pertient to collaborate the info provided by those who DO use openbsd on 68k boxen, with those who CAN, but don't...

    I for one, would like to breathe some life into my old amigas again. but only if they do something better, because I also have shelves full of PCs and PC parts.

    1. By scientifik () on

      Personally, I think there are way more important things to work on. Dare I say.... SMP support and and a more robust VM for OpenBSD. I think this talk of being able to run on "this" hardware or "that" is a waste of valuable development time. The source is available for all to work on "hobbies". In order for OpenBSD to grow into an operating system of the future we have to let somethings go. Why not look forward? What about imbedded devices?

  2. By Anon () on

    Hi guys,

    I've given up using mac68k, and concentrated my own testing and usage on macppc. In particular, -CURRENT on an iMac running at 350MHz.

    The only thing holding me back from using it on more macppc machines is the annoying crash-during-boot on some of the Blue and White G3 machines and G4 machines when the CMD640 (?)(I haven't bothered testing it in a while, so my memory is hazy) controller is installed (by default).

    On the iMac I test on at the moment, it's working great - there was a period of instability there (possibly during the initial UBC import) but it's back to being seriously stable now.

    Expanding the release to operate on more of the Blue and White G3 class machines would be excellent, if only because there's plenty of them around, they're plenty powerful for console-only work (I generally don't bother with XFree) and they're nice and cheap.

    If there's a decision that has to be made, I say drop mac68k and concentrate on making macppc a first-rate release platform (I noticed an ALTQ patch for the gmac ethernet card driver the other day, too, for example).

    Hope this is the sort of feedback you were after....

  3. By Cindy () on

    I will miss the mac68k. I have bought three old Macs LC II, LC III, II si, all with hopes of running OpenBSD or NetBSD on them. I had trouble with all of them since there were used systems, without math-co. I had also hard drive problems (finding an old SCSI drive to be the first drive), also getting a NIC to work. If I could get OpenBSD, NetBSD or even Gnu/Linux to install, boot and run I would use them to access the internet, or for simple text, or database used around the house. They were good system in their day, but I found them to be slow for most things. I still love the hardware, I remember the XT I had when these were out new. There is no comparision between the XT I had, and these systems. Apple, love them or hate them, they made some good hardware.

    Dose anyone know how many people are using OpenBSD on these systems?

    -- Cindy

  4. By mike () on

    Of course, if the polling engine allowed the use of more than one answer, that would rock. :-) I use obsd on sparc and x86.

  5. By Jeff () on

    I have a Mac IIcx that was running OpenBSD for a while. For the most part it worked quite nicely, but there was no support for multiple consoles and X ran only at 640x480 greyscale, with no improvements in sight. I would probably use the machine just a little bit more if I could get the color Mac X server code which was floating around the net to compile, but it just wasn't worth the time, really. I can imagine keeping this machine in use as a small fileserver if I had a large number of computers at home or in a small office, but since I don't, the machine is now hidden away in the closet awaiting classification as a collector's item.

    1. By Don Stewart () on

      The program "dt" gives you multiple virtual consoles. It also gives you white-on-black text and speeds up the console responsiveness.


      1. By Jeff () on

        Yes, I think I may have used DT, actually. What I really wanted was color X support, though. Well, I always have the IIcx as an Xterm if color support turns up!

  6. By Anonymous Coward () on

    It all depends. If the only computer you have kicking around is a Opus9000, then you want to be part of the action and run OpenBSD on it. If you have some old 486 in a corner, you may try for three weeks to get it up and running X. Time is Money! Your Time is your Life!

    I had a defining moment when I gave up struggling with X and linux 4.2 and a dumb video card. I went to our computer stockroom at work, got a video card that was listed in the config, installed it and had X running in less than an hour. I had spent maybe 8 hours wrestling with the old incompatible card and modes and everything. Silly thing is, 8 hours of my pay could have paid for several video cards.

    Then came along OpenBSD, and I succeeded in installing it on nearly every abandoned computer at work. It was a piece of cake to install it on an old Sparc II. Then I started benchmarking the different computers I was running.

    Here are some easy ways to test your setup:
    md5 -t
    sha1 -t
    openssl speed
    dd from /dev/zero to /dev/null
    dd from /dev/zero to disk
    dd from disk to /dev/null
    if you are using a PC with windows and have put putty and pscp on it, pscp user@host:/files* nul
    which is a way to copy a bunch of stuff from a bsd box across the net without filling up disk.
    ftp a file to nul on a windows PC
    ftp from bsd box to bsd box (note, I usually don't leave ftpd enabled, but for testing disk and netspeed, without the overhead of encryption, it works)

    You will find that i386 kicks Sparc. Can't say what the other archs will do, since I don't have the TIME to play around with them.

    If your time is your asset, and spending it to learn OpenBSD is a good thing, go ahead. If you are thinking that spending time to get some old piece of junk running is a good investment, wake up! I won;t even start ranting about old network cards, just get something that works, and if you buy an el cheapo that doesn't work, cut your losses, and get soemthing else. Time, Time time!

    And here, this rant has taken too much of your, and my time. Off to something that matters...

    1. By Some Random Joker () on

      Here's some Apples to compare to the Oranges..

      This is OSX on my 450Mhz G4 Cube...
      sign verify sign/s verify/s
      rsa 512 bits 0.0063s 0.0006s 159.1 1675.2
      rsa 1024 bits 0.0358s 0.0020s 27.9 494.9
      rsa 2048 bits 0.2429s 0.0079s 4.1 126.6
      rsa 4096 bits 1.9240s 0.0306s 0.5 32.7
      sign verify sign/s verify/s
      dsa 512 bits 0.0065s 0.0080s 154.5 124.6
      dsa 1024 bits 0.0224s 0.0273s 44.6 36.6
      dsa 2048 bits 0.0808s 0.0991s 12.4 10.1

      This is an UltraSparc 220 Running Linux
      sign verify sign/s verify/s
      rsa 512 bits 0.0248s 0.0024s 40.3 418.9
      rsa 1024 bits 0.1532s 0.0085s 6.5 117.9
      rsa 2048 bits 1.0370s 0.0312s 1.0 32.0
      rsa 4096 bits 7.3700s 0.1184s 0.1 8.4
      sign verify sign/s verify/s
      dsa 512 bits 0.0241s 0.0300s 41.5 33.4
      dsa 1024 bits 0.0845s 0.1054s 11.8 9.5
      dsa 2048 bits 0.3070s 0.3759s 3.3 2.7

      I'll try to post OpenBSD on these platforms to give some numbers...

      1. By Short Track () on

        Here are some time trials:
        md5 -t
        P3 850Mhz 82871669 bytes/sec OBSD 3.0
        P3 500Mhz 47985519 bytes/sec OBSD 3.0
        Pentium 200MHz 14223174 bytes/sec OBSD 2.9
        Pentium 166MHz 11829621 bytes/sec OBSD latest snapshot
        Sparc5 170Mhz 9090909 bytes/sec OBSD 2.8
        Pentium 75 MHz 3288765 bytes/sec OBSD 3.0

  7. By Greg Bentz () on

    I would like to run OpenBSD on my mac68k machine. Unfortunately, OpenBSD doesn't recognize my ethernet card. Fortunately, netBSD does recognize my card. I have been using it with a vague notion of trying to migrate the ethernet card support from netBSD to OpenBSD.

    As for whether 68k support should be continued, I guess it depends on the vision of the project. What space is OpenBSD trying to fill?

    For me personally, I would like to see OpenBSD continue on the mac68k, with all the ethernet card support found in netBSD of course. :-)

    Seriously, I want to run OpenBSD on my mac68k machine, in addition to my i386 machine so that my network has diversity. I believe that diversity of platform is another way to improve robustness. I suppose, it could be argued that diversity of operating system would also improve robustness.

    Facing the reality of limited resources, I concede that the OpenBSD team might be prudent to direct their energies into other platforms that may address a larger number of users in need of a secure operating system.

    My $.02,

  8. By Anonymous Coward () on

    There's so much other stuff to work on. No one is using these old platforms for real work these days. It's cheaper to buy a new PC for $500 than it is to spend a day trying to get OpenBSD to run on an old Mac. Basically, getting these things to run on this old hardware is a hobby type of thing, not a work type of thing, and NetBSD will always be ahead on that. Let's leave Mac 68k to NetBSD and focus OpenBSD on stuff that people are using for real work today.
    Also, OpenBSD will never work well on these old boxes because it would take a Herculean effort to support all these antique ether cards, disks, etc. It's not worth it when that effort could be going to better support for USB devices and things people are using now.

    1. By David Douthitt () on

      I had no serious problems getting OpenBSD to work on an accelerated Mac IIci or on a Quadra 800 on an external drive.

      Just this week end, I installed a 200k bootable MacOS partition onto a 1+G drive and installed OpenBSD in the rest - so now I can take this drive wherever OpenBSD/mac68k will work, plug it in, and boot from the external SCSI drive - and into OpenBSD if I like. Smooth and simple... and usable as a rescue disk besides :)

      As far as old hardware? If it isn't supported, don't use it... works for me :)

  9. By Colitis () jamiew at clear dot net dot nz on mailto:jamiew at clear dot net dot nz

    One reason why it doesn't cost much to keep the obsolete ports...i386, sparc, macppc are all moving targets...but mac68k, amiga, etc are all obsolete hardware...there is an end to the work on them. Little or no new hardware is being released for those architectures.

    1. By Bill Schaub () on

      I agree, what should be done with these old ports
      is to basicly freeze development of new drivers and features. and just make sure that these ports
      still boot in newer releases of OpenBSD. And of course accept any driver additions anyone may care to contribute.

      As far as taking up space on the CD is concerned, I think they would be best being an FTP only release.

      The main area of intrest i see for OpenBSD on old hardware platforms like this is the same as for the typical NetBSD user, only they would rather have the security of OpenBSD.

      I work for a small school district and often have to recycle obsolete machines into low end *nix servers because they will not pay for anything new for whatever reason. OpenBSD allows me to do the best i can with what is available.

  10. By Cindy () on

    What if OpenBSD dose stop supporting Mac68k. Will other Operating Systems also follow suite? I mean, what about Gnu/Linux, NetBSD, and any others that are out for Mac68k. Will the others ever stop supporting those systems?

    Any Mac68k, (perfered with a TCP/IP stack, I mean on the OS level) can be setup to run as a packet system. This is just one of the simplest, but good uses OpenBSD/NetBSD/Gnu/Linux has on these systems.

    Also the CPU used in the Palms (today,3xe, V, etc), use any updated version of the 68k from Motorola. How soon do you think this CPU will be dead and forgotten? And yes, I know Palms will be replacing the DragonBall with an Arm cpu.

    If the Mac68k is dropped, will there be another one be picked up? eg StrongArm, IA-64, Amd only stuff added to x86.

    Also, as much as I would like to provide my programming skills, they are not up to par, yet.

    -- Cindy

  11. By Tronitikian () on

    Well, speaking personally - I have -never- used the Amiga port of OBSD, nor would I care to. Realistically, it just doesn't make sense - the hardware investments that must be made on most stock Amiga systems outweigh the cost of a new PC. My stock A1200 (+hdd & fpu) has no CD-ROM drive, no network card and no MMU. The cost for these components would easily range over $500 even in the Amiga after market. These needs are lacking in -most- stock Amiga systems actually. Moreover, when I use it - I do so to enjoy old Amiga applications, not run OpenBSD on it. Sorry, but running OBSD on even a souped up Amiga is going to suck - meanwhile I can enjoy the blazing speed of WB3.1 running in my HUGE 4Meg RAM as it stands now.

    For older platforms that should have maintained support I would argue that various Sparcs merit the resources more since at least many older stock sparcs at least have a NIC and can be useful as a networked shell/console machine if nothing else. Plus even sparc 20's are flooding the market at $200 or less. Even some newer used Ultras can be found for $400 or so. I can't comment on Mac68k stuff - but presumably it wouldn't take much money or effort to get a workable machine, since the Mac after market isn't as collector/cutthroat oriented as the Amiga.

    To be honest, I'm much more interested in increased development efforts towards sparc64 & PPC. At least as far as the Amiga goes, it just doesn't make much sense to maintain unless it occupies very little developer time. For an end user it would require too much expense to get even a bare-minimum Amiga system.

  12. By Don Stewart () on

    I have just this week put OpenBSD on a mac lc575.
    It makes a great networked console to my faster x86 machine upstairs. And it has some geek chic.

    I would not like to see mac68k OpenBSD die, but the tone of the previous remarks makes it sound inevitable). Just how strenuous is the job of keeping the port going, anyway?

    1. By Cindy () on

      LC575? How well dose it work on it? What was the install like? Did you replace the 68LC040 with a 68040? If you didn't replace the 68LC040 with a 68040, when did OpenBSD start to work with 68LC040? Also, did you upgrade the Harddrive? I have had trouble finding harddrives that would be seen and boot as the primary drive. What about the NIC, what are you using?


      1. By Don Stewart () on

        OK, so I swapped the LC040 for the full '040. At $10 US for a secondhand chip it think it is definately worth it.

        I put in a 500M hd, which is around 65% full after install. I've had no problems with the hd, I just partitioned it and installed a MacOS 7.1 mini-system on it to boot from. The install went smoothly.

        The network card is an Farallon EtherMac LC-TP which is working fine.

        I had to upgrade the ram from 5 to 12M, otherwise the boot stopped half way. Even more ram would be nice...


  13. By Bruce D. Ray, Ph.D. () on

    I'm operations director of an NMR Center in a university physics department. Modern NMR spectrometers {and MRI's as well} are hosted by Unix workstations {Varian uses Sun, Bruker uses SGI, and JEOL uses Linux based machines}. I have an NMR network, a separate network on which we have some physics instructional Unix systems, and a third network to support molecular modeling machines. These networks are separate both because the access rules need to be different for the different usages and because the systems were placed {by others} in different parts of the building. For each of these networks, I have a Mac IIci running OpenBSD as the firewall and a second Mac 68K {either an IIvx or an IIci} running snort under OpenBSD with a pass in, block out filter rule set for a NIDS. Use of 68K Macs was dictated by what was discarded when the administration decided to upgrade faculty and staff computer systems and by the fact that I'm supposed to be doing biophysics research, not "computer stuff" {to use an administrative description of my attempts to keep from suffering the problems other university NMR centers around the US have endured}.

    Now I will admit that even if I had not been required by my situation to use 68K Mac's and had been free to choose my own platform, I would have used OpenBSD for this. However, since I am not free to choose whatever platform I desire, I need support for 68K Mac's in the OS I use for this application.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Now this is an interesting place to work at!

      I want to work for you and your department.
      Hire me! :)

  14. By David Douthitt () on

    I bought the OpenBSD 3.0 CDROM just for the purpose of installing OpenBSD/mac68k - and have done so on a Quadra 800; previously I bought the OpenBSD 2.6 CDROM and installed it onto a accelerated Mac IIci.

    I've acquired most of these machines through being in the right place at the right time, and rescuing them from the dumpster - including three Quadra 800s.

    OpenBSD/mac68k makes a good platform for learning what makes a port make or break on alternate platforms, learning what works and what doesn't, and is just a generally good way to use old hardware.

    I hope the older hardware ports don't fade away; using BSD on a machine is a good way to use old hardware.

    Sure you could use a Pentium or a 486 - but then what would you learn about using an alternate OS on an alternate platform? And WHAT would you do with some of those old doorstops? I'm going to be using the Quadra 800 to learn more about OpenBSD and to put it to work. One of the other Quadra 800s is our main Mac system running 8.1 - it's quite capable, but if OpenBSD/mac68k is dropped then I'll have to go to the NetBSD/mac68k port - and I want to stick with OpenBSD.

  15. By Chris () on

    Given OpenBSD's goals to provide a secure and stable operating system, it may be better to concentrate on a small number of platforms. I know that porting can highlight design flaws in existing code, and more ports generally means more eyes reading the code, but NetBSD has the maintenance of a large number of ports as one of its main goals. So perhaps they are the more appropriate people to support very old kit.

    A core base of currently popular platforms (i386, Sparc, Alpha for instance) would be enough to stop OpenBSD becoming tied to one specific architecture. But at the end of the day it comes down to the desire of individuals to work on a specific port. If it was decided to only support a limited set of platforms, then some OpenBSD developers would probably drift off to NetBSD.

    Personally, I want to see both OpenBSD and NetBSD go from strength to strength - with code being filtered back and forth between the two. Then I'll still be able to run Open on my PC, Net on my Vaxen (and Linux on my Sparc - but only because my framebuffers unsupported under *BSD).


  16. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Please, please support Mac68k. I have been using Debian Linux on a number of machines, but find that I cannot use their latest kernels. I am using my older Mac's primarily as router & firewall on my home network, and Samba/Netatalk servers, but plan to also set up some other Mac's I have as DNS/DHCP server, a Squid proxy, and so on. Security is the reason I have started to learn OpenBSD; I want to utilize the best in this area.

    As to why you'd want to support older hardware like this, think about the number of older Mac's out there -- which could be used as I am using, or by schools as learning tools for BSD. OpenBSD can make a positive contribution to eduction, to the philosophy of re-use. OpenBSD and the other BSDs should challenge the notion the only way to get a decent OS is to force us like addicts to acquire faster and faster machines.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      PS - I went to the University of Toronto bookstore to buy the OpenBSD CD's to support the project, even though I had downloaded it. I want to explicitly support this project because it is supporting Mac68k.

      Rather than talk about dropping Mac68k -- why not talk about marketing it better? Approach Mac user groups, or produce pre-packaged images that make it easier to set up routers, netatalk servers, and the like?

  17. By Josh () senorwences@nospam.spam on mailto:senorwences@nospam.spam

    I run OpenBSD 2.7 on my trusty Mac Quadra 700, and actually just picked upanother hard drive this afternoon for it so I can install 2.9.

    When I first looked into a *BSD installation a few years ago, I chose OpenBSD first because of its security and second because it would run on quite a number of older Macs to which I happened to have access.

    I actually bought the Quadra 700 specifically to run OpenBSD as a router/firewall for my home network.

    I would hate to see support dropped for OpenBSD and the Mac68k, though I do have to admit that once I have 2.9 on my Quadra 700 and CVS working correctly that I really don't intend to go much farther with this particular box because it will be doing everything that it needs to be doing.

  18. By Bitterman () on

    I agree with Bill Schaub that development should be frozen on the ancient, outdated architectures (like x86, LOL!). It seems a good way to keep current functionality but not spend too much extra time on so-called "dead" architectures. And those old systems will probably be command-line only, with basic tools, like firewalling or whatever - these are probably best as single-purpose appliances. I doubt people will complain about the lack of all the new processor-intensive stuff on a 10-year old computer that would die under the strain.

    Actually, I (and 90% of OpenBSD's possible market) are running x86. If I wasn't running Intel, I'd be running a Mac (PPC). And actually, now that OSX is getting half-decent, I'll probably pick up a G5 when they come out, since I'd much rather be dual-booting MacOSX / OpenBSD than WinXPoS / OpenBSD.

    As always, it's a judgment call. Where does the OpenBSD team want to focus their limited resources? I would guess the focus should be on x86 and PPC, maybe Sparc, since that's what the greatest amount of users "probably" are running. Supporting the other arch's are nice, but their value is mostly that its cool nostalgia. I would think *excellent* (full) support for 3 or 4 current (living) architectures is better than *fair* support for 5 living and 5 dead archs.

    But my root password is GOD, so what do I know! (just kidding, it's THEO.)


  19. By Nick Holland () on

    For the Mac68k users out there, OpenBSD has new
    snapshots available for the Mac68k, as I write this, they are on the main ftp server and are working their way around the world.

    Check 'em out...remember, if people don't test snapshots, who knows what will end up in release!



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