DEC UNIX Kernels

I am seriously thinking about building myself an alpha
I only use NT on intel now, and primarily for 3D graphics

anyways...When installing UNIX on an alpha computer, do you
not need to recompile the kernel to your specific hardware
configuration? I'm used to the Linux way of doing things, and am a bit confused as to how it werks.  When you buy an alpha straight from DEC, they pre-install UNIX on there for ya, and say that you'ld better back it up if yer gonna get rid of it.  I don't think DEC supplys source code for doing
such things either.

Can you explain the framework to installing UNIX on a DEC alpha?

Thanks
hirbyfamAsked:
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julio011597Commented:
Well, there's nothing about backing up the system, because you are supposed to do it by "traditional" means, e.g. make a tar of the rilevant files a scatter it to a tape.

I've three Alpha's here, a 400 Workstation, a 1000 Server and a 2000 Server, and have build or rebuild the system on them lots of times. I'll give you my experience.

About backup: first, you just need to backup stuff on the system disk, since others are not touched; second, if you have just baught your Alpha System, you don't need to backup anytyhing.

In general, for a full install, here is what you'd backup:

- keep a copy of any system files you have customized: e.g., /etc/fstab, cron files, /etc/fdmns structure (in case you use ADVFS), etc.
- be sure to have a copy of your licences; if you don't have them on paper, you'll want to scatter a copy from the system;
- keep a copy of any personal data and any program files you may have installed (GNU utilities, various packages, etc.)

Once you have made your backup (as said, you should not need any), you go with installation:

- if you have, say, a graphic card to install, check its own installation guide *before* installing the system, because you'll probably need to perform some pre-installation steps;
- follow step-by-step your System installation guide.

That's all!

About the kernel: the installation procedure builds the appropriate kernel for you. During the install, you'll be asked if you want to edit the kernel configuration file; simply, do _not_ do it. In fact, you'll be able to customize it anytime in the future, as soon as you need it (and know what to do).

Now, a possible problem (this has happened to me every time!):

it may happen that you have a graphic card plugged-in correctely, but, after system install, the system tries and cannot go in graphic mode, and your boot ends up with a text console.
This problem is usually due to installation which has put into the kernel config file _both_ the standard graphic card and the additional card. If this is the case, you just edit the config file to remove the extra line, then rebuild the kernel and reboot.

HTH... and have fun with your Alpha.
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hirbyfamAuthor Commented:
thank you...
I have also heard of people having trouble dual booting NT & UNIX
where when you switch between OSes after reboot, it destroys a
   configuration file in the firmware, and replaces it with a new
   one...
But Digital said they were working on a new firmware revision
   that would prevent that...
Do you know about this problem, and if it has been fixed?

Chris
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julio011597Commented:
Yes, i've read something of it; as far as i can remember, you are compelled to make a pre-boot step from the floppy each time you need to switch.

Anyway, it may be all gossips. :)
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