Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Gary McCrea » Wed, 17 Apr 2002 23:00:51



At my company, we're considering using CHARON-VAX for development
work; has anyone done development work with it, using either Alpha VMS
or Window's as the "host" O/S? Any limitations or difficulties with
it? Any recommendations for configuring systems outside of what is in
the requirements for the software? How well do network protocols
(TCP/IP-UCX, Decnet-plus(decnet and OSI) and LAT) typically work?

And on a related note, the Encompass Local User Group in New York City
is looking for a speaker for a (perferably) early evening talk and/or
demo on CHARON-VAX. Although we (probably) can't pay travel expenses,
we might be able to pay for the speaker's cheap dinner! We're just
looking for a short (about 1 hour or less) talk and demo if possible,
just showing off the product's features, along with any tips and

with your contact info and availability, and I'll get back to you
about scheduling a talk. Our meetings are usually near Penn Station if
that is a help.

Thanks,
--Gary McCready

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Stanley F. Quayl » Wed, 17 Apr 2002 23:48:13


Quote:> At my company, we're considering using CHARON-VAX for development
> work; has anyone done development work with it, using either Alpha VMS
> or Window's as the "host" O/S? Any limitations or difficulties with
> it?

I'm using the Windows version for VAX software development.  I now
only fire up a VAX when I need to write a TK-50 tape.  :-)  I want to
get the Alpha VMS version working, so I won't need a Windows system
running.

I've discovered no limitations -- the emulated VAX is a member of my
mixed Alpha/VAX cluster, and everything appears completely normal.

Quote:> Any recommendations for configuring systems outside of what is in
> the requirements for the software? How well do network protocols
> (TCP/IP-UCX, Decnet-plus(decnet and OSI) and LAT) typically work?

TCP/IP (UCX), DECnet Phase IV and Plus, LAT, cluster traffic, and
IEEE 802.3 messaging all works perfectly.

You'll need to make sure you have a separate network interface for
use by the VAX, in addition to the one used by Windows/Alpha VMS.  

And, "the faster, the better".  Works at about 4000-90 speed on a
single processor, 1000 MHz laptop with 512 MB of RAM.  Dual processor
really flies.

Allow me a shameless plug:  I'm a CHARON-VAX reseller, and would be
glad to help you get your development environment set up.

--Stan Quayle
President, Quayle Consulting Inc.

----------
Stanley F. Quayle, P.E.   N8SQ   +1 614-868-1363   Fax: +1 614 868-1671
8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH  43147


 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Bart Zor » Wed, 17 Apr 2002 23:54:13



> At my company, we're considering using CHARON-VAX for development
> work; has anyone done development work with it, using either Alpha VMS
> or Window's as the "host" O/S? Any limitations or difficulties with
> it? Any recommendations for configuring systems outside of what is in
> the requirements for the software? How well do network protocols
> (TCP/IP-UCX, Decnet-plus(decnet and OSI) and LAT) typically work?

I am not using CHARON-VAX for development, but I know of one draw back
of the product. When running (on Windows, I don't know about the Alpha
VMS version), it consumes all available CPU cycles. On a desktop this is
probably not much of an issue, but on a laptop it is. My laptop soon
gets too hot to use it on my lap and the battery doen't last very long.

I already mentioned this problem to SRI and they said that they hadn't
heard of this before, but it seemed worth looking into.

Bart Zorn

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Hunter Goatl » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 00:09:23



Quote:>TCP/IP (UCX), DECnet Phase IV and Plus, LAT, cluster traffic, and
>IEEE 802.3 messaging all works perfectly.

MultiNet and TCPware also work perfectly with CHARON-VAX.

Quote:>You'll need to make sure you have a separate network interface for
>use by the VAX, in addition to the one used by Windows/Alpha VMS.  

This isn't technically true; you can actually do it all with one card
if you assign two IP addresses, one to the Windows box and one to
CHARON-vAX.  Things will work better with two cards, but strictly speaking,
it's not necessary.

Hunter
------
Hunter Goatley, Process Software, http://www.process.com/

New Robert R. McCammon site: http://www.RobertRMcCammon.com/

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Stanley F. Quayl » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 01:37:17



Quote:> When running (on Windows, I don't know about the Alpha
> VMS version), it consumes all available CPU cycles.  [...]  My laptop soon
> gets too hot to use it on my lap and the battery doen't last very long.

> I already mentioned this problem to SRI and they said that they hadn't
> heard of this before, but it seemed worth looking into.

This is a known issue for all versions (not a problem, just an
"issue").  CHARON-VAX emulates the processor, and doesn't know about
the operating system that it's running.  So, there's no way to figure
out when the CPU is in an idle loop, because that differs in each OS
and each version.

* Maybe a special patch for a specific VMS version could be developed
that would put the emulator in a slow-speed state when reaching the
idle loop.  I'll copy SRI on this -- that would be a Good Thing.

Patch or no, when was the last time you saw a battery powered VAX?  
Laptop life might be short, but it *does* work on batteries.  Or in a
car or airplane.

Useful hint:  I set the priority of the process to "Low" so I can get
other things done at the same time.  This is not a supported
configuration, but seems to run VMS 7.3 just fine...

--Stan Quayle
President, Quayle Consulting Inc.

----------
Stanley F. Quayle, P.E.   N8SQ   +1 614-868-1363   Fax: +1 614 868-1671
8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH  43147

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Brian Wheel » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 03:04:10





>> When running (on Windows, I don't know about the Alpha
>> VMS version), it consumes all available CPU cycles.  [...]  My laptop soon
>> gets too hot to use it on my lap and the battery doen't last very long.

>> I already mentioned this problem to SRI and they said that they hadn't
>> heard of this before, but it seemed worth looking into.

> This is a known issue for all versions (not a problem, just an
> "issue").  CHARON-VAX emulates the processor, and doesn't know about
> the operating system that it's running.  So, there's no way to figure
> out when the CPU is in an idle loop, because that differs in each OS
> and each version.

> * Maybe a special patch for a specific VMS version could be developed
> that would put the emulator in a slow-speed state when reaching the
> idle loop.  I'll copy SRI on this -- that would be a Good Thing.

> Patch or no, when was the last time you saw a battery powered VAX?  
> Laptop life might be short, but it *does* work on batteries.  Or in a
> car or airplane.

> Useful hint:  I set the priority of the process to "Low" so I can get
> other things done at the same time.  This is not a supported
> configuration, but seems to run VMS 7.3 just fine...

This exact problem comes up on the simh emulator (which now will run VMS as
well as Ultrix & NetBSD).  The NetBSD folks considered using an invalid opcode
to indicate the idle loop, but I don't believe any conclusion was come to.

Does the vax really sit and spin there when its idle?  Linux on most
architectures issues a halt and stops the processor until an interrupt...which
seems a wiser choice, power-consumption-wise.

Brian

- Show quoted text -

> --Stan Quayle
> President, Quayle Consulting Inc.

> ----------
> Stanley F. Quayle, P.E.   N8SQ   +1 614-868-1363   Fax: +1 614 868-1671
> 8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH  43147


 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Dave Gudewic » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 03:23:20


We had our VMS ambassador in the Chicagoland area give our LUG a CHARON-VAX
talk a year or 2 ago.  Maybe the New York area VMS ambassador (hope there is
one) can do same.

Dave...



> > At my company, we're considering using CHARON-VAX for development
> > work; has anyone done development work with it, using either Alpha VMS
> > or Window's as the "host" O/S? Any limitations or difficulties with
> > it?

> I'm using the Windows version for VAX software development.  I now
> only fire up a VAX when I need to write a TK-50 tape.  :-)  I want to
> get the Alpha VMS version working, so I won't need a Windows system
> running.

> I've discovered no limitations -- the emulated VAX is a member of my
> mixed Alpha/VAX cluster, and everything appears completely normal.

> > Any recommendations for configuring systems outside of what is in
> > the requirements for the software? How well do network protocols
> > (TCP/IP-UCX, Decnet-plus(decnet and OSI) and LAT) typically work?

> TCP/IP (UCX), DECnet Phase IV and Plus, LAT, cluster traffic, and
> IEEE 802.3 messaging all works perfectly.

> You'll need to make sure you have a separate network interface for
> use by the VAX, in addition to the one used by Windows/Alpha VMS.

> And, "the faster, the better".  Works at about 4000-90 speed on a
> single processor, 1000 MHz laptop with 512 MB of RAM.  Dual processor
> really flies.

> Allow me a shameless plug:  I'm a CHARON-VAX reseller, and would be
> glad to help you get your development environment set up.

> --Stan Quayle
> President, Quayle Consulting Inc.

> ----------
> Stanley F. Quayle, P.E.   N8SQ   +1 614-868-1363   Fax: +1 614 868-1671
> 8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH  43147


 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Stanley F. Quayl » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 05:40:54


Quote:> We had our VMS ambassador in the Chicagoland area give our LUG a CHARON-VAX
> talk a year or 2 ago.  Maybe the New York area VMS ambassador (hope there is
> one) can do same.

I'd love to do one, but I'm up to my ears in projects at the moment.  
If there were a Columbus Ohio group ...

--Stan Quayle
President, Quayle Consulting Inc.

----------
Stanley F. Quayle, P.E.   N8SQ   +1 614-868-1363   Fax: +1 614 868-1671
8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH  43147

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Stanley F. Quayl » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 05:51:46



Quote:> This exact problem comes up on the simh emulator (which now will run VMS as
> well as Ultrix & NetBSD).  The NetBSD folks considered using an invalid opcode
> to indicate the idle loop, but I don't believe any conclusion was come to.

> Does the vax really sit and spin there when its idle?  Linux on most
> architectures issues a halt and stops the processor until an interrupt...which
> seems a wiser choice, power-consumption-wise.

One of CHARON-VAX's selling points is that it will run any
(especially, ancient) versions of VMS.

Up until VMS 5.0, the idle loop was a real process.  It was possible
to replace that process with something else.  If SRI added a "back
door" to CHARON-VAX, a replacement idle process might be able to
throttle back CPU utilization.

Starting with VMS 5.0, the idle loop is a real loop.  SRI or Compaq
might be able to supply a patch to the scheduler to back off on the
CPU.  The patch would have to be on a version-by-version basis.

Of course, these only help if your system is truly doing *nothing*.

CHARON-VAX isn't really targeted for laptop users -- it's more to
replace real VAXen, which draw gobs of power, processor running or
not.  However, if you develop a CPU reducer, I'd be glad to test it
for you.

--Stan Quayle
President, Quayle Consulting Inc.

----------
Stanley F. Quayle, P.E.   N8SQ   +1 614-868-1363   Fax: +1 614 868-1671
8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH  43147

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Bob Koehl » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 21:47:27



Quote:

> Up until VMS 5.0, the idle loop was a real process.  It was possible
> to replace that process with something else.  If SRI added a "back
> door" to CHARON-VAX, a replacement idle process might be able to
> throttle back CPU utilization.

   I've tried patching the idle loop to a halt.  It never seems to get
   executed.  I thought when all else was said and done the idle loop
   still was in use.

   Or am I looking in the wrong location?  I followed EXE$NULLPROC to

      SYSTEM_PRIMITIVES_MIN+01AD0: BRB SYSTEM_PRIMITIVES_MIN+01AD0

   which sure looks like a match for the fiche listing:

      10$:  BRB 10$

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Stanley F. Quayl » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 22:18:55



Quote:>    I've tried patching the idle loop to a halt.  It never seems to get
>    executed.  I thought when all else was said and done the idle loop
>    still was in use.

But your patch means that CHARON-VAX is emulating the HALT
instruction.  It doesn't halt the emulation.

Just before you execute the HALT, you have to send a message to the
emulator itself, not the emulated VAX.

As CHARON-VAX is right now, it's emulating a VAX 100%, so there's no
way to talk with the emulator.  SRI would have to provide a "hole"
through which you could control the emulator.  That doesn't exist
right now.

--Stan Quayle
President, Quayle Consulting Inc.

----------
Stanley F. Quayle, P.E.   N8SQ   +1 614-868-1363   Fax: +1 614 868-1671
8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH  43147

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Chuck Chop » Fri, 19 Apr 2002 10:13:03




>>   I've tried patching the idle loop to a halt.  It never seems to get
>>   executed.  I thought when all else was said and done the idle loop
>>   still was in use.

> But your patch means that CHARON-VAX is emulating the HALT
> instruction.  It doesn't halt the emulation.

> Just before you execute the HALT, you have to send a message to the
> emulator itself, not the emulated VAX.

> As CHARON-VAX is right now, it's emulating a VAX 100%, so there's no
> way to talk with the emulator.  SRI would have to provide a "hole"
> through which you could control the emulator.  That doesn't exist
> right now.

> --Stan Quayle
> President, Quayle Consulting Inc.

> ----------
> Stanley F. Quayle, P.E.   N8SQ   +1 614-868-1363   Fax: +1 614 868-1671
> 8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH  43147


This same problem exists with other virtual machine emulators, too.
Using VMware on either a Linux or WinNT/2K/XP host, guest operating
systems such as Linux or any Win32 O.S. will "play nice" and idle the
CPU when they are not busy.  However, guest operating systems like DOS
or NetWare don't do this so they cause VMware to consume 100% of the
host system's CPU.  There is a TSR available [DOSIDLE.COM] and an NLM
[NW4-IDLE.NLM or NW5-IDLE.NLM as appropriate] that effectively solve
this problem by executing a halt instruction at times when the guest
O.S. has nothing else to do.

Interestingly enough, power consumption & heat output measurements have
shown that a physical IA-32 based system running NetWare will consume
less power and output less heat if it runs this CPU idling program.
This tends to lead to a longer life time for the hardware components as
well as having a more efficient & cooler-running system.  There are now
a number of people running this CPU idler on dedicated servers to make
them more power efficient during their idle times.

Now, one thing that VMware is not doing is actually emulating a CPU;
instead, it virtualizes the CPU of the host but the guest O.S. will
detect the same CPU as the host system is using.  With CHARON-VAX, it
might be tougher to force this type of CPU idling to happen because the
emulator has to emulate the CPU to even detect an invalid opcode that
might be used to signify that the emulator should throttle itself back
w/respect to consumption of the host system's CPU.

--
Chuck Chopp


                                   ICQ # 22321532
RTFM Consulting Services Inc.     864 801 2795 voice & voicemail
103 Autumn Hill Road              864 801 2774 fax
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Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Bob Koehl » Fri, 19 Apr 2002 22:03:22




>>    I've tried patching the idle loop to a halt.  It never seems to get
>>    executed.  I thought when all else was said and done the idle loop
>>    still was in use.

> But your patch means that CHARON-VAX is emulating the HALT
> instruction.  It doesn't halt the emulation.

   I miss my 11/780.  When I executed a HALT instruction, it did.
   Very handy for debugging paths device drivers were not supposed to
   reach.

   Then I had to port a driver from an 11/785 to a 4000 Model 500 and
   found out what the HALT instuction did at the system level depended
   on the console setting.  No fun seeing the system reboot when you had
   planned on examining memory.

   So what should an emulator do when it emulates a HALT?

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Stanley F. Quayl » Fri, 19 Apr 2002 22:49:08



Quote:>    So what should an emulator do when it emulates a HALT?

It should do exactly what the real processor would do.  In CHARON-
VAX, support is provided for VAX 3500/3600, MicroVAX II, and MicroVAX
II+.

I'd be really surprised if XDELTA couldn't be used to debug a device
driver.

--Stan Quayle
President, Quayle Consulting Inc.

----------
Stanley F. Quayle, P.E.   N8SQ   +1 614-868-1363   Fax: +1 614 868-1671
8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH  43147

 
 
 

Anyone using CHARON-VAX for development?

Post by Keith Parr » Sat, 20 Apr 2002 01:22:39



Quote:> Up until VMS 5.0, the idle loop was a real process.  It was possible
> to replace that process with something else.  If SRI added a "back
> door" to CHARON-VAX, a replacement idle process might be able to
> throttle back CPU utilization.

> Starting with VMS 5.0, the idle loop is a real loop.  SRI or Compaq
> might be able to supply a patch to the scheduler to back off on the
> CPU.  The patch would have to be on a version-by-version basis.

Why couldn't the emulator detect the special case of an instruction
branching to its own address?
----------------------------------------------
Keith Parris | parris at encompasserve dot org
 
 
 

1. Memo: Re: Charon-VAX (was: [VAX] VMS to [Alpha] OpenVMS conversion

There is a problem with the Alpha version though - it is (according to the
figures from SRI) grossly under performing when compared to the Window(TM)
version. The calculation supplied gives 0.9 vups / 100MHz on an Alpha chip
vs. 2.9 Vups/100MHz on AMD chips.( Intel is 1.9). The accompanying chart
shows about 12 Vups (roughly a 4500) on a 1GHz EV68.
The only explanation offered was that SRI chose to optimise for Intel/AMD
chips rather than Alpha which, from their perspective is probably a good
choice however from here sort of killed any ambitions we had  to replace
76xx boxes the easy way.

Paul

** HSBC's website is at www.hsbc.com **

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