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Date:      Sun, 30 Apr 1995 10:33:53 -0400 (EDT)
From:      Bao Chau Ha <>
To:        Terry Lambert <>
Subject:   Re: 950412-SNAP Installation with ESDI (WD1007V) System
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>

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On Sat, 29 Apr 1995, Terry Lambert wrote:

> > How do I install 950412-SNAP on a system with a WD1007V
> > ESDI controller and 2 drives: Maxtor XT4380E (320M) and
> > Maxtor XT4760E (630M)?
> > 
> > It is very annoying that the driver gets the true disk
> > geometries directly from the ESDI controller and use them
> > instead of the translated ones.  It also ignores the 
> > spare sector mapping, so it does not help, even if I 
> > reformat my drives.
> The spare sector mapping and translation are software artifacts of the
> If you are willing to port the VM86() code from NetBSD to FreeBSD and
> write BIOS based disk driver, you'd be a hero.
> Of course, this is difficult enough that the only OS out there that
> can do this at all right now is OS/2, so unless you are comparing the
> SNAP to the commercial release of OS/2, your complaint is not a
> valid one.  It's like complaining because your car can't fly, and
> then arguing that this must be because it's a Ford instead of a Chevy...
> when in fact, checy doesn't manufacture flying cars either.
Not really, Linux is running happily on the second drive.  I
don't think I need the OS/2-style real-mode INT-13 driver.
The WD1007V is running under the OS/2 ST506 driver.  OS/2
does know the real geometries, but it uses the fictitous

Anyway, I think we may have miscommunicated somewhere.  What
I am complaining is that the disk driver did not use the BIOS
geometries, which is used by DOS, Linux, and OS/2 sharing the
disk system.  I may be naive, but all it is needed is a BIOS
call to get the fictitous drive geometries during the boot up
process prior to switching to the protected mode.  The WD1007V
can then be treated just like a ST506/ST412 interface.  All of 
the geometry translation and spare sector mapping are done by 
the controller firmware.  I think the problem is that the disk
device driver is too smart for its own good, since the WD1007V
is a hybrid between the old MFM/RLL interface and the new IDE.
The WD1007V predated the current IDE standard, I think.
> > Anyway, I did fdisk, added the translated geometry and
> > was able to complete the installation from the boot
> > and cpio floppies onto the first drive.  Upon reboot,
> > the kernel went up to the npx16 ... messages, then
> > printed out a message about wrong size on partition d 
> > of wd1, which does not have a freebsd partition.  It
> > then panicked, and rebooted.
> > 
> Sounds like a Bad144 problem or errors early in the drive.  If this is
> it, moving the partition up a cylinder will probably avoid the bad spot
> (it would have to be under the boot track or the disklabel).
The disk is perfect, since all of the bad spots have been remapped
to the spare sectors.  This is a controller firmware feature, just
like the current IDE or SCSI drives.
> You may want to install a teeny DOS partition before installing the
> BSD -- some people have found this necessary with the new slice code
> in the most recent snaps.
I do have a DOS partition on the first drive.  I tried a lot of
other things and make the wd1 error about changing d partition
size ... going away.  I still have the same panic error about
cannot mount the root partition, right after the message about
npx0: INT 16 ...  I still think it is an incompatible problem,
but not knowing how to deal with it.  The WD1007 is listed as
supported in the FAQ.

A FreeBSD newbie. :-(

Bao Chau Ha (
Nuclear chemical engineer by day, Linux hacker by night and weekends.

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