Re: SUMMARY: format.dat entry for CDC 9720-1230 disk drive

From: Greg Earle - Sun JPL on-site Software Support (earle@poseur.JPL.NASA.GOV)
Date: Thu Dec 05 1991 - 14:26:25 CST

In article <> rwolf@dretor.dciem.DND.CA writes:
>This is a summary for a format.dat entry for a CDC 9720-1230 connected to
>a Xylogics controller. The responses I got contained so much worthwhile
>information I decided to create a summary. I recommend all Sun managers
>with this drive at least read this summary even if your disk works.
>Special thanks to the following people who replied. Once again the net
>came through when Sun did not.
>>Sun is not giving me much help because this is not a Sun drive.
>That's OK, Sun wouldn't give much help if it was a Sun drive.

C'mon, people. Be fair. The *first* person who ever posted a format.dat
entry for using this drive on a Xylogics 753/7053 controller (PA8N1 variety),
back in the days of SunOS 4.0.3 (over 2 years ago), was yours truly. I am
now (and was then) a Sun employee. I believe I posted the format.dat entry
to a number of places, like Sun-Spots and Sun-Managers. And I didn't *need*
to - it's never been a Sun-supported disk (on an SMD controller, at any rate).

Look, these types of comments really rub me the wrong way sometimes. (Sorry,
but I had to get that off my chest.) It's one thing to flame us (Sun) when
it's deserved, it's another thing for these types of flames to become
canonical without checking the facts first. More specifically, "Sun is not
giving me much help because this is not a Sun drive" - sitting down with the
CDC manuals and the disk and trying things out, it took me a good *3 hours* to
come up with a correct format.dat entry (after I'd learned the hard way about
leaving the "sweep cycle" enabled on the drive itself, among other things).

If it is not a Sun-supported drive, how do you expect us to help you out with
it, when it took *me* 2-3 hours with a drive and manuals in front of me, as
opposed to the person you talked to - who doesn't have that drive lying around?
There's only a few zillion disk drives out there, we (nor anyone) can't know
about all of them. That's why there are "supported" and "not supported"
entries/disks. The former? There's somebody, somewhere, that USSC can reach
who knows about said disk, because s/he's familiar with it and/or tested it.
The latter? You're on your own. I don't see what the problem is with this,
personally. The interface is open (format.dat), as long as the disk is
well-behaved towards the driver interface (SMD, in this case), some workable
entry can be determined. If it doesn't happen to be in the small subset of
SMD disks that are "supported" with default format.dat entries, you can still
roll your own. That's where the collective wisdom of the Net comes in handy.
We can't know about every disk out there. But someone on the net might. Just
because this is the case doesn't seem to be (in this particular instance, that
is) sufficient reason to flame us for not being able to help with a disk that
we don't support. To my knowledge, we only tested that drive in an IPI
configuration. (That's where the "CDC IPI 9720" format.dat entry comes from).

Disclaimer: Although the previous is based on my experiences as a Sun employee,
these opinions are mine and not the company's. (I'll be at SUG. Flame me in
person ... (-: )

	- Greg Earle
	  Sun Microsystems, Los Angeles
	  JPL on-site Software Support Engineer
	  earle@poseur.JPL.NASA.GOV		earle@Sun.COM

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:06:16 CDT