Xkernel Summary [rjh97@bk.dk]

From: Rene Jul-Hansen (rjh97@bk.dk)
Date: Wed Aug 19 1992 - 11:33:55 CDT

Once again sun-managers proved unbeatable when it comes to supplying
the desired information.

I have arranged this summary as a digest to let people familiar with
that format have an easy access.



Subject: Xkernel [seth@ctr.columbia.edu]

Xkernel does what you want.


(It is a beta version, but it is as stable as 1.4)



Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [bchivers@smiley.mitre.org]

I have a lot more sun-mgrs stuff (another 600 lines) saved
on the Xkernel, but this should be the best starting point:

        From: Seth Robertson <seth@sirius.ctr.columbia.edu>
        Date: Thu, 31 Jan 91 22:49:04 -0500
        To: sun-managers@eecs.nwu.edu
        Subject: help with Xkernel and xdm

        Being the author of Xkernel, I am probably qualified to
        help anyone who needs help with Xkernel. I'm mailing
        Gary the xdm instructions which will be a part of Xkernel
        v2.0 which will come out ``any day now'' :-(

        (Xkernel, in case someone does not know, transforms a
        Sun 3/50 (or any Sun) into a superfast X terminal by getting
        rid of the overhead of a normally running system.

        Xkernel instructions are available for anonymous ftp from
        sol.ctr.columbia.edu A slight change is needed for SunOS
        4.1.x (and you should mail me for it if you do not
        get version 2.0)

                                        -Seth Robertson
Brent Chivers McLean, VA bchivers@mitre.org


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [barbee3@llnl.gov]

Here's a list of ftp sites for Xkernel...it works quite nicely on a 3/50
archie> prog Xkernel
# matches / % database searched: 7 /100%

Host ftp.uu.net (
Last updated 07:26 16 Aug 1992

    Location: /pub/window-sys/X
      DIRECTORY rwxr-xr-x 512 Jul 29 21:14 Xkernel

Host unix.hensa.ac.uk (
Last updated 17:42 7 Aug 1992

    Location: /pub/uunet/pub/window-sys/X
      DIRECTORY rwxr-xr-x 512 Aug 1 21:33 Xkernel
    Location: /incoming/5842/ftp.uu.net/updates/data/packages/X/contrib
      DIRECTORY rwxr-xr-x 512 Jul 22 16:24 Xkernel

Host src.doc.ic.ac.uk (
Last updated 09:48 4 Aug 1992

    Location: /graphics/X11/contrib
      DIRECTORY rwxr-xr-x 512 Jun 7 00:59 Xkernel

Host sol.ctr.columbia.edu (
Last updated 05:06 3 Aug 1992

    Location: /pub
      DIRECTORY rwxr-xr-x 512 Jan 27 1992 Xkernel

Host pprg.eece.unm.edu (
Last updated 14:57 31 Jul 1992

    Location: /pub/dist
      DIRECTORY rwxr-xr-x 512 Jun 21 12:54 Xkernel

Host metro.ucc.su.oz.au (
Last updated 06:18 27 Jul 1992

    Location: /pub
      DIRECTORY rwxr-xr-x 512 May 6 10:34 Xkernel

Hope this helps
Troy Barbee


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [jdd@cdf.toronto.edu]

In list.sun-managers you write:

Ask archie for "Xkernel".

But you don't really need it. Just replace the "getty" line in /etc/ttytab
for the console with one that invokes the X server.

John DiMarco jdd@cdf.toronto.edu
Computing Disciplines Facility Systems Manager jdd@cdf.utoronto.ca
University of Toronto EA201B,(416)978-1928


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [ken@nynexst.com]


Here is a copy of an old message from Seth Robertson at Columbia
concern Xkernel.

_ken nawyn
nynex s & t, inc

X-From: Seth Robertson <seth@ctr.columbia.edu>
X-Date: Fri, 18 Oct 91 16:24:58 EDT
X-To: sun-managers@delta.eecs.nwu.edu
X-Subject: Xkernel

The official home of Xkernel is ftp.ctr.columbia.edu in /Xkernel

If I ever get some time I will make Xkernel version 1.5 which would
contain an integrated R5 server with instructions and FAQ about it
(and about a font server)

However, since I am moving my entire department's computers to a new
building starting in December, I wouldn't hold my breath. If you want
to try the experimental R5 server (which I am using, BTW) you can get
it from the above host.

                                        -Seth Robertson


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [montjoy@babbage.ece.uc.edu]

Here is what you need.

06 Host sol.ctr.columbia.edu

    Location: /pub/Xkernel
       Directory drwxr-xr-x 00000512 1992 Jan 27 00:00:00 GMT Xkernel

Rob Montjoy - Rob.Montjoy@UC.Edu
Computer Engineer - montjoy@ucbeh.BITNET
University of Cincinnati - montjoy@babbage.ece.uc.edu
Electrical and Computer Engineering - uunet!uceng!rmontjoy

   Standards are illusions of many faces.


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [hutton@opus.sdsc.edu]

Hope this helps

Tom Hutton

Version 1.4

Xkernel turns a Sun computer into an Xterminal. Currently, the only
machine you might want to do this with is a Sun 3/50, but any computer
should receive a signifigant speedup.

The 3/50 as an Xterminal has many advantages:

1) It is blindingly fast. Quantitative measurements are not available
   since the Sun clock is so bad that both before and after the Sun
   was able to respond within the clock granularity. However,
   qualitativly, on display instensive programs like xmaze and xtank,
   a 3/50 running Xkernel was able to outperform a diskfull 4/60 when
   the job was running from the same machine. The entire power of the
   MC68020 is devoted to only running Xsun and doing kernel
   operations. None of the normal overhead present with SunOS is

2) It saves lots of space. You only need a total of 1.7 MB (plus the
   X11 font files that you would need for normal X11 operation) for
   **ANY** number of machines running the Xkernel. Compaired to >> 20 MB
   per normal diskless 3/50s...


After you have the software, read README, README.also, THEORY, and FAQ.
Then follow the instructions in INSTALL.


All normal xterminal restrictions apply.

In case you hadn't figured it out, the computer can do NOTHING except
run the X server process.


Xkernel is Copyright (c) 1991 by Seth Robertson. All rights are

route.c is Copyright (c) 1983 Regents of the University of California.
           All rights reserved.

XDM.INSTRUCTIONS is Copyright (c) 1991 by Frank Peters. All
                    rights reserved.

See COPYRIGHT for more details.


Seth Robertson, seth@ctr.columbia.edu
Mark Shoulson, shoulson@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu


Xkernel is available for anonymous ftp from ftp.ctr.columbia.edu
[] in /Xkernel/Xkernel.shar (/Xkernel is a symlink to the
latest version of Xkernel)


Changes from version 1.0:

        Xlogin replaced with Xdm instructions (thanks to fwp1@Ra.MsState.Edu)
        init replaced with a shell script (suggestion from der Mouse)
        route.c source included by request for people who want to route
        Xsun in a separate file to save space.
        SunOS 4.1 fix (/etc/protocols)
        Documentation cleaned up.

Changes from version 1.2:

        Access control disabling done right
        console i/o redirection fixed (thanks to scott@poincare.geom.umn.edu)
        Documentation cleaned up more
        init cleaned up and tested
        FAQ generated
        Kernel messages to /dev/console turned off (See FAQ)

Changes from version 1.3:

        Xdm and XDMCP explained, hopefully correctly.
        Random documentation changes.

If you already have a working version of Xkernel, you do not need to
install this new version unless you really want to. The only real
improvement is Xlogin being replaced with XDM and being able to turn
off console messages.

Version 1.4


Do not confuse this with x-kernel, the public domain(?) protocol
testing kernel available from cs.arizona.edu


As computers get faster and bigger, so do applications. The question
then is what do you do with the equipment you have already purchased
but is now outdated? A good example of this is the Sun 3/50. A
fairly minimal SunOS kernel and runtime configuration, requires 5 MB
of memory. Since the 3/50 is limited to 4 MB (without expensive
modifications by 3rd party vendors to allow SIMMS) one can easily see
that a problem exists. Anyone who has tried to do work on a 3/50 can
easily attest to how slow it gets, especially when you try to run
memory hogs like emacs, Sunview, X11, or Frame Maker.

So what's the solution? Well, as you might have guessed, I think one
might be Xkernel.


If you are feeling lazy and trustful, you can ftp
/Xkernel/4LAZY.sun3.tar.Z or /Xkernel/4LAZY.sun2.tar.Z
from sol.ctr.columbia.edu. This contains the complete
/export/root/Xkernel directory will precompiled vmunix, route, and
Xsun binaries. You will still need to modify the appropriate files
(such as hosts, fstab, etc...) though

(The sun 2 (and possibly other) versions will appear whenever I find
someone on the Internet with a working Sun 2 who can give me the
compiled versions vmunix, route, and Xsun)


Thanks go to:

Maria Barnum <barnum@pluto.crd.ge.com>
Frank Peters <fwp1@Ra.MsState.Edu>
Jean Huens <jean@cs.kuleuven.ac.be>
der Mouse <mouse@larry.mcrcim.mcgill.edu>
Scott S. Bertilson <scott@poincare.geom.umn.edu>

and to my other Beta testers and anyone else I forgot. (If I forgot
you, drop me a line)


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [andy@autodesk.com]

Ask archie about xkernal (xkernel) or look on sol.ctr.columbia.edu


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [gustavo@davinci.concordia.ca]

        I got this one. The Xkernel can be found through
anonymous ftp, I think from ftp.uu.net and/or wuarchive.wustl.edu.
Consult archie.

Received: from ra.mcs.anl.gov by davinci.concordia.CA id aa24054;
          28 Jul 92 18:55 EDT
Received: by ra.mcs.anl.gov id AA28471
  (5.65c/IDA-1.4.4 for sun-managers-outbound); Tue, 28 Jul 1992 10:44:35 -0500
Sender: sun-managers-relay@ra.mcs.anl.gov
Received: from delta.eecs.nwu.edu by ra.mcs.anl.gov with SMTP id AA28465
  (5.65c/IDA-1.4.4 for <sun-managers@ra.mcs.anl.gov>); Tue, 28 Jul 1992 10:44:32 -0500
Received: from ben.uknet.ac.uk by delta.eecs.nwu.edu with SMTP id AA25991
  (5.65c/IDA-1.4.4 for <sun-managers@eecs.nwu.edu>); Tue, 28 Jul 1992 10:44:21 -0500
Received: from eros.uknet.ac.uk by ben.uknet.ac.uk via UKIP with SMTP (PP)
          id <g.00443-1@ben.uknet.ac.uk>; Tue, 28 Jul 1992 16:43:34 +0100
Received: from eucad.co.uk by eros.uknet.ac.uk with UUCP
          id <20652-0@eros.uknet.ac.uk>; Tue, 28 Jul 1992 16:42:28 +0100
Received: from [] (alastair) by eucad.co.uk (4.0/SMI-4.0)
          id AA04744; Tue, 28 Jul 92 16:32:05 BST
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 92 16:32:03 BST
Message-Id: <9207281532.AA04744@eucad.co.uk>
To: sun-managers@eucad.co.uk
From: alastair@eucad.co.uk
Reply-To: alastair@eucad.co.uk
Followup-To: alastair@eucad.co.uk
Subject: SUMMARY: xkernel by email

Thanks to all those who replied, particularly those who offered to email
me a copy. I eventually gave up trying to get a copy from an info-server
accepted a copy from cc@dcs.ed.ac.uk. Thank you Chris. Unfortunately I
went and deleted the shar file after unpacking it and the resultant stuff
has since been munged around by our local Xpert so as to be unforwardable
any meaningful way by me. anon ftp access instructions are in the faq.

Xkernel turns your Sun 3 into an Xterminal by doing the following:

Strip the kernel right down and strip all the unnecessary stuff from the
running system.

Replace init with a bourne script which sets up minimal devices and runs
a statically linked Xsun.

Create the swap file with mkfile -n. SunOS only uses the swapfile when it
tries to swap. xkernelling the sun keeps it skinned down enough that it
never does, thus root and swap can be mounted ro by any number of machines.

Run xdm on the server system.

The best contact for any and all info on this nifty configuration is

Seth Robertson <seth@ctr.columbia.edu>

who is the author of Xkernel.

My opinion: It is FAST. My window manager is a bit screwed up, but that is
because our local Xpert has the xdm xresources wrong. Unless you know
a lot about X, prepare to learn if you use this software. It isn't quite
plug and play. It IS worth the effort.

Alastair Young Systems Supervisor (SMTS) _ _ Ariel NH
European CAD Developments Limited aka EuCAD )/___ (_) Red Hunter
EuCAD/Cadence mail: alastair +44-31-225-3434 __/(___)_*##/c "Aspencade"
Full Email Address: alastair@eucad.co.uk / /\\|| \ / \ If in doubt
9 Wemyss Place, Edinburgh, Scotland EH3 6DH \__/ ----'\__/~~~ Paint it RED

  ==== === ==== =======================+===========================
  = = = = Gustavo Vegas gustavo@davinci.concordia.ca
  === = === Systems Analyst Concordia University
  = = = = Dept. of E&CE Montreal, Canada
  ==== === ==== =======================+===========================


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [kevine@vast.unsw.edu.au]

----> On Tue, 18 Aug 92 12:27:25 +0200, rjh97@bk.dk (Rene Jul-Hansen) said:

Rene> a while ago somebody asked for a kernel which allowed you to boot
Rene> Sun 3/50's as an ordinary X-terminal. Unfortunately I lost my
Rene> notes on that. Could somebody please repost where I could get such
Rene> a kernel.

I have a copy of version 1.4 available for ftp in
pub/X11/contrib/Xkernel.1.4.shar on mucket.vast.unsw.edu.au

        - Kevin

Kevin Elphinstone Email: kevine@vast.unsw.edu.au
VLSI and Systems Technology Lab, Phone: +61 2 697 4897
Computer Science and Engineering, Fax: +61 2 313 7987
University of New South Wales, P.O. Box 1, Kensington 2033, Australia.


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [braham@physics.ubc.ca]

rjh97@bk.dk writes:

>>Followup-To: rjh97@bk.dk (Rene Jul-Hansen)

[Stuff deleted]

Try ftp.ctr.columbia.ede (anon ftp). We run Xkernel and it works fine.


| Name: Stephen P. Braham | Perversion: Quantum Cosmologist|
| Hangout: UBC physics | Signature: Euclidean |
| Vancouver, BC |--------------------------------+
| Canada | E-mail: braham@physics.ubc.ca |


Subject: Re: Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals [kevins@kuma3.japan.sun.com]

[ Regarding "Using Sun 3/50 as X-terminals", kalli!fourx!bk.dk!rjh97@fourx.Aus.Sun.COM writes on Aug 18: ]

[Stuff Deleted]

It's called Xkernel, and it is available from most FTP sites. SunOZ
even sells old 3/50's for Xterminals with it!

                l & h,


|| Rene' Jul-Hansen || Phone : +45-42-800-500 ext 2595 ||
|| Bruel & Kjaer || FAX : +45-42-801-405 ||
|| Test Systems || ||
|| DK-2850 Naerum || E-mail : rjh97@bk.dk or ||
|| DENMARK || manager@bk.dk ||
| Fear not tomorrow - tomorrow will look after itself |

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:06:48 CDT