Speakup kernels on Alpha

Alex Snow alex_snow at gmx.net
Fri Jun 4 18:00:32 EDT 2004

I'm also looking to aquire an old alpha (the au series has caught my
attention recently). What's the best distro one should run on these
machines? I know debian supports alpha and I think redhat/fedora do, but
which of those two would be the easiest to get up and running? I'm thinking
debian because I already have a fair amount of experience with that distro.

One of the reasons I'm going for the alpha (other then being cool and
64-bit) is the accessibility of it's hardware settings. This is the same
with my microvax (which doesn't even have a graphics card in it) and I kind
of like being able to modify bios settings without sited help.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Janina Sajka" <janina at rednote.net>
To: <norlingdeborah at fhda.edu>; "Speakup is a screen review system for
Linux." <speakup at braille.uwo.ca>
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2004 7:48 PM
Subject: Re: Speakup kernels on Alpha

> Hi, Debee:
> Well, that old Alpha I was asking about back in 1999 is my soon to be
retired main server. In fact, it's the machine that answers
cantata.rednote.net! <grin>
> So, I'll try to help--but no guarantees.
> I don't know about any "console=" param. I never used such a thing. But,
there's a lovely old trick that Alpha's should respond to. Don't plug any
video monitor in, and instead plug something into the first serial port
(ttyS0) and you'll automatically get serial console. You don't need a
floppy. This is a feature of the Alpha's bios. In fact, it is the way all
computers used to work, but that's another story.
> The bios is awesomely accessible with something like a Braille 'N Speak. I
should say that SRM is, the other possibility on Alpha equipment is Milo
which is not accessible. If you get three greater-than symbols in a row '
>>>' you're at the SRM prompt.
> Now, if your box is coming up in Milo, you have to reset a jumper in order
to go back to SRM. Sompelace around here I have an old SRM manual.
> Of course your Multia is different from my Avanti--and I honestly don't
remember all the details off the top of my head, but let's start with this
much. Because, you need to discover what device is set as the boot device.
It could be something other than the floppy.
> Debee Norling writes:
> > Does anyone on the list have experience with Speakup on Dec Alpha
> > I googled around a bit and discovered that 'way back in 1999, Janina was
> > asking for help getting an Alpha machine running -- but that was
> > pre-speakup.
> >
> > I have a Dec Multia (UDB)   that my fiance purchased at a flea market.
> > a bit tired of watching me install Linux on old PCS because in his
> > old PCS don't have any character.
> >
> > So I humored him, and attempted to install Debian on the Multia. But the
> > Debian rescue.bin floppy ignores the console=ttyS0 parameter, even
> > the documentation claims this will work.
> >
> > So if someone has Alpha experience, I would ask them if I could compile
> > Speakup-enabled kernel for my Multia on my PC, or if they knew where I
> > get a rescue boot disk already built.
> >
> > The Multia, is indeed pretty cool. When booted, it auto-detects an
> > terminal so all BIOS (it's called ARC or SRM in Alpha) output is sent to
> > terminal. So you don't need sighted help to do bios-setting stuff. But
> > more of a hardware nut than I am so I'm mostly doing this to keep him
> > He has an old PDP-1173 too so maybe I'll just install some old BSD image
> > it if I can't get access to the Multia.
> >
> >
> >        --   Debee
> > (Deborah Norling)
> > Alternate Media Specialist
> > DeAnza College
> > Phone: 408-864-5815
> >        <MailTo: norlingdeborah at fhda.edu>
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Speakup mailing list
> > Speakup at braille.uwo.ca
> > http://speech.braille.uwo.ca/mailman/listinfo/speakup
> -- 
> Janina Sajka, Director
> Technology Research and Development
> Governmental Relations Group
> American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
> Chair, Accessibility Workgroup
> Free Standards Group (FSG)
> Email: janina at afb.net Phone: (202) 408-8175
> _______________________________________________
> Speakup mailing list
> Speakup at braille.uwo.ca
> http://speech.braille.uwo.ca/mailman/listinfo/speakup

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