State of accessibility on BSD systems

Zachary Kline klinez at
Tue Sep 23 12:27:07 EDT 2008

Tony Baechler wrote:
> Hi,
> I've confirmed that NetBSD does in fact have binary packages for 
> apparently all supported arches and has had them for several years. 
> The Vax packages haven't been maintained since 2005 from what I can 
> gather but the I386 packages seem current. The recommended thing is of 
> course to build from source, but there are many binaries available for 
> those who can't or don't want to.
> Also, I checked and found at least one emulator called simh which 
> claims to emulate the Vax but the microcode isn't available. That's 
> not the one I was thinking of but it would probably work. All it needs 
> is the standard C library so there should be no accessibility issues. 
> I'll find the other one if anyone else cares besides me.
> I looked in Debian and there is no qemu-curses package. The regular 
> qemu requires X. Even if Qemu has a curses setup, is that also 
> supported in the guest OS? In other words, can it not use a GUI when 
> launching say DOS or the BSD installer? When I tried it, I never got 
> it to do anything at all. My processor can't use kvm unfortunately. 
> Does anyone know about xen? It can apparently run both BSD and Linux 
> and has console tools for administration, but I don't know anything 
> besides that. Will it support multiple VMs such as a Linux host with 
> BSD guest or does one need to reboot into a new OS? How would one 
> install BSD on a xen VM? I suppose I should install the xen-docs-3.2 
> package but I would like to get a general idea of how it works and if 
> it's accessible first.
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I've actually used SIMH to emulate and run NetBSD VAX before on many 
occasions. IT works quite nicely, and the microcode is available, even 
if only in binary form.
The neat thing about SIMH is that the interface is console-based and 
therefore completely accessible. (It doesn't even emulate any graphics 
Hope this helps,

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