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From: Warner Losh <>
To: Grant Taylor <>
Cc: TUHS main list <>
Subject: Re: [TUHS] Pre-init initialization
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2019 20:15:34 -0600
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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On Thu, Aug 8, 2019, 7:47 PM Grant Taylor via TUHS <>

> On 8/7/19 7:04 AM, Clem Cole wrote:
> > FWIW: V7 had /stand which was a funky UNIX-like standalone system that
> > some applications could be compiled.
> I've seen /stand on a few systems (I think SCO OpenServer and / or
> UnixWare) but never really knew what it was for.  I think I had naively
> assumed it was associated with the kernel and / or booting.
> Now I'm somewhat more curious what it was.  Was it a simplified version
> of the OS with minimal utilities with fewer dependencies so that the
> system could boot and load more features.

Yes. There was a library that implemented much of the unix API in a
simplified way that ran on bare metal.

I thought that Linux's initramfs / initrd had the usual suspect files /
> utilities copied from /.  So the idea that a utility in /stand would be
> different from the same utility in / seems strange to me.

They are because there was no kernel for them to run under. They were
similar, but if you go look at the sources, they are different.

> The problem was that it was a little different so you would end up
> > seeing #ifdef STAND in code for things like fsck, fsdb, even cat.
> > At Masscomp we ended up with three target environments for a couple of
> > the system maintenance utilities: the OS, /stand and the boot ROMS.
> > This was expensive/a PITA to maintain and keep straight, and in the
> > case of the boot ROM, space was a huge problem.
> Ya.  I can see how that would be a PITA to maintain.

FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD all implement some version of this. FreeBSD has
it in src/stand in honor of V7 stand. I did that when I integrate / rewrote
the GSoC project to bring Lua scripting to the boot loader. The other BSDs
have it split between sys/boot and lib/libs. FreeBSD uses it to implement
the rich boot loader which knows how to load off a lot of different file
systems and BIOS interfaces. Net/OpenBSD use it more modestly in their boot
loaders, but have a few standalone programs for things like bootstrapping


> The RAMFS idea was created to get rid of at least /stand and IIRC we
> > were able to drop a number of utilities out of the boot ROM.  I'm not
> > sure how far they took it.   I left for Stellar and it was always the
> > way Stellix booted.
> --
> Grant. . . .
> unix || die

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  reply index

Thread overview: 17+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2019-08-06 23:46 Grant Taylor via TUHS
2019-08-07  1:22 ` Andrew Warkentin
2019-08-07 13:04 ` Clem Cole
2019-08-07 16:40   ` Warner Losh
2019-08-08 13:31     ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2019-08-09  1:52       ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
2019-08-10  0:23         ` Theodore Y. Ts'o
2019-08-10  2:28           ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
2019-08-10  4:21             ` Kevin Bowling
2019-08-10  4:50               ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
2019-08-10  4:52               ` Adam Thornton
2019-08-08 13:43     ` Clem Cole
2019-08-08 18:59       ` Warner Losh
2019-08-09  1:46   ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
2019-08-09  2:15     ` Warner Losh [this message]
2019-08-09  6:43       ` Kevin Bowling
2019-08-10  1:45 ` Chris Hanson

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