Summary: IPC with ROM revision 2.6 and no help!

From: Lindy Foster (
Date: Mon Jan 18 1993 - 06:15:03 CST

#include <the usual apologies for summarizing so late>

I wrote:
>We just received some new IPCs. One of them is ROM revision 2.6 (the others
>are 2.4, which we have had before). The one with 2.6 has a peculiar sense of
>humor: when you type 'help' (in new mode), it replies 'No help for the
>weary'. Ha ha. This after saying 'Type help for more information' when
>you enter new mode. What's the deal? I can just imagine a novice owner
>getting one of these machines and having a hell of a time.
>Has anyone seen this? Is this Sun's idea of a joke?!? Did they get some
>bad ROM chips?

I got several responses, mostly of the 'me too' variety. Thanks to: (George Nassiopoulos) (Halvard Halvorsen) (Kristen L. Moore)
tgsmith@spdev.East.Sun.COM (Timothy G. Smith - Special Projects)
Ken Nawyn <> (David Willard)
kwz@zabriskie.Berkeley.EDU (Kevin Zimmerman) (Bill Heiser)
montjoy@thor.ece.uc.EDU (Robert Montjoy) (Tom Tiggelman)

From: (Tom Tiggelman)
> The help facility was removed from the 2.6 IPC PROM because there was not
> enough space for it after we added several new type 5 keyboard mapping tables.
> The Open Boot monitor commands are described in the "Open Boot 2.0
> Command Reference Manual", which is available on the Sun price list
> under the part number "OBP-2.0A". Also included in that package is
> a reference card showing monitor commands in a condensed format.

From: tgsmith@spdev.East.Sun.COM (Timothy G. Smith - Special Projects)
>Sometime between 2.4 and 2.6 the size of the code and data in the prom
>grew to the point that the image no longer fit in the prom. In order
>to fit the image in the prom the prom source was recompiled without
>the help strings. "No help for the weary" is the message the prom
>prints when it is compiled without the help strings. The message is
>less than ideal and really should have been changed.
>I do not know if a new version of the prom is planned with a more
>"helpful" help message.

>From: kwz@zabriskie.Berkeley.EDU
> Your ROM report is interesting. We don't have any
>late model IPCs, but our newish (built 8/92) IPXs have
>rev. 2.6 and behave as one would expect.
> The Sun2s had a ROM "enhancement" also: K-2-^B would
>return a quote from Thomas Jefferson as I recall.

And finally, from the rumor department:
> [Sun is] currently in the process of releasing the 2.9 version of the PROM
> across all platforms (for other reasons), and will take this opportunity
> to include a more descriptive help message. Again, because of space
> limitations in the "hybrid" PROM used on the IPC, the new IPC PROM will not
> have full help, only a short description of the boot syntax.
> This is a problem only on the SPARCstation IPC, because it is the only system
> that ships with a "hybrid" PROM. The hybrid PROM contains both a 1.7 version
> and a 2.x version so that the IPC can continue to run SunOS 4.0.3c and 4.1
> (using the 1.7 version of the PROM). All other currently shipping systems
> have always required SunOS 4.1.1 or greater, and thus have no need for a
> hybrid PROM. Use of the hybrid PROM is described in the SPARCstation IPC
> Product Notes.


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