PA-RISC information - since 1999


With input from Mike Hibler (2008)


HPBSD is an original 4.3BSD Unix operating system with additions from 4.4BSD and local modifications developed at the University of Utah. HPBSD was ported between the late-1980s and mid-90s by Mike Hibler and others, the PA-RISC version grew out of a port of 4.3BSD to 68k-based HP 9000/300 and 400 systems. The University of Utah was a center of PA-RISC operating system research at that time, with other ports of Mach 3 and the open Mach 4 that were used later in other open source operating systems ports.

In the 1990s, HPBSD was a stable alternative operating systems on PA-RISC, but contained AT&T and HP source code and was never freely available. Organizations with necessary license agreements with HP and AT&T were able to obtain bootable releases of HPBSD but distribution outside of the University of Utah was limited. It however demonstrated that other operating systems and especially BSD Unix could be developed for PA-RISC independently, setting the scene for the later OpenBSD port.

Systems supported

HPBSD supported the original PA-RISC 1.1 32-bit HP 9000 700 workstation computers and was later extended for specific C-Class and J-Class workstations.

Hardware supported

HPBSD supported most of the on-board hardware, but only fewe specific expansion or third-party devices which were used at Utah University.

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Taken from the original Utah webpage, and modified, with permission from Mike Hibler

HPBSD for 68k-based systems was born in 1987 when Mike Hibler started a port of 4.3BSD to the HP 9000/320 and 350 workstations at the University of Utah. Major development lasted until about 1991 with the final addition of Motorola 68040 support.

In the fall of 1989, Jeff Forys started work on a HP 9000/800 port based on the hybrid HP-UX/Mach kernel called Tut done as an experiment at HP Labs. By around February 1990 HPBSD was running on an 9000/835 and later that year was running solidly on the PA-RISC. For a short period of time in 1989-90, Mt Xinu also worked on the PA-RISC port and produced the first usable part of it, the boot loader, late in 1989. HPBSD used this boot loader.

In 1990 another Mach project was spun off of HPBSD — the Mach 3/UX single server port for the 9000/835 sponsored by HP and primarily done by Bob Wheeler. Starting in May 1991, Leigh Stoller ported HPBSD to the HP 9000/720 workstation, after which support for PA-RISC 1.0 and the 9000/800 platform was dropped.

The last major development to HPBSD was the addition of the 4.4BSD kernel filesystem and networking code and the 4.4BSD ANSI-compliant C library. Jeff Forys started this in April 1992 and by early 1993 all of the University of Utah’s HPBSD machines had been converted. This version was known as HPBSD 2.0. Since this merge included the NFS implementation done by Rick Macklem, all Sun encumbered code could be eliminated.

In April 1993, a semi-formal release of HPBSD 2.0 was made to the 2-3 sites which had the necessary agreements with HP that were necessary to obtain the PA-RISC specific code. Since that time, active development of HPBSD had pretty much stopped. As of Summer 1999, there were less than ten HPBSD machines left: one 68k and the rest PA-RISC. The last significant efforts were to bring HP-UX compatibility up to 10.20 to run the JDK and to port a 3Com EISA 100 Mbit ethernet driver.

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