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Banyan VINES 8.5 boots and runs in VB 5.1.36

PostPosted: 22. May 2018, 05:29
by DrScriptt
I finally got Banyan VINES 8.5 installed and running in VirtualBox 5.1.36(_Gentoo). It took a LOT of doing, but it is working.

Here are the directions to reproduce this:

Create a new VM, disabling VT-x / AMD-V, with two hard drives. The first (primary master) should be ≤ ~500 MB (LBA issues) and the second (primary slave) should be about 80 MB. Banyan VINES apparently only sees the primary IDE controller.

I never did get the CD-ROM to be detected, but there is a workaround. Copy the contents of the Vines8-5.iso to the small drive. (I used qemu-nbd to connect to the disk and used dd to copy the (not an ISO 9660 format) file to the virtual disk. Use that as installation media. (It's actually partitioned and has a file system on it that VINES uses.)

Boot off of the 85INST1.img, trade for the subsequent disks as prompted; 85INST2.img, 85REL1.img, 85REL2.img, and 85REL3.

Choose default all the way through the install, making sure to set root's password. Note: The install will fail to detect the CD-ROM and want to do a floppy based install, ultimately ending with a "You may reboot the server and try again." message.

When you get that "You may reboot the server and try again." message, hit Control-C to break the installer and get a prompt for root's password. Enter the password that you set previously.

Now the hacking begins:

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# vi /install/fullinstall<Enter>

This finds the two occurrences of /dev/cd0 (which doesn't work) and replaces them with /dev/dsk/1s0, the first slice of the second (80 MB) hard drive. It also removes "-r" from in front of the first occurrence (via "delete Backwards").

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# vi /install/sysprofile<Enter>

This finds ("/") the ncdroms variable and statically sets it to one. (Forward "f" to the "`" (back tick) and change ("C") the rest of the line.)

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# vi /install/mvprof<Enter>

This jumps to the last line ("G"), and inserts ("I") a # character at the beginning of the line, goes up two lines ("2k") and repeats (".") the last insert.

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# umount /dev/dsk/0s3<Enter>

The install scripts left /dev/dsk/0s3 mounted which cause undesired complications when they re-run. (As in the scripts like to delete things.)

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# /install/sysprofile<Enter>

Answer sysprofile's questions.

Note: Make sure to "Skip file system build on all additional disks." Remember that we're using the 80 MB primary slave disk as our install source and don't want to mess it up.

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# echo "1234567" > /disk1/banyan/comm/serial<Enter>

Enter a bogus serial number into the /disk1/banyan/comm/serial file that gets referenced.

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# vi /disk1/banyan/install/Init<Enter>
oif /bin/echo "Bogus mwidget output" > /tmp/key<Escape>

This modifies the /disk1/banyan/install/Init script to bypass the code / enabler. - Find ("/") the "mwidget" string and insert ("I" capital i (eye)) a comment at the beginning of the line. Opens ("o") a new line below and inserts the literal text.

Reboot the VM. If everything goes well, it will come up and start the initialization process.


Well, not as much #Fun as you might like. I haven't been able to find any Option Codes / Option Enablers / Option Keys. I also haven't tried to get any NICs working, save for "OTHER Card" working.

I think this concludes my journey into Banyan VINES 8.5. ...for now.

Re: Banyan VINES 8.5 boots and runs in VB 5.1.36

PostPosted: 22. May 2018, 09:39
by michaln
Thanks for the guide. Any cool screenshots? I guess Vines isn't much to look at?

Re: Banyan VINES 8.5 boots and runs in VB 5.1.36

PostPosted: 22. May 2018, 17:27
by socratis
michaln wrote:Any cool screenshots?

Ask and ye shall receive...

Lot's of screenshots, 25 of them per second actually, in what's known as a ... "movie"! It's one of the "silent films" ones, no need to adjust your speakers... :D

Re: Banyan VINES 8.5 boots and runs in VB 5.1.36

PostPosted: 22. May 2018, 20:08
by DrScriptt
That's not my install. But it is where I got some tips.

I did record a movie, but the forum wouldn't let me upload the .webm file.

Re: Banyan VINES 8.5 boots and runs in VB 5.1.36

PostPosted: 23. May 2018, 06:20
by DrScriptt
michaln wrote:Thanks for the guide.

You're welcome. I hope it helps others repeat the process.

michaln wrote:Any cool screenshots? I guess Vines isn't much to look at?

Its not a screen shot per say, but I did make a video of my install booting, and a couple of unix commands.

I find it interesting to know that many of the delays are sleep statements in the /.profile and

Note: I did remove the 2nd disk so that it wouldn't complain about the file system.

Re: Banyan VINES 8.5 boots and runs in VB 5.1.36

PostPosted: 27. Nov 2018, 18:48
Excellent work! Any hint as to where can I find the .iso? I've been looking around with no luck!

Re: Banyan VINES 8.5 boots and runs in VB 5.1.36

PostPosted: 10. Dec 2018, 01:06
by Retro_Paul
I used to be heavily involved with VINES back in the 1990s, and could help out here.

Initially the only device drivers available with VINES were those included on the release media - if you needed support for a new storage controller or network adapter, you had to wait for Banyan to drop a new release. Very occasionally a patch would be released that added a new server adaptor driver (I recall one for the 3C509), but the server had to be already networked in some fashion for this to work.

By the release of VINES 6.00 in circa 1995, Banyan added support for third-party device drivers, with storage ones installed from floppies during the initial part of installation. Network drivers could be added later from the server console. They also maintained a driver library library on their support FTP site. Some of these drivers on Banyan's site were written in-house, others provided by the relevant hardware manufacturers. As well as storage and networking drivers, I can recall the occasional driver for management tools too.

The situation didn't change with VINES 7.0, 8.0 or 8.5 - you had essentially a small collection of common drivers on the boot floppies, but usually needed to add others to get most servers to install.

I recall there being two ATAPi CD-ROM drivers, the initial one which only worked on Compaq Servers, whilst a later one worked with all drives. There were also many additional driver disks for network adaptors.

As for activation keys, this is where it's going to be tricky. Banyan only switched from parallel port dongles to paper activation keys with version 8.00. Even with 8.00 if a server discovered a parallel port dongle at installation time, it would use that to activate the server. Consequentially most 8.00 and 8.5 sites were upgrade sites, and very few new activation keys would have been issued, particularly as by the release of 8.00 the Banyan user base was starting to decline. I can only recall seeing one set of keys in the wild, when we supplied them to an existing customer for a new branch office server. Prior to VINES 8.00, Banyan issued 'gold' dongles containing a full set of options to their support partners - it may be possible that similar paper keys were issued for 8.0.

I did manage to get Banyan's StreetTalk for NT (a port of their file and print services for NT 4.0) running under VirtualBox some years ago, together with DOS, WIndows 3.1, Windows 95/98 and Windows NT clients. I located the relevant software on the FTP site of one of their US dealers - that site has long since gone.