Call for SPARCengine 1e BSP

Joel Sherrill <> joel.sherrill at
Thu Sep 8 13:12:32 UTC 2005

Ivan Galkin wrote:
> Joel, thanks for reply. Here's some answers:

Try to keep the Wiki updated with the useful information. :)

> *NetBSD: *
> SPARCstation 1 (sun4c model) is the closest analog, but not the same. 
> SPARCengine 1e is called "SPARCstation 1 in VME". It is however a sun4e 
> model, not sun4c.
> We tried to use NetBSD bootloader on our Force CPU-1CE board, it starts 
> up, works with the console on port A, but does not load secondary 
> images. I posted to NetBSD/sparc-port, but noone was familiar with the 
> 4e board.

Then NetBSD has a lot of the stuff working for an RTEMS BSP:

   + defines an executable load image format
   + console driver
   + probably a working clock tick driver
   + interrupt controller
   + NIC?

FWIW I know this is old but does Julien BEERNAERT <julienb at hathor dot 
cst dot cnes dot fr> still have that email address?  Or does anyone know 
how to contact them.  According to this he was working on a Force 

I also came across this which might be of use if either of these
people got anywhere and is still accessible:

Have you contacted Force/DY-4?  They might actually be willing to
part with some code at this point if you ask nicely.

> *Force documentation:*
> Can be found here:
> It is actually pretty good.

Does this need to be mirrored?

> Does not work with RTEMS ELFs, complains about incompatible sections in 
> the ELF (many sections, actually).
> But we found a combination of gcc options that make good a.out-sunos-big 
> executables that we can actually run on our 4e board:
> sparc-rtems-gcc -c -Wall -mcpu=v7 -fno-ident -e -0x4000
> sparc-rtems-ld -s -N -e 0x4000 --oformat a.out-sunos-big
> (this uses separate compiling and linking).
> We also tried the following to rebuild RTEMS kernel for sun4e:
> sparc-rtems-gcc -Wl,--oformat,a.out-sunos-big
> but this did not work out, as all libraries are in ELF as well, and we 
> observed certain hiccups... at some point we gave up.

Don't do it at the time of linking.  That is complex and trouble.  It is
much simpler to link an ELF image and tinker with the objcopy options.

You can tell objcopy to strip sections out.  The pc386 BSP does it while
producing a binary image.  The first step produces an ELF with sections
removed.  The next converts that to a raw binary image.

         $(OBJCOPY) -O elf32-i386 \
             --remove-section=.rodata \
             --remove-section=.comment \
             --remove-section=.note \
             --strip-unneeded $(basename $@).obj $@
         $(OBJCOPY) -O binary $(basename $@).obj $(basename $@).bin

RTEMS has been following the same basic procedures since the beginning
of RTEMS time (1988-ish) and this seems to have the least chance of
falling over itself or a bug in a tool.

> *VME:
> *I think vme support is available from the Sun in their original sun4e 
> libraries... if only I could find those... I only have include files. We 
> don't need anything sophisticated... read-writes, no interrupts needed.*

See my comments and links above.  It looked like people have been close
at various times and Force may have code they are willing to share now.

> *
> BTW, a Force cpu-2ce board is on ebay today for $25.

That's cheap. :)

> Thanks again,
> Ivan
> Joel Sherrill <joel at> wrote:
>> Ivan Galkin wrote:
>>> Inspired by Joel's invitation, here's a call for a BSP port to 
>>> SPARCengine 1e board.
>> Does this match any of the hardware in the list at?
>> If you can boot NetBSD, then you have (OK someone has) all the driver 
>> information you need.  Not in the best form but there.
>> I updated your Wiki entry to include information on how to
>> address the a.out boot loader and som eother thoughts.  See
>>> SPARCengine 1e is a SPARC V7 board in VME, circa 1991.
>>> This CPU was used as a prototype for the ERC32 chipset.
>>> The existing RTEMS ERC32 BSP does not work on SPARCengine 1e (see 
>>> below).
>>> Motivation for BSP port:
>>> An ERC32 evaluation board can be found at $15-18K from Atmel or 
>>> Tharsys, whereas a used Force CPU-1CE or CPU-2CE boards are a mere 
>>> $100 on ebay. The ERC32 VME boards continue to be a viable choice of 
>>> radiation-hardened embedded systems for space applications.
>> Does Force have any documentation?  How about the ESA folks who 
>> originally did the ERC32?  I know it is old but Jiri.... any thoughts?
>>> Known problems with Rtems ERC32 on SPARCEngine 1e:
>>> ERC32 BSP is in ELF format, whereas SPARCengine bootloader supports 
>>> a.out-sunos-big only.
>>> Very little expert help can be found, the board is too old.
>>> Original SUN libraries for this board are hard to find.
>>> Potential problems:
>>> MMU got redesigned in ERC32.
>>> VME support looks board-specific.
>>> Hope to hear from someone interested.
>>> Ivan
> -- 
> Dr. Ivan A. GALKIN
> /Software Section Head/
> *UMASS Lowell** :*   Center for Atmospheric Research <>
> /600 Suffolk Street/  voice: +1 978.934.4912
> /Lowell, MA 01854/    fax: +1 978.459.7915
> /U.S.A./          
> <>

Joel Sherrill, Ph.D.             Director of Research & Development
joel at                 On-Line Applications Research
Ask me about RTEMS: a free RTOS  Huntsville AL 35805
    Support Available             (256) 722-9985

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