Starting client in Vmware

Hello all and thank you for a great resource. I have run a few searches but have been unable to find an answer my particular issue. We have an older machine that uses a proprietary program running on QNX 3.xx. The machine is due for an overhaul, but it is a few years off at least. The zero node runs fine and we have plenty of cards for its rack mounted CPU; the clients however, are a different matter.

We have been sourcing old machines from various places due to limitations on processor speeds and boot loader chip compatible NAT compatible with 10-base-t (bayonet) Ethernet. They are located in a nasty environment and even the extensive precautions we have taken to keep them somewhat clean fall short. What I would like to do is run the clients on a modern machine running vmware. Is it possible to use vmware to boot the client machines via netboot? is there a relatively simple primer somewhere (I only have a BS in IT, be easy on me )?

It’s always good to know what you are running. Is there such a thing as QNX 3.xx, well yes and no.
It could be QNX 2.21. When you run it in protected mode (which you would normally do) and you run “tsk info” you will see 3.21.
The 3 just means protected mode. A 2 would mean, 8086/8088 mode.

QNX 2 is not very well supported anymore. I talk to two or three people a year about it, and try to answer their questions.
As you suggested, there are problems running it on modern hardware. At about 100Mhz (that’s an 80486) the floppy drive stops working. Around the same range, a race condition occurs with the QNET network that can cause problems. I’ve run QNX 2 on a 300MHZ PII laptop but I had to slow the processor down by disabling the cache in the BIOS to allow it to boot from the floppy.
Getting data on and off in this mode is difficult. The tape drives that were supported are probably all gone. I provided an IOMEGA Zip driver for a while, but even that might be tricky to come by. Modern EIDE drives are way too big, but they may still work, if you don’t mind only accessing 1/10th or a 1/100th their disk space. If you have an ISA machine with an AHA1542 card, you can probably still find SCSI drives that will work.

You mention 10-base-t. Hmmmm. Support for a few such cards existed, usually in conjunction with very poor TCP/IP. There were a few different versions of this. UWE in Germany was still selling this a few years ago. Or was it a decade. It might still be available. There might have been a proprietary version of QNX that ran QNET over ethernet. I’m not sure and if it existed at all, there’s no way you could get it now. I don’t recall anyone every using network booting of QNX 2 over Ethernet, but it might have existed. You could only netboot over Arcnet using the proprietary Corman cards, which incidentally are still available. They are ISA only cards.

You certainly can get QNX 2 to run under VMWare. From there I think you are SOL. You would need a QNX 2 driver for their virtual Ethernet card. Not very likely, but I suppose possible. There are probably 2 or 3 people in the world in a position to try writing such a driver, (I’m one) and I don’t think you would want to pay what it would cost.

Can you defined exactly what you mean by “boot loader chip compatible NAT compatible with 10-base-t (bayonet) Ethernet”