SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by Kralizec Crai » Wed, 17 May 2006 09:03:36




>I have recently finished repairing the NVRAM chip on an old
>SPARCstation IPC and now its time to give it an operating system. Ive
>tried installing Debian and NetBSD but was unable to get either to
>install. I would prefer to run Debian but I would be happy with NetBSD
>or some realy old version of SunOS.
>The first thing I tried to install was Debian Sparc 3.1r0 (maybe 3.0)
>from CDROM. CD Booting never got further than "freeing unused kernel
>memory: xxxk freed" (or somthing similar). I can still type on to the
>screen but there is no further output from the kernel or any other
>software.

I haven't yet found any Linux version which is painless to install on a
Sparc system. But my preference for Linux on Sparc is Gentoo at the moment
due to the better Javastation support. I gave up on Debian because it just
seems a bit too *in the way the Debian project is run and the approach
to certain things is quite alien to what you'd expect from something that's
meant to be open-source.

Quote:>Next up I tred NetBSD - floppy booting didnt work as the second disk
>image was too big to fit on a disk. I tried Tape booting but the NetBSD
>installer could find the second part on the tape (even though I had
>followed instructions exactly). The bootable CD image wouldnt boot. I
>tred Network Booting the NetBSD installer but that didnt work.
>While I would be happy with some old version of SunOS/Solaris I dont
>know where I could get a version old enough from.

Solaris 2.6 (SunOS 5.6) and 2.7 (5.7) should be ok. I don't remember if 2.8
(SunOS 5.8) runs on IPC's but I don't think it does.

Quote:>Network booting isnt realy an option any more as I no longer have
>access to an AUI transciever. Tape booting also isnt possible as my
>SPARCstation 5, the only linux machine I have with SCSI, just stopped
>working one morning and I dont know why (Power LED comes on for half a
>second and the drives spin up - nothing more)

If you can hook up an external SCSI CD-ROM drive that would work but I think
the IPC's firmware will be too old to have a 'cdrom' alias so you would need
to do a 'probe-scsi' to get the correct device pathname, and type in the
boot path manually. There might be versions of the firmware (the later 2.x
ones if they ever got released for the Sparcstation 1+ and IPC which are
essentially the same) which know about CD-ROM drives though it's unlikely.

Quote:>External Toshiba CDROM drive (quite old, uses caddies)

But if they work, they're useful as boot devices. 8-)

I've net-installed NetBSD onto a Sparcstation 5 without a big drama - I
remember that one part of the instructions didn't make sense and it took me
a while to figure out what I did wrong but it was a few years ago now. I'm
going to attempt a fresh 2.x install onto another Sparc box soon though.

Craig.

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SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by Rich Tee » Wed, 17 May 2006 09:13:01



> Solaris 2.6 (SunOS 5.6) and 2.7 (5.7) should be ok. I don't remember if 2.8
> (SunOS 5.8) runs on IPC's but I don't think it does.

Correct; Solaris 7 was the last release to support the sun4c architecture,
of which the IPC is a member.  Solaris 8 won't work.

--
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President,
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SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by graham salki » Wed, 17 May 2006 18:55:07


Solaris 7 is the last supported solaris release on an IPC. However, you
should be prepared to not use X, and fully load it with whatever memory
you have.

I have found better performance with the BSDs, NetBSD and OpenBSD seem
to work acceptably.

I gave up using the CD, and netinstalled them.
Using CD-R's in a CD-rom drive of the sort of age suitable to work with
a computer that old is a tricky experience. it may work, but dont count
on it.

You *can* install linux, but on an IPC, i dont recommend it. It works
fine on the more powerful boxes, but on a 25Mhz SPARC I, it seems even
slower than Solaris 7.

If you are going to try linux, try Debian Woody. Its the only one I have
found which seems to install relatively cleanly. Even Sarge seems to
have problems.

Forget SunOS unless your doing the antique computer thing. its very slow.

Of course a much better solution would be put in an 8 bit framebuffer
and use it as an X terminal to a bigger computer.
SLXT runs like a charm on these old boxes, and an IPC is even looks
compact on the desk.

 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by Bill Pecht » Wed, 17 May 2006 20:15:15




Quote:>Solaris 7 is the last supported solaris release on an IPC. However, you
>should be prepared to not use X, and fully load it with whatever memory
>you have.

>I have found better performance with the BSDs, NetBSD and OpenBSD seem
>to work acceptably.

>I gave up using the CD, and netinstalled them.
>Using CD-R's in a CD-rom drive of the sort of age suitable to work with
>a computer that old is a tricky experience. it may work, but dont count
>on it.

>You *can* install linux, but on an IPC, i dont recommend it. It works
>fine on the more powerful boxes, but on a 25Mhz SPARC I, it seems even
>slower than Solaris 7.

>If you are going to try linux, try Debian Woody. Its the only one I have
>found which seems to install relatively cleanly. Even Sarge seems to
>have problems.

>Forget SunOS unless your doing the antique computer thing. its very slow.

SunOS isn't too slow on the IPC.
I've run it on ELC's, SparcStation 2's, IPX's and such.

I think it performs equivalent to NetBSD on the box.  The main problem
is the limited memory.

The IPX is a bit better cpu... I have one of them and a couple of
the Sparc-up upgraded SparcStation2's.

The SunOS was very reliable and solid and the X worked.
I've been debating reloading the ELC with SunOS4 if I can find a 4.1.4
install cd and the y2k patches.

Quote:

>Of course a much better solution would be put in an 8 bit framebuffer
>and use it as an X terminal to a bigger computer.
>SLXT runs like a charm on these old boxes, and an IPC is even looks
>compact on the desk.

The ELC will probably be used as an Xterminal here...  I've debated
netbooting it and making it drive-free as a standalone display...

bill
--
--
  d|i|g|i|t|a|l had it THEN.  Don't you wish you could still buy it now!
  pechter-at-ureachtechnologies.com

 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by Randomiz » Wed, 17 May 2006 20:20:14


Debian 3 was able to boot from a CD-R ("boot cdrom" seemed to work
fine) but seemed to crash after it freed kernel memory (either that or
for some reason it stopped sending output to the serial port).

I would be quite happy to run NetBSD but my attempts all failed. The
second floppy disk image was larger than a floppy disk, the CDROM ISO
image wasnt valid and wouldnt write properly (not corrupt, just not
created properly it seems). Tape booting seemed the most promising but
it couldnt read the second part from tape even though I had followed
the instructions exactly. I didnt have much success with network
booting either - it just gave errors I think. Ive never network booted
a computer so it is entirely possible I was doing somthing wrong.

SunOS is also fine by me - The machine is unlikely to be particularly
useful to me besides as an example of an older sun system in a lunchbox
case. As a result functionality or speed doesnt bother me much, as long
as it will boot into an operating system. The only reason why I havent
tried installing an old version of SunOS yet is because I dont have the
installation media and I dont know where i could get it from (I assume
it isnt licensed as free software).

At the moment I suspect that both of my 13w3 monitors have failed so I
have no real way to connect an actual display to the machine - I can
only use a null modem cable. Ive tested my 13w3 monitors on both the
IPC and my SPARCstation 5. The 17" SUN one that came with the IPC
doesnt display anything. After about a minute it makes a clicking noise
and turns off. It wont turn on again after this until ive left it for
an hour or so. My 20" SGI monitor makes some good noises but doesnt
display anything and after a few seconds its orange LED comes on.
Connecting them to a PC makes no difference (I have an adapter cable).

My SPARCstation 5 is currently dead (power led comes on straight away
for about half a second, turns off, drives spin up, nothing else
happens. I cant connect a serial cable as I dont have appropriate
adapters & monitors dont seem to work so I have no idea whats wrong).
As a result of its deadness tape booting anything will be difficult -
it was my only linux box with SCSI.

So, any ideas on how I can install Linux or NetBSD from CDROM or
network? (following the netbsd installation instructions for either
didnt get me far)

 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by graham salki » Wed, 17 May 2006 22:10:12


Quote:> Debian 3 was able to boot from a CD-R ("boot cdrom" seemed to work
> fine) but seemed to crash after it freed kernel memory (either that or
> for some reason it stopped sending output to the serial port).

How much memory have you got in the box? could that be the limiting
factor? I believe the BSDs and Linux require 4Mb simms in slot 0 before
they will install, because the installers are > 4mb in size and need the
16Mb in the first bank.

Quote:> the instructions exactly. I didnt have much success with network
> booting either - it just gave errors I think. Ive never network booted
> a computer so it is entirely possible I was doing somthing wrong.

Its a bit tricky to start with but when its set up its by far the
easiest way. Especially if, like me, you have lots of hardware of rather
advanced age and dubious reliablity. Did it get to the stage where it
was copying a file from the network? or did it just complain about the
lack of RARP, or just hang there doing nothing?

1: suggests the file is not bootable,
2: suggests the RARP service on the server is not working
3: suggests the RARP service *is* working, but the TFTP service on the
same box isnt. (Note, it goest without saying the RARP and the TFTP
service should be on the same box) (Note, this may be permissions on
/tftpboot as well)

Quote:> My SPARCstation 5 is currently dead (power led comes on straight away
> for about half a second, turns off, drives spin up, nothing else
> happens. I cant connect a serial cable as I dont have appropriate
> adapters & monitors dont seem to work so I have no idea whats wrong).
> As a result of its deadness tape booting anything will be difficult -
> it was my only linux box with SCSI.

I assume you dont have access to another machine of similar sort of age
then? Its possible to do a basic debian install onto a disk on either a
sun4c, sun4m or sun4d and then swap the disks around (You cant do this
with Solaris, and I dont know about the BSDs) (You can plug in the SCSI
II disk into the CD-rom slot and connect your external CD rom)
 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by toby » Thu, 18 May 2006 00:07:56



> Solaris 7 is the last supported solaris release on an IPC. However, you
> should be prepared to not use X, and fully load it with whatever memory
> you have.

> I have found better performance with the BSDs, NetBSD and OpenBSD seem
> to work acceptably.

> I gave up using the CD, and netinstalled them.
> Using CD-R's in a CD-rom drive of the sort of age suitable to work with
> a computer that old is a tricky experience. it may work, but dont count
> on it.

> You *can* install linux, but on an IPC, i dont recommend it. It works
> fine on the more powerful boxes, but on a 25Mhz SPARC I, it seems even
> slower than Solaris 7.

> If you are going to try linux, try Debian Woody. Its the only one I have
> found which seems to install relatively cleanly. Even Sarge seems to
> have problems.

If you're trying older Linux releases, watch out for the crippling
memory management bug on the sun4c. It makes the system useless, you'll
need a kernel with that fixed. ISTR I hit this problem with Debian 2.2.

Quote:

> Forget SunOS unless your doing the antique computer thing. its very slow.

Actually SunOS 4 isn't slow at all on the class of machine we're
talking about -- it's feels similar to, or even faster in general than
the more recent releases of NetBSD. It's a nice unbloated BSD.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

> Of course a much better solution would be put in an 8 bit framebuffer
> and use it as an X terminal to a bigger computer.
> SLXT runs like a charm on these old boxes, and an IPC is even looks
> compact on the desk.

 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by t.. » Thu, 18 May 2006 00:34:11





>> Solaris 7 is the last supported solaris release on an IPC. However, you
>> should be prepared to not use X, and fully load it with whatever memory
>> you have.

>> I have found better performance with the BSDs, NetBSD and OpenBSD seem
>> to work acceptably.

>> I gave up using the CD, and netinstalled them.
>> Using CD-R's in a CD-rom drive of the sort of age suitable to work with
>> a computer that old is a tricky experience. it may work, but dont count
>> on it.

>> You *can* install linux, but on an IPC, i dont recommend it. It works
>> fine on the more powerful boxes, but on a 25Mhz SPARC I, it seems even
>> slower than Solaris 7.

>> If you are going to try linux, try Debian Woody. Its the only one I have
>> found which seems to install relatively cleanly. Even Sarge seems to
>> have problems.

>If you're trying older Linux releases, watch out for the crippling
>memory management bug on the sun4c. It makes the system useless, you'll
>need a kernel with that fixed. ISTR I hit this problem with Debian 2.2.

>> Forget SunOS unless your doing the antique computer thing. its very slow.

>Actually SunOS 4 isn't slow at all on the class of machine we're
>talking about -- it's feels similar to, or even faster in general than
>the more recent releases of NetBSD. It's a nice unbloated BSD.

I put 2 NICs in one of our IPCs, and used it as the office router/firewall for
years.  Sunos 2.7, no speed problems..

                                Ted

 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by Winst » Thu, 18 May 2006 01:25:13



> At the moment I suspect that both of my 13w3 monitors have failed so I
> have no real way to connect an actual display to the machine

   Adapters such as the Network Technologies 13W3M-15HDF will let you
connect a monitor with the typical 15HD-male connector on the end.  The
monitor will need to be able to sync to whatever resolution your graphics
card puts out.  If that's 1152x900x76Hz, your choices are more limited, but
if you're willing to live with 1024x768, almost any monitor should work.
Set the OpenBoot EEPROM parameters.
 -WBE
 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by toby » Thu, 18 May 2006 05:12:47






> >> Solaris 7 is the last supported solaris release on an IPC. However, you
> >> should be prepared to not use X, and fully load it with whatever memory
> >> you have.

> >> I have found better performance with the BSDs, NetBSD and OpenBSD seem
> >> to work acceptably.

> >> I gave up using the CD, and netinstalled them.
> >> Using CD-R's in a CD-rom drive of the sort of age suitable to work with
> >> a computer that old is a tricky experience. it may work, but dont count
> >> on it.

> >> You *can* install linux, but on an IPC, i dont recommend it. It works
> >> fine on the more powerful boxes, but on a 25Mhz SPARC I, it seems even
> >> slower than Solaris 7.

> >> If you are going to try linux, try Debian Woody. Its the only one I have
> >> found which seems to install relatively cleanly. Even Sarge seems to
> >> have problems.

> >If you're trying older Linux releases, watch out for the crippling
> >memory management bug on the sun4c. It makes the system useless, you'll
> >need a kernel with that fixed. ISTR I hit this problem with Debian 2.2.

> >> Forget SunOS unless your doing the antique computer thing. its very slow.

> >Actually SunOS 4 isn't slow at all on the class of machine we're
> >talking about -- it's feels similar to, or even faster in general than
> >the more recent releases of NetBSD. It's a nice unbloated BSD.

> I put 2 NICs in one of our IPCs, and used it as the office router/firewall for
> years.  Sunos 2.7, no speed problems..

But also not related to SunOS 4 except in name. SunOS 4 is BSD, leaner
and meaner (also runs on (68K) Sun3 up to 4.1.1).

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

>                            Ted

 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by Craig Ian Dewic » Thu, 18 May 2006 19:46:11



>SunOS isn't too slow on the IPC.
>I've run it on ELC's, SparcStation 2's, IPX's and such.

Yeah - the core OS is fine especially if only what is really needed is
installed. What really eats resources is the Xserver though - so it's a good
box for the OS itself but bad for anything that needs a GUI-based console.

Quote:>I think it performs equivalent to NetBSD on the box.  The main problem
>is the limited memory.

True. But the modern BSD's handle that a lot better. I guess it's also a
factor of current SunOS releases not really having to be so frugal with
system resource management and the fact that SunOS itself is a lot bulkier
than it was 5 or 10 years ago.

Quote:>The IPX is a bit better cpu... I have one of them and a couple of
>the Sparc-up upgraded SparcStation2's.

Plus the IPX (like the SS2) provides the option to upgrade the CPU to an 80
MHz Weitek PowerUp (if you can actually find them!).

Regards,

Craig.
--

 APANA Sydney Deputy Regional Co-ordinator. Operator of Jedi (APANA Sydney POP)
 Always striving for a secure long-term future in an insecure short-term world
   Have you exported a crypto system today? Do your bit to undermine the NSA.

 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by Bill Pecht » Fri, 19 May 2006 11:16:10





>>SunOS isn't too slow on the IPC.
>>I've run it on ELC's, SparcStation 2's, IPX's and such.

>Yeah - the core OS is fine especially if only what is really needed is
>installed. What really eats resources is the Xserver though - so it's a good
>box for the OS itself but bad for anything that needs a GUI-based console.

>>I think it performs equivalent to NetBSD on the box.  The main problem
>>is the limited memory.

>True. But the modern BSD's handle that a lot better. I guess it's also a
>factor of current SunOS releases not really having to be so frugal with
>system resource management and the fact that SunOS itself is a lot bulkier
>than it was 5 or 10 years ago.

I think SunOS4 was set up to boot with small memory on the box and
tuning may help it.

Quote:

>>The IPX is a bit better cpu... I have one of them and a couple of
>>the Sparc-up upgraded SparcStation2's.

>Plus the IPX (like the SS2) provides the option to upgrade the CPU to an 80
>MHz Weitek PowerUp (if you can actually find them!).

Yup... I did it to a couple of SparcStations  (actually one an Opus SS2
clone and an IPX here...)

Still not a smoking fast box though.

>Regards,

>Craig.
>--

> APANA Sydney Deputy Regional Co-ordinator. Operator of Jedi (APANA Sydney POP)
> Always striving for a secure long-term future in an insecure short-term world
>   Have you exported a crypto system today? Do your bit to undermine the NSA.

--
--
  d|i|g|i|t|a|l had it THEN.  Don't you wish you could still buy it now!
  pechter-at-ureachtechnologies.com
 
 
 

SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by Craig Dewic » Fri, 19 May 2006 15:59:01



>I think SunOS4 was set up to boot with small memory on the box and
>tuning may help it.

Yes SunOS 4.x was quite a 'lean and mean' operating system. Pity Sun opted
to dump it after the 4.1.4 release.

Quote:>>Plus the IPX (like the SS2) provides the option to upgrade the CPU to an 80
>>MHz Weitek PowerUp (if you can actually find them!).
>Yup... I did it to a couple of SparcStations  (actually one an Opus SS2
>clone and an IPX here...)
>Still not a smoking fast box though.

No but it's quite an improvement over the standard configuration given that
it's a raw doubling of the CPU's internal processing speed. That's like
replacing a 450 Mhz UltraSparc-II processor in an Ultra 60 with a 900 Mhz
one, and of course they don't exist except in theory. 8-)

Regards,

Craig.
--
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SUN SPARCstation IPC Operating System

Post by PBW » Sat, 20 May 2006 22:04:25






>>> Solaris 7 is the last supported solaris release on an IPC. However, you
>>> should be prepared to not use X, and fully load it with whatever memory
>>> you have.

>>> I have found better performance with the BSDs, NetBSD and OpenBSD seem
>>> to work acceptably.

>>> I gave up using the CD, and netinstalled them.
>>> Using CD-R's in a CD-rom drive of the sort of age suitable to work with
>>> a computer that old is a tricky experience. it may work, but dont count
>>> on it.

>>> You *can* install linux, but on an IPC, i dont recommend it. It works
>>> fine on the more powerful boxes, but on a 25Mhz SPARC I, it seems even
>>> slower than Solaris 7.

>>> If you are going to try linux, try Debian Woody. Its the only one I have
>>> found which seems to install relatively cleanly. Even Sarge seems to
>>> have problems.
>> If you're trying older Linux releases, watch out for the crippling
>> memory management bug on the sun4c. It makes the system useless, you'll
>> need a kernel with that fixed. ISTR I hit this problem with Debian 2.2.

>>> Forget SunOS unless your doing the antique computer thing. its very slow.
>> Actually SunOS 4 isn't slow at all on the class of machine we're
>> talking about -- it's feels similar to, or even faster in general than
>> the more recent releases of NetBSD. It's a nice unbloated BSD.

> I put 2 NICs in one of our IPCs, and used it as the office router/firewall for
> years.  Sunos 2.7, no speed problems..

>                            Ted

I've found OpenBSD to be very good for old sparc boxes. I run them
headless, usually as mail or web servers. The IPC is particularly slow,
but it manages to some light mail and web duties. I've installed both
OpenBSD 3.5 and 3.7 on the IPC without any trouble. I haven't tried any
other versions yet.
 
 
 

1. Sun SPARCstation IPC SCSI Upgrade

Hi,

Does anyone know if it is possible to upgrade the SCSI disk in my IPX
from a 400+Meg Seagate ST1480N to a 2 Gig ST12550N simply by swapping
the disk?

If you could EMail me with your thoughts I would be in your debt.

Thanks,

Mat

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
My views, not those of Gandalf. ?;^)
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