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Chromedome45
September 26th, 2015, 07:28 AM
Anyone out there own a sun sparcstation? Specifically model 2 and the LX. What can you tell me about them. I am aware they run Solaris among others.
Any quirks to them or any hints about using them. Also I read if the Battery dies inside the CMOS chip that it needs to be reprogrammed? Is it difficult?

I hope this is the right place to post these questions. After all it does run a Unix variant.

More questions to come later after I get a monitor adapter

NeXT
September 26th, 2015, 07:54 AM
I have a SPARCstation 1+ which is a touch older but it's the same stuff otherwise. Your options for an OS are either really early version of Solaris or late versions of SunOS. I know there's a fair amount of software out there for that era, including Sim City, so it's not a wasteland like AIX.

When the NVRAM battery dies in the old SPARCstations the most obvious sign of failure is the MAC address will be blank. Reprogramming the NVRAM directly from the machine can be done using a set of commands I don't remember but I know there's an old site on the web that has proper instructions. You can also do it over a serial terminal plugged into port A with the keyboard unplugged and the terminal set to 9600,8,n,1.

ahm
September 26th, 2015, 08:43 AM
Anyone out there own a sun sparcstation? Specifically model 2 and the LX. What can you tell me about them.

http://www.obsolyte.com/

Chromedome45
September 27th, 2015, 08:37 AM
So is the Sparcstation LX considered a 4c machine? Or what model is it other than an LX?

lowen
September 28th, 2015, 06:27 AM
So is the Sparcstation LX considered a 4c machine? Or what model is it other than an LX?

The FAQ at obsolyte.com has the answers you need.

But, for the sake of the archive here, the LX is sun4m and can be called a 4/30. I have several of the LX's close cousin, the 'Classic.'

Chromedome45
September 29th, 2015, 04:27 AM
OK thanks lowen

Bassoonbloke
September 29th, 2015, 06:33 AM
Well that's a coincidence,

I picked up a Sparcstation 2 at the weekend. No keyboard, mouse, HDD or monitor, but it does have 80mb of ram and powers up via a serial port to a pc running a terminal program.
Because of the age of the thing, the NVRAM battery is long dead and so are the IDPROM values !!
With much poking around on the web I have a fix to replace the battery on the NVRAM chip and details to be put back into the PROM.
I've also managed to get hold of a 9.1gb SCSI HDD and cabled it in (SCSI id 3 for drive 0), which is now being seen properly, so should be useable.
When everything is back to good I need to get hold of a SCSI CDROM drive and try to get an OS installed, which should be fun.
Never worked on a Sun computer of any kind, so this is all interesting stuff.
Has anyone had any hands on experience of installing OS's onto Sparcstations?, what would you recommend, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Linux, Solaris ?

Cheers,
Alan.

NeXT
September 29th, 2015, 07:47 AM
All the open source distros for SPARC's that old are absolutely useless these days because nothing builds on them.My preference would be Solaris 2.6 or similar.

KC9UDX
September 29th, 2015, 08:06 AM
I have owned dozens of Sparcstations and I've only ever installed SunOS or Solaris on them.

I ended up *only* using Solaris 9, or 10. I would install 10 on Ultrasparcs and 9 on the rest.

Once you use Solaris, you won't really like the other Unices too much, I think. I can't imaging installing one of them on a Sparcstation. The only thing keeping me from using Solaris on other platforms is the lack of PC hardware support.

amadama
September 29th, 2015, 12:58 PM
On a Sparcstation 2 I would recommend installing SunOS 4.x It's age appropriate and runs well on that generation of hardware. Let me know if you need help with the media for this.

paul
September 29th, 2015, 01:58 PM
I picked up a Sparcstation 2 ... what would you recommend, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Linux, Solaris ?
I have an IPC and a SparcClassic, both with Solaris 2.5.1 installed. I could not get earlier versions, Solaris 2.1 and 2.3, to get past the disk partitioning step. I've also tried NetBSD, which works, but prefer to keep these machines somewhat close to original. Wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solaris_(operating_system)#Version_history) has an application matrix for Solaris.
Don't forget the SCSI CD ROM needs to be one that can be configured for 512 byte block size.

Bassoonbloke
September 30th, 2015, 01:04 AM
Hello All,

Thanks for all the help and info. Firstly, Amadama, I may well get back to you regarding Solaris media, it seems like a good idea to get an original OS installed (if only to have a play around to see how it compares to other compatible OS's for this computer).
Paul, thanks for the info about the CDROM, I had read this elsewhere but thought that a relatively new SCSI cdrom would auto-switch to 512 byte block size, is this not the case, as far as you know?
There seem to be different routes to getting the OS onto the computer. which is less pain, but also reliable? There seems to be booting from floppy, to install from cdrom and various options, any thoughts on this?
Does anyone know if the Sparcstation 2 will actually support the 9.1gb drive that is currently sitting in my box (or Solaris for that matter)?

Cheers All,
Alan.

paul
September 30th, 2015, 04:09 AM
You will need to look for a Sun-specific CD-ROM, or certain older Toshiba, Plextor or possibly Yamaha models with a block-size jumper. I have not seen any that are auto-select and don't know if that would even be possible.
I would guess that you can boot from an install CD on an SS2 since my IPC does and it's also 4c architecture. The IPC took overnight to complete the install of 2.5.1.
I have a 9GB drive also, a full-height 5.25" Seagate. I've never tried it on the IPC but I don't see any reason why it would not work.
When you select an OS consider if it's Y2K compatible, or if that even matters to you. I'm not sure of the status of the period-accurate Solaris versions.

Bassoonbloke
October 2nd, 2015, 01:09 AM
So far, so good,

I've got a Plextor cdrom drive arriving soon with block jumper on it and i'm currently attempting the battery replacement on my NVRAM chip. Hopefully this will get me to the stage where I can attempt to get something installed and working. I still fancy trying Solaris as I've not seen it before.
It's a silly question (probably), but what software can I expect to be able to run under Solaris (I assume its just a flavour of Unix/Linux ?) ?

Thanks All,
Alan.

Chromedome45
October 2nd, 2015, 05:23 AM
Yes Solaris is a Unix Variant. Has a pretty nice looking GUI as well. At lease in some of the screenshots I have seen.

KC9UDX
October 2nd, 2015, 05:25 AM
It's a pretty fancy flavour of Unix (real Unix) in my opinion. As per usual, some Linux software won't work, at least, I never could get some of it to work. I suppose with enough time all of it should be workable.

Start with sunfreeware.com

tux
October 2nd, 2015, 03:46 PM
Well that's a coincidence,

I picked up a Sparcstation 2 at the weekend. No keyboard, mouse, HDD or monitor, but it does have 80mb of ram and powers up via a serial port to a pc running a terminal program.
Because of the age of the thing, the NVRAM battery is long dead and so are the IDPROM values !!
With much poking around on the web I have a fix to replace the battery on the NVRAM chip and details to be put back into the PROM.
I've also managed to get hold of a 9.1gb SCSI HDD and cabled it in (SCSI id 3 for drive 0), which is now being seen properly, so should be useable.
When everything is back to good I need to get hold of a SCSI CDROM drive and try to get an OS installed, which should be fun.
Never worked on a Sun computer of any kind, so this is all interesting stuff.
Has anyone had any hands on experience of installing OS's onto Sparcstations?, what would you recommend, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Linux, Solaris ?

Cheers,
Alan.

Hello Alan.
I have a Sun Sparcstation 5 that I got with Solaris 8 pre-installed in the first boot drive (SCSI ID 3). It also had a second drive above it in SCSI ID 1 which was just used as a spare data storage disk. Since no applications depended on that second disk and these Suns can boot off of any drive you choose (assuming the drive has a bootable OS installed) by selecting its alias at the ok> prompt, I installed NeXTSTEP 3.3 for sparc on the second disk. I was surprised how good of a NeXTStation the sparc 5 made. The only caveat is that when NeXTSTEP is booted, it detects the Solaris disk as non NextStep formated and asks if you wish to "initialize" it - which would be a mistake to do if you want to keep Solaris. If you're interested in trying NeXTStep/OpenStep on Sparc, the requirements are found at:
http://www.shawcomputing.net/resources/next/hardware/nsos_sparc_compatibility/ns-os_sparc_compatibili.html

Bassoonbloke
October 14th, 2015, 06:15 AM
Hello Folks,

Back again. OK, so, my cdrom drive arrived and is working well. Solaris 2.5.1 ISO cdrom burned. Run 'boot cdrom' from prompt and get part of the way, only to be told that I have a Parity Error on one of my SIMMs.
I'll need to have a play around to be certain that there is definitely a memory error and then see if I can remove a pair of SIMMs and see if I get any further.
I have 4 x 4mb SIMMs + 64mb memory expansion board. I'm hoping that 2 x SIMMs + extra memory will be ok for installing Solaris.
Does anyone know if this machine will work with just the 64mb memory board installed?

Cheers,
Alan.

paul
October 14th, 2015, 01:14 PM
I don't really know but I would have thought that the memory board would have an address starting after the main board memory when fully-populated with 4 x 4MB SIMMs.
I would be inclined to pull the memory board and get those first four slots working correctly first using the memory test option in the boot rom.

Bassoonbloke
October 21st, 2015, 12:46 AM
Hello people,

Well I managed to get Solaris 2.5.1 booted from cdrom and installing onto my HDD, unfortunately I think I lost a SIMM half way through the process which corrupted a lot of things !!
I'm currently trying to get hold of some replacement SIMMs and will then start again.
I've found that the Sparcstation is very fussy about the type of SIMMs installed.
I will keep you posted with an update when I have replacement memory installed and i'm back on track.

Alan.

Bassoonbloke
November 24th, 2015, 01:19 AM
Hello Folks,

Well I now have my SparcStation 2 with only 36mb of ram, but I have Solaris 2.5.1 installed and running.
It's probably not very well set up as far as disk partitioning goes, but it does run and I can log in as Root Admin and run commands for different things.
I must admit that I've never really tried Linux/Unix, especially from a command line.
I am using a PC running a terminal emulator as a VT-100 as the client, so no nice GUI at the minute. I will be trying to get some adaptors to get PC hardware to work with the SparcStation.
So, I am currently browsing for free software that will work on 2.5.1. and text based only !!
Any good suggestions please ?

Alan.

KC9UDX
November 24th, 2015, 05:42 AM
http://sunfreeware.com/introduction.html

sparcipx
November 24th, 2015, 06:09 AM
Sunfreeware haven't offered free software for a couple of years, they want you to migrate to their paid service at unixpackages.com (http://unixpackages.com).

Several of their old mirror FTP sites (http://ftp.telfort.nl/pub/mirror/sunfreeware/sparc/) are still around, albeit with software that's a couple of years old. For those running Solaris 8 and up, there's also the option of www.opencsw.org (http://www.opencsw.org).

KC9UDX
November 24th, 2015, 07:53 AM
Wow. That really stinks.

I hope Aminet never goes that way!

Guess I don't miss all my Sparcstations so much after all.

sparcipx
November 24th, 2015, 08:16 AM
Wow. That really stinks.

Oh man, don't get me started! ;)

I don't know the whole story, but I believe it had something to do with SFW losing a major financial backer.


]I hope Aminet never goes that way!

Guess I don't miss all my Sparcstations so much after all.

I'd just finished upgrading my Sparc IPX before SFW changed business models. Was a lot less work than building everything from source. If its HD dies, I don't know that I'd bother rebuilding.

If Aminet went to a paid subscription service, I suspect there'd be an angry mob of Amigans (myself included) gathering with torches and pitchforks. (Not to sound entitled)

KC9UDX
November 24th, 2015, 09:17 AM
If Aminet went to a paid subscription service, I suspect there'd be an angry mob of Amigans (myself included) gathering with torches and pitchforks. (Not to sound entitled)

I didn't see you at the rally when they started allowing AROS software. :D

We're not entitled, we're just so used to everything working so much better than everyone else. :cool:

Eudimorphodon
November 24th, 2015, 09:57 AM
I must admit that I've never really tried Linux/Unix, especially from a command line.


Sadly, from a beginner's standpoint you might be happier with running NetBSD on that SparcStation (http://wiki.netbsd.org/ports/sparc/) unless you really want to keep it original. The integrated and decently documented "pkgsrc tree" method of installing software from source (and the availability of pre-built packages from netbsd.org mirrors) is probably significantly more accessible to a beginner than Solaris.

KC9UDX
November 24th, 2015, 10:51 AM
With sunfreeware done, I fully agree.

sparcipx
November 24th, 2015, 02:39 PM
I didn't see you at the rally when they started allowing AROS software. :D

I was busy playing Gloom. :)

gepooljr
November 24th, 2015, 04:32 PM
I've been researching setting up Solaris 2.5.1 and came across some information on building a GCC compiler.

http://hentenaar.com/gcc-for-solaris-251

It would probably be easy to change the output from i386 to Sparc using the same instructions.