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Linux questions regarding the sparc 5

Discussion in 'Sun Hardware' started by Bo Snyder, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. Bo Snyder

    Bo Snyder Guest

    Okay thanks to a bunch of you and google.com, I think i am finally getting
    my hard drive isssues resolved with my sparcstation 5.

    What I ended up doing was removing the internal 1 gig sca drive and just
    using my fujitsu external 9 gig lvd scsi drive in an external case with the
    S/E jumper enabled and now the sun recogizes it.

    Now i have a few look and feely types of questions. I am a sucker for old
    hardware and such (explains why I am playing witht this old thing) but I am
    just curioius to know how well this sun will run RedHat 6.2 in the gnome
    gui? (my machine currenlty has only 32 megs of memory but I ordered 7 more
    32 meg dimms for it so it will be up to 256 megs of ram soon).

    How does it handle the gui compared to newer machines? I also have been
    playing with an old dual pentium pro box that I have that has a 6 gig ide
    drive in it and it has 392 megs of ram (72 pin simms!!!) in it . I put
    mandrake 9.1 on it which runs okay, but its stil a bit pokey, but then
    again, thats a much newer gui.

    Also I just downloaded and I am thinking of going with Aurora Linux instead
    of redhat 6.2, is that a good idea or is there any other OS choices that
    might be better or worse? Your opinions are valued greatly!!

    Bo Snyder, Nov 26, 2003
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  2. Bo Snyder

    Yann Marigo Guest

    It's just my opinion, but, on sparc, these two distributions sucks.
    redhat 6.2 is unmaintened and Aurora is not finished. It will be very
    hard to find all the new binaries in sparc rpm and so on.

    If you want to really test linux on this machine, try debian. It's the
    lighter linux based OS you will find on sparc and you would never have
    problem to find up to date packages. Of course, Redhat installation is
    easier, but i've tested them all and i was shocked how the redhat/aurora
    was poking compared to debian.
    Yann Marigo, Nov 26, 2003
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  3. Bo Snyder

    Rich Teer Guest

    What's wrong with Solaris 9? That's the OS I'd recommend
    (after you've installed that extra memory).

    As a general rule, Sun hardware is happiest running Solaris.

    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA

    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-online.net
    Rich Teer, Nov 26, 2003
  4. Bo Snyder

    bo snyder Guest

    Well now I am confused. I am trying to locate the debian cd images
    and i don't know where to get them. I went to www.linuxiso.org and
    found the debian and the mirrors, but none of them are valid links.\

    I go to www.debian.org and I am so confused as to what to download.

    I just want to find the cd images (iso) of debian so I can burn it
    with my burner and test away.

    bo snyder, Nov 26, 2003
  5. Bo Snyder

    Sean Burke Guest

    I'd second that. With Linux, if you're not on x86 you're
    definitely a second-class citizen, and most software you
    can run on Linux will run just as happily on Solaris.
    Why go through the hassle?

    Sean Burke, Nov 26, 2003
  6. I recomend installing with bcollins sparc-mini.iso image. This works on
    more hardware platforms than the official CD image.

    It's in:


    There is also documentation in the same directory.

    This is a minimal cd, you'll need to have the sparc conencte to a
    network to fetch your desired packages. Unlike redhat, just install
    what you think you need, it's easy to add more later.

    I also recomend subscribing to .
    Blars Blarson, Nov 26, 2003
  7. Bo Snyder

    Thomas Guest

    Well, one reason could be avoiding licence hassle and/or extra cost. The
    cost of a licence for Solaris is prohibitive for a SS5. (yes I know you can
    *download* it for free, but you only get a free licence for 1 CPU systems
    bought from Sun or an authorized dealer, etc.pp.).


    Thomas, Nov 26, 2003
  8. Bo Snyder

    Thomas Guest

    I couldn't find much information about your SS5 (cpu speed, frame buffer),
    but even if you have one of the faster SS5's (110MHz/170MHz), don't expect
    too much. I found things like KDE or Gnome to be unbearable on those machine
    (I own a SS5/170). Also, most likely you'll have a cg6 framebuffer, which
    is 8bit - which doesn't seem to go down too well with the newer desktop
    environments, IMO.
    On the other hand, when using a small window manager, it's not too bad.
    You'll *definitely* need the extra RAM, though. I'm using Window Maker, but
    it has issues with 8bit displays on Sparc (regardless of OS), which never
    got resolved. Fortunately, I have a S24 frame buffer (24bit) in my SS5...

    Depends on what you want to do. RH 6.2 is definitely old now and it's
    unmaintained (as Yann mentioned already). I made very good experiences with
    Aurora Sparc Linux 1.0 and I don't find it unfinished - but then again, I
    never tried Debian. One thing to note with Linux is that it tends to run
    unstable on a SS5/170 (TurboSparc). RH 6.2 will not even install on those
    (at least it never did on the two I had).

    Another options is Solaris, which is interesting, as - being from Sun as
    well - it's supposed to run best on Sparc hardware. Unfortunately, it has
    licence issues: Unless you got your SS5 from Sun or an authorized dealer,
    you'll have to buy a licence (which is more than the SS5 is worth) or run
    Solaris illegally (you can *download* the actual OS for free).

    Last but not least, there are the *BSDs. I myself only ever used OpenBSD on
    the SS5, but I'd assume that NetBSD will work as well. My experiences with
    OpenBSD were very good - I've used a SS5/170 under OpenBSD as my ADSL
    firewall+lightweight webserver for quite some time. I've also installed a
    desktop for test purposes once and it felt a tad faster than the same setup
    under Aurora, though I didn't do any "scientific" measurements.


    Thomas, Nov 26, 2003
  9. Bo Snyder

    Elar Saar Guest

    You can't have more than 1 CPU in SS5.

    Elar Saar, Nov 26, 2003
  10. Bo Snyder

    S.C.Sprong Guest

    For years I have run NetBSD and OpenBSD with great success on older
    workstations such as the SparcStation 5. From bitter personal experience
    I found all Linux derivatives to be misdesigned junk, having all-round
    inferior real-world performance and stability. But hey, it's your hardware
    and your free time; if you just want to use what you know best, go for

    Anyway, Gnome or KDE will drag down any hardware with less than a 500 MHz
    CPU and 256 MB RAM.
    It costs money (in .nl: USD 20 + bank fees, etc., for a license, or
    EUR 95 for a license + media kit), which is perhaps more than is worth
    for a hobbyist.

    I have one SS 5 left running, and recently installed Sloaris 9, and I find
    it to be of very uneven quality. Some parts, such as X and Display
    PostScript, are really good and surprisingly fast. Others, such as the disk
    layout, the package tools and the startup scripts, are unbelievably archaic
    and dumb. Some administration tasks are hidden behind layers of Motif
    and/or Java untools, some are bare. It is really strange.
    That might be the case, but I think it is more important that I'm happy.

    S.C.Sprong, Nov 26, 2003
  11. Bo Snyder

    Yann Marigo Guest

    Try this, sunsite.cnlab-switch.ch is a pretty fast mirror (and it's a
    sunsite ;-) )

    Yann Marigo, Nov 26, 2003
  12. Bo Snyder

    Thomas Guest

    Correct, but with regard to the licence, it doesn't make a difference: If you
    haven't bought the SS5 from Sun or an authorized dealer, you always have to
    buy a licence, regardless of number of CPUs - *if* you want to run
    Solaris/Sparc legally.


    Thomas, Nov 26, 2003
  13. Bo Snyder

    bo snyder Guest

    Wow, thanks for everyone's input on this discussion.

    The main reason why I don't use solaris is because I don't have it. I
    got the hardware for free from a friend of mine and he only had redhat

    I am having boot problems once again. I installed aurora linux (the
    only version I have besides redhat 6.2) and it installed fine (it
    wanted 3 cd's). Once it finished installing it then said everything
    was done and rebooted. Once it rebooted, it just sits there at the
    main post window. it never gives me any errors or anytbhing now, it
    just sits there with the blinking cursor. I tried doing a stop a and
    then a boot-disk but it doesn't work.

    how do i make this drive bootable? (first parittion is a 50 meg boot,
    then the next section is the main / parittion (either 8 and change
    gigs or 17 and change gigs, i tried it with 2 different external lvd
    scsi drives.) and the 3rd partation is the little 192 meg swap

    Any ideas?

    Also i am curious about the sparc software, what version of solaris
    should one use in a sparc 5?
    bo snyder, Nov 26, 2003
  14. Bo Snyder

    bo snyder Guest

    Sorry for not putting info about my system into the last posts. its a
    sparc5 with 110 mhz cpu and 32 megs of memory (soon to be 256 megs)
    and my choice of external hard drives (either a 9 gig or an 18 gig lvd
    external scsi lvd hard drive) and i have the built in 2 x cdrom and an
    external 16x scsi cdrom (toshiba, can i make it the bootable drive?).

    As for the framebuffer, it says on it "turboxgx" and when aurora
    probed it, it said it was capible of 800x600 at 16 bit color or
    1280x1024 (or some high res like that) with 8 bit color.
    bo snyder, Nov 26, 2003
  15. Bo Snyder

    Rich Teer Guest

    That's a good reason! :)
    The latest version of Solaris 9.

    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA

    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-online.net
    Rich Teer, Nov 26, 2003
  16. Bo Snyder

    Rich Teer Guest

    That would be a VERY neat trick: the CG6 frame buffers are
    8-bit only!

    BTW, about the SOlaris 9 license. Yes, it is $99, unless you
    qualify for a FREE license, as described here:


    In short, if you're a developer or educational user, you
    qualify for a free license. You can also obtain a free
    "Evaluation" license.

    Given the vintage of your equipment, I think Sun will be
    happy if you purchased an S9 media kit from them (but you
    might as well wait a bit unitl S9 12/03 ships).


    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA

    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-online.net
    Rich Teer, Nov 26, 2003
  17. Bo Snyder

    Yann Marigo Guest

    Yes, you could probably boot on, typing "boot cdrom" at the openBoot
    prompt. You just have to verify that the cdrom drive is on ID 6.
    If it doesn't boot, search the block mode jumper on the rear of the
    drive and set it. If not, search a scsi plextor drive/burner. My
    UltraPlex 32 and my PlexWriter 4/2/20 work perfectly on Sun, SGI, DEC,
    HP harware.
    The Txgx is a cg6 and so, it's a 8 bits frame buffer, sorry.
    Try to find S24 or Leo FB.
    Yann Marigo, Nov 27, 2003
  18. Bo Snyder

    Yann Marigo Guest

    Don't you think it would be too heavy ? All this java on a such
    Yann Marigo, Nov 27, 2003
  19. Bo Snyder

    Rich Teer Guest

    Not in the least - Solaris 9 is MORE efficient that its
    predecessors, not less. Besides, last time I checked, the
    kernel and most userland apps weren't written in Java.

    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA

    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-online.net
    Rich Teer, Nov 27, 2003
  20. Bo Snyder

    Rich Teer Guest

    Those two ARE 24-bit, but very slow...

    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA

    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-online.net
    Rich Teer, Nov 27, 2003
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