SparcStation Questions

From: Bill Pechter <>
Date: Wed Apr 26 19:33:40 2000

> I've come a long way from the dead machine I picked up and CPB a few weeks
> ago. It is running Solaris 2.4 and OPENWindows.
> Can I install/graft a later version of Solaris on the machine? Perhaps
> the only thing missing from solaris 2.7 is the direct support for the Sun4
> architecture (versus sun4m and sun4u which are supported in 2.7) and I
> could graft that support onto the cd image?

> How and where do I find a C compiler for this machine? I see something
> called YACC (yet another C compiler compiler) on my disk. Is this a C
> compiler or something else? I would like GCC. This leads me to
> applications. Binaries are kinda hard to find for Versions of solaris
> below 2.5 as compiled binaries. I have never compiled anything except for
> MiNT - a wierd variant of NetBSD for the Atari ST series machines so I
> lack experience. Any hints on compiling apps?

Yacc -- yet another compiler compiler is kind of part of a compiler
construction kit -- along with the lex program.

The best thing to do for the C compiler is to get the GCC (Gnu C
Compiler) -- any version after 2.x should do... and use that to build
the latest version.

You should be able to find it in half a dozen places...
The solaris freeware site is a good starting point:

> I found X11R6 precompiled but it is in FRENCH. I would rather die than
> run a French window manager. I feel comfortable with the status quo as far
> as they are concerned. e don't like them, they don't like us. ;-) FYI I
> am 1/4 French. The self loathing was hard to deal with at first but after
> a while I was able to bear it. I would like to find a better window
> manager than my present version of CDE. Preferably pre-compiled but not
> required to be.

Interesting... CDE usually has different languages you can set from the
main xdm-like CDE login screen...

Unless they only loaded one language version...

> I have gotten my "." files in order and the system now has some scripts to
> execute at startup which do things like launch openwin, set the paths,
> etcetera but the Openwin scripts are still a mystery (mainly because I
> haven't addressed the issue yet). A shortcut in the form of advice would
> be welcome. For instance, I would like to know how to have the machine
> issue an "xhost SUNBOX" to it'self when openwindows launches versus doing
> it manually which is how it is now.

Well, there's a CDE setup program (I'll have to do some digging at
work... I pulled Solaris for NetBSD on this ELC at home and I've still
got SunOS 4.1.4 on the Opus SparcStation2 clone.

There's something to be said for the older SunOS on the Sparc2 class
machines. The only reason I've considered something else is the newer
Netscapes. 4.62 is the last SunOS 4.x version.

It crashes pretty often on most Unix platforms.

> Assuming I have a C compiler properly working, am I able to pretty much
> compile anything I want from say Linux or BSD?

Yup... And with the correct libraries from your current machine -- It'll run
Solaris binaries with NetBSD or probably OpenBSD too.

> What does NetBSD get me on this Sun4 Sparc? Is it worth it? Is the
> install hell? It was easy as pie to install solaris 2.4 once I got the
> media on the machine.

It's pretty easy to install NetBSD/OpenBSD from CD...
You can just take Solaris to single user and DD the miniroot image
to the boot disk swap partition and boot it directly from the rom, I
think. Did it here with the ELC, but I don't know much about the older

> Does NetBSD require a 'host' operating system ala
> A/UX on Apple servers, or does it 'do it all'? Is it 'pretty' as Window
> managers go? I am spoiled by OS/2 but have enough Unix 'sticktime' to
> forgive it for a weak GUI.

As an OS/2 fan -- nothing beats it as a desktop. OS/2's Object Desktop
should get ported to the Unix like environments...

Anyway, NetBSD has the compiler, X11 (from XFree86) and should run KDE
and stuff...

> I have a Plextor 4x cdrom installed on the machine and it works very well.
> It is set for 512byte blocks but WILL NOT BOOT for anything. The commands
> I have tried are various but from the docs I gather "b sd(0,30,1) should
> do the trick. A hard disk with the cd image on it booted perfectly with
> this same command but the cdrom just barfs and the systems says ' device
> not found '. I do not have the FORTH openboot prom and so am limited to
> the original command set ie 'q xx' to adjust the eeprom and 'b xx(n,n,n)'
> to boot media.

Well, I think you can boot the miniroot b partion with that rom... but
I'm not sure.

> What about SAMBA for this machine?

Should compile right up for Solaris 2.x.

> Totally unexplored territory for me is Xwindows on a remote (client)
> computer vs the console of the machine X is running on. How can I use my
> clone to run as an Xwindows client to the Sun machine?

XFree86 is available for OS/2 now with the EMX runtime. for details.

> I am running OS/2
> Warp for the most part but I also have Solaris 2.7 and Redhat Linux on my
> clone box. Windows is out of the question. I fix it at work and that is
> all I'll have to do with it. Chrissy runs Warp 4 for the most part but our
> scanner runs in 98 so we use 98 for that purpose only at home. I can't
> afford a scsi scanner....

> Thanks for your time and support. All of you.
> Technical Services
> Bits & Bytes Computer Services Inc.
> 1979B Hendersonville Road
> Asheville, NC 28803
> 828-684-8953 - voice 0900-1700 five days
> 828-687-9284 - 24hr fax
> Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?
> -----------------------------------------------------------

Glad to help. I'll do some more homework and try to post it.


--      |     Microsoft: Where do you want to go today?
                           |     Linux:     Where do you want to go tomorrow?
                           |     BSD:       Are you guys coming, or what?
Received on Wed Apr 26 2000 - 19:33:40 BST

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