Linux on SPARC

Barry Roberts blr at robertsr.us
Mon Oct 2 16:54:51 MDT 2006


On Mon, Oct 02, 2006 at 02:21:36PM -0600, Stephen Ward wrote:
> 
> Thanks for the info and the quick reply.  It sounds like I have nothing to
> fear.
> 

I wouldn't go that far.  There is still lots of unsupported SPARC
hardware.  Before you buy anything make sure linux is at least
supposed to work on it.

http://www.ultralinux.org/
http://www.sun.com/software/linux/compatibility/ultralinux/index.xml

I've tried re-purposing Slowaris machines and sometimes it worked,
sometimes it didn't.  Depending on the processor and motherboard,
sometimes only the Debian CD would boot, sometimes only the Gentoo CD
would boot.

Make sure you have a serial terminal (serial cable, maybe null modem,
and minicom).  Lot's of servers don't have a video card, and lots of
the older workstations have funky Sun video connectors.  The Sun Video
to D-SUB converters are about $17 online, but serial is virtually
free.  I believe Sun has all their serial management port pinouts
online.  But you might have to crimp an RJ connector, or buy an
adapter.

Oh yeah.  DI in Provo used to always have old Mac external SCSI cd
drives.  That's the most reliable way I've found to boot a Linux
install CD on a SPARC machine. We have servers and workstations
without internal optical drives.

Good luck.

Barry Roberts



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