[SunRescue] Help with IPC serial ports...

Kurt Mosiejczuk kurt at csh.rit.edu
Tue Dec 28 13:39:25 CST 1999

On Tue, 28 Dec 1999 apotter at icsa.net wrote:

> Greetz:
> The IPCs are painfully slow, and their utility is (IMHO) limited, particularly 
> in view of the fact that IPXen are showing up cheap (free?) and have `prox 
> twice the bang.

Well, once the IPXs start showing up for free around me, I'll grab a bunch...
but until then :)

> That being said, I still have a couple of IPCs on the home net, as nameservers 
> and NIS servers.  I have a SMALL lan (less than a dozen nodes) and less than 5 
> users in the YP tables, so they're not getting the crap pounded out of them.

While people often don't hit these boxen "hard", I've seen machines like
this handle a fair amount.  Once had a DECStation 5000/200 running a web
server with 100,000 hits a day.  It was a almost completely static web site,
and it DID have 160MB of memory, but older "under-powered" machines can do
some neat stuff...

> I run OpenBSD on these boxes, more because of the smaller memory footprint 
> than anything else, although it "just works" for all of my needs.  Your linux 
> options are limited distro-wise, and RedHat, even though I am a large RedHat 
> fan, wants more ram for the install program than I am willing to park in an 
> IPC.

I would recommend Debian to those out there wanting to try linux for sparc.
The reason I originally did not try red hat is I wanted to grab the basic
distribution via FTP at work and bring it home...  I could never find 
what was the "minimum" for getting red hat to work...

The only problems I've ever had with Debian install was on a diskless 16MB
machine.  With no swap, it couldn't hack the package management...  I ended
up running NetBSD diskless on that SLC.

> I've never even attempted to use a Sparc with a modem as in Internet gateway. 
> The serial ports (as you have discovered) suck.  Honestly, this is a task for 
> which they were never intended.

I can tell that now...  although I was so surprised that I managed to make it
work with my 40Mhz IPX, but the 25Mhz IPC couldn't do it.  It can't even handle
19200 while the IPX can handle 38400.

> <heresy>
> Instead, keep your eyes out for an old PC.  Good serial hardware is either 
> built-in, or cheap, and these days the price is right.  I have 9 or 10 Sparcs 
> running at the house, but the firewall is a 486/160 (built out of 
> dumpster-dive parts) and aside from the IDE disks that keep crapping out, it 
> works just fine.
> </heresy>

I've heard that too.  And I MAY end up doing that for a masquerading dial-in.
But, I have this sparc stuff now... 

> Hope this helps.....
> AL


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