Re(2): [SunRescue] Old Skool Sparc 2 with SunOS 4.1.1

Tim Hauber Tim_Hauber at
Thu Dec 30 09:22:44 CST 1999

rescue at,Internet writes:
>Hey, I did look at the environment thing before... and now when I look at
>it, it doesn't have anything that even remotely suggests that it can
>this... I thought it would be at the OS level... I don't even understand
>what this eeprom is... is that the Sparc equivalent of CMOS? there is one
>variable called diag-device = net  and its set to true... I am not sure
>it does...
>If I don't figure something out by the time the sun comes up... over
>I will wait until I find a transceiver to buy... I saw a few on e-bay but
>the autcions end in like 3 days or something hehehe
>thanx for your time paul

Well, for starters (I started playing with Sun stuff this year, so I
understand the confusion)
The Sun machines are designed to live on a network, otherwise they get
lonely and psychotic.  In fact, the Environment Variable diag-device is
it's "darn I can't boot off the drive, what now" setting.  When it can't
find a root system on the drive, it goes out on the network and looks for
a TFTP server to netboot.

If your mention of extremely slow is in any way related to the memory
test, well, it seems to do a real bit by bit test, if it has a decent
amount of memory you can go to lunch while it tests.  I'd recommend
letting it run through the full test (well, you have no choice the first
time) then there is an Environment variable to tell it how much memory to
check.  Set it to 0

The network port on the SS2 is a standard AUI port, you aren't looking for
a cable, but a little box that plugs into the port, with either a BNC or
TP jack (or both) on it.  I'd go back to where you got the Sparc and ask
if they've got an extra laying around.  buying one new will cost no more
than 20-30 US$.

Once you manage to get the thing ready to boot, then the fun will start. 
Don't even try a floppy, Sun doesn't use floppies as a normal file device,
they just kinda write blocks of raw data to them, don't work for boot. 
Your choices are Tape, CD, and Netboot

If you don't have a genuine Sun CD drive, then it can be very difficult to
determine whether your drive is even capable of booting, because Sun
picked a different block size for CD transfer than the rest of the world. 
Many CDs will work fine for data transfer, but will not boot.  If you use
tape, ask someone else on the list, I never did tape.  If you have a Linux
machine (or actually any kind of a machine that will run a TFTP serve) net
booting isn't really difficult, there is a FAQ on it somewhere, you just
set the TFTP server to serve the boot image to the hardware address of the
SS2 (which it tells you in the boot), and you name the boot image file a
name based on the hardware address or hostname (I don't remember which) of
the SS2, and it boots.  This kind of stuff is only strange for a while if
you are coming from a standalone x86 environment.  Once you are running a
network you won't be able to figure out how you lived wthout it, even if
it's just two machines hooked together.

Hope it helps.  


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