[rescue] The onyx godness

rescue at sunhelp.org rescue at sunhelp.org
Mon Jan 13 12:19:18 CST 2003

(Aside:  Welcome back sambo!  Still in B'more?  Need Guinness?)

> > But the derision with which my initial enthusiasm was greeted has 
> > pretty much turned me off to the project.
> Bleh. Ignore these grumps. They're a font of knowledge, but don't 
> expect social skills. This is just the poo-flinging inherent in every 
> monkey group.

Actually, I think that there was little poo-flinging or derision.
James Lockwood had worthwhile comments with which I would generally agree:

> Serial consoles.  X over ethernet if you need graphics.  Total cost: maybe
> $5 for two cables if you don't have them already.
> What's the point of a graphics head?  The video output you get out of the
> SS20s will probably be inferior in resolution/bpp/speed to what you have
> on a semi-modern PC [...]

Others had similar comments.  I didn't see anything particularly derisive
in the whole bunch, although perhaps my skin is too thick.

My take on things:
I have about 15 total SS10/SS20 systems in our lab (some company property,
some mine), all of which currently have frame buffers.  The only reason
that about 6 of them have actual video/keyboard/mouse attached is that
they're either used for testing of some specific software for a customer
that requires a GUI, or they're used for training.  All of them only have
8-bit graphics, and are fairly painful for GUI-type work under Solaris.
NetBSD might be wonderful, but our customers use Solaris, and the frame
buffers would still only be 8-bit and older/slower.  If I could run NetBSD
on them, I'd display 24-bit across the network to an x86 box (or a newer
Sun box) with a decent video card.

Even my U1/200E with Creator3D video card and 512MB RAM is pretty slow
rendering webpages (Solaris 8+Mozilla or other similar browsers).  It's
actually faster to send the graphics over 100MB switched FDX Ethernet
AFAICT--the actual on-screen rendering seems to be much faster with any
decent PC video card (Matrox Millennium II or later).

I'd personally love to have all the converters necessary to go from a
single Sun monitor/keyboard/mouse for GUI console to multiple physical Suns
  - I wouldn't go through that much effort for SS20s due to reasons I
    tried to explain above--if anything, I would pick up an Apex 10-port
    13W3-compatible KVM on eBay and use that instead
  - Newer Suns are switching over to USB/SVGAish I/O, so a more-or-less
    standard new-style KVM would work fine.

If someone was selling converters for < $10 each which would allow me to
connect a Sun to a "standard" PC KVM, I'd buy about a dozen.  If someone
was selling converters for < $25 each which would allow me to connect
a Sun keyboard/mouse to a "standard" PC KVM, I'd buy three or four.

So perhaps your project is worthwhile enough to you to pursue after all.
It's really your call--and sometimes (if free time is available) a project
is enough fun to be worth it regardless of the actual outcome.  Go for it!


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