[rescue] sun des chips

Per Sandstrom psand at mac.com
Thu Oct 28 04:08:00 CDT 2004

I'm not sure how interesting this ancient DES chips business is for 
most people on the list, but here's a follow-up. Patient readers will 
be rewarded with a subversive Easter Egg from 1985.

Walter Belgers wrote:
>- The Sun 3/xx and Sun 3/xxx can have a hardware DES
>   encryption/decryption chip. For Sun 3/50 and Sun 3/60, only the chip
>   is needed. For the Sun 3/xxx more logic ICs are needed.

I had a look in the SunOS 4.0 man page for des(4s) and found 
something interesting. Apparently the Sun-2 could also be equipped 
with a DES chip. It says:

	des0 at virtual ? csr 0xee1800

The DES chip that AMD produced, AmZ8068 (also known as Am9518), was 
validated by NIST already in 1981, so a Sun-2 implementation would 
make sense.

>- It is highly likely that Sun never sold the DES chip as an option
>   (but you can buy one yourself and put it in your box)

The suspicion that it was never sold seems to be confirmed by the 
following quote from a paper written by Peter Danzig and Steve Melvin 
back in 1991 ("Microsecond Resolution Timing with Sun Workstations", 
available at http://catarina.usc.edu/danzig/usec_tmr.ps.Z).

	"The hardware of Sun 3 and 4 workstations supports a data
	encryption chip (DES), but the federal government pressured
	Sun to eliminate the DES chips from their products. For this
	reason the DES chip's IC socket is empty in these workstations."

Now being curious, I went to the Sun 2 Multibus Rev R ROM that Matt 
Fredette has posted on his Sun-2/120 emulator page 

% strings sun2-multi-rev-R.bin
@(#)version.c 2.8 85/02/19 Copyright (c) 1985 by Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Rev R
, DES chip
Love your country, but never trust its government.

I doubt the line "Love your country, but never trust its government." 
is intended to be spit out on the console. It appears someone at Sun 
added a subliminal protest against the government to the Sun-2 
BootROM code...!


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