[rescue] Head for a SparcStation 2

Bryan Gurney arb_npx42 at comcast.net
Tue Aug 16 19:44:49 CDT 2005

First off, all the Sun 13W3 framebuffers output composite sync, and also,  
the default mode for them is a goofy one: 1152x900 at 66 Hz.  I'm fairly  
sure this can be changed in OpenBoot, but I've never done it before; the  
only resolution change I've tried was using the ffbconfig Solaris command  
on my Ultra 2, which has a Creator3D FFB card (24-bit, yessss; I really  
need to make some desk space for this thing and make it my Solaris  

Secondly, a SS2 is a bit weak IMO, but then this is what I have:

SS5, 110 MHz, 256 MB RAM
Ultra 1, 143 MHz, 160 MB RAM
Ultra 2, 2 x 300 MHz, 640 MB RAM
Ultra 5, 440 MHz, 1024 MB RAM

I'm not really using the Ultra 1 at all; it's too slow for Solaris 10, and  
doesn't have a lot of RAM.  I could throw Debian Woody or Sarge on it, but  
I already have a Debian Woody machine in the SS5.  That reminds me: the  
Debian on the SS5 runs textmode in 1152x900, which covers quite a bit over  
80x25, but still, you need a Sun-capable monitor.  I don't know of any  
flat panels that would work, since 1: you'd have to search for composite  
sync in the specs, and 2: you'd have to bring in a 13W3 Sun box to  
reliably test it out; Sparcstations are light, but...

I live a little bit west of Boston, and I'm open to parting with the Ultra  
1, which has a working cgsix SBus framebuffer card that I don't really  
need (the cgsix is 8-bit; I don't think there are any 24-bit SBus  
framebuffer cards, or at least none cheap or fairly available); I also  
have a spare Type 6 keyboard and mouse pair that I don't use, since I have  
a Type 5 keyboard and optical mouse with grid mousepad.  Sun mice run at  
1200 baud by default (the entire keyboard/mouse bus is just serial), and  
at that rate the mouse movement framerate is a bit low and "jumpy", but  
you can mod some of the mice to silky-smooth 4800 baud by  
soldering/desoldering some resistors.  The optical one's easy to do since  
it doesn't use surface mount resistors, but the mechanical Type 5 uses  
surface mount (which means I'd have to buy a chisel-tip for my soldering  
iron to even TRY tweaking it), but the Type 6 mouse isn't moddable as far  
as I know.  It's only an issue if you mind having a low-framerate mouse.

On Tue, 16 Aug 2005 20:22:13 -0400, John Lee <j.benlin.lee at gmail.com>  

> Not that kind of head you sickos! :-P
> I'm looking for a framebuffer and keyboard for a Sun SparcStation 2
> that might be residing in the New York City area. It doesn't have to
> be anything fancy. I'm just looking to turn this machine into a
> writing machine at work. You see, my Powerbook runs all sorts of fun
> and interesting applications. It supports pages laden with amusing
> flash animations. It plays music and DVDs. In short, it's a huge
> distraction when I'm at work and what I need to be doing is focusing
> on writing. So, I want to press my SS2 into service.
> Basically, I want to run screen, ssh, vim, and maybe check out source
> from a source code control system (still deciding on what to use).
> That's about it. Oh, okay, it would be nice if I could also compile my
> LaTeX documents and view them, but that is not a necessary luxury. I
> don't need graphics, just a character console -- preferably one where
> I can change the console font to something that will provide more than
> 24 lines (50 or more would be nice).
> The one caveat is that I'd like to use it with a Dell 1702FP LCD that
> sits on my desk. Does anyone know if this panel will sync up to, say a
> TGX+ given the use of the appropriate 13W3 to VGA adapter (oh yeah,
> need one of those too)? If not, can anybody suggest other neat,
> interesting, small hardware that would work with this display (no room
> for more displays on the desk)? I notice that the HP 712/715 series
> has VGA outputs, the B-class workstations also look nice. SGI Indys
> and Indigos look nice too, but it would be a waste not to run the
> Indigo Magic desktop. Yeah, just a character console for me.
> I'm looking for hardware in the New York City area (reachable via
> public transit, ideally in Manhattan), and would prefer to keep total
> costs well below $200. Alternatively, if anybody has or has a lead on
> a fairly well kitted out system, I might be willing to trade a Minolta
> Scan Dual III slide/transparency scanner.
> Thanks folks,
> John B. Lee
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