[rescue] FreeBSD SPARC

Jonathan C. Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Mon Sep 19 11:48:42 CDT 2005

On Mon, 19 Sep 2005, Brian Dunbar wrote:

> Query - what's the current status of the SPARC port of FreeBSD - will
> it stand up as a production OS?

I had some intermittent problems getting a recent 6.0 snapshot to
bootstrap on an SMP Ultra60 (some sort of SMP panic during SCSI bus
initialization), but, so far, everything besides X works reliably on 5.4
and 7.0-CURRENT.

> All I want out of it is a customer facing web server, nothing fancy
> and certainly no X.

Well, it's the only BSD that has SMP support for the sun4u architecture.
At least, if NetBSD finally has usable SMP support (ie: runs threads on
all processors), it's not advertised on the NetBSD/sparc64 web page.  It
still feels like FreeBSD, which is to say it's only slightly less slimy
than DeadRat, but the thought of an SMP BSD on 64-bit SPARC intrigues

I haven't done any stress tests to see how much of a workload FreeBSD
can handle versus Solaris, but I might do that, as I have a pair of
U60s here, one with Solaris and one with FreeBSD.  I suspect that
Solaris will deal with I/O better and FreeBSD will deal with
context-switches better, so, of course, YMMV with the applications you

> Yes, I know - put the OS ON a box that was designed FOR the box.  I
> have my reasons, but comments welcome.

I'm hunting for a Solaris replacement.  FreeBSD seemed the most
promising, as it will use multiple processors.  Aside for relatively
lame console support and broken[0] X11, I guess it could be.

Maybe I'll just get a faster Mac.  Or a PC.  The whole industry's crap
for folks that want workstations.

[0] The system in question has two C3D framebuffers.  xorgcfg starts up,
     displays windows, and then crashes in such a way that leaves the
     console unusable.  It happened under both 5.4 and 7.0-CURRENT, with
     Xorg built from 5.4's ports tree and -CURRENT's ports tree.
Jonathan Patschke   )  "When we are young, wandering the face of the
Elgin, TX          (    earth, wondering what our dreams might be worth,
USA                 )   learning that we're only immortal--for a limited
                    (    time."                              --Neil Peart

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