[rescue] Sun Kit Needed for EE Student Here

Don Y dgy at DakotaCom.Net
Wed May 3 18:31:42 CDT 2006

der Mouse wrote:
>> IMHO, the biggest *problem* with the PC route is that he'll quickly
>> be envious of his friends with *4* GHz machines, etc.
> Never mind envious; he'll find that after a year or two, he can't get
> new bits any longer.

Well, depends on what sorts of bits he is looking for.  Finding
memory, disks, video adapters, etc. is usually no problem.
You just don't always look in the "regular channel" for them
(just like you don't look for SS2 drive sleds in that channel!)

I see the real problem as a psychological one.  "Suddenly"
you decide that 2GHz is "too slow" (gee, it wasn't when
2GHz was the state of the art... so why is it slow *now*?)
That (PC) crowd tends to drag people along with it without
their conscious awareness.  If, instead, you think about what
you bought the machine for in the first place and base your
ongoing "re-evaluations" of the machine's worthiness on
*that* decision (and don't let others subtly change the
criteria you use), then there's no reason why the *machine*
has changed (become "slow").

> I was depressed when I went to buy a new disk for a peecee that was
> about two or three years old and they told me, oh, I'm not sure it'll
> work, that's considered obsolete now.  With my 20-year-old Suns, I can
> get a disk fresh from the factory and plug it in and it Just Works.

Yet, you can't (?) plug 18G disks into a SSA1xx.  Hmmm...

> (I'll need an adapter from 50-pin to 68-pin, or for slightly more
> recent machines perhaps a wide-SCSI card instead, but that's it.)

I suspect your problem was the BIOS doing your thinking for you.
I can usually get any disk to at least *boot* from even ancient
BIOS'es -- long enough for the real OS to start up and "fix"
the problem.

> This goes with the reliability issue.  I've got everything from a
> Sun-3/60 to just before the UltraSPARCs, in live use today.  Peecees
> die long before that kind of lifespan - or at least the $200 kind do;
> there *is* reliable peecee hardware made, but it's relatively hard to
> find and it's *not* cheap.

Again, that depends on where you are and what resources you have
access to.  I see 4x500MHz servers discarded pretty regularly.
The types of folks using them want bigger and better, etc.
(but, if it is "just" a PC, I have no interest in listening
to even more fans running flat out!)

And, is the "college kid looking to do some engineering work"
likely to want to keep his machine?  Is he likely to want to keep
an even *older* Sun box, etc.?

It's distressing but most folks really seem happier in the
PC camp -- even those running Linux/*BSD/etc.

>> *I* wouldn't recommend any of my neighbors, friends, etc. to go the
>> "non-PC" route.  [...]  Business is less eager to hire them (they
>> want someone that can *work*, not that needs to be trained on their
>> tools).  "Gee, it's great that you know 213 different emacs modes...
>> but we don't run emacs, here..."
> So, there are fewer jobs, but the ones there are still need someone.

Sure.  It will depend on how strong his skills are, what his ambitions
are and what sorts of tools his prospective employers expect him to use.

> When you *do* run emacs here, the hordes who know just Word are of no
> use to you whatever.  I'm a Unix geek.  I've worked as a Windows
> admin for all of one month (an experience which convinced me I never
> want to be a Windows admin ever again - now I know what I'm talking

My condolences.  I wouldn't want to have to tell a PC user how
to hold his mouse -- let alone solve a REAL problem in that
environment!  ("Have you tried rebooting...?"  :> )

But, trying to convince shops to move away from windows is
a colossal exercise in frustration.  Life is far too short to
waste it saving people from their folly  :>

> about when I say that).  Most of the computer jobs out there have no
> interest in me.  But the handful that do need a Unix geek find that
> good people are pretty thin on the ground.

Yup.  But the sorts of people who want to tinker with machines,
who collect old hardware/software, etc. are different from the
folks who want a "9 to 5" with weekends to spend watching
ball games on TV, etc.

If he's the sort that wants to tinker, then find a *bunch*
of different machines for free/little cost so he can go
wild without worrying about breaking anything "expensive".
If he just wants to learn whatever everyone else is learning,
then buy what everyone else is buying!

If you've got limited re$ource$, then figure out how to get
the best buy for what he really *needs* and can actually

Sure, I'd love to have a 3GHz machine sitting here to PLAY
with.  It would be amusing to watch TV on my PC -- the
*first* time (thereafter, I'd prefer to sit in front of a
REAL TV instead of a PC masquerading as one).

>> If he wants to explore other hardware/OS's, great!  See what sort of
>> hardware you can get FOR FREE and let him play with it.
> I've gotten Suns up through U2s for free (generally cost of shipping,
> which in many cases is just a half-hour on my bike).  I probably could
> have gotten more recent ones except that I'm not interested in the
> non-SBus machines.

Ditto.  I have to pick up a U10 this weekend and am already
grumbling about the fact that all my SBUS cards will be
useless with it...  <shrug>  But, it doesn't take up much
space so...

More information about the rescue mailing list