[rescue] x86 vs. SPARC BIOSes (was: Small servers (was Re: WTT: 1.5G of PC2700 for 1G of PC100))

Mark md.benson at gmail.com
Wed May 14 02:33:29 CDT 2008

On 14 May 2008, at 01:09, Scott Newell wrote:
> At 06:48 PM 5/13/2008, Mark wrote:
>> I mean for the love of god, I bought a USD 99 embedded PowerPC board
>> that cost jack to produce and it had full IEE1275 OpenFirmware on it
>> AND a serial port interface. So what's so damned hard! I guess it's
> Link, please?

I originally mailed this to Sridhar, but hey, I guess you all wan to  
know ;)

Genesi EFIKA (some of you guessed). They are out of production atm,  
but a new version is currently in development. I've no idea when to  
expect the new ones as Genesi are a small company who operate on a  
tight budget and a loose schedule :)

You might still be able to pick one up if you hunt around, they were  
still available some places last I looked. They aren't anything  
spectacular, just a SoC 603/400, 128MB RAM, USB1.1, digital audio, a  
mount for a 2.5" hard disk, and a PCI slot (comes with an AGP right- 
angle adapter).

Found sellers:


No idea if either has stock left but it's somewhere to look :)

Also there's a comprehensive community manual here:


Here's what I turned mine into:


Hope that all helps. They are a fun board to play with, especially if  
you want to learn about net-booting etc (I guess you already know all  
that, and it will come in useful!). They aren't powerful, but with a  
good gfx card (mine has a Radeon 9250) they'll muster a usable if  
slightly stodgy X environment.

------- EOOM

As for the lack of ports, etc. the idea wasn't to produce a  
comprehensive board, it was to make something small, quite and easy to  
build your own case for, and easy to get started with and inexpensive  
(as I did). They initially slipped up o nthe inexpensive but but  
dropped the price eventually and the thing took off immediately.

The best thing about it is it is fun to play with, and there's a lot  
of fun lacking in modern computing. I learned not only about using  
OpenFirmware (which has since proven handy on RS/6000s and Macs), but  
also I learnt some basic metal work skills from doing the case and a  
LOT of Linux/BSD skills, including learning how to bootstrap stuff  
over a network, something I'd never have known how to do otherwise.

Mark Benson

My Blog:
Visit my Homepage: <http://homepage.mac.com/markbenson>

"Never send a human to do a machine's job..."

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