[rescue] You see a wild SPARCstation 20. What do?

Paul E Coad coad at sonic.net
Thu Jan 12 23:30:08 CST 2012

>    1. You see a wild SPARCstation 20. What do? (Robert Novak)
> I pulled my old SS20 out of storage this weekend (in the course of cleaning
> out my early-2000s storage spaces), and I'm thinking about putting it into
> use somehow.

It all depends on whether you have a need or a want for the machine.

> 1) What OS do you guys think I should run on it? I think I'm stuck with
> Sol9 and earlier (maybe even Sol8 and earlier?), or Open/NetBSD, and I've
> read that Open may be quirky on a MP system.
> 2) I guess this will depend on #1, but is it worth bumping up from 8x32MB
> to 6x or 8x64MB? It's relatively cost-effective... Also pondering a VSIMM
> for it, although I'm just as likely to run serial console.
Max it out or min it out.  It depends on what you want to do with it.
> I'm pondering using it primarily as a router/firewall/proxy... would love
> to do fileservice but scsi isn't cost-efficient in terms of power and
> capacity for this apartment dweller.
This seems like a waste of time/SPARC cycles.  Here are some better 

1. Load it with 64MB and a 9gb disk (or smaller) load 2.5.1 on it and 
marvel enjoy the OpenWindows goodness.  Impress your friends by playing
SimCity from the Catalyst CD.

2. Put 4.1.4 on it (or earlier) and run SunView or NeWS.  Revel in the 
nostalgia.  Build gcc 1.35 and X11R4 from source as a comparison with
modern machines.

3. Put it in your DMZ and offer free accounts.  See how many simultaneous 
users it can support.  Declare a massive login-day event.   

4. Surf the web using Mosaic.

5. Stuff it full of cg6s and connect a bunch of monitors.  Use a butt-load
of xterms at once. 

Truly the SS20 is no slower than it ws in 1992.  It was a fantastic machine
then and it is a fantastic machine now.  It is too sad to see it used
as a router.  Have some fun with it.  Retro computing can be fun.

The idea of putting OpenStep on it sounds like fun as well.


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