[rescue] New SPARCStation 10 owner, needs help with some issues though.

Mike Spooner mike.spooner.ux at gmail.com
Fri Feb 5 16:03:46 CST 2016

(1) Network troubles:

The Sun Lance Ethernet ("le"), Quad Ethernet ("qe/qec"), and Intel Ethernet
("ie") controllers *do not support auto-negotiation of any kind at all*.
They always and only work at 10Mb/s half-duplex, unless the device-driver
has been customised to force full-duplex, or if there is an OpenBoot
"nvram" Forth program configured that is forcing full-duplex at the
firmware level.

Very few network switches like 10Mb/s *at full-duplex*, and none that I
know of will default to anything other than half-duplex for a 10Mb/s

It would be a good idea, at the SS10 firmware prompt (if you have a Sun
keyboard and monitor attached, right after the boot banner is shown,
press-and-hold the "Stop" key and press the "A" key on the keyboard: that
will break you out to the firmware command-prompt ("ok ").
Enter the command "printenv nvramrc" and press the Retrun key. If that
reports anything other than just another "ok " prompt, then it is *just*
possible that the previous owner has set the firmware to always use
full-duplex for the onboard 10Mb/s Ethernet port, which would not be good -
if there is some "nvramrc" setting present, let us know.

The Sun 100 Mb/s-capable BigMac ("be"), HappyMeal Ethernet ("hme") and Quad
Fast Ethernet ("qfe") controllers do support speed- and
duplex-autonegotiation. They always get the speed right, but with many
switches get duplex mode wrong, leading to lots and lots of
late-collision-errors and throughput approximately 1/100th of the link
speed (due to all the errors) when under load.

How many Ethernet ports are there on this particular SS10? Is the network
cable plugged into the SS10 RJ45 port low down on the back panel, right
next to the DB-25 connector (the "on-board" Ethernet)?

That is a Lance-Ethernet-controller 10Mb/s half-duplex port, and should be
the first one you try.

Any other Ethernet ports on the SS10 (if any others at all) will be on an
SBus card, and thus might be one of the 100Mb/s-capable controllers that
are known to negotiate duplex-mode badly with some switches.

(2) SunOS 4.1.4 Network Drivers:

SunOS 4.1.3 and later have built-in drivers for the SS10 onboard "le"
interface. IIRC, SunOS 4.x does not include drivers for any of the
100Mb/s-capable Ethernet controllers - the drivers for these were usually
provided on a separate driver-CD that came with the SBus card.

(3) SunOS 4.1.4 Patches:

I have the SunSolve Patch CDs from 2001 which contain the SunOS 4.1.4
patches (amongst other things). I can make images of these three CDs
available online, given a little time - maybe by Saturday evening GMT -
stand by.

-- Mike Spooner

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