[rescue] SPARCclassic X - what software did this run?

Jerry Kemp sun.mail.list47 at oryx.us
Wed Sep 6 04:15:34 CDT 2017

Up to and including Solaris 7, diskless clients could be configured thru an 
Openwin tool called the admintool, which shipped as part of the Solstice 
AdminSuite package(s).  After Solaris 7, i.e. Solaris 8+, diskless clients 
were/are still there, but had to be configured from the command line.

Thru the whole .COM boom, I was employed by Sprint, and contracted out to an oil 
exploration company.  I (officially) was wearing a Cisco/network hat during my 
time there, but still did some Solaris administration, although it wasn't my 
primary job.  In short, there were others that solely wore a Solaris hat and 
provided direction.

We had 6 or 7 floors fully populated by geologist, all with a Sun SPARC 
workstation on their desk, ranging from SparcStation 10's/sun4m to sun4u boxes, 
including (very much maxed out, for their time) Ultra 1/1e, Ultra 2, Ultra 5/10 
and Tatung SPARC clones with Sun AXi motherboards towards the end, prior to my 
leaving, around 2000.

The Unix guys in charge ran all these workstations as diskless workstations.

You might ask, "most of those boxes shipped with nice SCSI HDD's, what happened 
to those?"  Great question.  Any local HDD's were used for local swap space. 
Other (than me) powers-that-be determine the following:

* diskless workstations were easier to deploy and administer and patch on a 
large scale

* once booted (<-this is key), in-house testing proved that applications ran 
just as quick on diskless workstations as they did on boxes with the OS 
installed on a local HDD.  Applications were NFS (ver 3) access regardless

* diskless clients were more resiliant to (l)user damage, i.e. a geologist could 
physically cycle power on the workstation on his/her workstation, and the box 
would boot with no need to 'fsck' as the OS was a network device, that had not 
gone down hard.

This was also the only place that I had not only seen CacheFS used, but 
successfully used.

History lesson over.

Specifically addressing your SPARC Classic, probably the best answer would be to 
see specifically what version(s) of SunOS 4.x/Solaris 1.x or SunOS 5.x/Solaris 
2.x were supported, then choose from there based on what application(s) you plan 
to run or other criteria.

Media, physical or electronic/ISO is typically available on eBay, misc Internet 
sites you found thru your favorite search engine and sometime, just by asking 
here on this list for what you are looking for.

regarding your netboot question, I would answer yes, Sun diskless clients booted 
using pretty much similar protocols as other diskless workstations, using RARPs 
and NFS.  However, if you are interested in some variations on that theme, I 
would invite you to look at the JavaStation and the Sun Ray thin client.



There were also a number of Sun Ray clones produced by Tadpole, General 
Dynamics, Naturetech, Aimtec and Arima

On 09/ 5/17 11:13 PM, Andrew Liles wrote:
> It sounds like the SPARCclassic X machines were designed to netboot special X
> terminal software instead of a full SunOS/Solaris - does anyone know how that
> worked, how that was installed, and if some sort of distribution of that is
> still out there somewhere?
> I assume the machines netbooted via the usual RARP/bootparams/NFS scheme that
> other SPARC machines do, but how did that differ from a normal diskless
> workstation setup?
> May be acquiring one and would like to attempt running what it was intended
> for.
> Thanks!
> -a.
> _______________________________________________
> rescue list - http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue

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