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

Skeezics Boondoggle skeezicsb at gmail.com
Wed Sep 6 15:49:56 CDT 2017

On Wed, Sep 6, 2017, Andrew Liles wrote:

> It looks like the X Terminal stuff was an unbundled software package
> called SUNWxt, at least according to this patch README:
> http://download.nust.na/pub3/solaris/patchroot/current_
> unsigned/101894-01.README
> [...]
> Guessing that is probably lost to time, at least I can't find anything
> but the patches for it.
> On 9/6/2017 7:30 AM, Peter Stokes wrote:
> > Hi Andrew
> >
> > I think you are correct, it would have been a minimal OS which was
> enough to
> > run the Xserver and was released to compete against the other X terminal
> > suppliers at the time I guess.
> >

The package we used (or at least started with) way back in the '90s was
called "Xkernel," IIRC, and it was exactly that:  a very minimal SunOS 4
kernel, the basic set of executables and /dev tree required to support the
X server, and a shell script to replace "init".  We ran it very comfortably
on 8MB SS1s and SS2s, long before the Classic was out, but early versions
of Netscape triggered memory leaks in Xsun that caused it to pack it in
every few days.  16MB was much more comfortable.  As older diskful machines
were too sluggish and expensive to patch and maintain running SunOS or
Solaris, we could pull disks and reconfigure them in minutes to be almost
zero-maintenance X terminals, which was great for academic institutions
where the interval between grants meant desktops languished while resources
got allocated to beefier servers instead.

I even created a version of Xkernel for NeXTstep 3.3 (called it
"NeXTkernel", naturally) so that you could turn lovely black NeXTstations
into X terminals.  But I'd be hard pressed to dig that code up at this
point.  Searching for Xkernel brings up a competely different "x-kernel"
project, or a "Melodic death metal band from Kiev, Ukraine." :-)

-- c

More information about the rescue mailing list