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Sunday, September 22, 2002

Well, after my frustrations with the Sparc Classic running OpenBSD (could not get it to boot off my external CD-R drive, etc), I picked up 2 more lunchbox Sparcs at PC Liquidator for $9.99 each (whatabahgain!), an IPX and an IPC.
RISC orgy!

After much playing around and making boot floppies for both NetBSD 1.5.2 and 1.6 (1.6 is what I need), I discovered that the new machines both have dead NVRAM chips. NVRAM is the battery-powered RAM that holds essential system settings - on a Mac, the PRAM (equivalent to NVRAM) holds things such as the screen size and bit depth, the active serial port address, etc. On a Sun, it contains the ethernet MAC address and the machine's host ID, both of which are necessary for a proper boot and for installing an OS. The [Sun NVRAM/hostid FAQ] was very helpful in figuring all of this out, and Friday I ordered new NVRAM chips from [mouser electronics] to put into the IPX and IPC. I will probably end up using the IPX as the AP/router and setting up a floppy drive in the Classic using parts from the IPC - the IPC is pretty useless, uses unusual RAM, etc. When I got the 2 new machines, they were sans hard drives and I bought 2 full height IBM scsi drives that came from another set of suns at the store. Only after bringing them home did I find out that these drives don't fit the lunchboxes- they fit, but not with the power and scsi connectors attached. And this was after fit-checking in the store.
So now I'm waiting for the NVRAM chips to come. Luckily I realized I had 2 1gb scsi drives sitting unused in my PowerTower, they had been unreliable so I shelved them a year or two ago. They should be able to fill in until I get some drives for the suns that fit. Other than the NVRAM related problems, the IPX was able to boot from a NetBSD 1.5.2 floppy, but the 1.6 floppies are causing problems for everyone.

The fact that on Suns, all of the ethernet devices in a machine have one MAC address, stored in NVRAM, is pretty odd. I can set it to anything I want. Wierd. I had to jump through endless hoops, but now I have null modem connections from the old PB or the PowerTower to the sparcs, which is rather necessary for installing bsd!

9/22/2002 06:22:00 PM ] [  0 comments  ]
A good quick laugh