somewhat daily mutterings

/Computing/Sun Sparky Lives!!

Well, after a bit of fussing, fighting, kicking and screaming, Sparky, my old dual-processor SPARCstation 10 is back up. His hard drive crashed about a year and a half ago, and being the procrastinator I am, it's taken me this long to put a new one in and reinstall Solaris. Of course, I complicated it by trying to use my nice Sun 18.1 LCD panel as my monitor while doing this. Problem is, Solaris defaults to a graphical install if you have a framebuffer, and the default resolution/frequency of the graphics subsystem is wrong for the LCD panel. Result: endless frustration.

But I did finally figure out that, if I held my mouth just right, I could Ctrl-C the setup process before it goes into the OpenWindows install. Once I was at the command line, I hunted for an install program, and found one at /sbin/suninstall. This app is the character-mode install (Sun calls it CLI). I got Solaris installed without problem using this guy.

However, there's the problem of Solaris going to dtlogin immediately after startup, and that process is not breakable, unfortunately. So, my hope of dumping my ancient, screwed-up Sun tube in favor of the LCD has died along with my enthusiasm for figuring this sort of thing out.

At least I'm now set to make sparky a mirror of buzz, my Apache server. That is an interesting problem and will help me maximize uptime for my loyal reader (that's right - no 's').

Posted: Sat Jan 31 06:20:42 -0800 2004

/Computing/Sun Buzz (Web Server) Uptime

Buzz, my Ultra 1 200e, reports the following uptime:

  9:23pm  up 164 day(s),  6:31,  3 users,  load average: 0.00, 0.02, 0.02

Not bad for an old warhorse of a Sparc. Of course, he's not stressed at all, considering his load average. After all, he does nothing but run Apache in order to host this site, and I get next to no traffic (about 30 visits/day).

Posted: Tue Jan 27 20:28:46 -0800 2004

/Computing/Sun Now I Know Why It's Called a "Hard" Drive

I purchased an old SCSI drive for my Sparc 10 (named, quite inventively, "sparky") off of eBay. Now, I've installed hard drives before (on PCs), and it's never been a problem. But this time it's very hard. I'm not sure why, but I can't seem to get the drive formatted to Solaris' satisfaction, even after posting a query to the Suns-at-home mailing list. After some Google research, I'm leaning toward the belief that the drive is fried. At least I only paid $8 for it. The big bummer is that until I get a drive installed I can't install the new pair of super-groovy Bridgeport 125mhz processors that I also bought on eBay.

Posted: Wed May 07 09:00:28 -0700 2003

/Computing/Sun I'm Bringing Sparky Back to Life

Sparky is my Sun SPARC 10 box. He came into my life a few years ago as a way for me to learn more about Unix administration (it worked). He served as my web server for a while, and then was put into duty as a MySQL server among other light fooling-around duties when I got my Ultra 1. A few months ago his hard drive failed, and I've just recently gotten around to bidding on a new drive for him on eBay. So, I have a 'new' 2.1G SCSI drive on the way, and more exciting, a pair of 125mhz Bridgeport processors to replace his current pair of 50mhz Sun SM50s. Well, it's exciting to me, anwyay.

If you have any inclination at all to run older high-quality Unix hardware, I recommend you do a little shopping on eBay for Sun SPARCs and UltraSPARCs. I just saw a 4x100mhz SPARC 20, with keyboard, mouse and monitor sell on eBay for $200. It's enough to make me cry. What a sweet machine. I paid $400 for sparky (just the system unit) a few years ago. These machines are easily up to the task of serving up web sites, running databases, doing SETI crunching (albeit slowly), routing, firewalling, etc., etc. They are very fine machines, and there's something really cool about running a machine in your house that used to cost $10-20k.

Posted: Sun Apr 27 16:27:17 -0700 2003

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