Subject: Re: Advice wanted from Sun users please
To: None <>
From: der Mouse <mouse@Collatz.McRCIM.McGill.EDU>
List: current-users
Date: 03/20/1996 17:22:23
> I have just been given four Sun 3/60 boxes

Lucky b*st*rd... :-)

> sans disks and RAM,

Well, nothing's perfect.

> but with nice 24 bit graphics cards and 19"monitors.

Wow, I don't think I've ever _seen_ a Sun-3 with 24-bit graphics.  I'll
let others speak to how well (and whether) the graphics cards are
supported.  You may have to live with the ROM console scrolling text
until someone (you?) writes a driver....

> I have heard that these things run about as fast as a fast 486 -
> true?

I have no idea.  All 486s are good for in my world is running Myst. :)

> What RAM is required to run NetBSD reasonably well, bearing in mind
> that I have to fill four machines on no money.

I don't think they'll even work without the first 4M.  (They take 1M
SIMMs in banks of four.)  An 8M system is fully usable for
non-RAM-intensive things (meaning, no fancy graphics); it'll probably
run X (assuming you can find an X for the -3/60 that groks your video
cards), but not snappily.  12M should be usable, 16 is where I'd start
feeling comfortable.  I think they max out at 24 or so.

I realize this is hardly "no money", especially when multiplied by
four.  But you did ask. :-/

> What about HDDs?

IME pretty much any sort of external shoebox will "just work", with the
caveat that you need to be careful about the terminator power pin (pin
26, I think); some old Sun-3 motherboards do something evil with this
pin - ground it, I think.

> They have SCSI-I cards in them, so what size and type of disk should
> I get?  I want X11 and decent userland real estate for playing :)

Personally, I'd say get a 4G disk.  Anything smaller fills up too fast,
and besides, the cost-per-meg figure drops as the disk gets bigger.

> There is currently zip on these babies, so how do I go about
> installing NetBSD?

Easiest is probably to install from an existing system by reconnecting
a disk.  Next easiest is probably to netboot one of them and write your
first disk from that.

> Can I newfs the disks using my existing x86 box

Sorry.  Suns are big-endian, x86 little-endian.  And FFS cares.

If you have (or can borrow) one of those iomega zip drives, I can send
you a dd image of a bootable zip disk.  (I keep such a disk around as a
crash recovery disk.)  You should be able to dd it onto a zip disk fine
with your x86 box - it won't grok the filesystem, but it doesn't need

> and copy a sun 1.1 distribution system and -current sources on to it,
> them wop them into the sun boxes?

That's a reasonable idea, and if your x86 box were the same endianism
as your Suns, there's a decent chance it would work.  (You'd have to
frob with disklabels, since the disklabel on the disk has to be a
Sun-compatible label to keep the boot ROMs happy.  But I have a program
that lets you do Sun disklabels easily enough.)

I'll be glad to correspond further on the subject if you like.  Welcome
to the NetBSD/sun3 crowd. :-)

					der Mouse