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Old 02-04-2005, 05:06 PM   #1
bulliver
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Sparc hardware: dual boot solaris & linux


Hello Solaris guru's,

Being the hardware and Unix junkie that I am, I decided to buy a Sun workstation from ebay. The system I bought is described as:
  • Sun Ultra 60 WS Creator 3D
  • 1024MB Ram
  • Dual procesor ---360Mhz each
  • 2 X 9gb SCSI HDDs
The seller says that Solaris 9 is preinstalled but my intention is to install Solaris 10 (downloading as I speak) on one HDD and Gentoo Sparc on the second. Looking at the Solaris install guide, it says you need at least 12GB to install. Can this be right? 12GB is pretty huge for an install. I just want to play around with this thing, not install everything. So I guess my question is if it is possible to fit Solaris on one of these 9GB disks and still have a bit of room for files etc? Any dual boot issues I need to know? I have already read up on Silo, and PROM

Another question, and I know this is difficult to answer but, as I have only ever used x86 and I am unsure how to gauge the performance of this thing. Is this going to be speedy or slow as hell? Sun website says the Ultra 60 was EOL'ed in 2002 so it can't be that old.

My instinct says any box with 1024 RAM and 2 cpus can't be that slow. Any suggestions or comments are welcome...

PS: next purchase: SGI Octane and IRIX
 
Old 02-04-2005, 06:07 PM   #2
coolbiz
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Re: Sparc hardware: dual boot solaris & linux

Quote:
Originally posted by bulliver
Hello Solaris guru's,

Being the hardware and Unix junkie that I am, I decided to buy a Sun workstation from ebay. The system I bought is described as:
  • Sun Ultra 60 WS Creator 3D
  • 1024MB Ram
  • Dual procesor ---360Mhz each
  • 2 X 9gb SCSI HDDs
The seller says that Solaris 9 is preinstalled but my intention is to install Solaris 10 (downloading as I speak) on one HDD and Gentoo Sparc on the second. Looking at the Solaris install guide, it says you need at least 12GB to install. Can this be right? 12GB is pretty huge for an install. I just want to play around with this thing, not install everything. So I guess my question is if it is possible to fit Solaris on one of these 9GB disks and still have a bit of room for files etc? Any dual boot issues I need to know? I have already read up on Silo, and PROM

Another question, and I know this is difficult to answer but, as I have only ever used x86 and I am unsure how to gauge the performance of this thing. Is this going to be speedy or slow as hell? Sun website says the Ultra 60 was EOL'ed in 2002 so it can't be that old.

My instinct says any box with 1024 RAM and 2 cpus can't be that slow. Any suggestions or comments are welcome...

PS: next purchase: SGI Octane and IRIX

Disk space - I haven't played with Solaris-10 yet (my Ultra-1 isn't supported :-( ), but I can't imagine it is that much bigger than Solaris-9, which I currently use. My guess is that the 12GB space is only needed if you install absolutely every available software package, including the freeware on the companion CD. You should have no problem keeping the install within half of one of your 9GB disks.

Booting - well, you can play with silo, but it also very easy to chose which disk to boot from from the boot prom menu (the "ok" prompt that you get after pressing stop-A) by simply typing "boot disk0" or "boot disk1" or something along those lines.

Performance - We still have some U-60s at work, and subjectively, they feel nearly as zippy as my 1200 MHz Athlon Linux box for typical interactive work. Number crunching ability is not great, but the UltraSparc/Solaris combination multitasks really well and makes for a good server that handles high loads from many processes much more gracefully than MHz numbers would suggest.

SGI Octane - make sure you listen to it before buying. Those beasts are very, very noisy. We used to have some at work and everybody hated them because they were so incredibly loud. The Octane-2 is a little bit better.


Good luck with the U-60. I'm sure you'll be happy with it. I have several old Suns in daily use as firewalls and file/print/web servers. They are practically indestructible.
 
Old 02-04-2005, 06:22 PM   #3
Maidros
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Re: Sparc hardware: dual boot solaris & linux

Quote:
Originally posted by bulliver
The seller says that Solaris 9 is preinstalled but my intention is to install Solaris 10 (downloading as I speak) on one HDD and Gentoo Sparc on the second. Looking at the Solaris install guide, it says you need at least 12GB to install. Can this be right? 12GB is pretty huge for an install. I just want to play around with this thing, not install everything. So I guess my question is if it is possible to fit Solaris on one of these 9GB disks and still have a bit of room for files etc? Any dual boot issues I need to know? I have already read up on Silo, and PROM


I am running Solaris 10 x86 version on 900MB as we speak (the core of the Solaris requires no
more than 943MB). How much additional software you install depends on you, but the necessary
space is not more than 943 MB for the core kernel and utils.

But, mark you, Solaris really comes with a humungous piles of software (6 CDs worth of stuff for x86, not sure how many for SPARC) , so if you try to install all that I suppose it may require 12 GB (even then I doubt it will come to that for x86 versions).

Quote:
Another question, and I know this is difficult to answer but, as I have only ever used x86 and I am unsure how to gauge the performance of this thing. Is this going to be speedy or slow as hell? Sun website says the Ultra 60 was EOL'ed in 2002 so it can't be that old.

My instinct says any box with 1024 RAM and 2 cpus can't be that slow. Any suggestions or comments are welcome...
We have several Solaris 9 SPARC machines in our lab and its real advantage is that it is rock stable and can take a lot of punishment without dropping performance. Number crunching is decent, and it is good server and general purpose machine. As for comparisons, I am not very sure.

Quote:
PS: next purchase: SGI Octane and IRIX
Does the thing come with ear-plugs? I am joking - the performance of the machines is quite good.
Regards,
Maidros
 
Old 02-04-2005, 06:29 PM   #4
bulliver
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Quote:
Disk space - I haven't played with Solaris-10 yet (my Ultra-1 isn't supported :-( ), but I can't imagine it is that much bigger than Solaris-9, which I currently use. My guess is that the 12GB space is only needed if you install absolutely every available software package, including the freeware on the companion CD. You should have no problem keeping the install within half of one of your 9GB disks.
Yeah, that's what I thought. 12GB seems a bit huge for an OS install

Quote:
Booting - well, you can play with silo, but it also very easy to chose which disk to boot from from the boot prom menu (the "ok" prompt that you get after pressing stop-A) by simply typing "boot disk0" or "boot disk1" or something along those lines.
I see, so silo isn't necessary at all then? I just won the auction yesterday, so I won't actually have this thing for probably a week, so I can't play with it yet...

Quote:
Performance - We still have some U-60s at work, and subjectively, they feel nearly as zippy as my 1200 MHz Athlon Linux box for typical interactive work. Number crunching ability is not great, but the UltraSparc/Solaris combination multitasks really well and makes for a good server that handles high loads from many processes much more gracefully than MHz numbers would suggest.
Yeah, that's about what I expected. I am just going to be using this thing as a workstation for now...just a toy

Quote:
SGI Octane - make sure you listen to it before buying. Those beasts are very, very noisy. We used to have some at work and everybody hated them because they were so incredibly loud. The Octane-2 is a little bit better.
Thanks for the tip. I am only going to buy one if I can find it reasonably cheap on ebay anyway, so I won't be able to listen. But: I always have music *cranked* when I'm playing with the computers so it's probably not a problem. I'm sure the Octane isn't as loud as Black Sabbath at volume 11

Thanks for your reply...
 
Old 02-04-2005, 07:23 PM   #5
btmiller
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Also, venturing onto the edge of troll territory, I have come to dislike Irix quite a bit (we have a few SGIs at work). Fortunately, I think both Debian and NetBSD (and probably others) will install on the Octane if you should develop similar feelings towards the OS.
 
Old 02-05-2005, 02:01 AM   #6
jlliagre
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Quote:
Looking at the Solaris install guide, it says you need at least 12GB to install.
Not sure where you got that from, but Solaris 10 installation guide at http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/817...kv6ki5e?a=view is recommending from 2 GB for a text only install to 6.7 GB for a full Install.
You may have to add to that size any third party software plus the solaris companion freewares you may want to install.
Keep in mind that these sizes are recommended and not what is actually used by the O/S, as it includes free space to allow upgrading, for logs, and for crash dump analysis system core image files, etc ...

So I confirm what was already replied: there's no doubt you can install Solaris 10 on your 9 GB disk.

Concerning performance, your U60 will run faster than when using a previous Solaris version, so it will be perfectly usable even with today's standards. The worst case being single thread compute intensive processes, where the 360 Mhz speed may be a little short. Graphics, I/O and multi-processing will do just OK.
 
Old 02-05-2005, 02:13 AM   #7
bulliver
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Quote:
Not sure where you got that from
From this link: http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/817...gbagb16?a=view
Quote:
Your system should meet the following requirements.
Memory – 64 Mbytes or greater
Disk space – 12 Gbytes or greater
Processor speed – 200 MHz or greater
Conflicting docs? Who knows.

Quote:
Concerning performance, your U60 will run faster than when using a previous Solaris version, so it will be perfectly usable even with today's standards. The worst case being single thread compute intensive processes, where the 360 Mhz speed may be a little short. Graphics, I/O and multi-processing will do just OK.
Sweet. As long as it's not painfully slow I'll be happy Thanks for your answers everyone. I can't wait till this box gets here...
 
Old 02-05-2005, 02:41 AM   #8
jlliagre
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Wow, 64 MB of RAM but 12 GB of disk ...
I guess that's a typo and should read 1.2 GB of disk as absolute minimum to be able to install a minimal O/S, just like 64 MB of physical is required for the hardware and the kernel to start.
That would made a mostly unusable system though, barely able to display more than a login prompt.
 
Old 03-04-2005, 10:16 AM   #9
Brian Knoblauch
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If it's too slow, throw NetBSD on it. It'll be quite usable I'm running NetBSD on my Sparcstation 2 (40mhz, 64MB RAM). I did have to swap out the factory 250MB HD for something a little bigger though (4.3GB).
 
Old 03-04-2005, 12:11 PM   #10
jlliagre
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An U60 is several generations ahead a SS2, it will happily run Solaris 10.
 
Old 03-06-2005, 12:56 AM   #11
bulliver
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Hey guys,

Well, I did get the thing finally.

It came with Solaris 9 on it. I booted it up once and had a peek. Don't care much for CDE...

Anyway I installed Solaris 10 on one of the disks, and have been playing with that. It is actually quite snappy, on everything except booting. I mean, once it is up and running it is quick, but it takes probably 5-7 minutes just to boot! Is this right or is something screwed up?

Anyway, thanks for the help/advice guys, now I need to go buy a Solaris book
 
Old 03-06-2005, 02:52 AM   #12
jlliagre
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Quote:
I mean, once it is up and running it is quick, but it takes probably 5-7 minutes just to boot! Is this right or is something screwed up?
Something is certainly wrong with your system, actually booting is considerably faster with solaris 10 new SMF (service management facility) which allow start scripts to run in parallel.
There must be something wrong in one of the services launch script.
"svcs -x" will tell you what services didn't start.
You can also boot in verbose mode, and find where all the time is lost: "boot -m verbose" .
See http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/content/...uickstart.html
 
Old 03-08-2005, 10:15 AM   #13
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I have a U60 identical to yours. Solaris 10 needed more than the 9 gb drive so I had to give it the other 9 gb as well. After installation, the second 9 gb drive was empty. So, if you install Solaris 10 first, you should be able to put Gentoo on the second drive.

In performance, I think you will find it to be about the same as x86 at the same speed. It is not nearly as fast as my 2.8ghz linux box, but it is very stable.

If you don't like CDE, Solaris 10 ships with Java Desktop too.

My newest Sparc machine from Ebay is a U5 I got for $32.00 (+$20.00 shipping.) It is also running Solaris 10 now.

Edit:
Quote:
Anyway I installed Solaris 10 on one of the disks, and have been playing with that. It is actually quite snappy, on everything except booting. I mean, once it is up and running it is quick, but it takes probably 5-7 minutes just to boot! Is this right or is something screwed up?
Mine takes less than a minute. You must have something timing out.

Last edited by wpn146; 03-08-2005 at 10:18 AM.
 
Old 03-15-2005, 02:30 PM   #14
bulliver
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Hello all,

Just an update here, I now have Solaris 10 and Gentoo Sparc64 dual-booting quite happily. Each is on a separate 9GB HDD, although the Solaris is a little tight (~6.5 GB), but as I am pretty much just playing around this is fine.

As for the long bootup: I have disabled unneeded services and the boot time is now tolerable. I might add, that I have to wait about 60 seconds before I even get to Openboot. That is, right after powering on, the machine seems to do nothing for a minute (during which the monitor reports 'no signal'), then it will go to openboot and show the 'Initializing memory' bit. Now here, if I leave it, Solaris will start up, and this only takes about 1:30 from 'initializing memory' to a GUI login prompt. This I can live with, but what is with the 'dead-spot' after powering on? Is this just the Sun hardware?

I am using the Java Desktop now as well. This is just a rebranded gnome right?

Anyway, I am quite happy with this box, and especially happy with the Gentoo Sparc64 which installed quickly and flawlessly (from stage 2).

Thanks everyone for your comments...
 
Old 04-14-2005, 07:55 PM   #15
sidboyce
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Sparc hardware: dual boot solaris & linux

I'd been thinking along the same lines. What did you have to do to install gentoo? Are you using silo or booting Linux from openboot prompt?
Mine is an Ultra5 with a 20G HD and Solaris 10 beta, haven't got around to installing the GA version yet. My only experiences of Linux on SPARC was installing it on an E3500 and SPARC 5, no dual boot - RedHat 6.2, that long ago.
 
  


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