Re: Sun Sparc-Station 5 and Debian
Anders Hammarquist wrote:
> >First i have to say sorry for the long posting ;)
> >I'm receiving a used Sparc5 this weekend. So i have a few questions
> >(of which some may be a little offtopic):
> >2GB SCSI-HD, 32MB-RAM, 2D Gfx card (fast for wireframe, i think), FDD
> Lucky you! ;-)
Just can't wait for it. One more time i go to sleep - and then i go and
> First off, do you know what graphics card it is (probably a cg6 or a TCX)?
If i remember correctly it's a TCX (the Sparc's processor looks real
compared to the processor on this gfx card). I know that this is the
uses when doing CAD on this machine because it's capable to show
real-time. I'll know in about 16 hours.
> Recent Sun graphics cards run at 1152x900@76Hz, however it's possible to
Ah, yes... i remember watching the output of the first monitor we tried
a Sun monitor - about a year old). I didn't mention this before. A
written to the screen telling us that the card needs the res./freq. you
mentioned above. BTW the monitor was specified for doing just that, but
> change the resoltion and refresh rates on some (most?) either via the
> monitor identity pins in the connector or by setting the output-device
> variable in the NVRAM.
Sun's docs are nice. They tell you how to open/close a machine, how to
and that but i don't remember that they gave me that much information
do - in none of their fool-proof docs :)
[please don't flame me, just wondering why most of the docs ommit the
needed info's - in many systems - and: i like Sun and their machines]
> If you have a recent Sun monitor and nothing in
> the NVRAM, it should work.
For now i do only have access to a few mostly high-end multisync
(17"-21") which all (even the 17") meet the needed res./freq. But i can
a real Sun monitor in a few days. Fortunately i have access to one - if
this is the funny part) i am able to show that the card is working
so the weird thing is - i must establish this with a non Sun monitor.
i say that financial reasons raise such situations :(
> A few thoughts: Sun framebuffers generally don't do sync on green, so
> if you are using 13W3->coax converter make sure it has 4 BNCs. IIRC
> SGI uses 13W3 connector but do sync on green.
Ah. We tried a SGI monitor with cable and the screen gave me the
a mixture between distortions produced with different syncs and another
of distortion that went into color. So i'm quite sure the green sync
what i saw in addition to the different freq. syncs.
And i suspected sometimes the connection to be wrong. But as i expected,
'specialists' (a few 'friends of a friend of a friend of...') didn't
much as what was stated in the sparse docs :) The connectors are what i
have to resolder a bit - to make it cheap and fast.
> Another idea might be
> to forcibly set resolution and refresh rate (though not all framebuffers
> support more than one rate). Try setting output-device to screen:r1152x900x76
> or screen:r1152x900x66 (the latter is the old Sun standard refresh rate).
> You do this by typing setenv output-device blah at the prom ok prompt, or,
> from Linux, by echo blah > /proc/openprom/options/output-device, or, from
> SunOS/Solaris eeprom output-device=blah. (If you unplug the keyboard and
> hook a terminal 9600 baud 8n1 to serial port A you get a console there).
I'll try this.
> >The first thing for me is to install Debian :) (stable enough?)
> >The second thing may be to install Solaris (pro's, con's, suggestions?)
> Solaris is still more stable than Linux, but it has a significantly larger
> memory footprint. If you plan on running X, 32MB isn't enough. Meanwhile
> my sparc classic with 24MB doesn't swap too badly when I compile stuff with
> it (though I generally don't run X on it, I just build it ;).
So, min. 64MB or probably more should fit(?). So i hope the Gfx card
what it's made for - then the Sun will be my terminal and the SMP-PC
the background server (and more). If there may be no way to get the card
and running fine (what i don't expect), i'll have to put in some RAM and
the Sun will be the background server.
BTW i'll try do do a more minimalistic debian install on the Sun, so
i hope i won't hit too many bugs (and at least i don't expect to be hit
hard - i trust Debian:)
> >32MB RAM is not much. I would like to install a minimal System on the
> >and hope that memory will be enough to run without much swapping.
> >Is it illusionary to assume that the Debian base, a bit net, min. X
> >and one or two additional daemons, packages will run without much
> I would think it is doable, SunOS was usable with 16 MB in a machine,
> and from the feel of it Linux is about the same size (though it was a
> while ago I used SunOS). One thing to watch for on installing Linux though
> is that it doesn't (really, it boots now though) support the TurboSparc
> processor that's found in some sparcstation 4 and 5's (it's the 170 MHz
> variant. If you have a 70, 85 or 110 MHz machine you're fine).
Bingo :) Seems to be my day. 110MHz is the heart of the machine running
Anders, many thanks in the first place! You gave me more than enough
valuable info - so i'm quite confident to be able to come back to the
tomorrow (oh, today, hehe) with a sum of positive steps (which i
accomplish today). In any way, today i'll come back. Either with news or
specific info and questions ;)
Ah, where do i get the pin-specs for the std RGB connector of the card?
I tried Sun's homepage but didn't find anything.
BTW i have to cables.
std RGB connector <--> std VGA monitor connector
and the other is
std RGB connector <--> std RGB connector (which is probably useless for
My monitors supply std VGA monitor connectors and 5BNC (RGB and HV
Another cable with 5BNC connector <--> std VGA connector is here, too.
So i have to buy another cable and/or an adapter - or to solder it
(i don't know what it is, usually i'm not that verbose - how things sum
have a sunny day,
> -- Of course I'm crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.
> Anders Hammarquist | Mud at Kingdoms | firstname.lastname@example.org
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