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Re: SS5 newbie

> I plan to run Linux (Debian, Slackware). The Linux HOWTOs say that there are 
> dedicated distribution for Sparcs. Sounds obvious. Though applications have 
> to be compiled for Sparcs - is that right?
Yes.  There are dedicated ports of distros to particular architectures,
mostly including Sparc.  The software available is largely comparable
however you may find a few architecture specific things haven't yet been
ported yet.  In Debian most of the userland software has been ported.

> How is the performance of the SS5 (TI MicroSparc II 85 Mhz).
Faster than an 85 Mhz Pentium.  Comparable to something like a 200 Mhz
Pentium Pro in my experience.

> The Specs talking 
> about 70 bogomips - thats not quite exciting compared to contemptorary 
> systems.
No, but they were EOL'd over 6 years ago.

> But how does it perform with 'modern' software? KDE? Gimp?
It will run them but probably not at what most people would class as a
'useable' speed - all depends on what your expectations are I guess.

> How is the response of X11 over the sparcs graphic card? Annoying slow? Or are 
> you even able to use xine? I have really no idea at all.. 
Support for sbus graphics cards (and their performance) varies quite
considerably.  Depending on exactly which card it has you should be able
to get something running.

> And the audio chip CS4231 - are there drivers?
Yes, I believe so.

> These Sun Stations are an old dream since I work with computers and now its 
> avalaible for such a little money. I hope theres somebody out there who can 
> shed light on this exotic machines...
With the greatest respect to both the original poster and all users of
32 bit SPARC systems...

It depends what you want to do.  If you want to get the basics of SPARC
architecture or have a particular nostalgic connection to the
SPARCStation series then this is not a bad choice (althought I would
have thought $100 was a bit steep; if you can get to South West UK you
are welcome to have one of my old machines of this era for free).  If
you want something that's slightly more practically useful then I would
suggest holding out for a Ultra 5,10,30,60 or 80.  I don't know US
prices but I recently acquired a pair of Ultra 5's for a client at 100
UKP each.  If you seriously want a powerful SPARC box then I would
acquire a low end box and look at Sun's current trade in offer


Until the end of the month they are offering 20% trade in against Blade
1500 and 2500 boxes. [ No I don't work for Sun, I just thought it was a
rather good deal and am very tempted by a dual Blade 2500 ... ]


 - Martin
"Seasons change, things come to pass"

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