Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sun: I Hate Thee

No, not the giant ball of gas that keeps me warm. Other than getting in my eyes, I have little problems with that sun. (aside: Yes sun, bide your sweet time. But you'll get your comeuppance!) I'm talking about Sun Microsystems and a beast of a server they created.

If the last hour or so has taught me anything, it's these things - 1) I don't understand Minicom, or at least enough to do what I want, 2) I may have been bested by my love for archaic machines, and 3) I have no idea how to use a Sun Ultra Enterprise 2.

1 can be fixed with a little reading, and 2 can be considered more of a sickness (unless one ignores the fact that I also recently got a Thinkpad 385ED, then I'm fine). 3 though...that one's tough.

For anyone that reads this that has no idea what I'm talking about, I've always wanted a SPARC machine. They sounded like little tough bastards that dished out fileserving with the best of them, were rock-solid web servers, and were so rare outside of the corporate environment I wanted one. eBay has had them for years but much outside of the price range I wanted to spend ($0). So I've dreamed of having a nice little 64bit SPARC to call my own.

Years pass, and now I have one. Well, two, to be exact. The brief euphoria I felt when I was told I could have them passed once I actually tried to use it, and I fell into a sort of buyer's remorse, if you will.

The first thing that became apparent was the lack of a video card, at least in these two machines. They have a serial interface, but damned if I can it it to work (see lesson 1). I have access to a video card as the system admin that originally owned it has two with cards, but they take special monitors (of which he has a 21" monitor, but with a .50 pitch. Yikes).

The second thing was that, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. I had considered a small fileserver, but these suckers are loud, and only have 2.1gb drives in them. Webserver? Same issues, and I already have a webserver that is a 700mhz Celeron (see lesson 2) that runs beautifully. Sandbox to play and break? The thing only has a serial console interface, and at least one has a possible bad harddrive. I could combine the two and get a larger machine with slightly more RAM running dual 167mhz UltraSPARCs, and two 2.1gb Seagate Barracuda drives. But that would leave me with a box with slightly less RAM and no processor.

Now that my hopes and dreams of a Sun computer are dashed. Oh well. According to eBay, I might be able to make $50 a machine. Now if I could only find out how much this copy of Solaris 9 is worth. Talk about profit!

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