Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Sun SPARCstation 2

While I was dumpser diving today I also managed to get my hands on a Sun Microsystems SPARCstation 2, which was serious kit back when I was an undergraduate.

Sun Microsystems SPARCstation 2

Like the Macintosh Plus the SPARCstation I grabbed doesn't have an internal hard drive, as most machines of that era relied on external SCSI drives. On the other hand, unlike the Macintosh, I do actually know how to make this boot from the floppy drive....

The NVRAM battery on this machine is dead, which means it's reporting an "The IDPROM contents are invalid" error on boot. This isn't too much of a problem if you spent too much time mucking about with Sun's arcane Forth OpenBoot monitor when you were an undergraduate, as it's possible to use it to reprogram the IDPROM with moderately sensible values.

After playing around for a bit I managed to get the machine to boot Debian Linux off it's internal floppy drive. The hardest problem was finding the floppies...


  1. Anonymous12:22 am

    For those interested in arcane things you should take a look at the Sun NVRAM/hostid FAQ for more information about recovering from a corrupted NVRAM or IDPROM problems.

  2. Anonymous2:32 am

    I saw Wacky Willy's in Portland, Oregon has a pile of Sparcstation 2's. 503-227-2203. Never know, might be useful. -Dave J.