Playing with Solaris

I’ve acquired from work an old Sun UltraSPARC 10 that I think runs Solaris 8 currently.

Of course, anyone who had any hope of remembering the root password has long gone so I’ll need to rebuild it to get it doing anything productive. It came with a sealed copy of Solaris 9 but the troubIe is I don’t really want to open it (retro value and all that).

Apparently Sun made Solaris 8 and 9 freely available back in the early '00s, but since Oracle bought Sun it has been taken down.

Does anyone have a copy of Solaris 8 or 9 that they might be able to make available? @CryHavok maybe? :wink:

8 & 9 are EOL, but you can still download 10 & 11.

Sadly, no copies of Solaris kicking around.

However, you can boot to single user without the password.

Thanks fellas.

I did try booting into single user mode but it did want the root password, so I’ll try that link you suggested, @CryHavok - cheers.

Also the NVRAM battery has died so I’ll need to replace it… from my reading it seems that will involve using a dremel to get the old one out and soldering in leads to a replaceable type…

I don’t think this old Ultra 10 will run Sol 10 (at least, not very well) which is why I wanted to put 8 on it. Plus it’s more period correct and I’m anal about that. :wink:

I read somewhere that there is a way to reset the root password by booting from the network - do you guys know how to do that?

Ah, the old bootp, I haven’t played with that in many years - over a decade I think

Mind you, in theory you could boot it with anything that can mount the file system (Sun UFS) and “fix” the password entry. I know FreeBSD sparc/64 will boot, as will the relevant Debian version (at least, one could about 5+ years ago). I don’t think FreeBSD supports the Sun UFS, Debian might, but I’ve never tried.

The simplest approach now if the single user mode doesn’t work would be to use a bootable copy of the 10 or 11 installer. Unless things have changed a lot you’ll be able to pop up a shell at some point before the install starts. At that point you can easily mount the root partition read/write and pop the password.

Hmm. I have an original Debian Woody CD set that I could try booting.

Yeah I might have to do that - at least I should be able to download a copy. I don’t reckon 10 or 11 will run all that well on this old Ultra 10 (but it does clock at 440MHz which is a lot faster than I was expecting for an entry-level machine in 1999 or so).

I’ve since discovered that NeXTSTEP was released for SPARC so am seriously considering plonking that on there instead… I found 3.3 but I understand Openstep 4.2 works better with non-SCSI storage… but a downloadable 4.2 iso is proving to be as elusive as Solaris 8/9. :unamused:

On a related note - any decent games that you know of for either OS? I know Doom, Doom II and Quake (and probably others) were developed in NeXTSTEP but don’t know that any binaries were ever released. Pretty sure there is a version of Doom for Solaris though.

There’s certainly Doom for Solaris, I used to play it on Solaris 2.6.

We used to have a ton of these floating around OldJob… Mainly something older developers kept to look cool, I think.

Sun did make some interesting hardware, didn’t they? I kind of miss the days when computers were works of art, and not just laptops trying to be dough scraper-shaped wedges. I miss the idea of companies like SGI making boxed that totally failed at being box-like, but were incredibly cool.

(There’s a Sun box, admittedly of a newer vintage, that’s been sitting in a hallway the entire time I’ve worked here. I’m pretty sure it’s just decor at this point.)

For me, Sun hardware stood out by the fact that it “just worked”, regardless of what you threw at it. I spent a while supporting a range of platforms, including various vintages of Sun hardware, some unix boxes by a now defunct manufacturer, and a range of Compaq and HP hardware.

The Sun hardware never let me down. Some of the kit that had been EOL when we inherited it, was still going strong 10 years later, through unscheduled power outages and all. Not something I could say about any of the other kit.

And yes, their floor standing kit was pretty sweet looking. The pizza boxes got a bit samey though.

Wow… that’s bringing back memories.

If it helps, the Ultra10 and Ultra5 had the same motherboard, so any hardware for the U5 (SSL accelerator card, anyone?) will also work in the U10.

My first “real” SysAdmin role was looking after a pair of E10,000s. (They were the first in the country, and we had the Sun engineers learning how to make them work as they installed them for us.)

When they got replaced by E6900s, I looked after them as well. Add in a fleet of v240s, v440s, v880s and the odd “mini-bar fridge” thing, and I had a farm of the things.

As CryHavok says - they just ran forever and would not die.

Obligatory “Solaris just works” comment: at Boeing I was lucky enough to be in a position to watch our IT standards (and the contents of our data centers) shift over the course of the 2000s. When I first started (back in the old OG CoG days—my first day at Boeing was September 10, 2001) our Houston datacenter had tons (literally) of DEC Alphas running Tru64, tons of HP-UX racks, tons of IBM Z-series gear, and tons of giant purple Sun SPARC cabinets. The only Windows servers were domain controllers, a file server or two, and the Exchange servers.

Over the course of the decade most of the non-Windows gear was slowly EOL’d and replaced by commodity Dell and HPaq servers, and when I left Boeing in 2010 Windows Server was the standardized platform for basically everything…

…except backup.

Because it turns out that even in 2010, Solaris was still the only platform that could run NetBackup at massive scale (think >1PB under management in just our local DC) without puking all over itself and falling down. We experimented with NBU under Windows and it was like trying to troubleshoot an in-progress nuclear explosion.

So I’d say that you’ve got some solid hardware and software to play with, @moufassa—though you might consider checking out whether you can use Illumos on it. The Illumos project is where all the smart people who originally worked on Solaris are now, since almost all of them quit when Oracle acquired and destroyed Sun.

(And if you’d like to know why they all left, I direct you to this video, which contains at the linked time of 33 minutes possibly one of the greatest rants—aimed at Oracle in general and Larry Ellison specifically—that I have ever heard in my life.

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This is interesting! I didn’t know that there was an offshoot of Solaris. Will look into that whilst still trawling eBay for a Solaris 8 media auction that won’t bankrupt me.

Still have to replace the NVRAM battery anyway so that’ll keep me busy in the meantime… along with all the vintage Mac motherboards that need capacitors replacing (and circuit traces repairing, in some cases), and my P133 DOS gaming rig build… etc etc. Ahh, it’s good to have hobbies. :slight_smile: