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First Post from a new system I setup!

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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March 2, 2007 4:15:18 AM

Normally I wouldn't bother you guys with something like this, but this one's special enough I felt I'd share:

I am posting this from lynx on a NetBSD install on a R5000 SGI O2 workstation I salvaged.

Doing a serial terminal-based install after netbooting a kernel being hosted on my local main machine has never been more fun! :) 
Now I just need to decide what to do with it (Tor? CVS/SVN? Apache?)

More about : post system setup

March 2, 2007 8:25:59 AM

Congrats :trophy: :trophy: :-D

What all have you got in that beast?

Have you considered posting your installation procedure?

Netboot was more challenging before the days of PXE :wink:

Live long and prosper :D 
March 3, 2007 3:11:48 AM

Interesting. I just had a lab today in an old physics lab that also seemed to double as a computer museum. The newest running computer was a Pentium (1) Gateway 2000, followed by a few more Gateway 2000 486 DX2-66's, or so their labels said. Also there was a Power Macintosh 7100/80 MHz in there too, one of the first Power Macs as it still had a separate monitor. There were a few 2002-2003-era Dell shoebox Pentium 4 machines being moved in there to replace the Pentium and 486s. There was an old IBM XT and an SGI Indy underneath the tables that the 486s were sitting on, as well as a 1U rackmount power supply unit. The Indy stuck out like a sore thumb as it was a turquoise color and not a Macintosh or PC OEM machine. Non-x86 or m68k/PPC machines are unheard of at my school, with the sole exception I know of being the SGI Altix Itanium2 cluster in the data center.
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March 3, 2007 3:12:54 AM

Interesting. I just had a lab today in an old physics lab that also seemed to double as a computer museum. The newest running computer was a Pentium (1) Gateway 2000, followed by a few more Gateway 2000 486 DX2-66's, or so their labels said. Also there was a Power Macintosh 7100/80 MHz in there too, one of the first Power Macs as it still had a separate monitor. There were a few 2002-2003-era Dell shoebox Pentium 4 machines being moved in there to replace the Pentium and 486s. There was an old IBM XT and an SGI Indy underneath the tables that the 486s were sitting on, as well as a 1U rackmount power supply unit. The Indy stuck out like a sore thumb as it was a turquoise color and not a Macintosh or PC OEM machine. Non-x86 or m68k/PPC machines are unheard of at my school, with the sole exception I know of being the SGI Altix Itanium2 cluster in the data center.

I looked up the Indy and apparently it's a pretty weak machine and I'd need a special monitor or at least a converter cable to get it to feed any monitor I have. But it would be neat to fire it up and see it in action :D 
March 3, 2007 3:14:31 AM

Interesting. I just had a lab today in an old physics lab that also seemed to double as a computer museum. The newest running computer was a Pentium (1) Gateway 2000, followed by a few more Gateway 2000 486 DX2-66's, or so their labels said. Also there was a Power Macintosh 7100/80 MHz in there too, one of the first Power Macs as it still had a separate monitor. There were a few 2002-2003-era Dell shoebox Pentium 4 machines being moved in there to replace the Pentium and 486s. There was an old IBM XT and an SGI Indy underneath the tables that the 486s were sitting on, as well as a 1U rackmount power supply unit. The Indy stuck out like a sore thumb as it was a turquoise color and not a Macintosh or PC OEM machine. Non-x86 or m68k/PPC machines are unheard of at my school, with the sole exception I know of being the SGI Altix Itanium2 cluster in the data center.

I looked up the Indy and apparently it's a pretty weak machine and I'd need a special monitor or at least a converter cable to get it to feed any monitor I have. But it would be neat to fire it up and see it in action :D 
March 3, 2007 10:39:06 PM

Yeah, I snapped it up because of it's small footprint, the fact that I didn't have a MIPS-based machine in my collection, and for the historical aspect. I love digging around the campus to try to find old, odd machines that people don't use/need anymore (I'm still trying to pry a dual DEC Alpha away from a guy :)  )

I was fortunate with this one as it supports a standard VGA-type monitor connection and, if no keyboard is hooked up, automatically will boot in serial terminal mode. I installed openssh so as to not need to have my serial port on my home machine used (I am driving a VFD display with it and some software I wrote up as my Senior Design project).

In response to linux_0's post, the machine has the 200 MHz R5k MIPS with 384 megs of RAM and a ~4.3GB 7200RPM SCSI drive.

Really, the main thing that was additional over PXE that I had to contend with was directly telling the PROM environment where to find the bootable image server, while PXE handles that kinda thing automagically and provides you the nice list of available boot servers (assuming the servers are configured properly, of course).

The main things that I learned were how to setup DHCPD to dole out a static IP to a specific machine and send it a specific file on a BOOTP request, setting up TFTPD to allow downloading of a file after DHCPD told the o2 which image file to use, and most importantly that Radio Shack is a ripoff (I had a serial extension cable already, so the null modem + gender changer ended up being $19 before I returned it after using it :)  )
March 3, 2007 11:12:34 PM

Cool :-D

I remember using BOOTP and TFTPd to boot a bunch of terminals back in the day. That was fun :-D PXE is a lot easier.

A DEC Alpha would be nice :-D I've seen several on ebay.

I've also seen O2's on ebay as well. $200 gets you an O2 R5k/200/128MB/73GB
March 5, 2007 9:44:02 PM

*chuckles* Well said.

Just keep your eyes peeled (i.e. at your place of business or your campus if you are in college or even high school) for "technological treasures", they're out there and they're a fun time waiting to be had.

I knew essentially nothing of setting up a machine to provide BOOTP capabilities (essentially, this is a system whereby one computer can provide, over a network connection, usually using TFTP or Trivial File Transfer Protocol, a kernel that another machine can use to boot instead of using one that resides on a CDROM or a harddisk). A little Googling, grabbing pertinent information and binaries from a few places, a little setup on my main machine, and presto, I had free as in speech and beer little blue box that can serve a useful purpose in addition to being a small part of computing history (SGI was pretty damn cool back in the day :) ).
March 5, 2007 10:18:24 PM

I love these types of things. Was back in 1999, before ISDN came out to the public, I found a wonderful article about Multi-Link Modems. Now I was bless with having 2-phone lines in my house and an ISP what didn't seem to care (or was it didn't know? :lol:  ) that I could dial into my internet connection from two phone lines at the same time 8)

I was able to set both my modems up on the computer, run each on a seperate line and enjoy faster internet other then 56k :D  But after a while, when I managed to download 3Gb in a month, they kinda got wise and stopped me from being able to login twice :( 

Was a lot of fun, and I really wise I still have that article today, because I can't event remember the first thing on doing it now :-(
March 9, 2007 5:13:25 PM

Nice work.. Interesting bit of kit. I do like the SGI stuff and MIPS is an interesting architecture. I've known people that own VAX's at home and once got ropped into carrying an old Solbourne (is that how you spell it??) which was a very rare and strange dual sparc system. Regretably it was only good for a coffee table :( 

I've still yet to get network booting running for my Citrix Winterm so these are all good pointers. I've got a couple of options, I can use PXE or I can look at just running the local rom and XRDP on my system to allow the desktop to display.
March 9, 2007 10:58:57 PM

All of this work that I did to get the system up piqued my interest to see what it would take to setup a PXE server and the answer is it's slightly more work on the server side than what I went through but makes the client side is much, much easier. If you want some pointers, I can definitely help out and it sounds like (surprise surprise :)  ) linux_0 knows what's going on as well.

Edit: Some quick poking around the blagotubes turned up the fact that the Solbournes are sufficiently different from the regular Sun4 machines of the day (the Solbournes used the K-Bus) that the normal sun4 ports (bsd or linux) won't fly. Unfortunately, there was an effort to make the needed changes to port it but the project seems to have stagnated.

Also, it seems the same rigmarole is needed to boot this little lady as the SGI machine, it doesn't support PXE but does support BOOTP.
March 12, 2007 5:09:35 PM

That was very much the conclusion we came to, however I moved out of that house so I don't know what happened. There were certainly people around who would have the skills to write something from scratch and the bloke who picked it up was our old sys admin.

As far as booting the Citrix goes Sam and I did have a chat as to my options. I'm wondering about a compact flash-> ide adapter so I can have a low powered silent PC for casual surfing. That only has limited geek points though. I did have a look at ltsp running in a VM but without much joy. I've had DSL and SLAX running on it via a heath robinson HDD on another PSU arrangement.
March 12, 2007 6:18:23 PM

Somehow I managed to completely neglect your comment on the terminal (old hardware will do that to me :)  ) Anyway, after some brief looking around, it seems not much has changed since you had a go at it.

Quote:
...via a heath robinson HDD on another PSU arrangement.


Had a good chuckle at that. Did that "PSU arrangement" happen to contain cogs of various sizes and hamsters?
March 12, 2007 6:58:24 PM

No hamsters.. but I did use duct tape and a loo roll 8O

Ironicly having not killed myself with a PSU on the bench and various power leads. My efforts at upgrading the Citrix box my brother got resulted in me getting a NASTY electric shock. For some reason the case went live and I copped for the lot. 8O Flew a couple of feet but otherwise ok. Needless to say as soon as I had feeling back in my limbs I killed the evil purple box before a repeat performance.

For what it is I'm wondering if it's worth it. It will cost me ~50uk to get 2Gb of flash in it and then I only have a 266Cyrix PII equiv with 196Mb. For that sort of money you can almost have a play with a NSLU2 or the like..

EDIT: corrected name. Also see http://www.nslu2-linux.org/.
March 12, 2007 10:57:34 PM

Agreed, there is limited possibility in terms of performance/use there, about the only benefit the Winterm holds is the bevy of PC-familiar ports such as PS/2 for keyboard/mouse, VGA, etc.

I've been looking at procuring a slug as well (in addition to a dual Compaq Alpha someone's not using but refuses to give up, I'll just have to see if they're interested in selling it). Just amazing what a little coin, a little knowledge and some time will get you these days (the slug, the infamous WRT54g, old machines people don't want/don't deem usable anymore, etc.)
March 12, 2007 11:24:33 PM

I've just got news of a modest annual bonus. A slug might yet be on the cards although it does look a bit of a mission there seems to be loads to learn and good use to be had. A file print server of low power draw would be very handy.

Trouble is that for just a bit more you can get an Asus one with a mini pci slot occupied with an atheos chipset wireless card. The 101 106 stuff also looks good although the 106 is not supported yet by the looks of it. GigE and eSATA would be killer.

EDIT: Found this on my travels.. looks like a 2 bay 101 copy. With a 250Gb disk about my budget too..
March 12, 2007 11:56:16 PM

Quite nice there, just a bit of work and you'd have a very usable, low-power system with some great storage. I'll definitely have to look into this type of hardware after I have some more free time.
March 13, 2007 5:21:14 PM

They just HALVED the size of the company bonus :cry: 
March 14, 2007 1:15:13 AM

Sad to hear, especially considering that it's very likely that top brass didn't get their bonuses halved. :?
March 14, 2007 3:26:52 AM

Wish I got company bonuses :( 
March 14, 2007 5:09:40 PM

You might very well think that, but I couldn't possibly comment :wink:
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