Sun Blade 100 (Part 2)

Currently, it looks like this:

I replaced the 15GB Seagate  drive in the Sun Blade 100 with an old 160 GB Western Digital drive that I used to use with Linux.  It won’t see the full 160 GB of it but 127 GB instead because it’s Ultra ATA/66 MHz.  That’s okay.  It’s a lot better than the smaller drive.

I have yet to figure out how to fix the IDPROM issue.  Despite my years as a Mac user during the late PowerPC era, OpenBoot eludes me greatly.  It’s the same basic firmware, but I can’t grok it very well.  However, I wound up installing Solaris 10 from a x86 VM because the Sun lacks a DVD drive.  It did make installation easier once I figured out Jumpstart enough to do a network install over a dedicated Ethernet port on the PC that’s hosting the VM.  Networking works but I have to manually configure the connection to match what the Sun thinks the Ethernet port is…


SunBlade 100 (Part 1)

Warning:  Extremely technical babble ahead.  Beware.

I finally got my hands on a dream machine sometime last week because my younger sibling found a SunBlade 100 secondhand and had to get it to me.  I’ve been interested in Suns since I first saw one in 1994 when I was out with my mother paying the bill for the local dial-up ISP.  The flurry of text I saw on screen was amazing and I was just fascinated by it.  Because of this, I eventually wandered to Solaris 9 Express on x86, but it ran like a dog. X took forever to start (and sometimes, failed), networking was wonky, and I could never figure out how to shut it down right.  In retrospect, it was almost certainly not the best Solaris experience as it wasn’t running on its native architecture–SPARC.

Of course, this dream machine is a bit of a fixer-upper.  Despite using computers for the past 23 years, I never touched a Sun and mostly x86 and PPC Mac computers.  One of the first things that I encountered was an IDPROM error and a U13 error. It wouldn’t boot automatically and thanks to a quick refresher on OpenFirmware (or OpenBoot as it is on a Sun), I was able to get it to boot Solaris 8’s installer.

There was a slight problem though.  The Sun absolutely refused to connect to a network, so I had to figure out why it wouldn’t.   The MAC address in Solaris was nothing but zeroes for the Ethernet adapter, so DHCP refused to offer a lease to it.  Apparently, as I found out, the MAC address in most Sun machines is stored in the IDPROM and on most other Ethernet cards, it’s stored om the card itself.

I eventually replaced the battery in hopes that it would fix the problem with the IDPROM since it loses its marbles when the battery dies.  It didn’t.  I’m actually up to one last thing and that’s reprogramming it manually…