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Sparc... Is it worth it?

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In my continuing effort to learn Unix I''m looking into getting another computer to set up as a dhcp server/firewall/etc. My options include running Linux or FreeBSD. I do not want to spend more then $120. I can buy an old Intel/AMD machine or spend money of an old Sparc. Given these alternatives, is it worth it to buy an old Sparc system on e-bay, or should I just get a plain old x86? The reason I wanted to get a Sparc is simply to surround myself with something new and since I never had any experience with it I am considering buying it. Also, I want the hardware setup to be as painless as possible. Ideally I would use the same keyboard, mouse and monitor for both machines (I plan to get a switch that lets you redirect the input and monitor output to/from a particular machine). Is this setup possible on a sparc? Can an optic Microsoft mouse work with Sun''s machine (an oxymoron?). Thanks in advance. Any advice is appreciated.

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If all you want to use this machine for is as a firewall/dhcp server, then there''s no reason to get a sparc. Hell, you could even just find an old 486 for like $20, and you''re set.

Of course, if you want to learn about sparcs, then by all means, go for it.

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Bah, Sparcs aren''t that special, sure Solaris is better than Loonix but you might as well get a P200 or something and install FreeBSD on it..

Now SGI boxen OTOH..

/Mikael (who needs a new gfx card for his Impact Indigo^2)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
If you want solaris I believe that is available free for download for some architecture...but not Intel (it''s about £30 for the single CPU version).

I hate the Sparc keyboard too...caps lock and ctrl swapping places? Why?

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quote:
Original post by kill
Also, I want the hardware setup to be as painless as possible. Ideally I would use the same keyboard, mouse and monitor for both machines (I plan to get a switch that lets you redirect the input and monitor output to/from a particular machine). Is this setup possible on a sparc? Can an optic Microsoft mouse work with Sun''s machine (an oxymoron?).



The keyboard is not compatible. Probably not the mouse either. If I remember correctly, a keyboard for teh sparc machine will cost $80 or so.

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Why wouldn''t the mouse work? Can''t Sparcs use X as their graphics server? If that is the case (why would it not be?) you can always use a standard mouse, provided you''ve got a port for it on your computer.

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I think there adapters to use standard PC things like monitors and keyboards on sparcs. I know of monitors for sure not sure about the rest. check ebay ive seen them there.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by CmndrM
Why wouldn''t the mouse work? Can''t Sparcs use X as their graphics server? If that is the case (why would it not be?) you can always use a standard mouse, provided you''ve got a port for it on your computer.


If the sparc supports RS232 mice (serial) it might work. PS/2 is an IBM invention for PC. I doubt sun machines support it. USB is pretty much out of the question for old sparcs.

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