Recently I inherited a Sun Microsystems SunFire v240. This thing burns hot and loud (hence the name), quite a lot of fun. After plugging in a console cable and booting up the system, I was met with a very nice surprise on specs.
Sun Fire V240, No Keyboard Copyright 2007 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All rights reserved. OpenBoot 4.22.33, 8192 MB memory installed, Serial #58631225. Ethernet address 0:3:ba:7e:a4:39, Host ID: 837ea439.
Pretty well-specced-out for a hand-me-down. Unfortunately, I don’t know the first thing about working with SunOS. It took me a while to even get the network up. Apparently, the network interface must be “plumbed” before it will work. I’m sure Sun makes a great operating system, but I didn’t want to waste my time learning how to use it. My first thought, of course, was to install Ubuntu, but it looks like Ubuntu dropped support for Sparc somewhere around Gutsy Gibbon. Debian on the other hand, still fully supports Sparc and UltraSparc 64. Looks like I found a match.
After logging in, I hit “init 0” to drop down to standby mode and got the ok> prompt. My options for booting were limited to CD-ROM and network, but actually just network because this SunFire wasn’t equipped with a CD-ROM drive. It took me a while to read through relevant documentation. Most of the instructions that I’d found required me to set up a DHCP or BOOTP server, RARP services, a TFTP server, and then use a magical filename for a boot image. I tried that for a while, but had no luck.