I mean Sun as in Sun Microsystems, you know. Unix workstations and servers, not holidays… Still there? Good.
Well, I’ve got a little money saved. I was planning on a new computer anyway, and I am considering buying a second hand Sun workstation.
Yeah, in this case it would not be new, but I like to tinker and play with exotic architectures, and would love to get some experience on something that is not your usual PC. I also have quite a bit of Unix experience - mostly Linux and FreeBSD, though, but I used Solaris in the University - but I think the more practice, the better.
Yet I am not 100% convinced (after all I can Unix on a decent PC, or get a Mac with Mac Os X) and would like to ask: is it worth it? And, incidentally, how can I get an idea on how much to offer for a Sun box?
By the way, I realize this might not be the better forum to post this, but it is quite pointless, isn’t it? And mundate? Completely. And I feel like sharing it. So there you go.
If you like to Geek, then Geek! I don’t have any specific experience with Sun Stations, other than typical hardware and networking issues. But then again, if I can’t fix it, it ain’t broken.
If you’re looking to parlay (sp?) your experience into $$, though, you might want to back up your Geeking with some real world credentials. Not necessarily a Certification, but at least a class. Or even a Seminar. Management types love the ol’ Seminar on your resume. It gives them the idea you’re willing to go out and learn without spending all their money.
Can anyone confirm me the claim made by the typical Friend of a Friend that Sun boxen are quite sluggish?
I personally suspect it is the operating system (Solaris is very heavy), but has anyone got any personal experience?
I know, that’s what I’ve been doing these last seven years - I used Linux before it was fashionable, me! * Cringes from cries of “Stereotype!” and “Huh! Prove it!” *
Pity my fears were proven true, because I’d like to play with some different hardware. Maybe Silicon Graphics? Or maybe… The Mighty HP-48, the PDA of the 80s ? I still have one.
I love Sun boxes. Work on them every day. But for playing around with at home? Not so much.
The only real advantage you would see to having a Sun workstation at home would be learning more about the OpenBoot PROM (OBP). The OBP is used instead of a BIOS and, man, I dream of the day PCs get something similar to an OBP.
Anyway, back to the topic. If you want to learn Solaris, get Solaris x86. Sun is making a real effort to port all features in Solaris to x86. Pay close attention to the supported hardware list, though. There isn’t a world-wide community porting drivers to Solaris x86 like there is for Linux or *BSD.
But for learning Solaris, x86 is the good way to go. You’ll learn the differences (init 5 is not a good run level if you want to do anything) and see some of the features.
Now, if you compare Solaris to Linux for home use, Solaris will lose. Not as much candy. You want manageability, features, support and a roadmap? Solaris wins.
Save your money or spend it on a decent x86 platform. Dual boot Solaris and another operating system. Better yet, get two decent x86 platforms (maybe refurbs on the cheap) and network Solaris and another operating system. Understanding how to integrate multiple operating systems is more important than understanding the OBP or having experience with a Sun workstation.
Sun? Not so much. Besides the fact that it is very much proprietary hardware, in my limited experience, their support people aren’t particularly helpful. Of course, if you just want to geek, then geek away. But I’d just put *nix on a PC if it were me.
I was under the impression that SUN was going to give X86 the big choppola.
Anyhow, if you’re looking at exotic boxes… why are you not looking at used SGI boxes? SGI is so busy shooting themselves in the foot that my understanding is that it’s quite easy to get a really good price on a second hand machine.