Sun: worth it? (Warning: *Very* geeky... ahem, technical)

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. :smiley:

Ahem, mundate should be mundane… And I previewed the thing, too.:smack:

Probably IMHO is better place for this thread.

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.

Good Luck, and may the Force be with you.

Skip the Sun. Those boxes are a dime a dozen but the vastly superior AlphaServers from DEC are a bit more rare and therefore an actual investment in the future.

Mmmh, very possibly. It might be considered mundane and pointless enough, though. Most hobbies are. :smiley:

Nah, not mine. It is all up to my personal initiative. And personal budget.

I thought you were discussing some plot to replace the sun with some light bulbs.

“For eons, mankind has yearned to destroy the sun!”

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?

By the way: boxen is the sanctioned plural of box when intended as a Unix machine: see

Not the Sun! The Sun’s are evil!! They are very sluggish, not least because of the operating system. We run Solaris boxen and Linux boxen here, and those with Solaris envy those of us with Linux.

I’d just slap a *Nix variant onto a PC - you’ll get much better performance that way, plus its far easier to upgrade the hardware.

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!” * :slight_smile:
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.

Well, I could put Linux on the Suns, couldn’t I?

Only certain varieties, usually the big name linux OSs. OBP does rock and really isn’t all that hard to understand.

Still voting that you buy an Alpha powered system.

All right, MarkofT, I’ll have a look at Alpha powered systems, then. But keep in mind that it’s for geeking first and for work purposes later:slight_smile:

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.

Just sayin’