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Thread: SS5 and SS10

  1. #1

    SS5 and SS10

    I am in the possesion of 7 SunSparc 5 and 2 Sunsparc 10 machines. I am aware that they are highly outdated.

    Nevertheless i have some question regarding this machines:

    - What is the best and most recent OS to run on this machines?
    - What kind of prestations can i expect from this machines?
    - WHat kind of uses are there for this old machines?

    Thanks already

  2. #2
    Don't expect much from them.

    You can try auroralinux: - They have a great mailing list. It's basicly redhat for sparc. is another alternative, although the compile times will be forever on those machines.

    Depending on what processors are inside, you may not be able to run linux at all (Or not well anyways..) See
    for some more information.

    They would probably serve DNS quite well, along with static web pages and other low cpu services.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Superior, CO, USA
    These are pretty old machines - the last of the 32 bit line from Sun.

    You can still run older versions of Solaris on them (I think Solaris 8 would still run on them but you'd have to check Sun's site to be sure). The SS5's were slow even when they were new. I developed for a few years on one and it always was slow.

    Having said that I think that FreeBSD and I know Linux can be installed on these machines. You'll need to find the right distribution but it could be worthwhile. The certainly could be a web server for a modest site. You'll have a tough time getting anything precompiled for them but if you don't mind building things yourself you should be ok.

    If the SS10's are both the same speed you can take the CPU from one and have a dual processor. Of course the other one isn't much use then

    While I'm inclined to tell you that the SS5's would be best used as boat anchors / artificial coral reefs, they could be used as a web server farm. Expansion is a pain in the SS5's - they use SCSI single connector disks and the memory is too expensive to be worthwhile. The SS10's are only a little better.

    Some schools may be interested in them though. It would be a cheap way for the school to get to use Solaris/SPARC.

    Good luck - I traded my SS5 in a long time ago and now need to trade in my U5 on something new.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    London UK

    Re: SS5 and SS10

    - What is the best and most recent OS to run on this machines?

    Solaris 8, OpenBSD, NetBSD, probably Linux and FreeBSD too nowadays - check the respective hardware compatibility lists.

    I ran OpenBSD on an SS4 (almost identical to SS5) and it ran with an uptime of 759 days (before a power outage).

    - What kind of prestations can i expect from this machines?


    - WHat kind of uses are there for this old machines?

    DNS server, small scale backup MX, small web server, etc.
    Paul Civati
    Rack Sense Ltd UK Managed Services Provider
    Views expressed are my own and not those of the company.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Saint Paul, MN
    I run Debian Linux and OpenBSD on a number of SS5's. Performance (with a single 110MHz processor and 128MB RAM) is discernably better than a typical UML VDS, in my experience. The greatest limitation is probably HD size, but they're amazingly reliable machines. Debian is rock solid on these machines, and the 2.4.* kernels seem at least 20% faster than the 2.2.* kernels on this platform. OpenBSD seems to have a smaller overhead than Debian, but that's another matter entirely. Both work very well.

    A friend uses one as a personal webserver on a DSL line, and it handles 500-700 visitors/day with no problem on a very graphics-heavy site. I wouldn't necessarily try to *sell* webhosting on one, mind you... I think once PHP and SQL would bog it down pretty badly, given what they do to 2GHz Intel boxen and all.

    Aside from that, they make wonderful mailservers (we use a Sparcstation as one of our mailservers), or dedicated nameservers... If for some inexplicable reason you were compelled to offer shell hosting, a Sparc might not be a terribly bad box to use for that, if you've already got one laying around.

    A lot of fun stuff on these old pizzabox Suns can be had at; not affiliated, I just like it.

    They're old, but they're still plenty useful, IMO. - offering amazingly competent email, dns, and web hosting since 2002... because someone has to!
    Because Simple Things Should Be Simple - YouCANHasDNS

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