So it’s been a while as I have been on holiday – I am planning lots of things, and hopefully soon I will be able to dedicate some more time to security as I will dive more in security research (have lots of ideas on tools to write, maybe a re-code of annfid)
Now, amongst the various things, before the holidays I bought two Sun e450 (or enterprise 450) and thought about writing a proper Sun e450 refresh guide. I know what you are thinking – “your smartphone is more powerful”, but well, why would people buy commodores then?
Those things were quite pricey 10 years ago, but now I bought one with hard drives, all four CPUS for less than 100$ – so I bet then I am not the only one buying them.
This will be part one, I’ll write something more later with more screenshots.
So, here are a few tips:
This is the first issue you will find. NVRAM is probably dead!
You can say this from two things:
- The host id is something like ff:ff:ff:ff:ff (might have some ‘e’s or something else – it doesn’t matter)
- You type setenv and after a reboot it doesn’t pick it up.
Now, you will find online some guides to DIY fix the NVRAM; I honestly don’t think the site is a fake, but I can say the NVRAM mod did not work for me
There is no specific differences amongst NVRAMs that I know of, so I can’t see why a 450 would not take a modified NVRAM. In any case, there is a shop on ebay that can sell NVRAM for a decent amount of money; might be worth taking a look there as it worked for me straight away and could save quite some time (soldering the cables on the small NVRAM power pins is quite a challenge)!
If you are wondering where the NVRAM is, it is that PIC on top of the PCI slots with a yellow sticker/stripe. It is on top of a socket that is very easy to pull from the sides, I’ll put a screenshot when I have some time.
Maintenance light blinking
This is not a serious issue. The sun e450 owners manual (which is seriously worth reading if you are just getting started) suggests that unless there is a steady light, it is not an issue. Most times, by default, the system will enter in OBDiag (Open Boot Diagnostics), which can last for quite a while. In my case, it can take up to 10 minutes for the machine to start!
Default net boot
If your machine has been blinking until now, it will probably also boot the diagnostic device. Usually, the default boot device is set in the variable ‘boot-device’, you might want to put cdrom or disk there. But if the device boots after diagnostics, it will use the ‘diag-device’ variable. Just do a setenv diag-device disk and it will boot from disk. If you are stuck on the net boot, just press Stop + A to get to the Ok prompt.
Oracle being Oracle
Before you start you might want to know this: as I write, to get patches from Oracle you need to be approved as a client, so forget fixes (well, unless you are a company with a contract of course). Also starting from Solaris 11 our beloved Sparc II is no longer supported. Solaris 10 is the best we can get (which is not too bad actually); maybe you might want to install a Debian there or remove the hardware and use it as a funny PC case.
End of part 1
By the way, for cold winters, E450s are great heaters!