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Old 8th June 2008
billousek billousek is offline
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Talking What do do with these machines?

I've an old G4 rotting in my attic, and just grabbed a Sun Ultra 10, Silicon Graphics Indigo and a Compaq Alpha XP1000 that were being tossed out at work.

I have no pressing need for any of them, simply nostalgia and I hate to see old workhorses die. Any suggestions? I thought I might use one for http log analysis and another so my wife can play around in R. Maybe a mirror server for the one at NOC, I dunno.

I don't really NEED them, just like I don't need the dozen old stereos, but...

Any comments on the machines themselves? Any information would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Bill
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Old 8th June 2008
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billousek View Post
Any comments on the machines themselves? Any information would be appreciated.
Don't underestimate the value of older hardware as it can be used for network infrastructure needs (routers, local DNS server, DHCP, NTP, Snort, etc.), or potentially local file servers. Of course, just having spare boxes available for installing new releases, testing, is never a bad thing. Extra hardware gives you options you may not have had before.

Personally, I use Ultra 10's for DNS, NTP, & syslog servers. Yeah, they aren't speed demons, but for single (or couple) purpose servers in a home environment, they are more than adequate. Use them to learn more.
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Old 8th June 2008
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Quote:
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Any comments on the machines themselves? Any information would be appreciated.
I sure wish I had that XP1000!

I have and Aspen Durango - which has an Alpha 600MHz and 512MB Ram. I use it to serve my website using PHP and Apache. And it has 3 blogs powered by Movable Type. It also is my MySQL server. I always wanted a XP1000 to try out as a desktop.

I had a Ultra 10, they only seem to run well with Solaris, IMO. I did get a version of linux to work on it but I forget which. Couldn't get any *BSD to work on it.

The G4 depending on the speed, I would use a multimedia machine. Ripping DVDs, CD etc. And playing around in Garage Band. But it would have to be 800MHz processor or faster or dual. Anything else I just try out OS X.
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Old 8th June 2008
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Get OS X Leopard and stick it on that G4.
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Old 8th June 2008
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I would second ocicat's idea- simple network infrastructure responsibilities can easily be tasked out to those older machines. Configuring them in a redundant setup makes the especially relevant, as well as teaching yourself some new skills. They are the ultimate sandboxes, and they just cost you nothing. Have fun!
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Old 10th June 2008
billousek billousek is offline
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Thanks for the replies!

I think I'm going to install OSX on the G4, Solaris 10 on the SPARC, and maybe FreeBSD or a hobbiest license of Tru64 on the Alpha.

Maybe it's me, but I'm still amazed that these can be tossed.
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Old 10th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddierod View Post
I had a Ultra 10, they only seem to run well with Solaris, IMO. I did get a version of linux to work on it but I forget which. Couldn't get any *BSD to work on it.
Solaris *is* the better choice, but I have had FreeBSD 6.x on both an Ultra 5 and an "Ultra 1E+" (a 300MHz clone) working fine. I've never tried it on my 60. I found the implementation to be quirky -- some hardware ports did not work, and there is (or was) no Flash or Java (necessary for many things like electronic lab notebooks). Bacula did not work properly -- for some reason it would not address my SCSI tape drive properly in spite of the SCSI HDD working fine.

They are plenty good enough for simple file servers and infrastructure kinds of things. Nothing heavy, but plenty good enough. I think you will enjoy them.
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Old 10th June 2008
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
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Solaris *is* the better choice...
I run OpenBSD 4.3-current on all of my Ultra 10's, & not only is installation straight-forward, but there is a natural feel of the OS to the hardware. Given that Theo likes his older Sun hardware, it has been a priority of the project to support it.

FWIW.
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Old 11th June 2008
billousek billousek is offline
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I didn't know that about OpenBSD, I'll try it out while pursuing the original Tru64 install disks.

Curious, other than a hobbiest perspective or as a sandbox machine, how do these compare to an entry-level webserver like this:

Intel Celeron 2.0 GHz
80GB Hard Drive
512 MB RAM


or this:
Intel Xeon 3040 Dual-core Conroe Processor
250GB Hard Drive
1024 MB RAM

I'm not really looking to deploy them, just get a feel for where they stand. I know there was a lot of criticism of the x86 chipsets and their offspring compared to Alpha and SPARC, and that clock speed is irrelevant.

I confess that I have only a few years of experience, so the articles get rather murky.

Thanks for your comments!
Bill
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