Back when I was employed by G.E., we had several
Sun servers at work, running our network, and these servers, along with
several Sparc stations; all run Solaris. Most people consider Microsoft
to have a monopoly on operating systems, but on large computers, and
servers Microsoft has little presence. The dominant system in the server
and large computer world is an assortment of different flavors of Unix,
among them the Sun/Solaris version. The copy of Solaris I have was ordered
from Sun at a special price for educational use, and then updated to version
8; as far as I know, it is a fully featured, fully functioned version.
According to Sun, it will run on as little as a 486/66 cpu, though it does
require a fair amount of memory (48mb min/64mb recommended) to run properly.
Current versions of Solaris, require more from the hardware. This system
presently has the Sun Star Office suite on it, along with some utilities
and server software. I plan on trying to port over some Linux programs,
but there seems to be little consumer or productivity software available
for Unix. What is really exciting to both the Linux, and Unix worlds
is a program called WINE, which is reputed to be able to run standard Windows
applications on Linux/Unix machines. I am not yet expert in either Linux
or Unix, and have seen but never used WINE; this is something I plan to
The machine itself is one of the few of a growing
number of the machines that I own, which I have not built myself. It is
an old NEC PowerMate 5100; I have summarized the components in the table
above. This is a low profile machine with a riser board inside, and uses
the atx form factor. There was no CD rom on the computer as ordered, but
this was the only addition, or modification that I needed to make. One
interesting set of utilities I have for Unix does not even run on a Unix
machine. It is called Exceed, and is a group of communications programs.
Exceed runs on my windows machines, and with it I can log into my Unix box
remotely. This is not simply a file transfer, or terminal emulator program
(though both are included as part of the suite); I am actually logged into,
and remotely running the Unix machine. I have attempted to log into my Linux
box using Exceed, with no luck: apparently Linux is not as close
a relation to Unix as I had thought. This is a below average machine by
today's standards, the PentiumII being superseded by the PIII, then the
P4, and soon the new 64 bit series of Intel Processors; and the hard drive
is now far overshadowed by newer and larger models. Despite this, there
are many unused features such as the built in USB, 3D video, and the auto
power features of the atx power supply, which are not supported in Unix.
I would almost be better off with a slightly less capable machine for Unix,
freeing up this machine for a new Windows 2000 installation. I do have another
Solaris machine, and a genuine SPARC one at that. This makes it a bit harder
to justify keeping Sunny asit is, though on the other hand, this may give
me a chance to play around woth clustering. As always, time will tell.
I will eventually make this my network server,
and firewall, but for now my network remains as a Windows domain, while
I play around with Active Directory. This will continue, so that I may
practice working with a domain, until I finish up my MCSE (Win XP path).
Upon completion of this, I will switch my network over. The new Microsoft
server (Windows 2003 Server) is reputed to work more along the lines of
Novell, and may not use domains, at least not in the same was as the current
version of Win 2000 server does. I am still, very much a neophyte when
it comes to Unix and Linux both. Details of my experiences with Unix will
be available here, as I continue to learn and practice.
Solaris and X86
Unix has always been a system for large computers. It
is the mainframe language, and vaiarnts run on Cray machines, as well as
the large internet servers, and the sterotypical I.B.M. mainframe. Traditionally,
solaris, whcih si the sun implementaion of Unix, has been run on SPARC machines.
SPARC is a full 64 bit enivronnment, with a RISC architecture. Solaris is
a full 64 bit operating system. This was a great choice, for speed, complexity,
and stability; but it limited the universal appeal of the system. Until
recently, 64 bit systems were the province of the mainframe, and the supercomputer.