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Case  CPU RAM HD Video Drives OS Sound Monitor Modem Network
Desktop PII366 256mb 8.4gb ati rageII cd/3.5floppy Solaris 8 sb16 15"svga none 10/100
    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 check out.
    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.