[OpenBIOS] Booting SunOS from OpenBIOS

Mark Morgan Lloyd markMLl.openbios at telemetry.co.uk
Wed Mar 27 22:54:46 CET 2013

Tarl Neustaedter wrote:
> On 2013-Mar-27 13:52 , Mark Morgan Lloyd wrote:
>> Lennart Sorensen wrote:
>>> My guess would be that the sun4/1xx and sun4/2xx were not openboot,
>>> while the sparcstation and sparcserver models probable all are.
>>> So probably sun4c and sun4m were the first with openboot then. Sure is
>>> hard to find good details on these old things.
>> I've got a running SPARCstation IPC (sun4c?) here, and at the command 
>> level it appears to be a hybrid between OpenPROM and something older. 
>> I'd need to go back through my notes but I think there were some odd 
>> limitations.
>> I think the sun4m (SPARCstation 10, 20 etc.) were all OpenPROM, and 
>> the sun4d (SPARCserver and probably SPARCcenter/CS6400) definitely are.
> The original sources for Openboot started in 1985, and it looks like 
> they got formalized into SCCS source bases in 1988. The sparcstation 1 
> was first sold in 1989, so almost certainly had Openboot on it. Someone 
> local believes that Openboot was the defining characteristic of the 
> "sun4c" architecture, and that the previous architecture (sun4) did not 
> have it.

Or is the defining feature the sbus+OpenPROM combination? I've got a 
/very/ vague recollection about the hardware being ready before the 
firmware, so the earliest machines were shipped with interim code- this 
was obviously long before Flash devices. I could obviously be totally 
wrong, but it would explain the odd mixture on the IPC.

> I arrived at Sun during the sun4m architecture, which definitely had it.
> Ah... I see an interview with Mitch Bradley (original author of 
> Openboot) saying Openboot explicitly started with Sparcstation one:
> http://howsoftwareisbuilt.com/2008/03/27/interview-with-mitch-bradley-firmware-olpc/ 

Yes, IIRC I found his moniker embedded in the SPARCserver ROMs.

OT, apropos mesh networking mentioned in that interview. I use AWDS, and 
find it an utter PITA on account of the very poor support most Linux 
wireless drivers have for ad-hoc operation. Kudos to Mitch & co. if 
they've got an implementation working well on the OLPC machines.

Mark Morgan Lloyd
markMLl .AT. telemetry.co .DOT. uk

[Opinions above are the author's, not those of his employers or colleagues]

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