Sparc vs i386 architecture

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Mon Jan 9 20:25:56 PST 2006

>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Robert Slade
>Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 11:35 PM
>To: Ted Mittelstaedt
>Cc: Michael Bernstein; jasonharback; freebsd-questions at
>Subject: RE: Sparc vs i386 architecture
>On Sun, 2006-01-08 at 04:51, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
>> What machine code exploits currently exist for FreeBSD on the i386
>> other than the F00F bug, which has already been patched out?
>> I wasn't aware of any.
>> Ted
>Good point. However, in my case I'm using the sparc (its a U10) because
>it there. I originally got it as I needed to find out about
>Solaris/Sparc. It was lying in the back of a cupboard so when I started
>to investigate replacements for a domain based on W2k using FBSD I
>dusted it off and I'm using it for the BDC. The only thing I really
>noticed is the disk(s) are slow compared (SUN's IDE) to the PDC which
>has a fast scsi setup. Given the choice I think I would still go for a
>good sparc from Ebay over a i386.

We still have a couple Sparcs in service, doing odd jobs.  Mainly haven't
gotten around to replacing them, however I will probably keep at least 1
running indefinitely for software portability testing.

I think with the cost of PC hardware today that a brand new device is
less trouble for a production server and faster as well.  You can get
a clone rack mount server built on an Intel desktop motherboard with
mirrored SATA 200GB disks for a bit under $1000 now that will kick the
stuffing out of just about everything older that you can lay your hands
on, and be more reliable.

Where I still use older gear is for servers that there's -no- money
budgeted for, and that there's a vested interest in keeping -off-
the radar scope of upper management for political reasons.  For example
that older 300Mhz P2 server decomissioned a few years ago makes a great
platform to run Nessus on, and the last thing I want is a discussion
among the upper managers who don't know any better of the merits of
whether or not we should be attempting to break into our own desktops.
It's much better to find the insecure desktop then go to the upper
managers and tell them that you caught employee X who keeps bringing
in his personal laptop and docking it to the network, and who never
updates it because way back in 1892 an update broke his 2,000 year old
shareware wigit he downloaded for free, and now he never updates,
that his precious toy has 10 security holes in it.  You get what I mean.

In any organization there's a need for "stealth" servers that
aren't publically acknowledged by the IT group as existing, but
nevertheless have key tasks, if not politically controversial ones,
to perform.


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