Sun Netra T1 AC200 - practical questions

Tillman Hodgson tillman at
Thu Dec 18 20:57:12 PST 2003

On Fri, Dec 19, 2003 at 05:35:26AM +0100, Walter Hop wrote:
> Hi,
> I have a practical question. I can get a used Sun Netra T1 AC200 for a
> nice price and would like to know if it is realistic to run a FreeBSD
> server on this hardware. I want to run just a few personal domains on it
> for my family, so I won't not lose money when it has to be rebooted.
> I have browsed the -sparc64 archives, but have not found much recent real
> world experiences about running FreeBSD on this hardware. Documentation
> is sparse, so I hope you will forgive me for asking some newbie questions
> as anything sparc is new to me. Some questions are pertaining to the
> Netra hardware, some to FreeBSD/sparc64 general usage:

The ROSPA user group ( is run off of an Ultra 5.
It's been exceedingly stable server assuming that one is comfortable
running -CURRENT (and the typical issues that come from that).

> 1. Is the Netra's serial port + FreeBSD's driver usable for getting FreeBSD
>    up and running through serial console? I have read some problem reports
>    on google getting serial to work, but those may be outdated.

The serial console is better for installation than the "real" console on
my Ultra 5, if that helps.

> 2. Will it be reasonably safe to run 5.2-RELEASE on sparc64? An i386 5.1R
>    box with similar usage is now 62 days up without a glitch, are uptimes
>    such as these expected?

Similar. I tend to reboot more often as I rebuild world to follow
-CURRENT about once a month, but I've never had a lockup that wasn't my
own fault (note to self: Read UPGRADING more often).

> 3. Does userland and ports usually run well on sparc64, or can I expect to
>    have endian related issues?

I haven't run across a port that works on i386 but doesn't on sparc64.
Assuming you're doing typical apache-ish things, I think you'll be fine.
I also do Postfix, mailman, HTML::Mason, php, Kerberos, NIS, firewall,
Quagga for OSPF routing, OpenVPN tunneling and vlan'ing. It's been been

> 4. What is the future plan for support of low-end sparc64 in FreeBSD?
>    Are there enough people interested in these setups to keep them on the
>    roadmap for the near future?

I don't know this personally - it seems like a small community to me,
but that might be just because it works well enough to not need a chatty
mailing list.

> 5. Is my plan a bad idea for any other reason that is not apparent? 8)

Seems like a good idea to me. 'Course, I love interesting hardware ;-)


Being generous is inborn; being altruistic is a learned perversity. No
	- Robert Heinlein

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