Operating system evaluation on Sun Enterprise 250

I installed OpenBSD 4.2 on the Sun Enterprise 250 two days ago but after having fiddled around with it a bit I realized that it didn’t come with SMP support for SPARC64. That is a huge shame because I really like OpenBSD and it felt like the perfect fit for this machine but I can’t have one CPU sitting there unutilized.

So then I went on to install Solaris 10 on it which turned out to not work at all, probably due to the Permedia Raptor (GFX-8P) not being supported. I downloaded the Solaris 9 distribution instead, thank god it hasn’t reached eol yet.. Solaris 9 worked better but after installing a bare system I realized it pretty much expects you to make a full install in order to get the management console and what not. Why do I need X11, CDE and a whole other bunch of crap just to run a web server?

After this slight disappointment I decided to give Linux a quick spin. I really don’t want to run Linux on this machine, I already have plenty of Linux boxes around but at least it comes with SMP support. Same story as Solaris 10, Linux did not agree with the Raptor and all I got was a black screen with little green men running around the screen.

As a final cause of action I tried both FreeBSD and NetBSD. Turns out NetBSD doesn’t have SMP support either and apparently it doesn’t support keyboards as well as it didn’t respond to mine at all. FreeBSD suffered from the evil Permedia curse. Now I’m back installing Solaris 9 and longing for the day when OpenBSD support SMP on SPARC64. Maybe that would be an interesting future project to take on.. *evil grin*