The Solbourne Solace

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ClassicHasClass
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The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Thu May 05, 2016 5:22 pm

Since I'm picking my nose in the Sydney Airport and offending the gate staff, I decided to dust off my Solbourne documentation page. As a bonus, I've included my local updated copy of the Solbourne Shack and a quick OS/MP installation guide. Also included are links to my Solbourne-SunOS 4 software archive on the gopher server.

For those unfamiliar with these machines, they are the forgotten SPARCs and were the first multiprocessor SPARCs, several years before Sun got there. They also shipped a number of workstations, including the super hot (plasma orange) S3000, one of the coolest workstations ever made IMHO.

http://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/solace/
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby smj » Thu May 05, 2016 5:52 pm

Nifty! Nice to finally get the back story on Solbourne - two companies I worked for were happy users, but I'd never heard the company history.

The first occasion was confined to calendar 1991 and the Series5 servers, IIRC. A couple of the deskside "fastback" servers and one 900 full rack system running simulations and Synopsys.

The second occasion was 1993-4 with a Series5E deskside server and a number of S4000DX desktops still doing yoeman service as SunOS 4.x development machines.
Then? :IRIS3130: ... Now? :O3x02L: :A3504L:- :A3502L: :1600SW:+MLA :Fuel: :Octane2: :Octane: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: ... Other: DEC :BA213: :BA123: Sun, DG AViiON, NeXT :Cube:

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Thu May 05, 2016 11:48 pm

My first experience was with a Series6 (I think) at UC San Diego. It was one of the student course servers. I accessed it, appropriately enough, from a SPARCstation IPX.

Many years later I got an S4100 from a guy in the OC and reacquainted myself with the forgotten SPARCs. The S3000 "DX" is still the gem of my collection, though.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby miod » Sun May 08, 2016 11:34 pm

ClassicHasClass wrote:Since I'm picking my nose in the Sydney Airport and offending the gate staff, I decided to dust off my Solbourne documentation page. As a bonus, I've included my local updated copy of the Solbourne Shack and a quick OS/MP installation guide. Also included are links to my Solbourne-SunOS 4 software archive on the gopher server.

For those unfamiliar with these machines, they are the forgotten SPARCs and were the first multiprocessor SPARCs, several years before Sun got there. They also shipped a number of workstations, including the super hot (plasma orange) S3000, one of the coolest workstations ever made IMHO.

http://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/solace/

Thanks for that! I also have an offline mirror of the shack, but it's nice to see it online again.

However in the history section you wrote, you seem to confuse sparc v8 and sparc v9 at times - e.g. when you write ``It never made the 64-bit jump, despite being a V8-compliant design'', I read this as implying that v8 specified both a 32 bit and a 64 bit mode of operation.
:Indigo:R3000 (alas, dead) :Indigo:R4000 x4 :Indigo2:R4400 :Indigo2IMP:R4400 x2 :Indigo2:R8000 :Indigo2IMP:R10000 :Indy:R4000PC :Indy:R4000SC :Indy:R4400SC :Indy:R4600 :Indy:R5000SC :O2:R5000 x3 :O2:RM7000 :Octane:2xR10000 :Octane:R12000 :O200:2xR12000 :O200: - :O200:2x2xR10000 :Fuel:R16000 :O3x0:4xR16000 :A350:
among more than 150 machines : Apollo, Data General, Digital, HP, IBM, MIPS before SGI, Motorola, NeXT, SGI, Solbourne, Sun...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon May 09, 2016 8:28 am

Near as I can determine from the technical documentation available to me, KAP was V8 in every respect except that it wasn't 64 bit. I'm not sure how to express that, since it was clearly more advanced than V7 (despite its problems). However, you've hacked closer to the metal than me with it, so maybe you know differently? :)
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby escimo » Mon May 09, 2016 9:18 am

Thanks. Unfortunattely, never got in touch with Solbourne hardware, only some scanned documents from multiple WWW sources, like http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/solbourne/

As far as I understood it, Solbourne multiprocessor systems were built using the Kbus, a 32-bit addr/64-bit data bus based backplane for CPU/memory/graphics/system boards, capable to operate with multiple CPU boards (1 master, x slaves), at a time when the Mbus was in the design stage and VME bus was sometimes (mis)used as a kind of multiprocessor bus. The ISA for Solbourne systems remains 32-bit only with V7 and V8 CPUs.

1.3 Kbus
The Kbus backplane is a seven slot, 21-connector printed circuit board located at the back of the
Kbus card cage. The Kbus card cage holds up to seven Kbus boards. Each slot of the backplane
has three connectors which interconnect each Kbus board with the backplane. (...) The Kbus is
comprised of several multi-line busses:
• a 32-bit address bus, KADDR [31:0]
• a four-bit I/O space bus, KSP[3:0]
• a 64-bit data bus, KDATA[63:00]
• an eight-bit check byte bus, KCB[7:0]
• two eight-bit I/O request and acknowledge buses, KIOREQ[lS:8] and KIOACK[1S:8]
• an eight-bit transaction identification bus, KTID[7:0]
• a five-bit transaction type bus, KTIYPE[4:0]

The Kbus also contains numerous clock and control signals which are used for synchronizing
the transfer of information among all System Boards.
Kbus boards are Kbus masters or Kbus slaves during the transfer of information. Some of the
boards are always Kbus masters and some of the boards are always Kbus slaves. Only Kbus
masters can start Kbus transactions. Slaves can only respond to the Kbus masters. The System
Board can be a master or a slave, depending on the type of transaction being performed. Kbus
masters include the CPU Boards and the System Board. Kbus slaves include the Memory
Boards, the Graphics Board, and the System Board when receiving instructions from the Kbus
CPU Boards.
In order for one of the Kbus masters to transfer data on the Kbus, it must first become the
master of the bus. Each Kbus master gains ownership of the bus through an arbitration process.
There is an arbitration Programmable Array LogiC (PAL) on the Kbus backplane that determines
which Kbus master has control of the bus. Each Kbus master wanting to perform a transfer overthe
bus sends a board request signal to the arbitration PAL. The PAL uses a round-robin
approach to granting ownership to the requesting Kbus masters. Only one Kbus master owns
the bus during anyone transfer.
Source: http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/solbourne/101250-AB_Series4_and_Series5_Theory_of_Operations_Feb90.pdf
Section 2 keeps more detailed information about the Kbus and it's theory of operation.
Sun Solaris 2.4 @ SPARCstation 2 and SNI PCD-4H. Migration path: NetBSD

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby miod » Mon May 09, 2016 1:21 pm

ClassicHasClass wrote:Near as I can determine from the technical documentation available to me, KAP was V8 in every respect except that it wasn't 64 bit. I'm not sure how to express that, since it was clearly more advanced than V7 (despite its problems). However, you've hacked closer to the metal than me with it, so maybe you know differently? :)

But V8 also isn't 64 bit and never was intended to be! In fact, the latest v8 manual from 1992 mentions KAP as ``Matsushita0'', and the few instruction support differences are detailed in appendix L, ``Implementation Characteristics''.

Note the v8 specification also documents the Sun Reference MMU (SRMMU), but explicitely states that an MMU is not a requirement, and that a different MMU may be used. KAP uses a mips-like software TLB MMU, which is the #1 reason why stock SunOS or Solaris will not run on it.
:Indigo:R3000 (alas, dead) :Indigo:R4000 x4 :Indigo2:R4400 :Indigo2IMP:R4400 x2 :Indigo2:R8000 :Indigo2IMP:R10000 :Indy:R4000PC :Indy:R4000SC :Indy:R4400SC :Indy:R4600 :Indy:R5000SC :O2:R5000 x3 :O2:RM7000 :Octane:2xR10000 :Octane:R12000 :O200:2xR12000 :O200: - :O200:2x2xR10000 :Fuel:R16000 :O3x0:4xR16000 :A350:
among more than 150 machines : Apollo, Data General, Digital, HP, IBM, MIPS before SGI, Motorola, NeXT, SGI, Solbourne, Sun...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon May 09, 2016 6:38 pm

Then I guess it meets the criteria (for some reason I laboured under the belief all V8 SPARCs were 64-bit). If you don't disagree with calling it truly SPARC V8, I'll change that.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby miod » Mon May 09, 2016 11:15 pm

ClassicHasClass wrote:Then I guess it meets the criteria (for some reason I laboured under the belief all V8 SPARCs were 64-bit). If you don't disagree with calling it truly SPARC V8, I'll change that.

You're off-by-one, 64-bit SPARCs are v9. And yes, KAP is v8, while K-Bus Series4/5/6 used v7 Cypress processors.
:Indigo:R3000 (alas, dead) :Indigo:R4000 x4 :Indigo2:R4400 :Indigo2IMP:R4400 x2 :Indigo2:R8000 :Indigo2IMP:R10000 :Indy:R4000PC :Indy:R4000SC :Indy:R4400SC :Indy:R4600 :Indy:R5000SC :O2:R5000 x3 :O2:RM7000 :Octane:2xR10000 :Octane:R12000 :O200:2xR12000 :O200: - :O200:2x2xR10000 :Fuel:R16000 :O3x0:4xR16000 :A350:
among more than 150 machines : Apollo, Data General, Digital, HP, IBM, MIPS before SGI, Motorola, NeXT, SGI, Solbourne, Sun...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Tue May 10, 2016 7:59 am

Ah! Yes.

I'll update it later today.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby robespierre » Sat May 28, 2016 7:58 am

The confusion may have started with many writers on the Internet referring to 64-bit SPARC architecture as "v8+". This is not actually the name of any version of the SPARC architecture; it's the name of Sun's ELF format that allows 32-bit code to use UltraSPARC instructions (similar to IRIX's n32).
:PI: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP:

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:36 pm

Stephen "Solbourne Shack" Dowdy himself not only granted permission to rehost the Shack (which was updated, I don't think I posted that here with the diffs), but is sending me various Solbourne artifacts. This first shipment:

- A full S3000 kit in case
- A spare S3000 display (now I can fix the one that's broken!)
- A stripped but good condition S4000
- A full kit S4100DX *with the RAM expander card* -- I need to figure out how much is on board, but I've never seen this card before

We're working on the second set which should have some useful docs and software I intend to upload, plus some more KBus boards. Between this and Al Kossow's box o'KBus cards I should be able to get that Series5 I have rotting in storage to live again.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby tingo » Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:20 am

That is good news!
Torfinn

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:50 am

Even better news: the S3000 he sent *also* has a RAM expander card! I'm going to get some 4MB parity SIMMs and load it with the full 64MB, and then add it to my S3000DX for a monstrous (for the time) 104MB of RAM. OS/MP should be swimming in it.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The Solbourne Solace

Unread postby smj » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:26 pm

That's awesome, Classic, can't wait to see pics of the revived 5. Is that in the desk-side "fastback" chassis, by any chance?
Then? :IRIS3130: ... Now? :O3x02L: :A3504L:- :A3502L: :1600SW:+MLA :Fuel: :Octane2: :Octane: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: ... Other: DEC :BA213: :BA123: Sun, DG AViiON, NeXT :Cube:


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