Sun SPARCstation LX boot from CDROM?

David Brownlee abs at
Fri Aug 28 15:53:43 CDT 2020

On Fri, 28 Aug 2020 at 17:43, Tom Hunter via cctalk
<cctalk at> wrote:
> About 20 years ago I rescued a fully working Sun SPARCstation LX with CDROM
> and QIC-150 tape drive - all 3 in lunchbox format - plus monitor when we
> moved office and management decided they no longer wanted/needed it.
> Shortly after I have installed an early version of NetBSD (1.3.3) from the
> CDROM drive. I played with it for a few days and then stored the entire
> system in a museum grade glass display cabinet. This is indoors with
> minimal dust and benign temperatures between 18 degrees C to about 28
> degrees C (typical room temperatures here in Perth in Western Australia
> unless you run the air conditioner).
> Now retired I took the stack of "lunch-boxes" and the CRT monitor out of
> the display cabinet and powered it up. After 20 years no smoke came out but
> the system didn't boot but reported trouble with the NVRAM setting. I still
> could start NetBSD using a "boot disk" command. I googled the problem and
> bought and installed a replacement TIMEKEEPER chip (M48T08-100). After
> defaulting the settings and setting the MAC address and machine ID it was
> happy and booted from disk without intervention. In NetBSD I then set the
> date and time and all was good.
> Then I decided to upgrade to the latest version of the SPARC version of
> NetBSD 9.0. I downloaded and burned the ISO image to CD. Dropped it into a
> CD caddy and inserted it into the CDROM drive (SUN Model 411 - really a
> Sony CDU-8012 3.1e). I did a "probe-scsi-all" and it found both the hard
> drive and the CDROM (target 6 unit 0).

I have nothing useful to add on the CDROM, but regarding upgrading
NetBSD, one option would be to setup a netboot server and upgrade that
way. Once setup it also provides an easy way to boot any sparc box
with a working network interface (handy for when a Quantum 105 has a
sticktion day :).


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