I’m a big fan of classic computers. Even though I’m not too nostalgic of a person, there’s something about older computers that really gets to me. My first Mac was a Mac 512Ke, which my dad still has packed away at home because we couldn’t bring ourselves to part with it. There’s also a Mac II somewhere at my parents’ house along with the current family computer, a G4 Cube. A few years ago, I purchased a Mac SE/30 for $5, and that’s probably the best $5 I ever spent.

Well, when leaving Ephibian yesterday, I asked if they wanted part with any of their old Sun boxes. They had an Enterprise 450 and an Ultra 10 that haven’t been turned on for over a year (Ephibian is mostly a Linux shop now). Well, they ended up offering me the Ultra 10 at a very low price, and I didn’t hesitate on taking it.

It’s not an entirely impractical purchase like the SE/30 probably was. I need to get a new server for Gaucho Software, and I think this Ultra 10 will be enough of a box to do it. It has a 300Mhz UltraSPARC IIi chip in it, 384Mb of RAM, and two hard drives (4Gb and 3Gb), which I plan to replace soon. I spent most of last night doing a fresh installation of Solaris 7 on it. It’s interesting to see just how bare-bones of an OS Solaris is; even gcc and top don’t come standard, and bash which seems to have taken over as the shell of choice had to be installed separately as well. Personally, I’m a tcsh guy, so I’ll be installing that when setting up my user environment, after I finish installing all the primary packages that I want on there.

One thing I still need to think about is what desktop environment I’ll be using on it. My current favorite is KDE, but that seems like it will be too resource intensive and though I’m sure it will run, it isn’t really practical for this machine. In the past I’ve used GNOME, Enlightenment, WindowMaker, and even TWM (which is no longer maintained) on a SPARC 5 back in the day. At this point, I’ll take anything over CDE, which comes standard. I’ve never understood why Sun and HP both decided on bundling CDE as their primary desktop environment.

Finally, does anyone remember XEarth? I was browsing SunFreeware and came across it. Where are the apps for like this for Mac OS X today? Granted, there are some very nice shareware offerings, but I have yet to find one that is freeware like XEarth.