Seemed like a good idea at the time…

eBay is a naughty, naughty place. It draws you into buying stuff against your will. Well, not quite, but you get the idea.

The latest idea is playing around with some high-end network services under Linux. OpenLDAP servers maintaining an entire LDAP directory, with integrated Samba file + printer sharing on per user/group basis including virus scanning, e-mail solution containing virus + spam filtering tied into the LDAP structure, and of course Internet content filtering + Squid proxy cache complete with Intranet portalset all based off permissions from the directory. So, I needed some equipment.

My new Sun Ultra 5's

Space being limited, and also wanting a decent challenge as opposed to running them off my usual testing machines based round PII 400Mhz’s with 128Mb-256Mb RAM, picked out some Sun Ultra 5’s instead. Since the Ultra 5’s are IDE interface based, they take standard hard drives and CD drives making them cheap to get parts for. These 4 cost £45 plus shipping – 3 x 270Mhz with 128Mb RAM + 6.3Gb hard drives, plus 1 x 330Mhz with 256Mb RAM and 6.3Gb hard drive.

What’s going to run on these? Gentoo Sparc64, of course. Support seems very good under Gentoo, with active forums, mailing lists and IRC. Although compiling will be slower compared to the other alternative, Debian, I’m interested to see how much Gentoo can harness the 64-bit processing, plus how well Gentoo actually stands up in a server environment. I’ve always ran Debian on servers due to ease of installation and updates, but since I’m not in the production environment, would try something else. Whilst this is purely for development and learning, the reasoning behind it is an integration of these technologies into our Windows network at work, or for future reference depending on employment status in a year or two.

Once the keyboard + mouse arrive, will make a start trying to install Gentoo in the first place! Hoping to simply create a base install, then image the remaining three drives, allowing me then give each machine it’s own roles without having to run through building each system from scratch.


Senior Content Development for Microsoft writing about Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Model train nerd. Occasionally I play video games.

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