Sunday 11 January 2015

FreeBSD 10.1 on UltraSPARC Sun Ultra 60: Booting and initial packages

As noted in my previous article, my friend Madeline and I set out yesterday to fix my Sun Ultra 60's boot problems so that it could run FreeBSD. The issue ended up being that the disk alias in OpenBoot had been scrambled (probably from the NVRAM reset I did to force it to boot), and was reading from a SCSI target that did not exist. I fixed this and it instantly booted up FreeBSD!

Now comes the fun part. I would really like to use pkg-ng and avoid building packages on a 360MHz computer if at all possible. Even though the UltraSPARC-II's 360MHz is closer to an Intel's 800-1000MHz, it's still a pretty poor platform for compiling some of the things I plan to use on it. I would like to run things like CMake and the new Clang 3.5 vs the very old, broken GCC 4.2.1 that FreeBSD on sparc64 ships.

I plan on setting up a buildbox on amd64 that will cross-compile ports for sparc64. There is only a single reference I can find for setting up such a system, and the instructions aren't too clear to me, so I will be writing up my experiences. For now, I have built ports-mgmt/pkg from source and it works. Unfortunately FreeBSD runs no mirrors, so I will have the "honour" of setting up my own local pkg mirror. If I'm able to make it work and compile enough useful ports I may make it public.

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