NEXTSTEP Release 3.3
and OPENSTEP for Mach 4.x for
SPARC Workstations

Revised June 14, 1995


This document describes in general terms the types of Sun hardware that is supported by NEXTSTEP Release 3.3 and OPENSTEP for Mach 4.x for SPARC Workstations.


Sun microSPARC II, SuperSPARC II, and SuperSPARC single processor workstations ( see ) models
SPARCstation 4: 85
SPARCstation 5: 85 & 110
SPARCstation 10: 50, 60, & 90
SPARCstation 20: 50, 51, 61, & 71


User Environment:150 MB minimum, 250 MB recommended for stand-alone systems.

User + Developer: Environments: 330 MB minimum, 400 MB recommended.

RAM requirements vary depending upon the user's selection of graphics adapter. NEXTSTEP Release 3.3 supports a maximum of 256MB of memory.

24-bit color: 16 MB RAM Mininum, 32 MB RAM Recommended
8-bit grayscale/color: 16 MB RAM Minimum, 24 MB RAM Recommended

8-bit color and grayscale at 1152x900 or 24-bit color at 1152x900 with appropriate video system. Release 3.3 supports multiple monitors with graphics cards for expanded desktop space.

Floppy disk drive, SCSI hard disk drives, CD-ROM drives, 1/4 inch tape drives, Exabyte tape drives, and DAT tape drives are supported.

Sun keyboard and Sun optical or mechanical mouse.

PostScript printers connected via a serial or parallel port. Color PostScript Level II printers are recommended for proper color support.

Thick, thin, and twisted pair ethernet on board interfaces are supported. Ethernet transceivers may be necessary for installation at particular sites.

16-bit audio at 22 and 44 khz is supported.

A Sun SCSI CDROM, or a supported network adapter and properly configured network installation host are required for installation of NEXTSTEP.

Supported Configurations

SPARCstation 4
: 8 bit grayscale & color @ 1152x900
Sound: On-board 16 bit sound @ 48kHz with Mic. plug-in
Networking: On-board ethernet (TP and AUI)
Bus: 1 SBus

SPARCstation 5
: 8 bit grayscale & color @ 1152x900 with GX, Turbo GX, & Turbo GX+; 24 bit color @ 1152x900 with S24 on AFX bus
Sound: On-board 16 bit sound @ 48kHz with Mic. plug-in
Networking: On-board ethernet (TP)
Bus: 3 SBus & 1 AFX Connector for Video card

SPARCstation 10
: 8 bit grayscale & color @ 1152x900 with Turbo GX and Turbo GX+; 24 bit color @ 1152x900 with SX
Sound: On-board 16 bit sound @ 48kHz with Mic. plug-in and sound box
Networking: On-board ethernet (TP)
Bus: 4 SBus

SPARCstation 20
: 8 bit grayscale & color @ 1152x900 with Turbo GX and Turbo GX+; 24 bit color @ 1152x900 with SX
Sound: On-board 16 bit sound @ 48kHz with Mic. plug-in
Networking: On-board ethernet (TP)
Bus: 4 Sbus

Frequently Asked Questions

Revised November 1, 1995

....SPARC Supported Configurations
....SPARCstation4 Known Problems
....Solaris and NEXTSTEP
....Installing Solaris over NEXTSTEP
....CD-ROM Compatibility
....OBP ROM Compatibility


Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list for NEXTSTEP Release 3.3 for SPARC. This document is updated regularly to reflect NeXT Technical Support's most commonly-asked technical questions about NEXTSTEP for SPARC. You can use this document as a quick reference guide for issues that may or may not be readily available in other documentation.

When you are required to type a command, the text that you need to type is denoted by the bold typeface.

SPARC Supported Configurations

Q:    Which Sun SPARC systems are supported by NEXTSTEP Release 3.3 for SPARC, and how should they be configured?

A:    See top of this page.

SPARCstation4 Known Problems

Q:    After installation, why does my SPARCstation4 hang with ""localhost loginwindow Could not find WindowServer port!" messages?

A:    NEXTSTEP does not support the optional video SIMM on SPARCstation4's. You must remove this SIMM for NEXTSTEP to work.

Solaris and NEXTSTEP

Q:    Can NEXTSTEP be installed on a Sun which has other disks for Solaris attached to it?

A:    Yes, it is possible to have NeXTSTEP installed on an external disk while maintaining Solaris on the internal disk.
Q:    Does the NEXTSTEP disk have to be the one with the lowest SCSI ID?
A:    No, NEXTSTEP can be installed on any disk with a valid SCSI ID. Generally, a SPARCstation internal disk is always at SCSI ID 3. External disks under SPARC may use SCSI ID 1, 2, or 5. SCSI ID 4 is generally used for tapes, and CD-ROM drives are generally at SCSI ID 6, but this is changeable.

Q:    Is there a good way to toggle which disk/OS to boot?

A:    You can specify which disk to boot in the Sun ROM monitor with boot diskX where X is the disk from which to boot. To see a list of SCSI devices on the system and their corresponding disk numbers, use the probe-scsi command at the Sun ROM monitor.
    Also, if you wanted to set up the system to always default to booting from NEXTSTEP, you could set the NVRAM parameter as follows:
        setenv boot-device diskX
Q:    Is it possible to access Solaris files from NEXTSTEP, and vice versa?

A:    No, you cannot mount a Solais UNIX filesystem from NEXTSTEP or vice versa. You can mount CDs intended for Solaris since they are ISO-9660 format.

Q:    Okay, I've set up a dual-boot machine using one disk for NEXTSTEP and another for Solaris. Whenever I log in under NEXTSTEP, I get a panel which says "This disk is damaged: initialize?" with options to initialize, repair, or ignore. The default option is "Initialize." What should I do?

A:    This happens because NEXTSTEP attempts to mount the Solaris disk but does not know how to read its filesystem. You should click "Ignore." Choosing either of the other options may result in irreparable data loss on the Solaris disk.

    This can be avoided by adding an entry in /etc/fstab that will force NEXTSTEP to ignore the Solaris disk automatically. The disk type for the Solaris disk should be 'ignore'. See the mntent(5) UNIX manual page for more information.
Installing Solaris over NEXTSTEP

Q:    Solaris 2.x can't format a disk on which NEXTSTEP was installed. Solaris complains about a trashed label.

A:    Solaris expects the hard disk to be labeled a certain way. If you drop back a few versions of Solaris, it will work using an old version of Sun's formatter/installer. A work around is to use SunOS 4.1.x to reformat and then install Solaris 2.x. Another solution is to boot single user with NEXTSTEP from a CD, run sdform /dev/rsd0a, boot off the Solaris CD with boot cdrom /kernel/unix, abort the install and run format. Then run suninstall.

CD-ROM Compatibility

Q:    What CD-ROM drives can be used to install NEXTSTEP?

A:    Due to restrictions with Sun hardware, only Sun CD-ROM drives can be used to install NEXTSTEP.

Q:    Can a wider range of CD-ROM drives be used to read CD-ROMs once NEXTSTEP has been installed?

A:    Yes.

OBP ROM Compatibility

Q:    What version of OBP ROMs must my SPARCstation have to run NEXTSTEP 3.3?

A:    Machines with OBPs before version 2.12 will hang during boot. To run NEXTSTEP on a systems with an OPB version before 2.12, the OBP ROMs must be upgraded. Customers should contact SUN for additional details.

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2005-06-29 20:07:11 -0500