NEXTSTEP 3.3 on a SparcStation 5: watchdog-reset

Started by capmilk, October 06, 2020, 11:23:27 AM

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Hi all,

after many years of neglect I am finally getting back to NEXTSTEP again. I was given a 70 MHz SparcStation 5 with 128 MB of RAM. It came with NetBSD installed, and after trying it out with Solaris 2.5 and 9, I want to install NS3.3. I have original install media from the Apple Y2K campaign.

The SparcStation has a cgsix framebuffer, an Ethernet card two SCA hard disks and a CD-ROM drive, and after doing my tests with Solaris, I am under the impression that the only thing wrong with it that I can see is an empty battery which leads to a weird MAC address.

It does not have a floppy drive but boots off the CD just fine (when the SCSI id is not 6. More on that below.). I can start the installation and see it loading the drivers for the framebuffer and Ethernet cards. But after displaying "Starting NEXTSTEP" the Sun throws me back to the boot prompt with a watchdog-reset.

What's weird about the SCSI setup is the following: I cannot boot from the CD-ROM drive when it is set to SCSI ID 6 (as I guess it should), the system then complains about not getting a loopback signal and flips me an ok prompt. If I set it to 2, the machine boots but watchdog-resets me.

I am out of ideas, please show me the path to the light.

Thanks, Nils


Okay, sometimes I can only think of the right google terms after writing a cry for help, and this clearly is one of those occasions.

So if anyone stumbles upon this post, the solution is as follows:

NEXTSTEP is actually one of the systems that refuse to boot on a Sun with an invalid IDPROM caused by a dead battery in the Dallas chip. I set a bogus MAC address and system id as described on this page, and the installer started without a problem. I also had to take out the additional Ethernet card that was fitted in the system as that made the installer stall during boot.

As I am typing this, the installation is taking place. I might have to add additional problems, but for now, things are proceeding as planned.


I hope that you had been successful with the installation :-)


> I can only think of the right google terms after writing a cry for help, and this clearly is one of those occasions.

You put into words a phenomenon which I suffer from constantly.