OpenBSD/sparc runs on most of the 32bit Sun SPARC workstations, including the sun4, sun4c, and sun4m architectures (not the 64bit Ultra SPARC computers). The current port maintainer is Art Grabowski (art@openbsd.org). Others are definitely welcome to contribute!

Table of contents


The original BSD4.4 port was done by Chris Torek as a contract to LBL. The code was released by Chris in mid-1993, and Theo de Raadt worked it into shape for the NetBSD tree. Theo and Markus Wild worked on improving Chris' original SunOS compatibility code into a highly complete and reliable emulation. Chuck Cranor ported the sun4c code to the 8KB pagesized Sun4 architecture, and Theo merged this code in a way that would allow the same kernel and programs to run on either sun4c or sun4 machines (unlike Sun's separate kernel environments). This last change also required a rewrite of the device configuration code. Just after the NetBSD/sparc 1.0 release, Peter Galbavy wrote an ESP scsi device driver as a replacement for Chris' sparc-specific scsi code, this new driver unfortunately had some problems and was eventually replaced.

At this point a conflict emerged between Theo and the other people he started the NetBSD project with, and Theo was forced by the core group to resign from NetBSD. After Theo left NetBSD, a few people in the NetBSD group did some other things for the port: Paul Kranenburg ported a floppy driver and started writing support for the 4/400. Chuck spent many long hours working on the ie, xy, xd device drivers.

Theo continued working independently, and made a number of additions: P4 support, flexible boot strategy, a few graphics drivers with help from John Stone, and masses of bug fixes. Many people will be most interested that the ESP scsi driver has been completely replaced by Theo, and that it supports disconnect/reconnect.

Work on porting OpenBSD/sparc to the sun4m platform was started by Theo, but tendinitis problems with his wrists and the problems with the NetBSD core conspired, and he stopped work. Theo passed his initial sun4m work to Aaron Brown of Harvard, who was paid out of Margo Seltzer's research funds. This initial stuff consisted mostly of a few attempts at building pmap structure that could support all 3 MMU types efficiently. Also, David Miller of the S/Linux project got a little bit involved.

Theo and Jason Downs merged the NetBSD sparc code back into OpenBSD, making OpenBSD/sparc usable again. Jason Wright wrote a few new SBus Ethernet drivers with information from the S/Linux project and has merged a few bits from NetBSD sources to improve the stability of this architecture.

And work continues...

Current Status:

The people working the most on OpenBSD/sparc are Jason Wright, Theo de Raadt, Todd Fries and Artur Grabowski.

Email may be sent to the maintainers and users of the OpenBSD/sparc port at sparc@openbsd.org. To join the OpenBSD/sparc mailing list, send a message body of "help" to majordomo@OpenBSD.org and you will receive a reply outlining all of your options.

An important note about OpenBSD/sparc is that it is designed so that a single kernel can run on ALL SUPPORTED sparc machines. Whereas SunOS and Solaris have always had separate `kernel architectures', ie. sun4, sun4c, and sun4m, the same `GENERIC' OpenBSD kernel will run on all the supported models.

Most of the problems with OpenBSD/sparc are believed to stem from the wide variety of sparc processor and cache implementations along with their undocumented bugs, rather then general kernel problems. Feedback on which models do and do not work reliably is appreciated, particularly with newer models or upgrades.

OpenBSD/sparc can be installed or upgraded via floppy boot images on sun4c and sun4m, miniroot images for machines without floppies (and sun4 machines), as well as network and diskless installs.

Where to get it:

Supported hardware list:

OpenBSD/sparc runs on the following classes of machines:

Supported devices

This list of basically declares that any `stock' sun4c or sun4m "sparcstation" or "sparcserver" machine will probably work; for sun4 machines one must be more careful.

OpenBSD/sparc does *not* run on these machines (yet):

Unsupported Devices. First of all, there are MANY unsupported devices. A comprehensive list can probably not be written.

Project list:

OpenBSD www@openbsd.org
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