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Title: SPARC Frequently Asked Questions
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Last Updated: <<Date June 17, 1997>>

Sun, SPARCstation, SPARC, Solaris

....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.

We update this document regularly, and we welcome comments and suggestions. You can contact Technical Support by phone at +1 (800) 955-NEXT or +1 (415) 780-2922, by fax at +1 (415) 780-2801, or by e-mail at

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 NeXTanswers document 1843_3.3_SUN_Compatibility_Guide.rtfd.

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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