Openboot Update on the UltraSparc II

Today I did something new. I upgraded the Openboot PROM on our Sun Ultra 10. The version it shipped with seems to have trouble with IDE drives larger than 8 gig. And the Linux SILO program also seems to have a few problems with the old version of Openboot. Upgrading firmware is always a bit scary since a power loss or mistake results in an unbootable motherboard. Fortunately, all went smoothly. No more problems with large IDE drives and Linux boots perfectly every time. I highly recommend converting any UltraSparcs to Linux. Not only can you run in true 64bit mode but you’ll find that everything runs a lot faster – apparently this has something to do with the size of the Linux kernel and cache architecture of the UltraSparc II cpu. The next step is upgrading the IDE drives from 5400 rpm to new 7200 rpm.