[TUHS] SUN (Stanford University Network) was PC Unix

Jason Stevens jsteve at superglobalmegacorp.com
Sat Apr 10 12:41:18 AEST 2021

 I'd totally subscribe to your newsletter :P

that's cool, there is a tape dump of the old stuff on bitsavers... the
UniSoft port I think was the original stuff before Bill showed up?


along with some ROM images


but more pictures and whatnot are always interesting!

-----Original Message-----
From: Earl Baugh
To: Clem Cole
Cc: tuhs at minnie.tuhs.org
Sent: 4/10/21 4:02 AM
Subject: Re: [TUHS] SUN (Stanford University Network) was PC Unix

I’ve done a fair amount of research on Sun 1’s since I have one ( and it
has one of the original 68k motherboards with the original proms ).
It’s on my list to create a Sun 1 registry along the lines of the Apple
1 registry. ( https://www.apple1registry.com/
<https://www.apple1registry.com/> )
Right now, I can positively identify 24 machines that still exist.  Odd
serial numbering makes it very hard to know exactly how many they made.

Cisco was sued by Stanford over the Sun 1.  From what I read, they made
off with some Stanford property ( SW and HW ). Wikipedia mentions this (
and I have some supporting documents as well ). They ended up licensing
from Stanford as part of the settlement.  From what I’ve gathered VLSI
licensed the design from Stanford not Andy directly. However the only
produced a few machines and Andy wasn’t all that happy with that. That
was one of the impetus is to getting sun formed and licensing the same
design.  I also believe another company ( or 2 )licensed the design but
either didn’t produce any or very very few machines. 

You can tell a difference between VLSI boards and the Sun Microsystems
boards because the SUN is all capitalized on the VLSI boards ( and is
Sun on the others ).  At least on the few I’ve seen pictures of. 

The design was also licensed to SGI — I’ve seen a prototype SGI board
that’s the same thing with a larger PCB to allow some extensions. 

And the original CPU boards didn’t have an MMU. They could only run Sun
OS up to 0.9, I believe was the version. When Bill Joy got there, again
from what I’ve gathered, he wanted to bring more of the BSD code over
and they had to change the system board.  This is why you see the Sun
1/150 model number ( as an upgrade to the original Sun 1/100 designation
).  The rack mounted Sun 1/120 was changed to the 1/170. The same
upgraded CPU board was used in the Sun 2/120 at least initially.   

The original Sun OS wasn’t BSD based.  It was a V32 variant I believe.
And the original CPU boards were returned to Sun, I believe as part of
the upgrade from the 1/100 to the 1/150. ( Given people had just paid
$10,000 for a machine having to replace the entire machine would’ve been
bad from a customer perspective).  Sun did board upgrade trade ups after
this ( I worked at a company and we purchased an upgrade to upgrade a
Sun 3/140 to a Sun 3/110 — the upgrade consisted of a CPU board swap and
a different badge for the box ) 

Sun then, from when I can tell, sold the original CPU boards to a German
company that was producing a V32 system.  They changed out the PROMs but
you can see the Sun logo and part numbers on the boards 

I could go on and on about this topic ?
A Sun 1 was a “bucket list” machine for me - and I am still happy that
some friends were willing to take a 17 hour road trip from Atlanta to
Minnesota to pick mine up.  ?

After unparking the drive heads it booted up, first try ( I was only
willing to try that without a bunch of testing work because I have some
spare power supplies and a couple plastic tubs of multi bus boards that
came with it ?) 


Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 9, 2021, at 11:13 AM, Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:


On Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 10:10 AM Tom Lyon < pugs at ieee.org
<mailto:pugs at ieee.org> > wrote:

Prior to Sun, Andy had a company called VLSI Technology, Inc. which
licensed SUN designs to 5-10 companies, including Forward Technology and
CoData, IIRC.  The SUN IPR effectively belonged to Andy, but I don't
know what kind of legal arrangement he had with Stanford.   But the
design was not generally public, and relied on CAD tools only extant on
the Stanford PDP-10.  Cisco did start with the SUN-1 processor, though
whether they got it from Andy or direct from Stanford is not known to
me.  When Cisco started (1984), the Sun-1 was long dead already at Sun.

Bits passing in the night -- this very much is what I remember,
zerocontent&guid=57eccb88-2f68-40ed-9f5a-ce8913f2b4cc> ?

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