Back in the late 80s and through the 90s, Unix workstations were super powerful, super cool, and super expensive. If you were making 3D graphics or developing applications, you wanted a high-performance workstation and Sun made some of the best ones. But unless you worked for a huge company, university, or government, they were probably too expensive.
More than twenty years later, we have much more powerful and affordable computers, so let's emulate the old systems and see what it was like to run some of the coolest computers you could buy in the 90s.
Sun workstations started out running SunOS, based on BSD Unix (like NeXTSTEP), but in 1991 they replaced it with Solaris, based on Unix System V Release 4 (like AIX and HP-UX).
The first version of Solaris was actually Solaris 2, and to try and make sense they went back and named SunOS Solaris 1, but in the operating system it still refers to itself as SunOS. So Solaris 1 is SunOS 4, and Solaris 2 is SunOS 5, and Solaris 2.6 that we'll run is SunOS 5.6. Confused yet?
Ignore the naming conventions and just know that we'll run Solaris 2.6 from 1997. For comparison, at that time a PC would be running Windows 95 and Apple released Mac OS 8 the same year.
- The latest version of QEMU, for this guide version 3.1.0 worked well.
- A system to run it on - Windows, Linux, or Mac
- Solaris 2.6 ISO
- For added fun, a Sun Type 5 keyboard converted to USB with Drakware's Sun2USB or DIY with the SPARC keyboard specification and a small Arduino like the Trinket M0