Summary: PC applications on a Sparcstation and PC file serving with Sparc

From: David Munoz (
Date: Fri May 22 1992 - 16:12:38 CDT

Hello Again..

Thanks to all who responded. I have received quite a bit of
information that will be extremely helpful.

Here are some responses to my posting requesting information
on PC emulation on a Sun sparcstation and file server support for
a PC. I hope you find this useful.

David Munoz

Original Posting:

>Howdy NetLanders,
>I'm trying to find a way to run dos apps., specifically Foxpro, on
>a Sparc 2.
>Are there any 80386 or 80486 coprocessor boards for the Sparc?
>What Intel 80X86 emulation capability is available for the Sparc?
>Last, How do you get a PC (with ethernet or token ring) to use a
>Sparc as a file server?
>Please e-mail If possible.
>Thanks ahead of time,
>David Munoz

>One option which is reasonable is to run SoftPC from insignia solutions. It is
>a PC-emulation in software, but performs reasonably on a sparc. I don't have
>the address, but their in the sun catalyst book.

>Also, for having PCs use the sun as a file server, the best known way is via
>PC-nfs a product from sun. I'm sure you can get plenty of info about it
>by calling suns support line 1-800-usa4sun.

>There are also 386 chip board that can plug into s-bus slot, but I can't recall
>the names. Look in the sun catalyst catalog.

>What Intel 80X86 emulation capability is available for the Sparc?

Call 1-800-USA-4SUN and ask for info on SunPC 3.0. There are software-only and
hardware accelerated versions.

>Last, How do you get a PC (with ethernet or token ring) to use a
>Sparc as a file server?

With PC-NFS, of course! Call the same number and ask for information.

Subject: 41.23 SunFlash: SunPC 3.0

We use Insignia's SoftPC software emulation on our sparcs. Here
is what Sun is currently offering (software and hardware).

                                                        The Florida SunFlash

                              SunPC 3.0

SunFLASH Vol 41 #23 May 1992

- Is a family of PC emulation products which runs MS-DOS and MS-Windows
  applications on a SPARC workstation

- Is a replacement product for both Sun's DOS Windows 1.0 and
  Insignia Solutions' SoftPC 2.X.

- Includes both a software and hardware component, SunPC software
  and SunPC Accelerator
        -- SunPC software emulates a complete 80286-based PC with VGA
           graphics capabilities
        -- SunPC Accelerator is an SBus card and improves the performance
             to the level of a 386- OR 486-based PC with SuperVGA graphics

- Integrates MS-DOS and MS-Windows with the SPARC/Solaris environment

- Provides an easy-to-use OPEN LOOK interface

SunPC software provides the capabilities and power of a PC equipped with
an Intel 80286 processor with VGA graphics. The software product is
ideal for workstation users who need occasional access to MS-DOS and MS-
Windows applications.

For customers who need higher performance emulation capabilities, the SunPC
product family includes the SunPC Accelerator SBus card. The SunPC
Accelerator is a 486-based SBus card with a custom ASIC. There are two
versions: SunPC Accelerator SX uses a 16mhz 486SX CPU and provides 386 to
486 performance. This product is intended for users who need high
performance access to MS-DOS and Windows applications. SunPC Accelerator DX
uses a 25mhz 486DX CPU and provides 386-486 overall performance. In addition
to being faster, the 486DX contains built-in floating point acceleration.
This product is an attractive alternative for high performance graphics
and floating-point applications. Because SunPC software is integrated with
the Solaris environment, SPARC workstation users can copy and paste text
between PC and Unix windows, access network printers, files, and CD drives
from the SunPC window, and share the UNIX file system.

(... lots of suff deleted, Apparently, this appeared on the net.)

You might like to have a look at the recently announced SunPC product from Sun Select

This provides in software, at least 286 emulation with SuperVGA ...

In addition you can then get either a 386 or 486 single slot Sbus card, to use
in conjunction with SoftPC, which will then give you hardware emulation.

As for a PC using (over ethernet or token ring) a Sun as a file server,
you can either get PCNFS (From Sun Select )on the PC and then the Sun will
be an NFS server for the PC. Get LMServer (from Syntax Solutions) on the Sun and then use either
 their SMBclient or Microsoft Lanmanger client on the PC, or you could put Novell on the Sun. (T
here are a few other choices such as TOPs ...) but these
 are the
main three options.

    You asked about running DOS applications on a SPARC, and just
yesterday I threw away a card about such a thing (but I just
retrieved it from the recycling bin). It says:

    "SoftPC 3.0 Runs MS-Windows On Your SPARC Workstation"

It goes on to promise that you can open multiple windows and run
other DOS programs. The company is:

                        Insignia Solutions
                        6 Campanelli Drive
                        Anodver, MD 01810
                        (508) 682-7600 for more information
                        (800) 848-7677 to order

>What Intel 80X86 emulation capability is available for the Sparc?

Two products I know of. Sun's DOS Windows and SoftPC's SoftPC.
SoftPC is definitely better (fewer compatibility problems, better
video support, etc.). But the emulation costs SPEED. With
DOS Windows a 40 MHz SPARC is the equivalent, in speed, of an 8-10
MHz 286 machine. SoftPC is a bit better, but not much.

>Last, How do you get a PC (with ethernet or token ring) to use a
>Sparc as a file server?

You would have to use something like PC-NFS from Sun or Beame and
Whitesides version. Ethernet only. Costly both in terms of $$$
(~$400/node, down to about $125/node with a site license), and
RAM (about 150 Kb for the drivers).

I have found the best bet here is to use software that emulates a PC. Since we
rarely needed to run PC stuff on a SUN we used to use the SUN PC emulating
software but it is extremely slow and based on SUNView (Yuk). They are working
on the latest version in XVIEW with a dramatic increase in speed, this should be

We also had 3 PCs equipped with ethernet cards connected to our network. These
PCs were used when high performance was desired out of a PC application. We
used SUN's PC/NFS software to mount disks without a hitch. It worked so well
that all of our PC-based files were kept on the Sparc Server to take advantage
of the periodic backups that we had in place. File transfer speed seemed
exceptional also.

We use a product called Synergy II on our Sparc's around here. It
run's MS-Windows and WordPerfect for the people that are interested in
it. This is essentially a PC on a card. The model we use is a 486-33.
We also ordered SoftPC. This is an emulator. They claim to deliver
80486-20 performance on a SparcStation 2 (40 MHz). I don't know the
price for SoftPC, but Synergy II is about $3500. Pretty expensive, I

This is an additional query about SunPC:

>Question: will the SunPC 3.0 products work using the MIT X11R4 or R5
> X-Server? We use this with Motif window manager instead of
> Sun Openwindows.


SunPC will work with non Sun window managers (including Motif).
I'm not sure that it will work with non Sun servers. In fact,
I'm pretty sure that it will not.

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