Summary : Xterminals

From: Steve Franks (
Date: Tue Jun 30 1998 - 19:24:23 CDT

Hello all,

Appologies for the late summary. Lots of replies. Thanks very much for
your help - I have learned a lot of useful info in a short amount of

When I make a decision, I will post my own thoughts.


Orig question :
I am interested in hearing of anyones war stories about using
X-terminals with Suns.

I want to connect a XT to a Ultra 450 but have not had a lot to do with
them in the past.

Does anyone reccommend (! reccommend) particular manufacturers?

Are there many traps for the unwary when setting up an XT on Solaris?
The Sun docco seems pretty straightforward on the matter but if there
are "gotchas" I'd be very interested in knowing about them.

Your replies :
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (Gary Carr) -
        Used HP/NCD xterms using private copies of XDM. This had trouble with
dtlogin on Sol2.5.1 & CDE. Primarily a font issue & patch for CDE

David Dodds <>
        Suggested PC X software. Suggested StarNet's XWIN32

"Kai O'Yang" <>
        Used Tektronix successfully. Gotcha if the host server is headless :
make sure there is no X-Server spawned fro :0.0 - Kai found this killed
xterm sessions every 10 minutes

Kyle Pinkston <>
        Evaluated but did not implement HP & NCD xterms. Encountered an
unresolved prob with TIFF images on the HP (byte order problem?). NCD
adv is that their software is the same on the windows platform. Caution
about interactive telnet type traffic - can clobber network bandwidth as
every keystroke is a network packet. If you have many Xterms & they are
started at once (eg, after power fail) then the boot server is in for a
hard time. Cost of monitor makes a low-end workstation near competitive
[I have found this myself - Steve]

Amol Karnik <>
        Uses 12 xterms from Neoware (formerly HDSware). Found good customer
support & has cd software for a number of platforms (Amol uses HP & Suns
- Suns run Sol2.5, 2.5.1 & 2.6). Built in X-Server [I think that some
machines have an option of PROM based X-Server or ftp'ing it from the
boot server - Steve] Easy setup & CDE runs on all machines. $2500 with
21" monitor [?US dollars?]

"Duncan C. White" <>
        Buy 200Mhz+ PC with decent vid card & monitor & run Linux configured so
that no users log into the computer (thereby avoiding the need to
support Linux to the user community) & ask a Sun for an XDM banner
[Answerbook goes into detail about getting the Sun to answer these
requests - Steve]. Duncan set this up for 1000 English pounds.

James Noad <>
        Uses 486 machines running Linux to provide X functions for 2 UltraIs
(Sol2.5 & 2.5.1). CDE fonts caused problems with Linux X-Server (reset
continually). Resolved by copying fonts to PCs local disk. PC : 486
DX2/66, *M RAM, 1M Trident 8900C vid card, 200M hDD, NE2000 clone.
        Uses HP Xterminals from 700/RX to Envizex machines, using ENWARE (ver 5
to 7)and Netstation Software (ver 8 & 9). Reliable & Y2K ready. When
selecting server hadware, consider application characteristics with
respect to CPU util, memory & n/w usage. Scalability.
        Recommends WinNT/95 or Mac desktop. Good performance & less eoterica
to deal with. Hummingbird & SCO products particularly good. (John Reynolds)
        Using Tektronix xterms as a short term solution - to be replaced with
workstations. John sees a few drawbacks to Xterms : significant network
load (esp if users are button pushers & like using constantly refreshed
tools like perfmeter, top etc. When users graduate to a real
workstation, they may have problems with setup for OpenWin/CDE/X11.
Unless the server box is sized appropriately, multiple users can kill
response time - no automatic load-sharing.

Matt Reynolds <>
        Has used NCD, Tektronix & HP - NCD preferred. Biggest problem is
configuring the boot of the xterms. Option to get eprom-based software
but at greater cost. Need tftpd running with the xterm files in
/tftpboot and the font files in a shared NFS directory mounted by the
xterms. Newer machines are easier.

"O'Neal,Chris" <>
        Has 163 Xterms & 10 SPARC10 running Sybase. HAs found admin effort to
be a lot less than a smaller PC-based site accesseing servers with
PC-NFS. Xterms are NCD (from whom you can get WinCenter Pro to run MS
apps off an NT box to the Xterminals. Great productivity gains for
users). (Saurabh Jang)
        Listed some questions to be asked when considering Xterms :
- Will you use xdm (OpenWindows) or dtlogin (CDE) to satisfy
  XDMCP requests from the X terminal?
- How will the X terminal download the X server image and other
  software it might need from the boot host? (TFTP, NFS, some other
- How will the X terminal access fonts? (download via TFTP, use
  a font server on the boot host, etc.)
- If you are using Solaris 2.6 as the boot host and dtlogin, make sure
   get all the dtlogin patches from
        Used NCD Explora Pro & Explora 450 machines on large scale. These are
"network Computers" [my understanding from NCD is that they incorporate
a Java engine]. Some config work involved but hardware is very reliable
for the price.

Chris Marble <>
        Chris has used NCD products and an HDS machine on an UltraI. No
problems with either.

Steve Franks
National Australia Bank, Midrange Services

1/216 Victoria Pde ph : +61 3 9208 5794 E Melbourne, Victoria fax : +61 3 9208 5023 Australia 3150 ===================================================

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