SUMMARY: Sun clones

From: Donald McLachlan (
Date: Tue Jan 21 1992 - 16:40:51 CST

Thanks to the many people who responded. Unfortunatly I didn't save all the mail
as much of the info was repeated.

Well I started off with good intentions and seem to have fallen short.
There are simply too many vars.

For instance ...

I found a Canadian clone "manufacturer" (Sidus) who claim they manufacture
the processor board in Edmonton. Mobius Computer Corporation in California
openly claimed they use systems made by OPUS Systems (California). So I called
OPUS, and they calim to sell boards and systems to Sidus.

With rats nests like this I give up.

There I give you the following
        - A list of Vendors at Comdex as Published in Sun World (December 91)
        - A list of Companies offering Sun clones as per Sun World (Jan 92)
        - some responses I received,
        - and a sunflash announcement posted to the sun-managers mailing list.

PS: The second list is Part one of two parts. The second will be published
    in Sun World in February.

Sun World, December 1991

DTK 40MHz Tera or LSI desktop 818-810-8880
Goldstar 40MHz LSI desktop 408-954-8881
Hyundai 40MHz Tera or LSI desktop 408-473-9200
RDI Computer Corp 25MHz LSI laptop 619-558-6985
Sampo Technology Corp 40MHz LSI desktop 404-449-6220
Stone 40MHz LSI desktop 415-961-7607
Tadpole 25MHz Cypress laptop 512-338-4221
Tatung 40MHz Tera or LSI desktop 408-435-0140
TriGem 40MHz LSI desktop 408-970-0844
Twinhead 40MHz Ross/Cypress desktop 408-945-0808
Vertos 40MHz Cypress desktop 510-226-7299

Sun World, January 1992 (D=Desktop, L=Laptop, S=Server)

AFE Computers Ltd 804-974-7801 D
Auspex Systems 408-492-0900 ?
Aztek Systems Technologies 415-528-6633 L
Chicony 408-336-2400 D
CCL/ITRI 011-886-35-953587 S(VME)
Compuadd Corp 800-688-6380 D
DCM 408-582-1661 D
Datatech Enterprises Co. Ltd (DTK) 818-810-8880 DS(VME)
FPS computing 503-641-3151 S
Fujitsu Ltd 408-922-9000 S?
Goldstar 408-954-8881 D
Hamilton Computervertribs 011-49-7071-7002-40 SD?
Hyundai 408-473-9200 D
ICL 714-458-7282 S
Intellicsis 415-965-5500 D
Mars Microsystems Inc 412-934-1040 D
Meiko Ltd 415-952-9900 S
Opus systems 415-960-4040 D
Orange systems 404-632-2200 ?
RDI Computer Corp 619-558-6985 L
Sidus Systems Inc 416-882-1600 D
Solarix 415-659-1544 D
Solbourne Computer Corp 303-722-3400 DS
Solflower Computer Inc 408-456-5055 D(VME)
Sparktrum Microsystems 408-428-9204
Star Technologies Inc 703-689-4400


>From Tue Jan 14 16:17:53 1992

        We're fairly happy with our Opus 25mhz machines -- they'll even run
        Sun kernels, although a Sun kernel won't return the right hostid.
        You'll save money and/or get more if you get the machine diskless and
        with minimal memory, and buy disks and memory from third parties.
        You'll also get far, far better warrantees. Sun will only do 30 or 90
        days (I forget which). Some disk manufacturers give five years, and a
        good memory vendor (like Helios) will give a *lifetime* warrantee.

 NOTE: apparently the 40MHz opus runs SunOS4.1.2


>From Wed Jan 15 09:25:54 1992

        I tested Tatung's CompStations. These are basically identical to
        SparcStations, both h/w, s/w and look wise. I found absolutely
        no diff. in performance. But they have the low-end ones which
        are equivalent to SparcStation 1+ and the high end ones which
        are equivalent to the SparcStation 2 at 40Mhz. There prices
        are cheaper. I was able to negotiate a real low price as they
        are looking for a major market break thru. They come with
        Solaris 1.0 which is SunOS 4.1.2 w Open Windows.


>From Fri Jan 17 14:33:17 1992

        We demoed a Tatung SS1+ clone for about 60 days. It worked flawlessly
        and seemed to be identical to a SS1+ to the extent that we did a
        dump of the SparcOS that came with it and loaded SunOS 4.1.1 with
        DBE 1.1 and a patched kernel built on a SS2. Everything ran like
        a champ. Even reproduced the same bugs we found on the SS2 (:-^).
        We did heavy duty pounding (we develop software) using shell
        scripts, C, Prolog, Sybase, Unify, and Openwindows. Netted
        the Tatung to our regular net of Sun 3's, 4's, and Sparcs.
        If there's any incompatibilities we didn't find them. Tatung
        has since come out with a SS2 clone. Prices are quite reasonable.
        I think the SS2 clone is about $10k list with 16 Meg of RAM,
        monitor, and ~ 200 Meg of disk. Check with the sales for exact
        figures. Our POC is (800)659-5902, Jim Connett.


>From Tue Jan 14 22:31:27 1992

        Solbourne Computer is the one I know of. They've been best known for
        high end multiprocessor systems but they've moved down of late.
        I don't have one (yet) at work but the systems people at Univ N Texas
        say they make the Sun people look like lazy wetbacks!
        (no racial slander intended).
        I've got a Dataquest (Dun and Bradstreet) review of Solbourne which
        was extremely positive, commenting on how Solbourne considers after
        sales support a major portion of their marketing advantage.


>From Fri Jan 17 08:20:25 1992

        Clones are based on the SPARC Compatibility Definition (SCD)
        administered by SPARC International. This means they should all
        be able to run applications compiled on any SPARC machine.

        These boxes do not have to use the same internal architecture as
        Sun. This means the architecture can be optimised for different
        purposes. Our boxes are optimised for throughput and not MIPS.
        This is due to our years of experience in servers and major
        applications (you will find our audited database performance
        extremely good). You will notice our desktop machines use a 64bit
        CPU to give a throughput edge.

        If you want more details please email ruth at this email address
        or as below.

        Ruth Glasby
        Workstations Business Manager
        Solbourne Computer (UK) Ltd
        4 Apple Walk
        Kembrey Park
        Wiltshire SN2 6BL

        Tel 0793 491333
        Fax 0793 488866

NOTE: I was curious about this and posted to the net it turns out that they
      have a 64 bit memory bus, so double loads/stores are improved.


>From Fri Jan 17 20:27:38 1992

        We are currently investing lots of money into Solbourne. We are mainly
        interested in their Series 5 multiprocessor machines but we do have
        several of their S4000 series which are equivalent to the SS2 from Sun.

        You can get the configuration that you specified with the exceptions
        that the current OS release is Solbourne OS/ 4.1A.1 and Open Windows
        is an additional product (available but not bundled with the OS). We
        have found the S4000's to be a very stable product and the customer
        server to be exceptional. I cannot comment on the price.


From: (Dave Scott)

        My CompuAdd rep tells me their SS2 clone will be out any minute :-)

>From experience, I can say that their SS1+ is an EXCELLENT clone.
        It runs SunOS 4.1.1b right out of the modifications, like
        almost all the others.


>From Tue Jan 21 17:01:30 1992

        There was a Byte magazine within the past year that had
        a prominent story about Sparc clones. I don't have any
        more info on this handy, though.



                                                        The Florida SunFlash

     Independent Vendors and Sun Expand Base of New SPARC Technologies

SunFLASH Vol 35 #30 November 1991
This is a press announcement from SPARC International. -johnj
                                                SPARC International
                                                Adrienne Bachleda
                                                (415) 321- 8699 x238

        Over a Dozen New SPARC Systems Coming to Market

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- October 15, 1991 -- SPARC International reported
today that the SPARC-Compatible systems market is experiencing an
explosion of new hardware technology that will be used in more than a
dozen SPARC systems products to be announced by the end of October.
Many of these new systems will be demonstrated at the COMDEX and UNIX
Expo trade shows later this month.

Vendors supplying new independently developed technologies include
Fujitsu Microelectronics, Tera Microsystems and Weitek Corporation.
Fujitsu announced its 33-MHz and 40-MHz SPARC microprocessors and
completion chip sets in May, 1991 and expects six to ten of its
customers to bring products to market by year-end. Weitek and Tera
Microsystems announced September 24 that they have combined efforts to
provide a complete SPARCstation 2-class chip set, and expect a
comparable number of customers to announce product in the same time

Sun Announces Licensing of Competitive Hardware Technology

As part of this SPARC International press release, Sun Microsystems,
originator of the SPARC Architecture, is announcing today special
licensing relationships with three SPARC chip vendors, Fujitsu
Microelectronics, LSI Logic and Tera Microsystems. Under the
agreements, Sun Microsystems Computer Corporation (SMCC) will authorize
the three companies to resell its 40-MHz SPARC logic chip set and
SPARCstation 2 board design. Sun will also license its GX graphics
accelerator chip and board design to these same vendors. This
arrangement will allow the licensees, Fujitsu Microelectronics, LSI
Logic and Tera Microsystems to market and sell kits including these
chips and board designs to SPARC-Compa- tible system vendors. The
system vendors, in turn, will use these kits to develop and deliver
systems compatible with the 40-MHz SPARCstation 2. Separately, SMCC
will make the GX board available for purchase by SPARC system vendors.

According to Charlie Simmons, director of strategy and business develop
ment for SMCC, "We are making these technologies available to enrich
the base of competitive hardware technologies available to SPARC system
suppliers. Our goal is to support the development of the SPARC
Compatible systems market."

As a further step to enable the SPARC Compatible systems market, SMCC,
in cooperation with Sun's operating system subsidiary SunSoft, has
authorized Sony Corporation, its supplier of CD-ROM drives, to openly
sell the drives to all SPARC-Compatible systems vendors. SPARC systems
using both the Solaris operating system and Sony's CD-ROM drives now
have the capability of using software distributed on CD-ROM. This new
technology is SunSoft's preferred distribution media, and represents
the most powerful method available for achieving software distribution
efficiencies, reducing overall computing costs and improving media
capacity, reliability and durability.

Robert W. Duncan, chairman and CEO of SPARC International, added,
"Sun's continued licensing of core SPARC technologies, and the
substantial in- vestment in SPARC technology by chip vendors, allows
systems manufacturers to concentrate resources on developing and
supporting independent distribution channels. This is clearly the most
important next step in the development of the SPARC-Compatible systems

Additional SPARC Hardware Technologies Coming On Line

Beyond the products mentioned so far, several other SPARC hardware
technologies have recently been announced or are being previewed.
Cypress Semiconductor announced on September 30 its single and
multiprocessing SPARCore modules, used first in SMCC's new line of
multiprocessing servers announced on the same day.

Texas Instruments released details of its SuperSPARC superscalar micro
processor at the Hot Chips Conference in Palo Alto, California August
26th. Texas Instruments intends to provide further details in a second
SuperSPARC technology disclosure at the Microprocessor Forum, November
6-7, in Burlingame, California.

Further Information

SPARC Architecture Manual, Version 8 is available through SPARC
International aswell as through Prentice Hall and its authorized book
stores. Contact SPARC International at (415) 321-8692 for order and
delivery details, or Prentice Hall at (201) 767-5937. Government
customers can call (201) 767-5994; corporate customers (bulk orders)
should write to Special Sales at Prentice Hall, 113 Sylvan Avenue,
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632. The SPARC International member price for
the manual is $22.00 (U.S.); the non-member price and Pren tice Hall
price is $37.00 (U.S.)

Complete information on all the products and technologies described in
this release is available from SPARC International or other mentioned
suppliers. See attached Contact Sheet.

About SPARC International

SPARC International, located in Menlo Park, California, was founded in
February 1989 as an independent, not-for-profit corporation chartered
with directing the evolution of the SPARC microprocessor architecture
(developed by Sun Microsystems), developing the market for SPARC
Compliant products, establishing and evolving SPARC Compliance
Definitions (SCDs), and providing compliance and migration tools and
testing services to software developers, chipmanufacturers,
add-in/add-on hardware suppliers, and systems suppliers. SPARC
International is located at 535 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park,
California, 94025. Phone: (415) 321-8692; FAX: (415) 321-8015; E-mail:


SPARC is a registered trademark of SPARC International. Products
bearing SPARC trademarks are based on an architecture developed by Sun
Microsystems, Inc. SPARC Compatible is a trademark of SPARC
International. SPARCstation is a trademark of SPARC International,
licensed exclusively to Sun Microsystems. SPARCore is a trademark of
SPARC International, licensed exclusively to Cypress Semiconductor.
SuperSPARC is a trademark of SPARC International, licensed exclusively
to Texas Instruments. Solaris is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.,
licensed to SunSoft, Inc.

Donald McLachlan			e-mail
Communications Research Centre / DRL	office	613-998-2845
3701 Carling Ave.,			lab	613-998-2423
Ottawa, Ontario				fax	613-990-7987

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