From: Claudia McIntyre (
Date: Wed May 13 1992 - 17:28:58 CDT

Thanks to ALL who responded. There were too many to list!
My original message:

> Hi Everyone,
> Has anyone had any experience with SoftPC. Several faculty members want
> us to purchase this.
> I`ll summarize the responses,
> Thanks in advance,
> Claudia McIntyre
> Computer Science Dept.
> Southern Illinois University
> Carbondale, Ill. 62901
****************************************** apology:


Having just read your note, I'm feeling really embarrassed. In a brief 14
months, I've had to learn everything about Unix, ethernet, sendmail,
nameservers, printers, soldering, grant writing, purchasing, politics,etc..
.....without prior experience.

Fortunately, many folks weren't upset with my question and have
responded in droves! BUT, as a supervisor of labs, students, etc, I
DO KNOW where you are coming from with your reply...and you are right.

I will try to learn the "using sun-managers" ropes better!

My apology is sincere.



The following are representative of the responses:

From: "Craig Carpenter (E-Mail" <>
X-Mts: smtp

Looks pretty good, comes up with a window that looks and acts like a PC
screen. Operates under DOS 3.3. have not heard if they plan to move to
5.0. Overall looks like a good product.

I have heard that Sun has issued a product of their own, which includes
placing a board on the SBus that has a 486 chip in it.

>From a Sun info release............

  * *
  * SunPC 3.0 *
  * *
  * - 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.



From: (J. Matt Landrum)
Subject: Re: SoftPC

I have just installed it. It seems ok so far. The manuals
are pretty good. From what I've seen, the performance is
better than I expected. You can buy an sbus card for the
latest version that's supposed to give you 486 speed. The
version I have is running 3.3 DOS and supports VGA graphics.
With OpenLook you can even have access to a floppy drive
on a remote machine. It has a nice way of using Sun
Disk space as a DOS hard disk and you can set up "DOS ports"
to output to a unix file or a pipe (like lpr). I've installed
Timeline and am running it. Really the only reason we bought
it was so we could run time-line (there is not crap for project
management on the Sun - we've demoed 3 different ones), but
some of the other user's are anxious to have the documentation
tools they use at home supported. There are conversion programs
to go from unix to dos and dos to unix easily, but I usually just
use emacs from the Sun environment and have macros for ^Ms and
^Zs in the right place. I really haven't used it enough to
test it's robustness. There are some definite things I would
change, but overall (we've only had it a week) we're happy.
Works with Openlook or Sunview although I initially had a
few font problems. I've heard that their support is good, but
I haven't had to call them yet.

This is not intended as a plug, because this is the only thing
we've ever bought from these people, but DMA Connecting Point
gave us by far the best price (John Lee - (719) 475-2488) We may have
gotten a good deal because they are the Sun VAR for our Co. Springs

Note, that when I said the performance was better than I expected
that I expected a DOG. Although I'm not to crazy about DOS,
(a year ago I would have fought like hell against getting this) I'm
dying to see how much faster DOS 1-2-3 running on an emulator is
that the Openlook version running on the Sun (token jab at s/w
that I think runs toooooooooooooo slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww)


From: (Aadne Hestenes Spt)
Subject: Re: SoftPC

I do not know if the latest version of SoftPC is in sale now,
I think it is version 3.0.
The difference between this version and the previous version is
the ability to run Windows 3.0/3.1 programs, and emulate VGA etc.
The previous version was rather poor, and compared to HPs version of
SoftPC for theire 720/750 it was not considered as a good buy.
I know people who tested Windows 3.0 under HPs SoftPC,
and they said "they had never seen Windows running that fast".
After HPs release of theire SoftPC and because this performance gain
was due to the fact that HP worked together with Insignia on this
version, I think Sun went into some agreement with Insignia in order
to bring theire version of SoftPC up at the same level of performance
as HP.
I do not know how much of the PC programs you can run within the SoftPC
without getting into some sort of trouble, but I would expect problems
with programs such as PCTOOLS, which does change the int. vectors and so on.
(this will also give you problems if you try to run PCTOOLS under OS/2 2.0 ).

It may be cheaper and simpler to buy an extra PC, and connect it to the UNIX
world by using NCSA tcp/ip and some sort of NFS.

Best Regards
Adne Hestenes,
Spacetec a.s,
Box 585,
9001 Tromsoe,



From: (Russ Poffenberger)
Subject: Re: SoftPC

I would look at Sun's products, SunPC. It is technology licensed from SoftPC.
It supports 286 protected mode, and up to 800 X 600 resolution. (Windows
driver is included). They also offer an Sbus accelerator (486 or 486SX based)
if you need it to run FAST.

Russ Poffenberger DOMAIN:
Schlumberger Technologies UUCP: {uunet,decwrl,amdahl}!sjsca4!poffen
1601 Technology Drive CIS: 72401,276
San Jose, Ca. 95110 Voice: (408)437-5254 FAX: (408)437-5246


From: (Michael Klein)
Subject: Re: SoftPC

Hi Claudia,

we are using SoftPC for nearly one year, it works.
I think it is the best emulation you can get at this time.
SoftPC has its own directory and boots from one of the files
in this directory. You can emulate several videographiccards like
CGA, EGA, HERCULES, you can use the whole disk (from the sun) and
you can use the memory of the sun (you can use for example 8Mb).

The disadvantage is, you need much RAM, we use SoftPC on
a SPARC 2 with 64MB RAM, the velocity from SoftPC is comparable
with an XT (!!). But I think it is ok to use it, because you do not
need an extra PC to be compatible with the dos-world.

        bye M.Klein


From: (Craig Hunt)
Subject: Re: SoftPC

Because I'm a supervisor, I am forced to run some PC applications. Our
personnel department sends out Clipper-ized dBase applications that
supervisors must use. Well I have a little problem, I don't own a PC.
So I bought SoftPC, installed it on my SPARCstation 2, and it runs
flawlessly. However, I only use it for these Clipper-ized dBase


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