Resurrection of a Sun Cobalt Qube3



Recently I rescued one of these little blue boxes from certain death and I just fell in love with it. Looks like this:

It works fine with its pair of 40gb ide drives, and for some people that would be the end of the story, except I want to "pimp out" this little box and put it to work. I've been playing with it for a little bit, and i've gotten to a place where I need to learn linux in order to continue. I have a small list of things that I want to do with it, but am unsure how to implement them in linux.

1. replace the old ide drives with CF cards
2. add pci<>sata card and install 2 low-power, quiet, sata drives for storage.
3. enable the L3 cache
4. setup as a router, one side is modern, the other mostly for my vintage machines
5. maintain an appleshare... share.
6. print to a laser printer from both sides of the router. this is done with an usb <> parallel adapter.
7. update linux while maintaining web gui, #4 5 & 6, etc

There are other things I want to do with the hardware, such as mod the cpu to 550mhz and so forth, but not very relevant here. Moving on.

The default software comes on a cd and when placed in a 2nd computer it boots up linux and sets up a dhcp/boot server on the 2nd pc. Then you boot the Qube, tell it to network boot, and its very straightforward from there. I performed the install process on the original 40gb drives and it worked fine. However when I went to use CF drives Linux fails to install and I don't know how to fix it. I do have a transcript of boot/install process thanks to a null modem cable. (attached as .txt)

I have a hunch what it is, but I don't want to lead the witnesses... Also if i'm going to ditch the default install, how would I install something else?


  • qube3-log.txt
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According to wikipedia:
The Qube 3 used an AMD K6-2 CPU at either 300 MHz or 450 MHz and was the last product in the Qube line.
To save you some headache: You will need to run a 486/586 kernel, as a kernel built for "Pentium Pro" (found in most 32 bit distributions - often called "686") will not boot on that arch. Both Debian and Slackware have the option of 486 kernel arch, as the K6-2 is not a 686 class CPU. Not sure about other distros. Good luck.
Thanks for the info! I'm still very uncertain how to get software on this box. It can be done, I just don't know how. I'm hoping to figure that out with help from here!