The best starting point is the Linux on JavaStation HOWTO, which very clearly covers all of the machine variants with nice explanations of the hardware and firmware differences of each device. It also explains that the machines were design to do, should that be of interest.
For the record, the system I’m using is a MrCoffee (“Brick”) JavaStation-1 device with 64MB of RAM.
It’s got the fastest SPARC CPU of any of my Sun gear, so I fancied trying to use it as a VNC client to do some remote working. The appeal was to have a *nix system that was fast to start up, didn’t use much power when not required (I turn it off – pretty cheap to run then :), and preferably didn’t have to mess with the X-Window system.
Ok, so my G4 Mac is a Unix system without X, but I had the machine lying around, and it’s also possible that I might use it for a streaming MP3 playback machine if I can quieten down the fan a little bit.
The main reason ? I wanted to.
boot.img) and NFS root tarball (
ln -s /home/tftpboot /tftpboot
chmod 777 /home/tftpboot
ln -s /tftpboot/boot.img /tftpboot/C0A80107
ln -s tftpboot/C0A80107 /tftpboot/C0A80107.SUN4M
chmod 777 /home/javastation
tar -zpxf root.tar.gz
ln -s /home/javastation /tftpboot/<javastation name>/javastation
/etc/exportsso that it contains:
/home/javastation 192.168.1.0/24(rw,no_root_squash) /tftpboot 192.168.1.0/24(rw,no_root_squash)
ln -s /etc/rc.d/init.d/portmap.init /etc/rc.d/rc3.d/S40portmap
ln -s /etc/rc.d/init.d/nfs /etc/rc.d/rc3.d/S41nfs
ln -s /etc/rc.d/init.d/nfs /etc/rc.d/rc3.d/K20nfs
/etc/ethersto contain the MAC<>name mapping for your system (the MAC address is shown in the banner when the JavaStation starts up)
/etc/inetd.confso that the tftp boot line looks like this:
tftp dgram udp wait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/local/sbin/utftpd -v /tftpboot
The following links may be helpful, but please be aware that I’m unlikely to keep them up-to-date as once the system works for my uses (ssh, DirectVNC, mpg123) then it’ll not need to change. I will also have chosen mirrors of sites that are closest to my location, and for large files that are abundantly available it would be nicer to find a closer server.
If all else fails, my favourite trick is to take the filename and throw it at Google in order to find a site that hosts the file.
 I’m currently (july02) trying out a Slackware tarball that was linked to from the uk.comp.sys.sun Usenet group – I might change this in the future to some other setup, maybe Debian, and if things go well with either network swap or a MIPS/SPARC cross-compiler I could even end up with my own setup. I would suggest that looking at the HOWTO is the best starting point, as that refers to more than one build.