The SunFire V100 was a great entry level 64-bit UltraSPARC II RISC server in a 1U case. It could use processors up to the UltraSPARC IIi 650MHz and PC133 memory up to 2GB max (512MB x 4 slots). The V100 can hold either one or two UltraATA 100 (PATA - Parallel ATA, Enhanced IDE) hard drives. Note: Due to legacy IDE controller technology of 28bit addressing the SunFire V100 cannot address hard drive space greater than 137GB. Larger drives will be seen as 137GB drives. This is a hardware limitation and cannot be over-ruled by software.
By default, the SunFire V100 came installed with Solaris 8, but you can easily install Solaris 10 if you want to.
The last version of Ubuntu linux built for SPARC processors was Ubuntu 7.10 (known as Gutsy Gibbon), and can be downloaded from http://releases.ubuntu.com/gutsy/
However, there are a number of issues that can occur when installing from a CD build. The first problem you may encounter is when you first boot the CD. You may get the error message Memory Address not Aligned which seems to be caused by some kind of clash with an existing Solaris installation. You can overcome this initial problem by booting directly from the CD Rom after a poweron. The following commands may aid this:
(enter the LOM by pressing #.) bootmode forth (OPTIONAL: will tell the machine to boot to the PROM prompt) (at the PROM prompt) setenv boot-device cdrom disk net (this tells the machine to boot from CD ROM) boot cdrom
This should hopefully prevent the error message above from occurring, but now you may find that it gets to the "Booting Linux..." stage and stalls, not doing anything. This again seems to be caused by legacy Solaris stuff being on the master hard drive. I overcame this by replacing the master drive with a completely blank drive. It then booted into the linux installation procedure correctly. I'm not sure if there's an alternative solution though.
If you type expert at the lilo prompt (instead of simply pressing return) it will start booting linux and provide a bit more information as to where things go wrong. It appears to stall when it encounters an "unknown partition table" on one of the hard drives (not surprising if Solaris is installed). The solution here is to set-up a preliminary partition table by temporarily fitting the drive to another machine with Linux already installed.
If fitting two hard drives, you should remember that the primary drive (HDD1/IDE 1) is the one closesty to the PSU edge of the case, which is not normally fitted if only one drive is present. This one will be referenced as hda when installing linux.
The secondary drive (HDD0/IDE 2) is the one in the middle of the case and is fitted to the CD Rom (if present), which is the secondary slave drive. This drive will be referenced as hdb when installing linux.