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Re: Raspberry Pi as NeXT Cube NetBoot Server

Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:46 am

Hey guys. A friend and I are trying to get some old NeXT hardware back to new life and one of our goals was to make them quiet. The old SCSI drives that live in these beasts are 5.25" Double Height Models. They are 660MB which was HUGE for 1990 but they sound like a Jet Engine while it starts and then when they're running they emit a very high pitched wail while spinning.

I looked for IDE and SATA to 50 pin SCSI bridges and they exist. Acard makes them and they are $200+ just for the bridge. So thats a no go.

I recently found instructions on how to net boot NeXT Systems from a Linux Box. However, we want these NeXT systems to be self-contained (i.e. not need another box to get them running)

Enter raspberry Pi. a networked linux box that is so small it can fit inside the NeXT Cube and even the NeXTSTATION Turbo Color we're trying to get going.

I was wondering if someone on this forum would be kind enough to let me know if all of the Daemons and apps that were used in the following tutorial for net boot NeXT hardware would run on a raspberry Pi device.

Thanks in advance,


Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:16 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi as NeXT Cube NetBoot Server

Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:16 am

DHCPd - doesn't use much in the way of resourses, but you likely already have a DHCP server on your network. In general, you should not add more then one.

TFTPd - again, uses trivial amounts of resources.

bootparamd - shouldn't use much. It's being used to tell the machine where to mount the rest of the OS from (nfs)

named - This is a DNS server. Generally there should already be one on your network, but you likely cannot create entries into it. because you are only running local traffic, it shouldn't be overly burdensome.

NFSd - I don't know how well suited this will be to running an NFS server, but I also cannot think of any reason it couldn't. (NFS has been around forever, it shouldn't be too hard) It's worth noting though, you'll really need to watch your space on the R-pi.

I don't think I would put this setup on each host, rather I would put one on the network and use it for booting any number of client machines, (This was actually a common configuarion for labs, back in the day) unless this NeXT box is not being intended to be used on the network.

I would also consider just getting a more-recent SCSI disk and putting it in, but that is me.

Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:39 am
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Re: Raspberry Pi as NeXT Cube NetBoot Server

Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:36 am

I hear ya on the networking issues with DNS and DHCP. I can't configure my Time Capsule in such a specific way as this... I don't think. I know I can assign an IP Address to a specific Mac address but this tutorial has DHCP giving the NeXT more information like

server-name "YOUR-SERVER-HOST-NAME"; 

And I don't want to set up my Lion Server to run DHCP because (In my experience), the dedicated router is much better at it.

I also thought it would be very logical to get new hard drives for them that were quieter and we did. We got some 68 pin (couldn't find any 50-pins that were affordable) and they were still loud and the NeXT couldn't see them. Those 9gb drives were cheap but any other SCSI drives seem to be old, used and expensive on ebay.

My idea with the raspberry was to just hook it up via ethernet to the NeXT so it the NeXT only sees it. If I can then add a wireless adapter to the raspberry with some (double) NAT action going to get internet into the NeXT systems, thats all the better. But I was more concerned with getting them to boot with no disk than getting them connected to the net.

They are great internet machines but Omniweb 3 doesn't even understand CSS so they're pretty useless for any kind of web browsing.

Anyway, when these things come out. I think its worth playing with one to see if I can get it to work. The NeXT only understands partitions that are 2GB except with NFS it supports whatever the NFS server understands. So even getting an 8GB SD card will be huge for these old systems.

Anyway, thanks for the input. I welcome anyone else that has any ideas or input for their opinions.

Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:03 am

Re: Raspberry Pi as NeXT Cube NetBoot Server

Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:59 am

I just love these old systems. Have a bunch of NeXT's Sun's, HP's, Silicon Graphics, you name it, stacked up in the garage. I have no idea what to do with them, though.

The Rasberry Pi is an ideal board for a project like this. The first machines i ran all of these services on was about as powerfull as the NeXT Cube. Back then, nobody complained about "only 256 mb RAM" and "no dual core." They still handled it just fine. Now, what you could to, to be able to run more recent software on the NeXT, is to set up remote X between the NeXT and the Pi. NeXTSTEP does not have not native X, but i'm sure theres a X server for NeXTSTEP floating around somewhere, just as there are for OSX and Windows and what not.

You could also fit the Rasberry in the harddrive slot, leaching power from the mighty NeXT itself, looping a ethernet cable inside the case and add a WIFI dongle to connect to the outside world.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:10 am

Re: Raspberry Pi as NeXT Cube NetBoot Server

Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:10 am

How much do you want for a NeXT?

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