But it was ephemeral. By the mid 90's, innovation in the PC world had pushed storage prices way down and reliability WAY up. No one wanted an X terminal by 1996, they'd just grab a 486 and put Linux on it. This was the market Sun should have been worried about, and they were oblivious.
I know this, because my very first job in 1996 handed me an X terminal, and I grabbed a 486 out of a closet and put Linux on it instead. The terminal did have a bigger display, though.
We did experimentally get an IPC or IPX for one engineer. Most all Sun workstations up to that point were pizza boxes, but I recall the first IPC/IPX had arrived one afternoon. And the weird non-pizzabox form factor, and general curiosity about whatever Sun was doing next, was why three of us went back inside from a company social event, to watch while one person set it up (installed more SIMMs, etc.).
Based on my recollection of who got the IPC/IPX, he was a great engineer, who then left software development, and now owns cool pubs in Portland, so maybe he really wanted a SPARCstation 2 instead. (Just a joke; I like the IPX, and when I wanted to personally buy a SPARC for home, I chose an IPX.)
Industrial-design-wise, Sun liked pizza boxes for workstations (they fit exactly under the bases of the huge CRTs, and fairly easy to open and get access to all the components), plus putting peripherals in a few form factors of what we called "shoeboxes" (but no longer shoebox-sized). (The 386i models had shoeboxes that attached atop the PC-ish minitowers.) The various peripherals you see stacked atop the IPX in that post are of the incarnation of shoeboxes that went with with latest pizzabox workstation chassis industrial design (3/80, 4/60, 4/65, 4/75, and maybe others, until the SPARCstation 10 (?) evolved the design a little). So the IPC and IPX looked like Sun was maybe thinking "Hey, we could also put the workstation in this peripheral form factor, and it could open in half". And so it seemed the lunchbox workstation was born.
I wonder whether the IPC and IPX moving the floppy drive (which I think was hardly ever used, when we had networks, CD-ROM, and QIC/Exabyte/DDS) to a more prominent position-- was an accident of fitting things into the internals, or because the peripherals all had their openings on front, or to signal something about the market positioning/differentiation of these workstations.
The seller promised to keep it for me, but that was 16 years ago and we lost contact. I hope it found a nice place.
Fixed now with a redirect. It'll probably be removed because of some WP:ARCHAIC_WIKIPEDIA_RULE or some such nonsense.
Part 2: https://www.rs-online.com/designspark/restoring-a-sun-sparcs...
The video on this website is worth a view, especially for those interested in computing history.
I particularly remember "Stop A"
And sometimes they tried to have it both ways -- licensing Java, for example, in ways that seemed to allow for third party adaptations and implementations, and then playing games with access to the Java TCK (the test suite) to try to prevent the Apache group from actually shipping the alternate implementation they'd developed (Apache Harmony) -- see, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_Harmony#Difficulties_to...
Sun was better than some of the other vendors at generating "open" buzz for themselves, but it wasn't really clear to me at the time, nor is it now, that they were better at actually being open than, say, DEC.
SPARC was licensed starting in the early 1990s as well:
You could buy Tadpole's SPARC portable in 1992:
While GPLing was late in the game, non-Sun SPARC OEMs were available for decades. You can still buy SPARC servers from Fujitsu it seems.
Unfortunately, it was lost in a house fire a few years ago.
It was a wonderful little form factor with ”good enough” computing power and its TurboGx graphics. It was no SPARCStation 20 or anything but it still had a lot of charm.
For a while I had a similar “tower of power” with as many SCSI peripherals in Sun cases stacked on it as I could manage.
The *NIX workstations of the 1990s from Sun, SGI, and others had such interesting industrial design compared to their boring beige PC contemporaries.
These were used as high-end workstations to drive MRI scanner research consoles back in "the day" – most vendors used sun unix at some point, before slowly transitioning to linux. They all have dual NICs and are well engineered, powerful machines. Drop me an email if interested [see my profile for details].
I had no idea they made an LCD screen.
One memory I have of this is hauling one of these plus a massive sun CRT monitor on a hand truck on the NYC subway.
Most issues with the machine were :
bad NVRAM battery, can be fixed by "hack" the NVRAM chip
and failed (caps leaking) PSU, its dead easy to rewire it with a SFF PSU (alas the power button on the keyboard does not work to power-on the machine)
It also has the dead NVRAM battery, but I just take the opportunity to set my MAC to de:ad:c0:ff:ee at every cold boot (which isn't often these days).
I have an older version of OpenBSD on it.
Apple used the system for quite a while as well.
The Sun part number is SUN 300-1055, and the model number is APS-02 if you end up trying to find a replacement. It's a 65W power supply that provides +5V/9A, +12V/1.5A, and -12V/0.1A if you want to frankenstein a cheaper PC power supply in as another comment suggested.